Self publishing isn’t cheap, even if you are just planning to publish an ebook on Amazon. Apart from the hours (unpaid for now) that you put into writing the book, you are going to have to find funds for the following expenses at the very least:
- Editor – having a good editor is essential. Not only is it very difficult to recognise your own errors, but a good edit will give your book a polish.
- Cover Design – So many people judge a book by its cover so a professional cover is important to the success of your book.
- Website – Until you get the book into the bookshops, you will probably be selling it from your website so you will need to upgrade your blog or simple website.
- Social Media – Effective use of social media is really important when selling your book. If you are feeling clueless, it could be worth attending a course or taking some online courses. I recommend twitter as the best tool for authors.
- Printing – If you decide to print 1000 copies, the cost is going to be significant but even if you opt for print-on-demand, you are still going to have to print some for review copies for example.
Self publishing a book can cost as little as €1500 or up to €10,000 depending on varying prices for the above and the print volume so how are you going to pay for it?
Many more authors are turning to crowdfunding as the answer – with varying results. Many self publishing companies double up as crowdfunding websites in that the author has to secure X number of pre-orders before the self publishing company will publish it. This can work well as they will hold your hand through the process, they are probably offering editing and cover art services too but do remember that it is you that has to secure those pre-orders. One example is Pubslush.
A more cost effective method may be to use a ‘normal’ crowdfunding site such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Fundit and outsourcing the editing and printing to experts that you want to work with, keeping more control over the publishing process. I took this route and didn’t regret it. However, do bear in mind that only 44% of Kickstarter’s projects are successful so do prepare carefully.
Here’s my tips for crowdfunding your self published book:
- Create rewards at different price points. Most people will opt for the €15 rewards but you’ll need a few of the higher value ones to give your project a boost.
- Create rewards that people will want. The obvious one is copies of the book, perhaps at a slightly reduced price. However, have a serious think about what your target market might like. Perhaps you could offer lunch or dinner (with you as the author) for a higher value reward. Other examples include a reward where a pledger can choose the name of a character in the book or offering a private readers evening. Advertisements on your new website could be popular too.
- Offer people a sample of your book. If you’re asking people to pre-order your book, they need to see what it will look like. Provide a sample of a couple of chapters, show the front cover art or any illustrations.
- Include a video and talk about your book with passion and positivity. Include pictures of your book within the video.
- Use social media to promote your project. Be conversational and chatty in between those ‘call to action’ tweets. I would recommend building up a loyal following for at least 3 months before you launch the campaign. Use your blog to inform your readers.
- Get friends and family to pledge in the opening days of the campaign, once it reaches about 30% complete, it gives strangers confidence and they will pledge.
- Demonstrate what the money will be spent on. Show that the crowdfunding will cover some (not all) of the expenses. Pledgers will want to see you putting your own money on the line too.
- Be realistic with your goal. Don’t look for €10,000 unless you know it is going to be highly sought after.
- Send press releases about the crowdfunding but also include a short extract from the book – include an aspect that will gain attention.
- Pledgers won’t want to wait a year for the book, so be realistic with your time frame but don’t plan too far ahead. Pledgers should receive their rewards within six months of the campaign in my opinion.
Last weekend was the first anniversary of the self-publication of my book. It’s now available in all bookshops, 1800 copies have been sold and I’ve been interviewed on television, national radio, local radio and in numerous newspapers. Crowdfunding made that happen so do take the plunge but prepare carefully!