Monday 12 October 2015

Crowdfunding for publication - part 1, planning

This time last year, I was celebrating the launch of my first book, Swallow Me, NOW!. I self-published this book and to fund it, I ran a crowdfunding campaign through the crowdfunding site Pozible.

Over four posts, I'm going to share with you some of the things that I learned while crowdfunding my book, splitting it into planning, launching, promoting, and concluding your campaign. 

I'm in the process of getting ready to launch my next crowdfunding campaign, so I'm going through the process as I'm sharing it with you.

My Pozible campaign

Before you start your campaign, there is a lot of planning that needs to be done.

Crowdfunding Platform:
There are a number of sites you can use to crowdfund your book including Pozible, Kickstarter, Indegogo, and Pubslush. You will need to choose one of these, it's usually frowned upon to put your campaign on multiple platforms.

There are two main models for crowdfunding. The first is an "All or Nothing" model where you don't get any money if you don't get your target amount. The second is a "Flexible funding" model where you will get the money even if you don't reach your target. The fees are usually higher with the second model.

While deciding which model to choose, think about what will happen if you don't reach your goal. Will you still be able to publish your book? Do you have a Plan B? What is the minimum amount you need to reach.

Have a good look at the different platforms and do your research. Do they support the currency you want to paid in? Will they deposit money into an Australian bank account? Do they have other books that are being funded?

I chose Pozible for my campaign as they are Australian and I had friends who funded their books with them.

How much money do you need?
While you are choosing your platform, you will also need to create a budget for the money you will need for your campaign. Be sure to write down everything you need, including:
  • All publication costs - editing, design, etc
  • Cost of any rewards, including copies of printed book
  • Cost of postage for any rewards
  • Fees for the crowdfunding platform
  • Add on 15% to that figure for any contingencies
Planning your rewards
In order to get support, you need to have some rewards. I look at crowdfunding as getting pre-sales for my book. A copy of your book is an obvious reward, but it's good to have different levels. Some suggestions for rewards include;
  • A copy of your book or ebook
  • Two copies of your book - one for you and one for a friend (I found this was a popular option)
  • A copy of your book and some goodies - whatever the goodies, make sure they are relevant to your book. I made a pack with a notebook, pen and some hot chocolate as these were items mentioned in the book. Also, make them easy to post
  • An experience of some kind for a high supporter - I offered to take people out for a hot chocolate at my favourite cafe
  • If it's relevant, you could include an advertisement on your website or in your book for a high supporter
It's good to have a range of rewards starting at $5 for someone who just wants to support you, right up as high as you want to go. When planning rewards, be sure to include costs of posting the rewards to your supporters.

Telling your story
It's not enough to simply decide how much money you need and the rewards, you also need to tell the story of your book and why you want people to support your campaign.

Include a blurb about your book as well as information about why you wrote it, and why you want people to support you. To get an idea, look at some successful campaigns to see what they did.

Some platforms require you to post a video, for others it's optional. A video can be a great way to connect with potential supporters and share more about your story.

Answer all the questions set by the platform in as much detail as you can, and let supporters know what the money will be used for. Be honest with telling people about any challenges.

How will you get supporters?
When you are planning, also look at how you will get your supporters. This is something people often forget about, taking a "build it and they will come" attitude. If you have a plan, then you are more likely to succeed.

Some ideas include:
  • Use your social networks including Facebook and Twitter. Be careful not to post too often or you'll annoy people
  • Arrange to do some guest posts on relevant blogs during your campaign to raise awareness
  • Build a team before your campaign that will help promote it through their social networks
  • Print some flyers you can give to your offline contacts to let them know about the campaign
  • Send out a media release to your local paper and other publications to spread the word
  • Post on your blog and send an email through your email list
Where possible, do a calendar to plan your promotions so you can get supporters throughout your campaign.

When you have done all your planning, it will be time to launch your campaign. More about that in the next post.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. She successfully crowdfunded her first book in 2014, and is about to crowdfund her second book.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. Thanks Melissa. Looking forward to reading your next instalments. All the best with the next campaign!

  2. How fascinating, Melissa. Thank you for sharing this level of detail. I participated in a crowd funding campaign for one of Seth Godin's releases a few years back plus one or two other book releases which had a cause attached. I think it's a great way for readers to help encourage an author.

    All the very best for the next campaign.

  3. Melissa, excellent post! Thanks for sharing your process on how to plan a crowd funding campaign. I'm looking forward to reading the other posts in your series :)

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