Monday, 20 July 2015

How to be Sucessful with Crowdfunding

Melissa Brown is an author based in Norwich who published her Novel 'Becoming Death' with funds raised from the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Here Melissa describes how to be a successful crowdfunder.

“As an indie author it can sometimes feel impossible to figure out how you are going to afford to put together a professional product for self-publication. Last year I found myself in this situation. After spending nearly a year editing and rewriting my first novel, Becoming Death,  I realised I didn't have enough money to self-publish the book to the standard I wanted, so I turned to crowdfunding to raise the funds.

I imagined, like most people, that crowdfunding my book would be easy. I'd post a few tweets, all my friends would throw in a fiver and the campaign would be funded straight away. I was very wrong. My campaign took more work than I could have ever imagined and became nearly a second job. Luckily, I funded my campaign on the last day and learned some valuable lessons along the way.

The first thing I learned was to remember to tell people why you need their help. One of  the first tasks you are faced with when creating a crowdfunding project is explaining why you need donations. This can be one of the most difficult parts of launching a project but also the easiest to get people on your side. It's important to remember when you are launching a crowdfunding campaign, you are selling yourself as well as selling a product. Your story and the excitement over the project should come across in everything you do. Some people are more interested in helping launch something awesome than actually receiving the product. Hook your audience by telling them a compelling story and offering up reasons to support your venture. Many of my backers told me my self-publishing story was inspirational and that they were excited to help me achieve my dream. Backers are more willing to contribute to a project if they know that the creators are genuine and passionate about it.

Once you have an audience hooked into your project, you need to engage regularly with them locally and online. Your audience is your greatest resource, so it’s important to create a good relationship with them. Be honest and upfront about everything. Do the maths, show your figures. Show you're trustworthy by sharing details about the project -- what it is you are doing and why? Engage your audience with frequent updates and respond to comments and messages as soon as possible. Think about whether the local media will be interested in your project. What about local businesses? Can you get some of your friends on social media to share your project with their friends? Build that audience. The more people that know about your project the more likely you are to fund.

Don't be shy, put yourself out there. Leaving your comfort zone is scary. No one wants to beg people to help them. Remember you are asking, not begging. Start simple by asking family and friends for help. Then move onto strangers. I found making a video and repeatedly reminding people how much of a difference their funds could make to me was more than a little intimidating at first but it got easier everytime I did it. I found once people understood what crowdfunding was all about, they were happy to help. Having worthwhile rewards is crucial for having strangers discover your project but having that level of honestly and putting yourself out there is what connects people to your project. You quickly find how much people want you to succeed when you declare you're passionate about your journey. Remember when you do a crowdfunding campaign, you aren't just asking for donations. You are selling a product, and it needs to be competitively priced. Don't forget to include rewards. It isn't reasonable to expect people to pledge £50 to receive an item that will sell for £10. The trick is to design your rewards so they hit all price points and you can still hit your goal. Not all rewards need to cost you money to produce, think about what you can do for free. Use your talents.
Be organised from the first moments of your campaign. You can't run a campaign in your head, so make sure you are organised. Write down everything and create an action plan for the campaign. Make sure to store this information in one place -- maybe in a folder on your desk or a file on your computer. Don't stop there, think towards the future of your product. The work doesn't stop when you fund your project, it is only the beginning. Make sure you can deliver what you promised to your backers and stick to your timescales as closely as possible. You never know, you might need these same backers for your next big idea.”

Melissa’s novel can be ordered from  Amazon. Her website can be found by clicking here 

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