Crowdfunding for Authors #1: An introduction to the Series

Posted on Posted in Blog, Crowdfunding, Crowdfunding for Authors, Kickstarter, Self-publishing

Hello, my name is Drew Cordell, and I’m the author of Absolute Knowledge. I’m a Senior at The University of Texas at Dallas, and I’m majoring in business administration with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship. I’ve found a passion for writing, and as an indie author, that also means that I have the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned from my education– all of the concepts and theories– to what I love to do: Write. I have the opportunity to control every aspect of my writing and develop my own business. From researching and developing every aspect of my product (my book(s)) to financing and handling all of the logistics of publishing a novel. I’m looking forward to starting off my Crowdfunding for Authors series, and can’t wait to share what I’ve learned through successfully funding my first Kickstarter Campaign.

Also read: Crowdfunding for Authors #2: When to Prepare your Crowdfunding Campaign

First off, if you haven’t check out his content, Jamey Stegmaier has a great series on how to use Kickstarter, as well as how to build your business by focusing on community. While his company is focused on board games, I’d highly recommend both his articles and his book for great insight on every aspect of your Kickstarter campaign.

My Kickstarter campaign for my science fiction novel, Absolute Knowledge, was successful (I raised $1,054 with an initial goal of $500), but there were many things I would have done differently if I were able to go back, things that I will know for my next campaign for the second book of the trilogy. This post will be an introduction to the series, and what I hope to accomplish. It won’t be a step-by-step guide to self-publishing, but rather a resource for other authors looking to publish their work and fund their project through Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform.

At this point, I’m finishing up finals week at school after taking a hectic 18 hours worth of classes and finalizing the print cover for my book. I’m expecting to place the order for the proof copies of Absolute Knowledge this weekend, then order the rest of the books and begin reward fulfillment. My initial order will be roughly 100 copies of the book, this will give me some inventory to sell at local events, and bookstores, as well as to sell on my online store before my official retail launch in early 2017. Offering signed copies and signed custom bookmarks is something that is important to me as I really want to connect with my readers as much as possible. My campaign was small enough that I’ll have no problem personally handling the shipping aspect of delivering rewards to my backers, but I’m sure I’ll still learn a lot more as I finish up my campaign. Now, let’s get into some content.

The benefit of Crowdfunding for Authors

Crowdfunding, as a financial tool, is one of the most powerful and significant financial innovations of our time, and one that can provide immense power to authors looking to share their work. Crowdfunding allows you to build an initial readership before your book hits the store shelves. After taking multiple finance courses at school, both from a corporate and startup perspective, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to launch a crowdfunding campaign for my book rather than just going with a traditional retail launch.

In addition to the ability to take pre-orders for your books and build an initial community centered around your work, you can also more easily offer your backers access to exclusive rewards such as signed copies of your book that wouldn’t be as easy to stage once your book is available for retail purchase.

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While I wouldn’t recommend holding off on every aspect of finishing up a book (cover design, editing, and other costs), crowdfunding does allow you to more quickly cover your costs and recover your initial investment. Also, when planning your campaign, it’s also a good idea to have some promo content and appealing images made specifically for your campaign. Historically, campaigns without any images in the campaign section tend to not do well. Invest in a good cover and good promo content AND A GOOD PROJECT VIDEO if you cannot make one yourself. I made the mistake of not budgeting for a project video, and I ended up having to make my own crappy video. That’s the one major regret I have from my campaign so far, and it’s one that I’ll talk about in-depth in the future of the series.

As the series goes on, I’ll talk about marketing, campaign development, setting your funding goal, shipping rewards (once I’ve actually completed this), and more!

Next up in the series: A checklist to know when you’re ready to build your Kickstarter Project.

Thanks for reading, and subscribe to my no-spam mailing list below to stay up to date on my books, this series, and more. If you have a specific request for a topic you’d like covered in depth, or have a question, please let me know in the comments section below!


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