After realising it was a little bit difficult to publish for the first time in New Zealand, I (Natalie) wanted to make sure my dream became a reality. Doing a bit of research, it turned out that self publishing was an acheivable option and a great way to get started.
Rasing the required funds for a limited run of books is no easy feat and not easy on the bank balance either! Gaining some pre interest in the book before printing a large quantity was crucial, and what better way than to put it out to the public?
With crowdfunding websites becoming more popular, I took the plunge and decided to self publish using www.thrillpledge.com to kickstart the funds needed to run a small run of books. People could make 'pledges' of a monetary value in return for a set reward - a book or two (or three). Using the crowdfunding platform model also meant a little bit of security in the project - if you didn't reach your target in the specified timeframe (60 days) then nobody got charged for their pledge. When you hit your target by the end date, it's deemed a "successful" project and people get charged what they pledged.
Basically on any given crowdfunding platform, you need to create a project for what you want to acheive. Sounds easy at first. But you have to think about EVERY aspect of your project - what rewards do people want? What price brackets do you set? How much information should you give away/not give? What happens if you go over your minimum target? When do you expect to deliver the finished product? Covering all your bases at the beginning helps you identify exactly what you are aiming to achieve. It also creates a project that is actually legit - something that somebody else will have the faith to back you for.
Setting up a project is only the first part! Generating interest to reach your target is a full time effort. In my experience, I found that the best start was obviously to hit up family and friends. At first it feels odd, convincing your mates to flick some coin your way but that's the confidence booster to help you move onto strangers!
To start the ball rolling, I enlisted friends to share the crowdfunding project link via social media and word of mouth. I created posters and flyers to stick up and hand out around town to anyone and everyone I could find. I created a video with a talented friend of mine on a Saturday afternoon. Before I knew it, that video spiked a huge surge in interest AND pledges. People like to see who you are, what the project involves and if you can, just be yourself! It gives a video authenticity and something for people to remember.
Armed with all this promo material, I was sure I could reach the target in no time.
To help find people, I created a Facebook page, for the Ferguson's Night Fright book project, where I can update info, add photos and stay in touch with anyone.
Yup. It happened to me. I had a constant growth of pledges coming in, until the last two weeks. I don't quite know what happened, but I was running out of people to ask! That's when I discovered that repitition is key. Just keep drumming it into everyone, social media, flyers, email, text you name it, you do it! Ask businesses if they're interested and you may get a sponsor or two you didn't think was possible!
I made it over and above what I had set out to acheive. Raising almost $1,000 more than I intended, my project became a success. (And the first ever on ThrillPledge!) However! Once you can reach out to all your pledgers, do so! Stay in touch with them, keep them updated and let them know how you are getting on. I created an email newsletter that I could send out, letting everyone know when to expect things and give them an update on how the project is doing. It's also a chance to update the Facebook page I created.
Keeping the interest alive has meant that I've had further enquiries about orders of the book - because the ThrillPledge project had ended successfully over my target, people knew I was printing more and wanted to know if they could get a copy!
A succesfully funded project was the result of a bit of hardwork doing self promo with posters, flyers, and a promo video!
Crowdfunding on ThrillPledge was a great excercise and I'd do it again. In terms of self-publshing a book, it's a great way to measure a pre-print quantity and gauge who is actually interested in a copy.