The London Book Fair 2015 – A brief guide to successful crowdfunding projects
The history of crowdfunding is still work in progress but one thing is certain. When it comes to arts, it was Amanda Palmer who made it big and hit it even bigger with her brilliant campaign back in 2012: an impressive number of more than 24.000 backers generated an even more astounding 1.192.793 million dollars support. An achievement due, as Amanda shows in her TED speech, to a direct connection with people, forged in years.
Times are a changing
Yet, crowdfunding can be so much more than an alternative financing source for an author to publish a book without giving any rights away, explained Miranda Fleming, head of film UK at Indiegogo during the dedicated ‘Crowdfunding’ seminar at The London Book Fair 2015. If you’re looking for an empowering tool that will help you by pass the gate keeper and reach those people who are genuinely interested in your work, for a great way to build and engage the audience, to foster awareness, crowfunding is the answer. With a constant yearly growth, from US$89 million from members of the public in 2010 to US$2.66 billion in 2012, crowdfunding may be anticipating a new form of society. A society freed from the chains of the big corporations and the banking system, where humans support each other, exchange goods and get what they want and need, without involving third parties. I daydream about writing a wonderful short story and getting in return one kilo of tomatoes (I love juicy tomatoes). But until then, some money would do. The prospects are high: during the month of March 2014, more than US$60,000 dollars were raised on an hourly basis via global crowdfunding initiatives. On the other hand, during this time period, 442 crowdfunding campaigns were launched globally on a daily basis. What can I do to stand out? Be genuine, honest, confident, original, charismatic. Apply the rules and tricks presented in this brief London Book Fair guide to successful crowdfunding projects.
The four golden rules for a successful crowdfunding campaign
The rule of quality and effort: It is easy to start a crowdfunding campaign. You register on the website, upload the information and pray to God (and friends and family). It is the preparation of the content that takes longer and is of utmost importance. Treat it seriously and work on it carefully. The title, tag line, description, the rewards – perks, the pitch film will make people support you or ignore you. You may also want to have a look at other successful projects before you start. Some inspiration never killed anyone. The rule of networking and communication: Network is the new worth. It worked for a fellow Romanian who was helped to raise the money by Romanian bloggers and journalists. Promote the project as much as you can. Use your mailing list (don’t have one yet, than get to work and make one) and social media. Make your fans part of the creative process. Write a press release and send it to the media. Relate your project to a current topic and find partners to help you spread the word. The rule of consistency: The page should have the vibe of the project. And also, after the campaign is successfully over, keep the people updated about the project development. And (kindly) ask them to give you a review. The rule of 30% – launch is everything! Projects that aim at raising in between 5000 – 10 000 USD are considered small campaigns. To get the ball rolling, the first 30% percent should come from the close circle of family and friends within a week from the launch. And than, it goes global. It is most likely that people will contribute to projects already supported by others.
Miranda Fleming’s Top Tips
Miranda Fleming gave some great insights and lightened up the audience with her bright smile and openness.
* check each crowdfunding platform because each has a niche. Out of the major ones, Indiegogo is the only one to offer a flexible fee (you can take the funding you have raised even if you don’t reach your whole goal). Have a look at the most important choices, here.
* organise your campaign like a military assault
* start with a draft
* the perks (rewards) should be affordable, easy to share and organise ( a thank you page at the end of the novel, a photo of an early copy of the book)
* take into consideration a 30 to 45 days campaign for a book project
* if your book is experimental, focus on one aspect of the project, the most appealing, and promote it. Pitch it to the largest audience.
Things may have changed a bit from 2012. But people – especially in Eastern Europe, are still afraid to ask. Asking (for anything except for the time) is a sign of weakness. But what if we changed the way we changed our perception? What if asking is more about connecting than..begging?
Through the very act of asking people, I connected with them. When you connect with them, people want to help you. When we really see each other, we want to help each other. Amanda Palmer
How do we let people pay for writing? How do we create a world in which people don’t think of art just as a product, but as a relationship?