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By Sarah White, Editorial Assistant

Authors will most often crowd-fund their book to obtain pre-orders before having to produce or print them. Which is smart. When attempting this for the first time, deciding on perks and bonuses can be intimidating, even frightening.

Here are some big questions that authors often worry about and some answers from people who have seen and done it all before:

Q: What could possibly offer people?

A: A lot, actually! You don’t have to sign over your first born or offer up eternal servitude to start gaining funds. You would be amazed at how many people will pay a little extra (or a lot) just to support you.

You can offer to list their name in your book’s acknowledgement section, provide a signed and personalized copy, or give a free ebook version with every purchase of a print copy.

Those are usually the easiest perks to add value to your bonus tiers.

Do you do freelance work or run a business? Are you a coach or some kind? Do you do speaking engagements? Offer readers your services at a discount with the purchase of 50 copies or more of your book.

That’s a nice win-win — especially when it goes hand-in-hand with the content of your book!

If you’re not a business professional, or write fiction, there are still things you can offer to help your cause. Maybe a 30 minute Q&A with you, or VIP invite to the book launch party, or a review of their own manuscript. Draw a picture, write a haiku, do a tarot card reading, sing a song.

Anything goes.

Q: How do I determine pricing?

A: The trick here is to not undervalue yourself. Offering valuable rewards for a bargain basement price might drive sales in the short term, but it’ll cost you when you have to start shelling out dollars for printing costs, or those rewards for a pittance.

Plus, if you don’t value what you’re offering — your hard work and expertise, how can you expect anyone else to?

First and foremost, think seriously about what your book is worth. What genre is it? What is the typical selling price for that genre? How much is it going to take to produce that book if you self-publish? ($8–16)

Next, think about what your bonuses are worth. How long would it take you to draw a personalized illustration? Or write haiku? What is your coaching call worth? Or your speaking gig? Then consider how many books you’re including in that bonus package.

People will respond to price. 99 cents for a book shouts low quality, no matter how many copies you sell. Sorry.

Don’t sell yourself (or your book) short.

Q: I’ve heard about authors crowdfunding $10,000-$20,000. Heck, $100,000. Won’t I need like a bazillion bonuses to get there?

A: Nooooo. It’s called strategy ;)

Sure, most buyers are only going to want a copy of your book, and maybe a few extras like signed & personalized or your famous haikus. Let’s say you price your book at $20 (+free shipping) and sell 165 of those. That’s $3,300. Now the next bonus is $30 for a signed copy with a haiku, and you sell 82. That’s another $2,460.

Cool, you’re just getting started.

Now say you have a bonus for a coaching call with 25 copies included (that they give to friends, their team or whoever). It goes for $1,500 and you sell 4 of those. That’s $6,000.

Then you sell a speaking gig worth $8,000 and include 200 copies of your book.

You’re already up to $19,760 and 547 copies (and only 252 backers). And your margin on cost of book production is glorious.

The most important number there is 252 backers, or readers.

Think of it this way: if you have an email list of 2,000 contacts. You’d have to convert about 12% of them to a book sale.

A handful of high-priced rewards can double or even triple your total earnings .Certainly, someone will want to buy twenty copies for their book club or fifty copies to distribute at a workshop or ten copies to give to their development team.

The best part is these are all pre-orders, which means you can set dates to fulfill the books and the unique perks and bonuses you’re offering. The timeline of events belong completely to you.

Q: I’m worried my campaign will fail. Am I going to end up owing lots of people bonuses anyway?

A: First of all, if you follow the ideas we’ve provided (and read more on the subject), there’s no reason to think your campaign will fail. If you’re looking to land a publisher with distribution you’ll need a few hundred pre-orders. If you’re looking for a big 5 publisher, it takes a few thousand pre-orders.

At the very least, your campaign will end with a decision to self- or hybrid-publish, but you’ll still be approaching that path with far more preparation than an average author —i.e. pre-orders, funds and a loyal fanbase.

If you’re using Publishizer and don‘t get a publishing deal, or you didn’t quite meet your goal. No worries. Everything gets refunded and you’ll still have a loyal subscriber list to take home, however big. Since you’re not obligated to fulfill bonuses or books until you choose a publishing deal, it’s essentially risk-free.

Q: Why if I have another question you haven’t answered?

A: Shoot us an email at lee at publishizer dot com. Happy to help out or schedule a quick Skype chat to discuss your book.

Now go forth and create the awesome bonuses your campaign deserves!

Cheers,

You can apply to our book accelerator program here.

The Shizzle

Musings on the future of traditional publishing

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