10 Tips for Crowdfunding Your Book

Thinking of crowdfunding your book? Here are 10 tips from successful book crowdfunder Elizabeth Hopkinson.
Thinking of crowdfunding your book? Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer a way of raising money for your self-publishing project and giving yourself a ready-made set of readers to enjoy and recommend it.
But how to go about it? What do you need to know? Here are 10 tips from successful book crowdfunder Elizabeth Hopkinson...

1. Know your niche

Crowdfunding works best when it’s targeted towards a niche audience. Which means it works best for a book whose readership you already know. For example: a graphic novel about social anxiety (people with social anxiety and people who enjoy graphic novels); a book of asexual-themed fairy tales (asexual/LGBT+ people and people who enjoy/study fairy tales). Already you can imagine organisations, events, Facebook groups etc. that you can target with your promotion.

2. Be prepared for hard work

It will be tough. During both my campaigns, I was on social media, posting, reposting, and trying different approaches full-time for a month. And it’s mentally exhausting too, constantly checking the graph and wondering why it’s not moving like it did yesterday. You may think, "Why am I putting myself through this?" But it’s worth it if you succeed. And if not, you’ve learned a lot for next time.

3. Learn before you begin

On that subject, learn as much as you can before you begin. Crowdfunding sites have their own learning zones, with lots of advice on what kind of rewards to use, how to budget, how to create a promotional video etc. as well as how to use their site. Look at what other people have done and how they’ve done it. Decide if this is really the right thing for you.

4. Start promoting before you launch

You don’t have to wait until the project goes live to start promoting. On Kickstarter (which I used) people can sign up for your project in advance, all ready to pledge on the big day. Make Launch Day an event. Tell your friends and family. Publicise it on social media. Can you time it to fit in with a specific day whose topic is relevant to your book? Start with a bang!

5. Use hashtags

Twitter and Instagram are full of hashtags; you are bound to find some that are relevant to your book. (Easier to spot if you are already following people/organisations relevant to your theme - so start that now! Make lists.) There might be weekly or monthly events like #FolkloreThursday or #MondayBlogs. Maybe your local town has something along the lines of #MytownHour? There are lots of hashtags for the writing community (try anything beginning with #writer or #writing). You might be able to tap in to a big global event like Pride Month or Black History Month. And nearly every day on Twitter is the National/International Day of Something-or-other. You’re bound to find something.

6. Stay creative

Crowdfunding can be an unpredictable beast. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the graph plateaus off and you just can’t seem to get it going again. Be prepared to try anything (legal and moral!) and see what works. A Q&A session? Illustration reveal? Guest blog? And listen to your backers. Are they asking for a two-book tier? To update their pledge to a bigger amount? Make it so! After all, if they want to give you more money, who are you to stop them..?

7. Stay positive

You may be sobbing into your pillow, punching the walls or running around the house ripping out your hair, but don’t let everyone know. Crying down the phone to your best friend or your brother may get you more supporters (and make you feel better) but posting, "Pleeeeease support my book!" or "Why are you not backing me, you @!*#!" will just make you look unprofessional. However you feel inside, keeping an upbeat tone will encourage people to support you and your wonderful project.

8. Your supporters are your new fans (potentially!)

So use them (don’t abuse them!). Ask your backers to review your books on Goodreads, Amazon etc. And if there’s a famous name, book blogger or expert among your supporters, by all means politely ask them if they’d like an advanced PDF to review for you. Just be professional about it. Expect the same respect from them. Answer their queries but feel free to draw the line if it’s getting silly or intrusive. And remember, not all your backers will love your book. It might not be what they expected. That’s OK. Plenty of people will love it.

9. Pay when you’ve raised the money

One thing people always want to know is: "At what stage should I pay my deposit to SilverWood?" Most authors submit their manuscript to SilverWood and get a provisional acceptance, a publishing plan, and an estimate so you know how much to set as a target. Then, you could leave that on hold, paying nothing and concentrating on your crowdfunding. Alternatively, SilverWood has a lot of newsletter subscribers and followers on social media platforms. They’re extremely active on social media and can help generate interest in your campaign by reposting, retweeting, and featuring you in their mailshots and on their website. If you’d like SilverWood to pitch in with your social media exposure and support your crowdfunding campaign then they have a low-cost scheme where new authors pay a small non-refundable deposit to cover the team's time in enthusiastically engaging with your social media and sharing it on theirs for the duration of your campaign. If the worst happens and you don’t meet your target, you have lost very little and can try again.

10. Things might be different the second time around

If for some reason, your campaign fails and you don’t get the money, take a little time to assess what went wrong and how you might do things differently next time. There’s no shame in trying again, especially since you now have people who want you to succeed. If you’ve run a successful crowdfunding campaign and decide to crowdfund a second book, be prepared for some surprises! My second campaign was much harder than my first. (I set the target higher, then panicked midway that I would never reach it.) Also, I expected most of my backers to be people who had backed the first one. Not so! As we say in Yorkshire, "There’s nowt so queer as folk!"

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Find out more about Elizabeth's publication on her website or follow her on Facebook.

Asexual Fairy Tales

Asexual Fairy Tales

Elizabeth Hopkinson



“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