Business, Indie Publishing, Publishing

Old School vs New School Crowdfunding: Which One Should Authors Consider?

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Pic via Pixabay

Not long ago, Kickstarter became a household name when it became the go to place to raise money for independent artists without a corporate sponsor.  Crowdfunding websites have raised money for films, music albums, and yes, even books.  Now flash forward to 2014 and even mainstream artists like Kenny Loggins and Zach Braff have used the site to raise quite a bit of money for their own pet projects.

However, there is a new kind of crowdfunding popping up in the publishing world and it would be wise if authors learned the difference between the two if they want to fund a self-published book, or simply get a contract with a publisher.

In The Beginning There Was Old School Crowdfunding

Back in the day, artists would create an account on a crowdfunding site and go straight to the people thus cutting out the middle men like agents, acquisitions editors and yes, even traditional publishers.  It was like a miracle from heaven for independent artists everywhere.  Artists could keep their rights, retain creative control and still make money on a book.  However, as with most miracles, there was a catch…

Chicken Meet Egg

Quickly, a problem arose for those with no platform.  An author with very few connections often had a difficult time raising awareness let alone, funds for their project.  Like it or not, most successful crowdfunding requires a promotional savvy that most authors don’t have.

This is where marketing companies and PR firms who specialize in crowdfunding promised to come to the rescue, for a price.  In essence, another middle man had been born.  Go figure.

Are Promotional Services Really Necessary?

If you don’t want to build a platform then yes.  Because according to Kickstarter’s own statistics, only 43% of projects actually get funded.

I’ve seen prices for these promotional services vary dramatically from $17 to $2,991 which include anything from press releases written by a copywriter, to targeted advertising, templates for your email list (or so you can bug your family and friends), and even video tutorials. However, that’s only on the pricier side. If you want to go the cheaper route, you can get a press release (written by God knows who), a targeted Facebook ad, and a social media blast.  I’ve only listed the affordable ones because I know my audience.

*Not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned*

Since there are no guarantees that this visibility will result in a successful campaign, it makes more sense to build a platform and promote the project yourself.  There’s no way around this platform thing, trust me, I’ve looked into it!

Crowdfunding is a 24/7 Deal

Ask anyone who’s ever successfully funded a campaign and they’ll tell you it is a hard job that requires hands on management. Authors often promote tirelessly on social media, blog tours and even podcasts to raise awareness for their projects.  So this isn’t just a set it and forget it endeavor.  If your project is 30 days, then you need to be plugged in for 30 days. This money will not raise itself.

Ultimately the question you have to ask yourself is, do you have the dedication it takes to successfully raise money for a project? If not, then old school crowdfunding isn’t for you.  However don’t fret, that’s not the only game in town. Next week, I’ll explain another way crowdfunding is taking over the publishing world and why it may be the new business template for publishers.

Check out Part 2 of this article here: Old School vs New School Crowdfunding Which One Should Authors Consider?

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Business, Marketing, Publishing, Writing Business

Getting Sponsorship for Your Self-Published Book Part 2

Sponsorship
Image via Pixabay

Last week, I explained the concept of using a sponsor to help you launch a book so if you missed it, here it is.  Today, I’ll explain the details of how to get a sponsor.

Things You’ll Need to Get Started

A proposal letter is essential, because companies need to know the who, and why of your pitch.  Most authors are already familiar with query and pitch letters so this shouldn’t be too difficult.  You need to convince them that your project is a worthy cause and how they’ll benefit from helping you out.  Keep in mind, they NEED to benefit, or no deal!

How to Target a Sponsor

Depending on what kind of book you have, you will want to choose your sponsor carefully.  For example, you don’t want a beer company sponsoring you if your book is about alcoholism.  Nobody will take you seriously.  Make a long list and I do mean long, because you’ll get a lot of No’s before you get one yes.

Following The Money

The internet is an awesome resource for information, back in the day, you would have to shoot a proposal letter through the mail and wait weeks, if not months, for a response.  But today, most major corporations have websites with a sponsor’s tab, here’s AT&T’s:

If they don’t have a sponsor’s or advertiser’s page then, check out their media kit, or their contact us link.  When contacting them, mention the event or project that you would like them to sponsor, but don’t do a hard sell yet.  This proposal is just an introduction, for example:

Dear Major Corp,

The month of May is national literacy month and the literacy rate in our city is 88% which is outrageous for an industrialized nation.  On May 2nd, I and several other authors plan to start the first Adult Literacy Book Festival at Louis Patton Mall.

We plan on giving out 500 books to those less fortunate and we also have several short story contests planned for the inner city youth of our area.  The winner will win $200 and will be featured on our website.

In attendance will be Sue Jones from Channel 3 six o’clock news and John Doe from the John Doe morning radio show on 106.5 F.M.

If your business would like to participate, and sponsor our authors please check out our website here: OurFakeBookFestivaldotcom

Sincerely,

Struggling Author

Ask them to check out your blog, or website where you’ll conveniently have a page mentioning the details of your proposal.

But don’t limit your research to the internet, check your local paper and magazines then go the business and employment sections to see which companies are being featured.  These companies are doing well and need coverage, that’s why they’re in the paper.  You’ll likely get the names of business owners, CEO’s and people in the marketing department.  Good, if you want to personalize that proposal letter.

A Word of Advice to Newbies:

If you’re a newbie, try a local event and a local business that is doing well.  Trust me, unless you have media training, you will make mistakes.  It’s wise to make those mistakes small, in the local realm, rather than a national stage.  I’ve done plenty of podcasts where authors are sorely unprepared, and nervous.  Sometimes, they don’t have blurbs for their book and stammer their way through the interview even though, we give them a copy of the questions before hand!  There are shows where time is running short, or another guest drops out.  So it’s nice to have a brief blurb as well as an extended version just in case.  You’ll learn this in the little leagues.

This is important, because if this one sponsorship is a success, then you can guarantee you’ll have others in the future with bigger and better sponsors.

Business, Publishing, Writing Business

Getting Sponsorship for Your Self-Published Book

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Image via Pixabay

This article was written in 2012, if you want the updated version please go to:  Old School vs New School Crowdfunding: Which One Should Authors Consider and  Affiliate Marketing for Indie Authors to get more info on how to get money for publishing.

Getting a Sponsor Your Book Part 1

When thinking of sponsorships we immediately think of charities, athletes, or musicians, but authors can also use sponsors to launch their books.  Several months ago, I talked about how you could get others to pay for your self-publishing expenses through crowd funding and today, I would like to expound a little further.  Launching a book is expensive and most publishing companies won’t lift a finger to help with the expenses.  That’s where a sponsor can save the day or your career!

What You Need

Start with a business plan that is realistic for the launching of your book.  What are your goals both short and long term?  If you’re self-published, how much money did you spend on editing, marketing, printing etc?  How much will you need to sell in order to break even?  Now, how much can you sell realistically?

You can’t skip this step, because your sponsor will want to know what you’ll do to make this a success.  Nobody will put money in a sinking ship!  Besides, if you don’t know the details about your own business, why would they trust you with theirs?

What Can a Sponsor Do for You?

Many authors have used sponsors to get into book festivals, fundraisers, and even start book tours they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.  In cases like this, an author puts information about a company’s product, or service on their signing tables, or by even putting company logos on their book.  In exchange, the author gets free travel and accommodations which isn’t a bad deal.  So, if you always wanted a booth at that giant book fair in New York, this might be your ticket there.

What Can You Really Offer?

Most companies want visibility, they want media coverage, and buzz from this arrangement.  You’ll have to provide eyes and ears for their product or marketing campaign.  Can you realistically do this?

In most cases, a sponsor is using you to do a grass roots campaign in a town or community.  Usually, somewhere they haven’t reached.  They don’t expect you to sell zillions of their products, but they do want a serious effort.  That possibly means blogging about them, or doing interviews where you just happen to mention them.  If you can’t provide that, then sponsorship isn’t for you!

The Artistic Hustle

The trick with a sponsorship, is remembering to promote your book while, promoting a product that you may, or may not be passionate about.  Celebrities do it all the time, just ask Snookie, or Lady Gaga.

Even with all her success, Lady Gaga’s record company is not going to pitch in a dime for her concert tours which is how she makes her money.  Why?  Because the record company won’t get a big enough cut to validate the risk.  People get sick, bad weather happens, controversy arises and they can easily get left in the cold.  The record AND publishing industry make their money selling books and music, not by promoting their artists!

This isn’t unusual, in the 17th and 18th centuries, painters often were sponsored by wealthy families and in return, they would paint their portraits for free.  Sound familiar?  Your struggles aren’t unusual, and are actually quite normal.  That starving artist image had to come from somewhere right?

In part 2, I’ll explain how to approach a sponsor.