By Madeleine Dodge
Given the many costs of producing a self-published book, funding can seem impossible. But there’s hope. Over the last decade, crowdfunding (the act of raising small amounts of money from a large number of people) has become a useful resource for independent authors. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe are a few of the increasingly popular websites that help authors raise money for their self-published books.
When I decided to crowdfund my children’s book “Does A Giraffe Ever Feel Small?,” I chose to use GoFundMe. There are pros and cons to each platform, but I liked GoFundMe because it has low fees and no deadlines for your project.
When I first started crowdfunding, I never thought I would reach my goal, but it took only four months! Follow these 7 tips to ensure your own success with GoFundMe and crowdfunding in general:
Customize your page. If you’ve already started developing a cover for your book, add a picture of it to your GoFundMe page. If not, post a picture of yourself or something else that is eye-catching for viewers. Include an excerpt that captures the essence of your book. Every GoFundMe page has a description box where you can include details about your campaign. Write about why people will want to see your book in print and include a link to your website. You can also make a video-pitch explaining your campaign and post it on your page.
Choose the right reward amount. First, figure out what you’ll need to spend. Then add a sizable buffer so you’ll have wiggle room when unseen costs arise. You may think your goal is too big, but it’s better to aim high than to end up with less than you need. If you’re worried people will question your amount, detail your costs in the description box.
Promote your page on social media. GoFundMe makes it easy for people to share and re-share your page on Facebook. If there’s a lull in donations, post your current earnings on FB and encourage people to help you meet your goal. Post a link to your GoFundMe page on all your social media platforms and any blogs you publish. If your blog is on Weebly, you can even embed a handy widget that displays your goal on your website and takes people right to the donation page.
Create initiatives for your funders. People will be more likely to donate if they’re also getting a reward. Perhaps, for a small donation, contributors can have their names listed in the back of the book. Or for a larger donation they can receive a complimentary signed copy. Think outside the box when coming up with incentives.
Provide updates as your project develops. If you write a new chapter in your book or change directions with your plot, share the news with your audience. If you’ve hit a new benchmark in your donations, share that with another excerpt or illustration. Keep your audience motivated so they feel like they’re part of your project. This will encourage them to keep donating.
Follow through. Once your funding goal is met, you are obligated to publish the book. People contributed real money to your campaign and they will be eager to see a finished product. If the process is taking longer than you expected, update your audience so they stay informed. And when you finally have a publication date, make sure everyone knows about it.
Thank your contributors. Once you’ve met your goal, post a thank you to everyone who contributed and send personal notes to the people who donated the most. This gesture will show your gratitude and keep your audience in the loop after you’ve finished crowdfunding. After all, they may be the first to buy your book and promote it to their friends.
Madeleine Dodge, a BlueInk Review Summer 2018 intern, is a Rhetoric and Media Studies Major at Lewis & Clark College and author of the children’s book, Does A Giraffe Ever Feel Small? BlueInk Review is a fee-based book review service devoted to self-published titles exclusively. For more news and writing and marketing tips, sign up for our mailing list. And be sure and visit us at https://www.blueinkreview.com./