3 Reasons Self-Publishers Should Crowdfund Their Book

3 Reasons Self-Publishers Should Crowdfund Their Book

With the explosion of the self-publishing industry and the popularity of platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdfunding has become an increasingly viable option for authors.

It only takes a cursory search to find encouraging case studies, like how one author raised $12,755 in 30 days to get you excited about the possibilities.

The excitement is justified, but crowdfunding a book takes a tremendous commitment of time and is a grueling journey for many authors. However, for those who navigate the process, crowdfunding can provide value that stretches far deeper than just earning upfront dollars to finance your book.

Below are the top three reasons why authors should consider crowdfunding.

1. Crowdfunding helps defray publishing costs

First time authors often underestimate the amount of money that it takes to get their book to market.

In order to bring a polished book to market, an author must plan to invest in at least the following services:

  • Cover design
  • Professional editing
  • Interior/exterior formatting

These costs can vary widely depending on the level of service you choose.

For instance, a professional cover design will range anywhere from $100 – $1,500 depending if you choose a provider that repurposes stock images or designs a completely original cover from scratch.

Beyond that, editing will generally range between $.02 and $.10 per word. This means that a 100,000 word novel could set you back anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000.

If you are planning on using print on-demand services (such as CreateSpace) or only releasing an ebook, the upfront costs might stop there. But, if you want to do your own print run of physical copies, you’ll have to invest another few thousand dollars to get books in hand.

What’s so appealing about crowdfunding is that it allows you to raise money before you ever incur these costs. Prior to crowdfunding, these costs might have presented an insurmountable challenge to authors.

Now, authors have the ability to bring a professional quality book to market without worrying about the ability to float the expenses.

crowdfund book 2. Crowdfunding makes selling your book easier

Crowdfunding presents a unique opportunity for authors to sell  books and build an audience.

Successful crowdfunding campaigns do more than just get fans excited about your book. They get fans excited about the book’s journey. With crowdfunding, your backers are more than just customers. Backers become part of the reason that your book exists, and this creates a level of excitement that simply doesn’t occur after your book is printed.

Further, crowdfunding campaigns inherently impose a sense of urgency.

One of the most difficult objections to overcome when selling your book is fighting people’s urge to say “I’ll buy it later.” The time limit of crowdfunding campaigns (generally 30 days) helps you push people beyond this hurdle.

Crowdfunding can put authors in a position to sell more books and build an audience faster than they ever could otherwise. The blend of urgency and excitement that crowdfunding provides is a crucial element in turning interested fans into paying customers.

3. It can possibly help you get a publisher

There are a number of crowdfunding platforms for authors to choose from. They range from the mega platforms (like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) to more specialized platforms that specifically target authors. This is where authors can leverage their campaign to potentially get a publisher.

For instance some platforms such as Inkshares and Unbound actually act as publishing houses themselves. If you run your campaign on their platform, there’s a chance that they will pick you up and bring your book to market.

Additionally, there are platforms such as Publishizer that will act as your virtual agent. Based on the success of your campaign they will query your book to prospective publishers on your behalf.

However, authors should be aware that many of the “publishers” that offer authors a deal are actually vanity presses. These companies offer to print your book in exchange for a service fee and provide limited (if any) support on marketing and distribution.

Depending on your goals, this might still be the right decision, but authors should investigate further before signing on.

These three factors create a compelling case for authors to launch their book via crowdfunding.

Savvy authors can utilize crowdfunding as a tool to not only offset the costs of bringing their book to market, but also to accelerate sales and their ability to build an audience. If you are willing to put in the work, crowdfunding can be your ticket to bringing a professional book to market without paying the price.

Have you considered crowdfunding your book? Let us know in the comments below!

Filed Under: Marketing


  • Insightful writers can use crowdfunding as an apparatus to not just balance the expenses of offering their book for sale to the public, yet in addition to quicken deals and their capacity to fabricate a group of people. In the event that you are happy to place in the work, crowdfunding can be your pass to putting up an expert book for sale to the public without following through on the cost.

  • Note that the hotlink above to Inkshares goes directly to Kickstarter. I tend to agree with Jay and Trinity about crowdfunding in that it is probably a waste of time and effort when self-publishing UNLESS you have a topic that is absolutely compelling, and funders want a copy for themselves and their friends. Mine, now a published book about how Americans and Canadians can understand each other better (americanada.us), fell flat because very few seem to even be interested in the topic–and that especially includes mainstream media where you need to get noticed. (Believe me, I tried everything, and lost a pretty sum). AND I am a seasoned journalist who once received an advance for a book, and in another case found a nationwide library book distributor. If you have expertise and are getting attention in the press (check out H.A.R.O) then a publisher might just come to YOU. But this is a game that has few upsides unless you get lucky.

  • Jay Lemming says:

    I’m with Trinity on this one. Self-published authors already must struggle with the challenges of marketing their books in addition to writing them. Crowdfunding takes a significant amount of time and where will you make the sacrifice? With your writing? Your marketing? Or more of your personal time, which you are undoubtedly already investing less in than you should because of the above-mentioned writing and marketing? Many entrepreneurs bootstrap their emerging businesses, and I think this is the way to go for self-published authors as well. The more time I spend in the self-publishing business, the more I realize my time is worth at least as much as my money. As a result, no thanks for crowdfunding. Jay Lemming

  • Trinity says:

    What a nice rosy picture. Way too optimistic. And very unrealistic. Most people will not do well at all crowdfunding anything, including a book. Not unless they have literally thousands of and thousands of friends. Or if something bad happens and they get news coverage. Like a fire or a flood or worse. That’s the reality of crowdfunding. Also, if you’re going to try it, be aware that crowdfunding is a full-time job in itself. You have to be relentless eight to twelve hours a day: making a plan, following a plan, contacting people, sending out information, writing publicity stuff, sending out publicity stuff, following up with everyone about everything.

  • Anne says:

    Love this – gonna do it. I have crowd funded before to no avail. These days you need a campaign for your crowd funding! But, it’s a path I forgot was available so thank you for the reminder. Also, great point about pre-sales for your book. May as well do it via crowd funding. Another idea is Patreon where you can get a monthly subscription fee from followers and give them a free book when it’s complete.

  • All good and crowdfunding is in my plans for launching my series of Dale Hunter business crime thriller novels, with No Easy Money.

    But when? After the book is ready to ship or before completion of the manuscript?
    And which? Kickstarter or IndieGogo?

  • Kathy Larson says:

    Hi, I did not know their was something like this. I would be intetested, thank you, Kathy Larson.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.