Crowdfunding platforms open the game to pre-sales between readers and publishers. Crowdfunding is a campaign to find people who are willing to pay to get a book at a given time. It could be the pre-sale of a book, which could be accompanied by a reward, or an unconventional or limited run book, among other examples.
A platform is chosen for the crowdfunding project, an amount of money to be raised is defined and a price for the package offered. It may be a single price or a range of prices that respond to different reward packages. For example, just the book or the personalized book or the book together with a mug and a t-shirt or dedicated by the author. In essence, it means that readers and booksellers pay upfront for the book and provide the financial support to get the project off the ground.
Crowdfunding platforms combined with the technical possibility of obtaining high quality books in print-on-demand make it possible to hit the target without mistakes: books that have been sold are produced. Nowadays, it is even possible to make customized print runs for different reward packages for the readers who participated in the pre-sale.
This type of initiative also makes it possible to test unconventional publishing projects or with audiences that are supposed to be small. It can be an opportunity for large conventional publishers who may have previously seen some projects as too niche or imagined there was no market for them.
“The costs of creating a book (author advances, editing, cover design, layout and so on) are considerable. In the traditional publishing model, the publisher pays the bill for creating the book months or even years before it is officially published, but then doesn’t get paid for the books until a few months after they are shipped to stores. In addition, the publisher has to decide how many copies to print well in advance to know whether or not there is strong reader interest in the book,” says Margot Atwell, a former Kickstarter member. “A crowdfunding project can solve both problems. The publisher gets funding for their book before paying costs and, at the same time, benefits from a barometer of public expectation. And when it comes time to run a second Kickstarter campaign, the publisher can benefit from the momentum of the first.”
From day one, it’s important to make the project visible on social media, e-newsletters and other marketing tactics. Crowdfunding is for anyone passionate about their project and willing to put effort into promotion and marketing.
In order to successfully target the campaign to the right audience, metadata is a must.
Traditional publishing methods are still very valuable, but additional approaches can’t hurt.
Source: Adam Rowe, “How Kickstarter Is Reshaping The Publishing Industry,” in Forbes, 2019. Translated and adapted by LivrizTeam.