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Tendayi Viki & Dan Toma win with enthusiam

Author case study: The Corporate Startup #book

Tendayi Viki and Dan Toma were fun to work with. They were super focused, of course, on creating a compelling book idea and using their hustle to presell a ton of copies and unlock access to some publishing imprints, but they brought excitement to their campaign in ways that could only guarantee them a win.

When Publishizer came across The Corporate Startup , it was located on its own public domain and had a nice landing page that, according to Tendayi and Dan, had already accrued more than 300 email subscribers. Not bad. Clearly, they had a book idea worth pursuing and were doing something right in growing their platform of followers and potential readers.

They decided to up their publishing game and migrate this project over to Publishizer and start obtaining some actual preorders. Not only did they leverage the right people at the right time, they also showed enthusiasm about the book project in every conversation they had. And when it came down to launching this campaign, Tendayi, Dan and myself got on the phone to all push the Launch button together .

  • Email subscribers: 350
  • Phone calls: 25
  • Social media following: 10.5k
  • Result: 123% funded totaling $9,504 with 308 preorders.

“Besides the presales and the funding, I saw a bump in reputation. When people see the preorders numbers, they know that you’re for real as an author.” — Tendayi Viki


Here’s what Tendayi Viki had to say:

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

Publishizer is great. The team was great. The UI/UX helped quite a bit. It made our book look so nice. It helped us with reputation as well because we didn’t have to do the hard work of creating our own website and managing payments. We could present this book in a beautiful way and focus our efforts on sales. We’ve been talking about this book for ages. We just didn’t previously have the resources that we were able to leverage on Publishizer.

Q: Why did you decide to crowdfund your book?

Our intention was never crowdfunding. That idea did come through Lee Constantine . Our intention was to capture interest from potential readers with our landing page and then let them know when the book was out so they could get a copy. We were going to use our own platform for that. We were just talking about what to do when we were going to obtain preorders, then Publishizer came along.

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

We’ve been writing the book for two years. It’s been going a bit slow because we were busy with our business. The approach from Publishizer lit a fire under us. There was no right time. We just needed the motivation to make it happen.

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

Besides the presales and the funding, I saw a bump in reputation. When people see the preorders numbers, they know that you’re for real as an author. The number and also the types of people following us was very noticeable during the campaign. We had bigger conversation with larger influencers because of the campaign, which is why Dan Toma and I decided to write the book in the first place. It was reputation. This campaign was a very good indicator that that will happen.

“Besides the presales and the funding, I saw a bump in reputation. When people see the preorders numbers, they know that you’re for real as an author.”

Q: How did you reach your goal? Details?

We didn’t do much to prepare this campaign actually — besides setting up what we needed to set up on Publishizer like the video, the book cover, the blurb and the pricing packages, we basically started out thinking who we knew that would preorder.

Dan and I created a Trello board and listed everyone we knew. Then we assigned who was in charge of contacting them. And then I ran through the list and pitched them various reward titles I believed were relevant specifically to them. That’s how I pitched and sold the corporate workshop. I’m doing the workshop next week, and when the book is printed I’ll ship them their copies.

I also do A LOT of Skype calls with clients and partners. So during those conversations I would mention my book and ask them to preorder. Before we got off the call, I would walk them through the payment process on Publishizer to ensure the order was completed. That’s what happened on the 250th preorder actually.

In the end, it was personal emails, follow ups, Skype calls and the blog post on Medium.

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

1–2 hours per day.

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

Yes. It was my most popular blog post . The campaign was already a week old when I wrote and published our post on Medium. It wasn’t salesy. In a blog post you can’t sell. You can only deliver value. So it was knowledge and insight about corporate innovation, juicy content that was going to be in the book. At the end there was a link to the Publishizer page to preorder a copy.

We had 3k followers on Medium, so they all knew once it was published. Then I promoted it a bit on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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

It was email, it was asking my network to share and it was sharing this blog post with a lot of people. A majority of sales did come from my extended network, people I didn’t know personally. But they came from us leveraging my personal network in an effective way.

Q: What’s next for your book and for you?

Finishing the book. I write every day.

Q: Are you happy with the amount of publishers that express interest in your book? The types?

A couple weeks after the campaign has closed, we have had interest from many self-publishing companies and some hybrid publishers, but we haven’t made any deal thus far. The hybrid publishing route is very interesting because it allows us to get the book out there the quickest. The combination of self-publishing plus distribution. We are trying to get the published and preorders fulfilled within the next six months.

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

I didn’t care about the funds. It’s nice to have the extra funds to pay for the publishing services if we don’t end up going with a hybrid publisher then great. But if I make $2 from my book and it gets into 10,000 hands then this book is a success.

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

Momentum. We had this idea and wanted to put this book out. Publishizer put rocket fuel in our campaigning and allowed us to make it happen.


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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