Once upon a time, authors submitted their manuscripts to an agent, who then submitted that manuscript to a publisher. A decision was made whether to publish the work, and the author would receive an advance, less the agent’s fee, of course. That’s still the case for many authors, or at least those going the traditional publishing route, but the world of self-publishing has radically altered the landscape, and there are a few things you need to know.
One of the largest holdups for authors contemplating going the self-publishing route (or going “indie” as it’s beginning to be called) is the lack of immediate capital. There’s no advance for self-publishers. It’s a slow burn situation, where sales build on sales and eventually equal profitability (or doesn’t, as the case may be). However, crowdfunding might actually replace the traditional advance, making the road to self-publishing easier for some authors to take.
What’s It All About?
Crowdfunding isn’t really all that new, but it’s gained a lot of steam in the last year or so. Some bigger names have drawn massive attention to the area (Seth Godin, anyone?), and more authors than ever before are jumping on board.
It’s a simple enough concept. You set the amount of money you need to publish your book, choose rewards for those who decide to back you, set a deadline and launch your campaign. Readers and fans choose to back your project by funding it (and earn the corresponding reward, of course).
However, that’s the end of the similarities. You’ll find a plethora of crowdfunding sites out there that work with authors (amongst other professionals), and they’re not all the same. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are two of the best-known sites out there, but they’re also very different from each other.
With Kickstarter, you set the amount you need, a deadline and launch your campaign. However, if you don’t meet your goal by the deadline, all the money goes back to the backers. You keep nothing at all. This can work fine for a project where you know you have a large, established fan base, but might not be that great an idea for newcomers.
IndieGoGo, on the other hand, lets you set your amount and your deadline, but you are able to keep whatever funds are pledged by the deadline date, regardless of whether you meet your goal or not. While this might not be that great if you aren’t able to meet the minimum costs involved with putting out your books, it’s a great thing for those who have already paid on their own and just want to recoup their investment.
You’ll find variations on both of these themes throughout the crowdfunding world, but the fact remains that both methods can offer authors a viable means to put out their works without having to starve while building sales. It might just be a replacement for the traditional advance from a publisher, which would open up the world of publishing to an even wider range of authors.
2012 © Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc. You may republish this article, if you keep the article intact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: www.stefaniehartman.com. Thank you.
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