Self-publishing can get expensive (especially if you do it right). Costs add up: editing, copy-editing, marketing, packaging, designing, etc. But with the rise of crowd-funding, it’s possible to raise enough money to cover all your costs.
If you are crowdfunding, be prepared to create beautiful visuals, a professional-ish short video, and creative rewards. Rewards are what you give to backers who give you money (exchanging equity currently is illegal).
At the eLuminate crowdfunding conference I attended recently, one of the co-founders of the LowLine presented on how they were so successful on Kickstarter. The LowLine is the world’s first underground park, and the project got a lot of significant media coverage leading up to the launch of their Kickstarter campaign. Basically, they spent about six weeks on Kickstarter, and they produced a video that is short, has a tagline, explains what they want, shows the faces of the creators, and has beautiful visuals. They promised to help build something using their Kickstarter funds, and they ended up getting 3,300 backers, raising a total of $155,000.
Many people donated $2, and the creators gave a lot of talks at high schools. They also formed partnerships, such as with the Tenement Museum, to offer rewards. After they were funded, they threw a thank you party for all their backers who contributed $500 or more (about 80% of their funds). Before the campaign, they carefully planned everything 3-6 months ahead to coordinated with the media.
Some tips to consider when using Kickstarter, according to LowLine, is to be honest and have integrity. Also, know what you can hit and what rewards you can produce. Leverage partners when possible and structure rewards around embedded marketing. And of course, have good content (meaning video, and description).
Kickstarter is not the only crowdfunding platform you can use. Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing rule, meaning you have to raise your goal or you get nothing. If you don’t like that, you can try Indie Go-Go, which lets you keep whatever money you raise.
Other platforms include RocketHub, PeerBackers (more for entrepreneurs), and Fondomat (in Czech Republic). There are a lot more platforms out there to try. If you know of any I missed, please list them in the comments!
In the meantime, read Stephanie Chandler’s “How to Get Funding to Publish Your Book” for ideas for what rewards to offer potential backers.