Crowdfunding your folio: 5 top tips for aspiring authors on promoting your funding campaign
Here at FicShelf we believe that lack of funding should never be a barrier to good writing, so we’ve launched our very own Funding Platform to help authors finance the editing, proofreading and design of their books. In this post, FicShelf marketeer Florence — who is also a former Head of Comms at equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom — gives her top tips on promoting your funding campaign.
Since the days of Virgil, Chaucer and Shakespeare, patronage has been a dominant model in funding for the arts. Fast forward to the 21st century and more and more authors are taking hold of their own financial affairs through the modern day equivalent — crowdfunding.
The Digital Revolution offers access to an almost endless pool of potential funders, but when faced with a crowd of this size, how do you make yourself heard above all the noise? Here are my top five tips:
1. Email — it’s an oldie but a goodie!
Some people think that email is on the way out. I would beg to differ; email is still a ubiquitous form of communication, and it’s one of the more personal ways of getting in touch digitally. So when promoting your crowdfunding campaign, be sure to send out individual emails to friends, family and fans as soon as it’s live, letting them know why they should back you. These people will be your most loyal supporters, and a decent chunk of your funding target should come from them.
Pop a link to your funding campaign with a brief call to action in your email signature too, and consider contacting groups, clubs and societies with audiences relevant to your writing to see if they can share details of your campaign in their next newsletter or mailer.
2. Blogging up a storm
If you have your own blog then it’s a no brainer that you should be writing about your funding campaign. Unless you’re blessed with an audience in the thousands, I suggest having a go at securing a guest blogging spot on a larger platform too. Try pitching in some different ideas, and don’t make it too salesy — but do make sure that the person managing the blog agrees to pop in a link or two to your campaign in the intro or outro.
3. Getting social
Whether you’re a champion tweeter or a LinkedIn luddite, the reality is that if you want your campaign to be successful you’re going to have to engage with social media.
Facebook and Twitter will probably be the best platforms for promoting your campaign — Facebook for reaching out to your own networks, and Twitter for engaging with new ones — but you should also consider channels such as Reddit, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.
If you don’t already have a following on Twitter, you should start building one before launching your campaign. Once your campaign is live, tweet often — at least five times a day — and remember to use some relevant hashtags. Try #writing, #selfpub or #crowdfunding — as well as anything relating to the genre or subject matter of your book — e.g. #YA, #GraphicNovel or #Dystopia. If you know of anyone with a significant following of their own, try getting them to tweet or retweet about your campaign too.
Make sure that you post regularly on Facebook, and tag or direct message any friends who you think are likely to support you and share your posts. Also consider joining some writing, reading or genre-specific groups on Facebook and asking if you can share info about your campaign with their members (or post the info directly to their wall).
Other platforms, forums and fan sites
Don’t forget to send out your campaign link to your contacts via Whatsapp or text, and if you’re a member of any forums, groups or fan sites then post it on the relevant discussion threads.
This is an obvious one, but easily forgotten — make sure that you mention your campaign at social events, relevant meetings, or if you’re speaking at any events. If you’re giving a presentation, consider popping the URL and your Twitter handle onto the opening and closing slides.
PR is often seen as a bit of a dark art, but it’s definitely worth writing a press release about your funding campaign to send out to any local and relevant press outlets. Also bear in mind that bloggers and vloggers can be just as influential — treat them in the same way you would treat journalists.
Crowdfunding isn’t easy — that’s the reality — it’s a tough and heady ride, and to be successful you’ll have to be proactive, tenacious, and pretty darn annoying at times! But at the end of it you’ll emerge victorious, with a bunch of backers who’ve truly become part of your creative process and who will support you through thick and thin. And surely that’s something that money can’t buy.