Little-known fact: early in her career, J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishing houses.
In a last-ditch attempt, her agent handed her manuscript for off to a distant at Bloomsbury Publishing, who promptly passed it on to his eight-year-old daughter, Alice. It was Alice’s anticipation of the next chapter that brought Harry Potter to life. (Kids often know best.)
This story inspired Hellen and Amanda Barbara, a mother-daughter team based in Manhattan, to launch three years ago. Seeing a void in a market where authors’ best works too often end up in the literary “” the ladies dived in head-first to fill the gap.
Crowdfunding for publishing
“Crowdfunding” often makes our minds run right to , gadgets and gizmos. Yet crowdfunding is also making a huge splash in the publishing industry.
It’s for good reason: while traditional publishing is still an option for authors, self-publishing now , and that percentage is growing. In self-publishing, authors have more control over when their manuscript gets published and where the profits go, but they also carry a major risk: the financial investment it takes to bring a book to life, with no publisher to back and promote it.
How Pubslush works
When Hellen and Amanda created Pubslush, their vision was to begin a “little website” where self-publishing authors could test the market for upcoming books. Now their community is expanding by thousands of new users per month — from authors to readers, editors to agents, marketers to distributors, and more.
The Pubslush platform focuses on teaching authors how to market their book projects, and aims to supports them along the way.
Its model differs from other literary platforms such as or , where the platform also plays the role of the publisher. With Inkshares, successfully crowd-funded campaigns are provided an editorial team, designer, producer and distributor, and Inkshares retains rights to 30 percent of all net revenues once the book is published. Unbound, based in the UK, works in a similar fashion.
In contrast, Pubslush doesn’t act as publisher, but through community and , the platform connects authors with the experts needed to get books published.
Authors keep all money they’ve crowdfunded so long as they achieve a minimum goal of at least $500. Pubslush takes a fixed 4 percent fee from successfully funded campaigns.
In addition, Pubslush keeps your author page alive after your campaign is over, with a “” driving sales of your completed book. A cool bonus? For every book sold through the platform, Pubslush .
How to successfully crowdfund your project
Of course, crowdfunding isn’t a magic bullet for authors, and plenty of projects . Often that’s because the creator believes the campaign itself will generate enough buzz to raise funding. In reality, most successful creators bring at least a small community of backers with them to .
M. Shannon Hernandez is a Brooklyn-based author who just finished for her book, .
With $20,000 already invested and the book released, she hit a wall in the same area where many authors do: marketing. She chose to explore crowdfunding to raise money for marketing expenses and speaking engagements.
Shannon embarked upon her campaign with little knowledge of crowdfunding, so she takes part in , Pubslush’s extended campaign and marketing support.
Based on their expertise and experimentation, Shannon and Amanda offer the following advice:
- Set a realistic, yet challenging goal. “I know you only get about half of what you bargain for, so I shot high with my $15,000 goal,” says Shannon. “With Pubslush, if you don’t meet that goal, the money is still yours.”
- Educate yourself. Simply putting up a page doesn’t guarantee funding. Learn what really makes crowdfunding work. Shannon recommends by Patty Lennon.
- Leverage your network. Having an extensive network isn’t enough — Shannon’s spent hours each day sending personal emails, Facebook messages and Tweets. “You’ve got to be all in or it won’t work,” she advises.
- Get creative. “Not knowing what Twitter is doesn’t mean you can’t do it,” stresses Amanda. “You just have to take a new approach. Mention your campaign in newsletters, set up local library readings; invite family and friends. Put yourself out there.” (Here are some more Twitter tips from writers.)
- Detach yourself from your campaign page. “Looking at it every hour is unproductive,” admits Shannon. “Detach yourself from the result and focus on doing the work.”
- Drive all traffic to one place. “Sell your books anywhere you want in the end,” advises Amanda, “but during your campaign, push all pre-orders and buys to your page to show growth and create that viralness and momentum.”
With more authors choosing to self-publish, crowdfunding sites like Pubslush can be invaluable resources for raising money, testing market viability, and connect with resources.
Have you tried crowdfunding a book on Pubslush or another platform? Tell us about your experience!
The Write Life was not compensated for this review by Pubslush. This is an honest review by one of our writers, independent of the company.