Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fundraising as an Indie author

Today I have a question for all the authors reading.  How do you as Indie authors get the money for your major projects.  I know that it's expensive to get a good editor and have a nice looking cover designed.  I have recently received news from two extremely talented authors that they have gone to the public to raise funds via Kickstarter and Crowdfunder.  For those people who are unfamiliar with the programs  (and Crowdfunder looks to be the UK version of Kickstarter to me) they allow anyone to start a project that collects money.  For established authors/musicians/even restaurants it allows fans to take part.  It also gets some exposure to a new audience who can find new interests.  When you set up a page, you establish prize levels that for your contributors.  The more money given the bigger prize they have earned.  It is actually pretty interesting to see all the various projects that are currently underway.

Lindsay Buroker is currently raising funding for her audiobook editions.  She has set up some fantastic rewards for her different levels of donaters, including a file containing all of her ebooks for only a $10 contribution.  If you check the page you can see that she has had a lot of success with her fundraising project.  She has even set a secondary goal and if that is reached prized will be increased.  All the details can be found under the updates tab.  Go here for to look at her project.

Charlotte English, an indie author who contributes to this blog very commonly, is also running a fundraising project right now.  She is using Crowdfunder for hers, but it looks almost identical to the format of Kickstater.  Charlotte is raising money to have her cover artist make a world map to be included in her books.  If you have seen her covers you know that she is working with a great artist.  Her project has just started so there is still about a month to get involved.  She also has a large quantity prizes that can be reached for different levels of contributions.  Check out her project here.

If you have a few extra bucks consider contributing to either or both of these great projects.  I have read work by both authors and can say for certain that they bring nothing but positive rep to the Indie author community.  Plus the prizes are pretty cool too lol.

Has anyone else used either of these services or raised money any other way?  I'm curious to see what methods have had the greatest success.

15 comments:

  1. An author I know, Stephen Hines, just finished a Kickstarter campaign toward the release of his comic Icon-O-Plast. He was able to earn what he needed to fund the first printing. It's a pretty neat tool to assist indie authors.

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    1. I haven't taken much time to get familiar with it, but I spent a couple minutes looking at other authors looking for funding. It seems like something I could get behind supporting random people I find on there. It really does seem to be a great tool especially if you have a fanbase.

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  2. I believe that you actually need to have your project approved... if every Indie author wanted to use it, they would get too bogged down.

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    1. I have never looked into starting a project although I would imagine there is some kind of screening process to avoid take the money and run scams.

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  3. I've seen Kickstarter work for a lot of authors. Your probability of success is a lot lower if you don't already have a decent following, however. You'll need to get the word out somehow. Still, it can't hurt to try.

    To take a different approach to all the costs involved with making a book, there are a lot of artists out there whose rates are shockingly low compared to their talents. A lot of people are just getting established and aren't yet charging what you'd expect to pay for their results. Some people seem to have an "indie spirit," too, and could obviously charge more, but are having too much fun to jack up their rates. You can find a lot of these people on Deviant Art or in the Writer's Cafe at Kindleboards. Also, a fair amount of genuine pros are only charging $125-175 for a cover right now. Trust me, I know that's no trivial fee, but it's a much easier target than $500.

    It's harder to find budget-rate editing of similar quality, but it's not impossible. I've seen a lot of authors find quality editing from one of their own readers or from other indies they've met online somewhere.

    That's probably beside the point for Lindsay and Charlotte, but for any indies who are despairing at costs of $1000-3000 just to get a single title off the ground, don't be afraid to get creative. It's not that tricky to get professional results at less than professional rates.

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    1. Honestly the first time I looked at Kickstarter was when I got Lindsay's newsletter about her having a project so I'm not very familiar with it at all. I'm glad that it works as a tool to get a bit of extra funding for some slightly more ambitious projects for indies.

      I have heard a lot of good things about Deviant Art as well. I know of several authors getting their covers from people there and I have seen some beautiful things. I've actually considered selling very discounted editing services myself, but I'm afraid I would still miss too much to justify any costs.

      Thanks for throwing out the extra info. I have never thought that much about the difficulties of raising the money to put forth a quality book so I wanted some insight from actual authors and I appreciate all the responses.

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    2. I've tried it and failed twice on Kickstarter to raise what is needed to self publish, but it doesn't mean other will have the same luck as you spoke about in this blog. Ed is correct about it averaging around $2000 for a good publishing package. Kickstarter is a good platform to try and easy to set up. One thing to to do is get an Amazon payments account up and running before starting a project. This will save time.

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  4. Kickstarter sounds very interesting. Although I'm not sure if it's something I would use (not much of a following at this point), it is definitely something I'd like to check out.
    Thanks for posting this!

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    1. Anything I can do to help Dave. If you do get a program started be sure to let me know so I can get an update posted on here about it as well.

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  5. It's interesting to me that Ms. Buroker has raised an average of $46 per person on her campaign. That's a group of passionate funders. Or maybe it's a handful of really passionate people and 90 other people giving at the $10 level. Hard to say.
    But even at $10 per person, assuming a set of Indie novels priced at $2.99, an author would have to sell each contributor five novels to get that level of profit.
    Her concept of writing "custom" short stories is interesting. I'd considered something like that. I just hope it doesn't get sticky on the backend in terms of the contributors being finicky, satisfied, etc.

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    1. If you look at the prize levels on the right it actually tells you how many of each are being supported. Lindsay does have some pretty heavy duty donators, but she also has plenty of people giving the smaller amounts. If I remember correctly her original goal was met in under 2 days so there were plenty of people hopping on right away to support her endeavor. I think it's a great sign of hope for other Indies though.

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  6. I have not personally used Kickstarter, but I've heard great things about it. Seems it would be a much better alternative to the Paypal donation button.

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  7. I am setting up a kickstarter project as I type this. I have self published two novels so far, financing them myself, but my next book is a tween xmas story that requires illustrations. That is what I need the funds from kickstarter for. Illustrations are expensive, plus would like to make this a hardcover book - again - a bit more expensive. The fun part for me about this is my son, Aaron Parks (aaronparks.blogspot.com) is the illustrator. He is a young man with a lot of talent. He has done some art school but is continuing with that in the fall. This will help him fund his education and give him more work for his portfolio. The project is "The Red Velvet Box." Look for it in the next couple weeks. I'm giving away actual signed illustrations! - besides books, of course!

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    1. Thanks for letting us know about your project keleny1. When you get it up and running stop back by and include a link so I can check it out. I got my support in for Lindsay's stuff today and hopefully next pay I'll be able to get in on supporting Charlotte as well.

      Good luck with your project!

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  8. I'm considering either Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds to have my first romance novel professionally edited. It's daunting, especially considering I have no following. I suppose I will have to come up with some great ideas for perks/rewards if it's going to get anywhere. Going to be tough!

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