How To Create Bonuses Your Readers Will Love

When authors attempt to crowdfund their books for the first time, deciding on bonuses can be intimidating. Here are some questions that authors often worry about and some answers from people who have seen it all before:

Q: What could I possibly offer people?

A: A lot, actually! You don’t have sign over your firstborn or offer up eternal servitude to start building pre-orders. You would be amazed how many people will pay a little (or a lot!) extra to get their name listed in your book’s acknowledgement section or to receive a signed copy.

Do you do freelance work or run a business? Maybe you can offer a discount on your services or products.

Don’t freelance or have a business? That’s fine, too — just get creative! Remember, you’re the author, which means you can offer readers something no-one else can — a personal connection to a work of art (your book) and its creator.

Maybe you could offer to name a character after a buyer, send them a hand-drawn illustration, or have a lattes-and-Skype date. If you’re creative enough to be an author, you’re definitely creative enough to come up with something cool and attractive to buyers.

Q: But 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 those rewards for a pittance.

Plus, if you don’t value what you’re offering, how can you expect anyone else to?

Don’t be Homer. Be smart.

Think seriously about what your bonuses are worth. How long would it take you to draw a personalized illustration? How much would you normally charge for a freelance project?

People will respect you and your book more if you show that you respect yourself and your time. Don’t sell what you have to offer short.

Q: I’ve heard about authors crowdfunding $20,000-$30,000. Won’t I need to sell a bazillion bonuses to get there?

A: Not necessarily, if you scale your bonuses properly! Sure, most buyers are probably only going to want a copy of your book and maybe a few extras. But don’t let that keep you from adding some truly high-value bonuses into the mix.

Someone will want to buy up twenty copies for their book club or fifty copies to distribute at a conference, right? If you’re offering an awesome enough reward to go along with it, you can get people to buy quite a few copies.

A artist’s depiction of how your campaign will go if you pick the right bonuses.

A handful of high-priced rewards can double or even triple your total earnings.

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 all the steps we’ve outlined, there’s no reason to think your campaign will “fail.” Maybe your campaign will end with a decision to self- or hybrid-publish, but you’ll still be approaching self-publishing with far more preparation than an average author — you’ll have pre-orders and a fanbase backing you, after all!

But, sure, maybe you’ll decide that publishing isn’t right for you just yet. In that case, you’re not on the hook for anything! Just shoot us an email letting us know you want to refund the pre-orders, and everyone will get their money and go home with no losses.

It’s completely risk-free. You’re not obligated to provide bonuses until you choose a publishing deal.

Q: But I have another question you haven’t answered!

A: No problem! Shoot us an email at lee at publishizer dot com. We’re more than happy to address any concerns you have.

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