10 Things I’ve Learned about Crowdfunding (and why writers should try it)

Sep 9, 2013Write!


As you know, I’m in the middle of a publishing experiment I thought might interest you. I’m crowdfunding my latest book, Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse. (I’m going to self publish it).  When I first created the campaign, I intended it to be a Kickstarter campaign, but they turned it down because they deemed it Self Help.

I ended up going with Indiegogo, which has less stringent requirements. You can also fund missions projects there. Here’s my page: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/not-marked/ We have 17 days to go and I’ve already surpassed the $10,000 goal. Woohoo!

Now that we’ve met the goal early, I’ll add what’s called “stretch goals” where I’ll ask for further funding for an audio book, a bible study, a video study, etc. I opted to go for the fund-or-die option, giving the campaign a more immediate feel. (In other words, if it doesn’t fund in the timeframe, I get no funding at all. Hence, I am grateful it funded.)

10 things I’ve learned about author crowdfunding so far:

  1. You do need to have an engaged tribe to make this work.
  2. You have to have your worth issues settled. It’s very hard to make an “ask” if you’re feeling mighty small.
  3. Be prepared for resistance. It will come.
  4. Constant communication in these campaigns is essential in getting the word out after day one.
  5. This idea of having a tribe BEFORE a book is released intrigues me. When I launch this book in January, I’ll have folks on my side who have already bought into the project. They will spread the word about the book much better than merely me.
  6. John Saddington’s ebook Kickstart: Give Your Crowdfunding Project the Best Chance for Success was very, very helpful. He successfully funded a $50,000 WordPress app and shares the good, the bad and the ugly of his experience.
  7. Having a coach through the process (who has walked the path before) is also invaluable. Thomas Umstattd of Author Media has truly shaped the campaign. I would not be where I am now without his help.
  8. It’s a lot more work than you might think. I started the process back in the spring when I decided to write the book. I finished the book. I curated a book cover design via http://www.99designs.com in late spring, then spent the summer mulling over crowdsource options. I shot the video in the summer (that took a lot of time), then fiddled with my landing page until I felt it represented what I wanted to accomplish.
  9. Your friends and family may not back you, but surprising folks will.
  10. Once the campaign is under way, it’s good to tweak, reiterate, and measure what’s going well and what’s not going well. Most of what you put on the page can be changed (with the exception of the backing levels, so when you write your backing levels, be sure you’re very happy with them.)

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps writers can learn something from my foibles with Not Marked. I hope so. I see Indiegogo and Kickstarter like old time patrons of the arts, except that it’s not one rich person funding your projects and dictating to you how to write, but it’s a crowd of average folks in your corner, cheering for your project.