In SIX days I enter my fourth decade and launch the campaign to fund the editing and publication and marketing of Friends We Haven’t Met. None of it will be possible, of course, without you lovely people and your burning desire to read beyond the first chapter.
Earlier this month I went through the reasons I chose Publishizer and a bit about how it differs from other crowdfunding platforms - the key thing being it goes on number of pre-sales rather than a financial target, and shares successful campaigns with publishers once a set number of pre-sales are reached. I also shared how money will be used and broke down all the costs for the campaign.
Pre-sales, however, don’t equate to the number of backers because, as a backer, you get to choose how much or how little you want to fund the campaign for. How much you choose to give to the campaign could get you multiple copies of the book. In fact, depending on what you give you could get a LOT of different, fun perks, along with my never ending gratitude and appreciation.
So, in light of the campaign going live on May 1st (My birthday, remember) I want to share with you the different Patron Points* you can choose from as a backer of Friends We Haven’t Met.
*All the price points are in USD because Publishizer is an American website, but because they accept payment via PayPal you can choose to back in whatever currency you fancy!
With this post I’m gonna break down the costs involved in turning Friends We Haven't Met into a reality - an actual book you can hold in your hand. This cost breakdown will also be on the campaign page when it launches on the first of May. May first. My birthday.
*pauses whilst you add that to your calendar*
So, I’m not doing this for the money. Well, I AM doing it for the money but not ‘for the money’ in a ‘I-wanna-be-some-big-shot-well-paid-author’ way.
Authors don’t get paid well. The big ones you hear about who are making millions? They represent something like 3% of the authors in the world. I made that stat up but the point is: This is not a well-paid job and I'm not doing it for the money.
I write because I love it and I'm doing this campaign because I want to do the publication of my first fiction book well.
Doing it well entails the following:
I’ve found an editor and they’re awesome. We get on really well and have already worked together on the editing of the first chapter. They are a professional, like I’m a professional. They need to pay rent and buy awesome bow-ties for their outfits and fund their own writing projects. I want to ensure they’re properly rewarded for their time, expertise and energy.
Editor budget: $800 - $1000CAD
As with any crowdfunding campaign there are extra perks for backers, along with actual copies of the book. The book needs to be printed (Roughly $12CAD per unit) and posted, along with the perks.
Even if I only have fifty pre-orders from my friends and family, it’s not going to be cheap. Most of what’s raised from this campaign is just gonna cover these costs, but the number of backers will also determine just how much these costs will be.
Putting a hard number to it is difficult which is why I’m being really broad with my budget here. After the editor, this is the Most Important Thing. This book can't exist if people don't buy it and I want to make sure everyone who pre-buys is sent their copy by the end of September.
Pre-sale & perk fulfillment budget: $500 - $5,000CAD
Marketing for this campaign has been rewarding but also, at times, exhausting, time consuming and all-encompassing.
I quit my job in January and have been working at this full-time since March. Unpaid. It’s a lot of work.
Marketing the book will be even more work and in order to do it well I can’t do it by myself. I don’t have the right connections, but I’ve found a PR company that does. This bit is important because, if I am actually going to feed myself and afford things like rent, it’s going to be book sales AFTER the campaign that make that happen. Everything during the campaign is just paying for - the campaign.
I’ve got a few options for marketing packages and how much I spend will be directly related to how much the campaign makes and what's left over once the costs of editing, printing and perk fulfillment are covered.
Marketing budget: $141USD or $280USD
This is just a rough break-down and doesn't account for things like TAXES, the cost of the design programme I'm using to do the layout and any other surprise costs that might come up.
It's also hugely experimental. I'm doing a lot of guesswork because I've never done this before and there are no guarantees when it come sot crowdfunding.
The campaign could be a roaring success. A publisher might pick it up, which would free up the money I'm budgeting for printing for something else - like marketing or maybe having a book tour! But I can't bank on any of that happening.
All I'm banking on right now is that enough people will want to read it that I'll be able to, at the bare minimum, pay for the editing and printing.
If you want to see Friends We Haven't Met get published as much as I do, please keep sharing the first chapter, invite your friends to sign-up to my newsletter and on May 1st, watch for the campaign link so you can pre-buy your copy!
The campaign to fund Friends We Haven't Met goes live on May 1st. If you've read the first chapter and want to help make this book a reality, please sign up to my newsletter to be one of the first to get the link when the campaign launches.
Way back yonder in November 2015 I began research into the best possible way for my to crowdfund a book for publication. At first I was going to use Patreon because Amanda Palmer recommends it so highly and I am a fan of AFP.
Patreon is a great platform for someone who puts out pretty regular stuff and has a decent following. Someone like Amanda Palmer does well with it because she releases songs periodically and her fans, like yours truly, are happy to contribute on a ‘thing released’ basis when it means we get to be the first to receive said ‘thing’.
Patreon is ALSO really great for people who put something out regularly, like a monthly comic or podcast. It’s because of my podcast, Everything is Workable, and all my blogging and regularly shared bits of art, that I thought this might be the route I should take.
Crowdfunding is complicated and there are a lot of things to consider with each platform.
While Patreon seemed cool initially, as soon as I started considering it practically I saw that it could result in a trickle of funding from very few people for a limited time, leaving my projects just as unfunded as they are now. I don’t have an international fandom like Amanda Palmer (At the moment - a girl can dream). Nor does my blog and podcast get the traction like Zen Pencils or This American Life, for example.
My biggest fans and followers are my friends and family. Not the Internet masses.
So I began looking into the Big Two: Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
I won’t go into these platforms here because the Interwebs are already flooded with information on both. The short of it is each provide you with a platform to fund almost any kind of project you want. With both you set a target amount you'll need to cover the bare minimum of costs. The only difference between the two is that Indigogo has the option for you to get whatever money you raise, whether you hit the target or not, whilst Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform.
For this reason Indigogo appealed to me more, but still, there was the nagging worry that my campaign would just flounder in the noise of so many crowdfunders.
And then I found Publishizer.
This is a totally different kind of platform because Publishizer is specifically about crowdfunding for books. Rather than setting a monetary target to raise, it asks you to set a target for pre-sales, and then it acts as an ‘agent’ by sending your campaign to publishers, depending on the pre-sales you’ve made.
For example, I’m setting a target of 250 presales. When I reach this (I’m gonna say ‘when’, not ‘if’ - gotta be positive!) they have 30 different publishers they are in touch with who will happily look at my manuscript and marketing proposal.
The higher you set the pre-sale target, the more publishers it will be sent to.
When a publisher sees a book selling really well, before it’s even printed, this shows them that the book is worthy of publishing. For me, this is what makes Publishizer really cool.
At the moment my personal aim is to raise $8000 - $10,000CAD with this campaign. This would be enough for me to pay the editor I’ve contracted and cover the costs of my Adobe CC subscription (I’m using InDesign to lay it all out), hiring a marketing & PR agency to promote the book in advance of it being available, printing it, posting it (and perks!) to my backers and possibly even leave a little left over for me to do a small scale book tour around Canada and the United States.
If a publisher picks it up, however, that means a chunk of the cost can be freed up so I can do a larger book tour or put more money towards marketing. Either way a successful campaign will cover the costs of publishing a book, from start to finish.
So that’s the crux of it. Why I’m going with Publishizer and how it works, and why I recommend it to other writers looking to get their books published.
Next week I'll be publishing a blog with the costs in a lot more detail. Until then, please read the first chapter, share it with your friends and sign-up to my newsletter to be one of the first to get the link when the campaign launches on May 1st!
NOTE: If you enjoyed the first chapter of Friends We Haven't Met, the campaign goes live on May 1st! Please mark your calendars to pre-order your copy and make this book a reality!
So one of the AWESOME advantages to self-publishing is the autonomy I get as an author on what the final book will look like. Not sure how many of you know this but often authors aren’t even consulted on the cover art. Unless they’re a super big name, they are unlikely to get a look in, and even then it’s not guarantee that the publisher will take their feedback on board.
I designed the cover for my first (non-fiction) book, Wise at Any Age, and it was one of my favourite bits of the whole project. Plus it was fun to work a multitude of skills into one project. Not only did I write it, I also get to use the book as a showcase of my ability to illustrate, design and layout a publication so it’s print-ready.
Friends We Haven’t Met is no different, although, as a contemporary piece of fiction it’s not going to be illustrated. Not that contemporary fiction can’t be illustrated, as Kurt Vonnegut has shown us.
But it will most certainly have a cover! I’ll have to adjust the design for the hardcopy version, but for now this is it in design:
If you’d like to find out more about the campaign to fund the publishing of this book please sign up to my newsletter.
I’m a writer and I’ve been doing what I love for years, since I can remember. I have journals from when I was six to prove it.
I have never had a problem writing my ideas down, creating my characters and finishing books. It has sometimes taken me years and sometimes, in the case of Friends We Haven’t Met, taken me just the month of November. I have six completed manuscripts as a result, as well as three others so near completion that I’m certain my newly blooming editor/writer relationship will get them there soon enough.
I’ve never waited for the right time to write. To me that would be like waiting for the right time to breath. It’s the one thing I’ve been most driven to do my whole life.
I love it.
But guess what? Doing what I love has never, not once, gotten those manuscripts published. Just writing them is not enough. If I want to see them go anywhere, if any of us want to see our projects come to fruition, there’s a lot more elbow grease involved.
Since March fourth I’ve been pretty much living as a writer. I’m not making any money and the minimal savings I put aside for this time are rapidly depleting. I’m largely only able to do this because I have a supportive wife and family.
I am utterly grateful to the people who love me and the way they express their genuine interest in my happiness. The rent free accommodation with my parents for the month of February was a blessing. The time friends are giving to sharing my writing means more than my gratitude can express. The time here in Australia with my wife, and all her support: emotional, spiritual and financial, are essential to what I’m doing.
I’ve been empowered to take the leap and move something I’ve always done from the side-lines into the spotlight.
Living as a writer, a serious I’m-aiming-to-earn-a-living-from-my-writing sort of writer, is very different from just doing what I love. I’ve been writing blogs, certainly, but most of my days have been full of planning, marketing and, well, a lot of work.
I’ve been networking with people, sending personalised emails, taking time to connect or re-connect and share what I’m working on, why it matters and how people can support it. I’m largely spending my time communicating to a growing audience how necessary their support is. Without readers my books are destined to remain manuscripts on my computer, unedited and unread - I can write all I want but working as a writer involves asking people to value what I have to offer.
None of this is possible if people don’t buy the book. None of it is possible without the freedom and time my current circumstances allow for. None of it is possible if I’m not using my time and energy well because I know these circumstances are not sustainable.
Doing what you love is important but simply doing it doesn’t mean you’ll make a living from it. So don’t just do what you love. If you actually want to make a living from doing what you love, gather up some discipline, ask for help, accept it graciously and use every opportunity to the fullest. Put simply, rather than saying 'Do what you love' we should say, 'Do what you love and then work your butt off to put it out there'.
When not writing, making art or recording podcasts,
Kaitlyn can be found in trees, listening to Dharma talks on her iPod, Boon.
Thusly named because
Brian Froud = Awesome.