Now there is a lot to say about crowd funding, especially now that it has become hot to do and hot to get. And why not? If you need 1000 dollars for a special project it’s easier to get 1000 people to give you 1 dollar than to get 1 person to give you the 1000. But crowd funding is not a system for you to get rich. Though a few silly and successful funding have run their course, this time of free money is over. People don’t give away their hard earned cash, unless 1. it is for a very good cause like saving whales, or 2. get something in return.
Now I as a writer am not saving whales. I am a content creator, I write and publish books. Editing, cover creation, even publishing and PR can be frightfully expensive. From this point of view it would be easy to say ‘I give away a free copy of the book to anyone donating 20 dollars’ or even to give a discount on purchase equal to the donation. But let’s take a look at what really happens financially there.
Yes, with the money you get you are able to publish your book. But a book is not an instant success. Only 1 in 1000 books actually get noticed and from that 1 in 1000 will become a hit. As all we see in the shops and in movies are the successful books, people tend to forget the minor chance of reaching that level of fame and income.
So let’s say your book will do moderately well, to sell 100 copies in the first year. And yes, that IS ‘doing moderately well’. Don’t kid yourself. From these 100 copies 1 has to make it’s way to someone who sees it for the possible success it can be and make it so. After this first year the chances of anyone picking it up is remote as apart from you, millions of others are trying to get read. If it’s not new, it isn’t hot.
So, To get those 100 copies out, you set up a crowd funding to cover the cost. To pick a decent number to get your book published, I’ll call it an even 1000 dollars. Sounds ridiculous? You’d be surprised how many people want to get a hand into your wallet when you need help. A well designed cover: 200 dollars, editing: easily 300 dollars, PR: 500 dollars and then you’d be only at the start. And not NOT spend this money will most likely mean your book will fall into oblivion in between all those books the million other writers have published.
You set up a crowd funding project for this 1000 dollars and promise everyone for a 10 dollar donation a copy of the book, as 10 dollars is a decent, if not high, price to pay for a book. For this you will need 100 donations to get 100 books out. See the problem? Through this crowd funding you are only break even and still competing with the same million other writers. And the more writers get into crowd funding, the less chance you will have to collect your needed 1000 dollars. Because of this crowd funding is considered ‘hot’ because it has become an arms-race, in which just like advertising if you don’t join in you will be left behind and forgotten.
And so I say crowd funding for writers doesn’t work anymore. There is little to no chance your book will make it and so it is just easier to have a friend go through it for mistakes and then publish it through Amazon Createspace. Buy a few copies and give them to friends as a present. Give away the free PDF on any site you can find that is will to accept it and with it post a note that if people like your work to buy the book as it will enable you to write more. Record yourself reading your book out loud and put it on Youtube. Just generally enjoy your work being out there, don’t expect anything from it and let the content speak for itself. If it is original then in time people will pick up on it. But throwing massive amounts of cash at it will not make the book any better.
Be a writer and write. As if you write for success, you are writing for most probable disillusion. If you write for the money then you’d be better off with a job.