Elizabeth Hopkinson | Fantasy Author


Award-winning author uses crowdfunding to bring 'Asexual Fairy Tales' into print. How Elizabeth Hopkinson’s target audience helped her pay for the publication of a niche story collection.

Award-winning author uses crowdfunding to bring 'Asexual Fairy Tales' into print

 
How Elizabeth Hopkinson’s target audience helped her pay for the publication of a niche story collection
 

Customer testimonial


"Thanks to the crowdfunding, I had the budget to use SilverWood’s service and get all the things you’d expect from a small press - a high quality product. My main contact at SilverWood has been really good keeping in touch with everything. They’ve been interested in what I’ve put online and supportive of all the publicity I’m doing."
Elizabeth Hopkinson | Author
 

Author profile


From an early age, fantasy author Elizabeth Hopkinson has had a fascination with fairy tales. Her interest in the genre led her to focus on them while studying English Literature at Leeds University. Later, they became an important part of how Elizabeth identified and understood her asexuality.
 
Elizabeth is a prolific writer, with many fiction works to her name, including her first novel, Silver Hands. A winner of the James White Award and FairyTalez Best Gender Swap Award, over 100 of her short stories and articles have been featured in anthologies and other publications.
 
Having identified as asexual relatively late in life, Elizabeth wanted to retell some of the fairy tales and myths that helped her name and claim her asexuality.
 
Elizabeth explained, "AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network) defines an asexual person as one who does not experience sexual attraction. This term embraces a whole spectrum of different identities and represents around 1% of the population. Most people have never even heard of asexuality, or think it is not real or needs to be cured. Yet many of the tales told by our ancestors seem to be about asexual characters and speak to asexual themes. It is these tales that I wanted to bring to life."
 

A creative approach to raise the funds to self-publish

 
Elizabeth had had the idea about Asexual Fairy Tales for some time, yet it was in autumn 2018 that she became clear about who the book would appeal to. She knew she would have to self-publish the book because it’s a very niche topic; creative thinking led her to realise the book’s audience would be passionate about the subject - enough to help fund the publishing.
 
"One of the niches is the asexual community, and the other is the fairytale community. Because I could see the audiences so specifically, I felt I could take a crowdfunding campaign straight to the people who would be interested in the finished book."
 
The first step was to find a self-publisher who would give her book the treatment she was aiming for. Elizabeth sought out SilverWood after finding them via an internet search.
 
"SilverWood looked right for me: professional. On their website, you can see the different packages and see clearly what services they offered. They came across as similar to a small press."
 
Elizabeth reflects, "I’d laid out what I was working on and what I needed. They came back to me with plenty of details and that felt good, it was reassuring. We talked about print on demand, and I knew what that was having used a small press before."
 

Harnessing the power of social media among her intended audience

 
Once SilverWood had confirmed what the package costs would be, Elizabeth was able to establish her crowdfunding campaign, and chose Kickstarter as her platform. Elizabeth created her campaign page with the story of her own journey and put together various pledge options ranging from £1 to £60. She was well prepared to promote it through all her social media channels to get it seen by her intended audience.
 
"The crowdfunding process is intense and a bit nerve-wracking. It’s exciting when you start to see people pledging, and you really have to keep the momentum up all the way through. I only had a month to get all the money in. In the first few days I was constantly on Twitter tagging contacts and groups like AVEN, and posting on Folklore Thursday, so those readers would retweet it. Because I’ve been published before, I also had help getting it out there from editors of anthologies I’ve already been in. I also used my Facebook author page and posted in specific interest groups, like the UK Asexuality group, Fairytale Forum and Swanwick Writers Summer School, which I’ve attended and led courses on."
 
Elizabeth was delighted to see the pledges come rolling in and the percentage towards her goal creep up. "It worked like I hoped it would. Once we hit 100% almost half way through, we held a little live broadcast with party poppers - it was really celebrational. It then carried on going up."
 
Kickstarter made Elizabeth’s campaign one of their 'projects we love’, giving it more exposure. She also had publicity via a serendipitously timed BBC project about Bradford, in which they included a two-minute film about Elizabeth’s project. She was also featured on Bradford’s Community Radio and featured in the local paper as a result of the BBC film.
 

A successful campaign and a collection in print


The Kickstarter campaign ran for a month, raising over £6000 for Elizabeth to cover the costs of professional publishing with SilverWood Books and some of her book marketing.
 
"The stories were written, so the publishing journey was mostly about the proofreading and getting it out. It was really good having the professional proofreader involved, especially when it came to the bibliography."
 
Elizabeth already had an illustrator on board - her daughter. "She’s an illustration student and I knew I wanted to use her work in the book. SilverWood’s cover designers used her artwork and made it into a really beautiful cover - I’m really impressed with what they’ve done with it."
 
Asexual Fairy Tales launched in September 2019 with an event at Brick Box Rooms, a Bradford arts space where Elizabeth has participated in open mics before. Just as with her Kickstarter campaign, Elizabeth recognises that there’s a correlation between the energy you put in to publicity and the results you get. "I’m also doing speaking events at Huddersfield University, a couple locally for LGBT+ societies, and at a local café where I went to order a cake for the launch."
 
Asked how she feels about getting the book published, Elizabeth enthuses, "There’s nothing quite as good as seeing five boxes of your own books in print. It’s very encouraging, especially when you know they’re all going to people who want them. I feel positive about what comes next."

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Asexual Fairy Tales

Asexual Fairy Tales

Elizabeth Hopkinson

Paperback

£8.99

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins