In 2008 I began writing fiction again. I had no intention of publishing my work independently, and Kickstarter‘s crowdfunding platform hadn’t even been founded. Then there were approximately one million books on Amazon. By the time my first novel Refuge published in 2014 there were eight million; and now, as I prepare to publish Fallen, Amazon’s listings have bulged to twelve million.
Changes in the publishing industry compel all but well-known writers to market our own work, a daunting task already; but when facing a book pile of this magnitude, it becomes more than a full-time job. We had no idea when we quietly wrote stories that we would have to turn into loud salespeople with marketing expertise – a split-personality type experience!
With this many titles, it’s impossible for readers to know what’s worth their time unless other readers write reviews. Yet most readers have no idea that the publishing industry has assigned them this task. The percentage of readers who write reviews varies widely, probably depending on whether they know how important reviews are for book placement. Only 3-5% of Refuge’s readers wrote reviews, but the reviews were mostly 5-star! If you took the time to write one, thank you!
Utilizing a publisher for my first novel opened the backdoor to a world unknown. There I discovered more middlemen than I knew existed and unique book-counting systems. Titles ordered by authors from the publisher do not count as books sold, even though authors sell them. Thus, these do not affect the ever-important Amazon rankings that make books more visible according to their algorithymns.
And lastly – book sharing. I write for the Christian market. We Christians are frugal. I shared books before I became an author, so I understand why my readers do it. But, at one presentation I arrived to find that twenty-five women had shared two purchased copies of my novel. That only counted as two sales. This was a very common occurrence for me.
As an unknown first-time novelist, these facts combined to open my eyes. Something had to change. My royalty checks are too small a percentage of the take, and the total sales do not reflect the number of people who actually read my novel. I wondered what I should do, and how I might at least break even.
So I began to research and pray for God’s guidance. Quickly, I realized I needed to be the one controlling the prices. My frugal readers want books at a lower cost, and I want to serve my readers. I needed to sell them from my own website. I needed to keep more of the profit, and I needed to cut out some of the middlemen.
Control of more of the process made independent publishing appealing, so did the fact that indie writers have discovered that once they’ve published three titles, their sales begin to rise for all their books, and the increase continues the more titles they write. I want to spend more of my time writing than marketing, so this sounded wonderful.
Next I investigated the costs of quality independent publishing – employing a content editor and a copy editor, a professional book designer, and paying for wide distribution. This gave me a hardball figure for publishing my own work. My very own publisher offered to allow me to hire him at an excellent price, so I’m staying with Koehler Books, but this time I get to keep all the rights and more of the profits.
I then heard about the benefits of crowdfunding.
Patronage – the financial support of the arts by others – has been around for as long as people have told stories. Listeners around the campfire and later readers cozy in their armchairs have always supported artists and writers in various ways. This is an age-old practice. Therefore, in my mind, this became a logical option, in fact a time-honored tradition.
Not only does the patronage of crowdfunding result in the funds artists need to produce their work, it also results in emotional investment by contributors. People who have pledged their financial support promote the work, review it, and share it afterwards. They become engaged readers and investors.
In my mind, therefore, independent (indie) publishing and crowdfunding became a win-win combo.
I chose the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform because it has been around the longest, is easy to use, and is reputable and reliable. And Kickstarter allows me to provide rewards like free books to my donors!
The total of $5750 must be pledged, or the novel cannot be published. We must make the total!
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Click to Tweet: #FallenNovel: I wrote it. You fund it. I provide you with free copies and more! We’re all happy! Find out more: http://wp.me/p5RQ68-2Z2
Click to Tweet: #Crowdfunding provides funds for the project and engages readers and investors – a win-win scenario! #FallenNovel – http://wp.me/p5RQ68-2Z2