Wednesday 22 October 2014

Crowdfunding as a step to publication

A month ago, yesterday, the crowdfunding campaign I was running to publish my first book was successful. I decided to publish Swallow Me, NOW! earlier this year, the biggest factor was hearing teachers tell me they needed more books about bullying now.

As it's a book for kids, I knew I'd need to have illustrations and a layout that would appeal to kids, and printing. It would all take money, and money I didn't have in the bank.

I researched crowdfunding for a while, from long before I decided to self-publish. The way I looked at it was I was pre-selling copies of my book - as a result, I've already sold 68 copies of Swallow Me, NOW!. A friend of mine pointed out that my campaign was a pre-pre-launch.

Here are just a few of the lessons I've learned along the way:

  • Crowdfunding is NOT easy money - it takes a lot of work to promote the campaign and engage with supporters, write blog posts, thank people who are sharing the campaign, and anything else that needs to be done during the campaign.
  • Have a variety of rewards - start at $5 for people who just want to support you and go up from there. Where possible, make them relevant to your book. I was giving the opportunity for a hot chocolate with the author as my main character shares stories of her day with her mum over hot chocolate.
  • Let your network know it's coming - if you have a social media following, email list, blog or any other fan base, let them know your campaign is coming. I didn't do enough of this, and it's something I will do differently in the future.
  • Spread the word - during the campaign, spread the word far and wide, and invite your fans to help spread the word, even if they don't support your campaign.
  • Don't overdo it - there's a fine line between spreading the word and bugging people to support your campaign. Try and post different messages, such as an update on your progress, answers to questions people have asked, sneak peeks of the book, or explanations for your rewards. This also helps so you don't get bored posting the same things! Also, be sparing posting in Facebook groups you're a member of.
  • Enjoy the ride - it's easy to get caught up in the stress of waiting for pledges to come in, counting the days, spreading the word, and everything else that's involved. Remember to take time to sit back and enjoy the ride, and celebrate your little achievements along the way.
The books have now arrived, along with bookmarks and other goodies for rewards. The next step on my journey is about to start - sending out copies of my book.

My campaign is now over, if you want to check it out, click here.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. She is a blogger and author of flash fiction and children's books. Her first book, Swallow Me, NOW! will be launched on Saturday 25 October.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. What a brave move, Melissa--well done to you! May all your copies sell so quickly you will need to have more printed!

  2. Way to go! Marvellous idea if self publishing. Maybe it could work if traditionally published? Good for you, Melissa!

  3. Sounds a lot of hard work Melissa. Hope it does well for you.

  4. Good for you, Melissa. Thank you for sharing but more significantly leading the way for all of us who may be in a similar situation in the future. I'd suggest crowdfunding will become quite common for authors. Hey, if Seth Godin does it for his work, then I'm all for it if done well.

  5. Thanks everyone. If you are traditionally published and want to raise funds for publishing yourself, it could work :)

  6. Good for you, Melissa! Lots of hard work but what a great journey. What an inspiration you are. All the best for the launch :)

  7. Hi Melissa, Thanks for sharing your crowdfunding success story :) I hope your experiences will inspire others to consider crowdfunding as a viable way to finance their indie book project.

  8. Very helpful, Melissa! Thanks.


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