This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
We live in a world where people crowdfunded a potato salad to the tune of $55,000 (yes, really), but do we live in a world where people would fund one of my books? After all, it’s not only tasty side dishes and wacky inventions that can be crowdfunded, novels can be too, and it’s making we wonder if it’s worth trying.
With the ease of self-publishing you might wonder why there’s a need to crowdfund a book when you can get it to market relatively easily, but if you self-publish to a professional standard then there’s a big outlay. I spend at least £500 on cover design and editing. When you’re spending that kind of money, it makes you very wary of what book you choose to write. You have to really believe that your book might sell in order to publish it. I’ve been very lucky with some books I’ve self-published, and very unlucky with others. It’s really hard to predict what’s going to sell and sometimes it’s difficult to take the risk.
Which is where crowdfunding comes in. All you need to do is put up a proposal on a site allowing your readers or fans to become part of your book process by pledging money. In return they get different rewards depending on the level of money they invest. From the proposals I’ve seen, you can pay anywhere from one to a few hundred pounds, and get anything from an eBook to signed copies, or, if you pay enough, a character named after you.There are also sites that act as a hybrid between crowdfunding sites and publishers where you have to put together a submission, and the site picks who can put proposals up. Often it’s reserved for authors with a proven track record. The idea behind those sites is that it gives readers greater control over what novels are published. Plus, many projects from established authors, which don’t fit with mainstream publishers’ lists, can be pitched.
I like this idea as not only does it make your readers part of your novel, giving them a say in what you’re writing, but it gives you a bit of financial security. You know you’re not wasting your time writing and publishing something that no one wants to read. But does it come with its own problems? What happens if a reader backs your book and then is disappointed with the end product? If they have been involved in the project since before it was published, would it make them more invested in the novel, and therefore more likely to have a stronger opinion on the end product?
I’m about to embark on writing the fourth and final part of my Millie series of books, and I’m wondering whether it’s worth experimenting with crowdfunding to offset the initial outlay. I got a bit excited thinking that I could offer readers the chance to be a ‘guest at Millie’s wedding’ as well as offering limited edition ebooks – complete with behind the scenes information not featured in the Amazon version. But is it a terrible idea? I can’t work out if it’s too cheeky to ask people to cough up money in advance. And what happens if no one funds me? Would it mean that no one wants to read my next book, or would it mean that my readers aren’t necessarily the people that crowdfund projects?
What do you think? Would you fund a crowdfunded novel? Or are you an author that’s tempted to try it? Should I give it a go?