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Mitch Topal perseveres

Author case study: Against All Odds #book

When Mitch Topal approached Publishizer with his book idea, we were excited to say the least. As a working professional in PR and Vice President of the Delaware Press Association, a member of The Public Relations Society of America and the American Association of Political Consultants, Mitch had a platform to leverage. And a niche topic centered on WWII would be a hit with his crowd.

Against All Odds , a non-fiction title about a decorated WWII bomber pilot named Ray Firman, who beat the odds and survived 25 missions over Nazi Germany, reached it’s goal a few days before the campaign ended.

  • Email size: 100+
  • Phone calls: 50
  • Social media following: 170
  • Results: 102% funded totaling $5,941 with 257 preorders.

“Hard work. There is no way around it. Never assume your book is so great that readers will flock to the site to preorder books by the dozens.” — Mitch Topal

The special edition signed copy sold out twice

Large earnings came late because Mitch didn’t start promotion until day of launch

Here's what Mitch had to say:

Q: How would you sum up your experience in one sentence?

For twenty-eight days, Ray and I put the world on hold to focus our energy on the funding project’s success, trading in goodwill, calling in favors and leveraging social media.

Q: Why did you decide to crowd fund your book?

I have no confidence in traditional publishing as a realistic conduit for new authors. There are too many excellent, marketable stories that will never see the light of day because they were rejected by traditional ‘corporate’ publishers. I say let the people decide what they want to read.

Q: How did you plan to sell and publish your book before Publishizer?

Honestly, I thought I should write the book first, then figure out how to confront marketing and distribution. As Vice President of the Delaware Press Association, I’ve met many authors who possess a wealth of advice and knowledge about successful publishing and have contacts within the publishing industry. Ironically, most I’ve spoken to have never heard of crowdfunded publishing.

Q: What results did you get before Publishizer?

None. Most said the manuscript should be fairly complete before reaching out for a publisher. I worked under the constant fear that hundreds of hours spent interviewing, researching and writing would result in a manuscript occupying space in the attic.

Q: What results did you get from crowdfunding on Publishizer?

Success, at least in the pre-order stage. I am very encouraged by our success so far, and I am looking forward to speaking to interested publishers. Also, Publishizer offers a simple interfaced for the ordering process. It’s clean, easy and professional. The video and proposal bolstered the appeal. And the communication feature — confirmation emails, messaging and update features — make it simple to keep readers informed about the progress of the campaign. I also like the ability to download a .csv file of the orders and readers.

Q: Why was now the right time to start your book project?

Because the book is more than halfway finished. I was starting to explore publishing channels and came across Publishizer. It wasn’t required to have a complete manuscript to begin the funding process. I felt that if I had some publishing options, it would incentivize me to complete the book faster.

Q: How did you reach your goal?

Hard work. It’s the secret sauce. As mentioned above, we leveraged our business and professional networks, family relationships, and social media. Fortunately, I have a subject who, even at 94, is socially active, tech savvy and focused on successfully publishing his story.

First, we attacked the low hanging fruit: Our closest family and friends. Next, we reached out to all our Facebook followers (we’d accumulated just under 300 likes). I continually posted enticing excerpts from the book. I paid to boost the page and my posts and generated about a half dozen orders through pay per click.

Then we canvassed our professional networks, including those of my wife who works for a large tech company, my own and those of our friends. Typically, when making a financial appeal, people make a commitment, but don’t always follow though. We kept after them with reminder messages, Emails, phone calls and much cajoling.

Finally, we used the list of orders/readers to get referral orders.

Q: Did posting sample chapters or excerpts on Medium help?

Yes. The book excerpts I shared on Facebook generated a ton of ‘Likes.’ Followers truly look forward to them.

Q: What was the most significant way you reached your goal?

Hard work. There is no way around it. Never assume your book is so great that readers will flock to the site to preorder books by the dozens. Assume that no one will order the book without a major outreach effort by the author.

“Hard work. There is no way around it. Never assume your book is so great that readers will flock to the site to preorder books by the dozens.”

Q: What’s next for your book?

  1. Align with a publisher that is a good fit for us.
  2. Finish writing the book then pass to an editor
  3. Get the final, edited version to the publisher who will provide the marketing and distribution channels
  4. Arrange for book signing and other events to help the marketing effort

Q: How much time did this entire process take you?

Between 2–3 hours/day; 17 hours/week; 70 or so for the 28 days, not including what Ray put in. I imagine it was the same or more, since he is retired and I have a day job. Total between Ray and I was about 150 hours in the 28 days.

Q: Are you happy with the amount of funds raised in your campaign? How do you plan to leverage those?

Yes, we are very happy we met our goals. I am looking for direction from Publishizer as to how to best leverage the funds.

Q: Have your publishing goals changed since your successful crowdfunding campaign?

I would say they’ve been re-aligned. Previously, our goals were very broad and generic. We are now focused on negotiating the best publishing deal, finishing this book and getting it to the readers.

Q: What’s next for you?

Start thinking about my next book.

If this resonates with you and the book you’re writing (or thinking of writing), we’d love to have you apply .

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