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By James Haight, published author

When I first set out to crowdfund my book on Publishizer I was an unknown author with no audience, no email list, and no idea what I was doing.

Thankfully, I had started a few online companies and had a good sense of the hustle and tactics required to sell things on the web. Through a lot of research, trial and error, and just good old-fashioned hustle — I ran a successful campaign that crushed all my expectations.

By the time my Publishizer campaign was completed, my novel, Jack & Coke, had become the most funded literary fiction novel ever on Publishizer.

There’s nothing special about me. With the right methods, just about anyone can run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

(If you want to figure out exactly how I did it step by step, check this out)

In that spirit, I wanted to share three insanely effective tools that ANYONE can use to successfully crowdfund their book.

Crowdfunding is all about building early momentum and getting a critical mass. If you put in the hard work to get those first 100 true fans, the rest will follow!

Method 1: Send Out Personalized Videos BEFORE You Launch

Make your video’s ultra personalized (and always under 45 seconds long!)

What You Need to Do:

Send customized video messages to 50 different people prior to launch

How You Do It:

Make a list of 50 people that you believe should be interested in your book. This could include your mom, cousins, friends, or coworkers. It doesn’t matter if you think they are already guaranteed to buy your book. Your goal is to maximize early momentum, so leave no stone unturned.

What happens next is pretty straight forward. Using your phone or computer, record a unique video for every single person on the list. The videos should be short (no longer that 30–45 seconds) and hyper-personalized. Then, 1–2 days before your campaign launches, send the videos to every single person.

Just to give to give you an example… the script that I used for each video was something like

“Hi Jonny, hope you are doing well. As you know, my book is launching tomorrow. I would be thrilled if you checked out the launch page when it goes live. It would be awesome to see your support! Have fun with [personal message here] and can’t wait to see you soon.”

Comments:

This task may seem tedious, but it is worth it. Each video should take you no more than a few minutes to record and send. I found that 80%+ of the people that I sent videos to bought my book. People absolutely love the personalized attention. Showing your potential backers that you are willing to take the time and reach out to them goes a long way in convincing people that your book is worth their money.

Every sale counts. This is the perfect strategy to start building your critical mass of supporters one video at a time.

Method 2: Hold a Launch Party:

There is a near limitless number of forms that your launch party could take. The launch party does not need to be big or expensive, but it does need to build excitement for your book.

What You Need to Do:

Organize a physical (or online) gathering on the same day that your crowdfunding campaign launches.

How You Do It:

While I would advise a physical party, there is a near limitless number of forms that your launch party could take. The launch party does not need to be big or expensive, but it does need to build excitement for your book.

The goal of a launch party is to create a base of super-motivated supporters. It doesn’t matter if the gathering is big or small, so long as everyone is excited about your book and willing to be an “evangelist.”

You want people at the launch party to go home and spread the word and influence others to buy your book too. You will be surprised how much leverage your sales can get when you have 20+ people sharing your book FORyou.

Launch parties should look very different depending on your type of book. Since my book was called Jack & Coke, we had a pool party with ample Jack Daniels for everyone to consume. Find a theme relevant to your book that connects with your audience. For example, organizing a charity golf tournament, a watch party of a movie that influenced your book, or even a themed Halloween party could all be excellent options depending on the type of book you wrote.

Get your supporters excited and don’t forget to SIMPLY ASK them to share (online and in person) with others that they bought your book. Your supporters will be excited to share your book with their network. All you need to do is ask.

Method 3: Create a VIP Package that SELLS OUT

Creating scarcity makes people more excited to get in on your crowdfunding campaign.

What You Need to Do:

When setting up your crowdfunding incentives make sure to create a VIP package that limits the number of people who can purchase it.

How You Do It:

Create a VIP package that is only available to the first 100 people that buy it. Include something extra (like a personalized signed copy, a bonus short story, or a free hardcover upgrade) that will make people want to buy the VIP package instead of a normal package.

Comment:

This is CRUCIAL to creating an excited fan base and gaining early momentum. Creating a limited availability VIP package creates scarcity, which will not only make your early buyers feel special, but it will also give people a reason NOT to wait. In short, it gets more people to buy your book faster.

Authors who are savvy should find a way to weave this VIP Package into their entire pre-launch campaign. This includes the first two methods mentioned above. For example, it might be smart to offer early access to the VIP package for those that joined the launch party.

Combining all these methods will allow you to maximize excitement before your campaign even goes live.

If you truly put in the work to build a motivated base of excited fans, then you will have eager supporters rushing to buy your book the very moment it is available.

Crowdfunding opened a new realm of possibilities for me. Getting Jack & Cokefunded and published was a dream come true. I hope I can help other authors accomplish this dream as well. If you liked these tips and you want the exact step by step guide to crowdfunding, then you’ll love what we have going on at the Book Crowdfunding Academy.

We are building a community to help authors successfully crowdfund their books. Our blog breaks out everything an author needs to know about crowdfunding, and we even put together an eBook that offers a complete guide to get authors from zero to funded!

The Shizzle

Musings on the future of traditional publishing

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