Guidance. The Business of Book Funding.


Writing and Publishing a book can be costly and time-consuming, especially if it's not done right. Maybe you need to maximise your market reach by creating an Audiobook or versions in Spanish and Mandarin. Your Publication Portal helps you to develop a solid Project Proposal and then get it into the right hands and ensure you secure the funds you need.


As with many Publication Portal Modules, there are often Components to the Module. For instance, the Funding Module is split into five Components, This is because sometimes a Client wishes to handle one aspect but needs help on another.




Here are the Funding Components.


Funding

Project Proposal


Your project page is your chance to tell people your story. Who you are, what you want to make, and why. It establishes your budget, why you need the money and what makes the project special to you, what drives you.


Enter the Funding required and the deadline. Each time you add another pledge, the numbers reflects that and you'll be one step closer. 



Us the Guidance below to complete the Project Page, Budget,

Rewards, Deadline and Customers sections. Use 'Insert' to add any files to the section like an image or a spreadsheet.



Project Page


Imagine explaining your project to a friend. What would you say? What might they ask you? And how would you show them you’re serious, prepared, and capable of doing a great job?



Theme is important. Does the work solve a problem? Does it address a minority?



A work about rich people making money from yachts is unlikely to gel with investors.



A work about the secret life of Emeline Pankhurst is more likely to.



A work about how to help impoverished African families store energy or purify water will. 




Please write as much as you can. Max 2000 words.


Project Budget


Your funding goal should be the minimum amount you need to make what you promised and fulfil all rewards. The first step to setting that goal is figuring out a budget.




Detail all the little things and big things and be realistic. And make sure you include the fee that various crowdfunding and kickstarter platforms carry. Typically it’s 5% but it can be more.




Don’t get caught short by asking for too little. The last thing you need is to achieve your target fund and then still not be able to complete your project. Include contingencies and safeguards against that. 




Please tell us your projections. Max 500 Words.


Rewards


Hopefully, there will be pledges for a variety of sums and many of them will expect some kind of reward for their pledge. Many will pledge because they believe in your idea or they believe in you or both. Maybe you address a niche of society that they agree should be addressed. Rewards let them share in your creation.




Think of things that would get you to back a project. Offer copies of your work in different formats, from digital downloads to limited editions. Consider custom work and chances to be a part of the process. 




Price your rewards right. If someone pledges $25, they’re probably going to want that back as a return on their investment or something of similar value. Ideally the rewards will give the incentive to pledge. We need to build in the cost of rewards into our Project Page Budget, which should also illustrate a projected schedule for their rewards. 




If you designed a budget to make 100 of something, it’s tricky to suddenly have 10,000 pledges! Let backers know in advance that demand might affect your schedule. If it goes well but you get more pledges than you can afford to reward, release your product in stages or cap pledges.




Please write as much as you can. Max 500 words.


Deadlines


Set a deadline for funding to be complete. The ideal funding period can be anything from 1 to 60 days in kickstarters. Grants can take longer as there are more statutory and other hoops to go through.




Think about how your product can be improved if you need to stretch your funding period. Make it clear that if goals change, it is to add new features and reward the extra pledges with extra rewards. Like a couple of new levels to a video game. Make it worthwhile and illustrate to your backers why it is necessary.




Please write as much as you can. Max 300 words.


Customers


Make sure you know your target market and tell backers how you intend to tap into them for support for your end product. 




Please write as much as you can. Max 500 words.


Funding

Project Video


A video? To get funding for a book? Yes indeed. You’re marketing a proposal, selling an idea. These days it really needs a visual element to your presentation and a quick 30s to 1m video will show all of the elements from your Project Page as illustrated passionately by your personality.



Theme is important here as well. This is where you can look into the future and start thinking about the more finished, polished aspects to your book, the colours, the imagery, This is where we present what your book is all about. Make it look that way as well as read that way.


Add your Video Title and Description. Take a while over the description. It's important. Then add your keywords. When you video finds itself out in the world, these will send it in the right direction.



Enter the URLs of sites that host your video and also have your video in screen. You can provide a link to your video here as well. 


Make a Video


Don’t let your lack of a budget hold you back from creating video.



If needs be, you can do it with a smart phone and lots of daylight. You will need a decent microphone and you can pick up a quality USB microphone for around $100.  



For editing, there are some free or cheap tools available. Apple’s iMovie costs $15 and Adobe Premiere costs about @$20 a month. If you want a free editor, many software packages have a 30-day trial and there are some that are completely free but offer limited features.  




And once you’ve got to grips with the software, editing is not that hard. It is very hard if you’re making feature films but this doesn’t need to be. You’ll probably cut and paste clips, import audio, maybe do some colouring, and add some text. Not that hard. 



Once you’ve go the machinery organised write your script. What do you want to say? Are you giving a behind the scenes look? Making somebody laugh? What do you want your audience to take from your video?



The script doesn’t have to be complicated. If somebody is speaking, give them lines or talking points. Map out what the video will look like, and the music you will use.



Then it’s all about Planning. Pre-Production. Find locations, schedule the people who will be in the video, get permissions to shoot, get your equipment mobile, charged up and fully functional and check the weather forecast.



Shoot the video. If there is somebody speaking, record the audio separately. Use a location without background noise and no echo.



Once you’re done, edit it. Combine the audio and video and add titles and effects.



Have a screening. Show people that will give you an honest opinion. Friends are great but you really need strangers. If they have concerns, go back and edit some more. Use friends if you want to feel bigged up and awesome.



Top and Tail it differently for a funding proposal, a commercial spot or a presentation and a variety of functions. 


Funding

Sponsorship


If it's a certain type of book, who would be interested in sponsoring it? If it’s a book about fitness, would a gym or resort be a good approach? If it’s a book that’s set in Laguna Beach, would the beach club in your book be better named after them? 


Your Project Proposal and any associated material will allow you to seek Sponsorship. Are there any non-profit entities who may want to align with its message?




If you get some bites in this regard, it’s a double win. Funding and Kudos. It proves there is trust in the project, a great testament to your idea.


Enter the relevant Industry Sectors you'll be approaching for sponsorship and use the Sponsorship Notes to log prospects, things still to do and URLs to revisit later.



Once sponsors come on board, log them and their details. add notes so you don't lose track of your obligations to them. 


Finding Sponsors


A quick way to find out who may be interested in sponsoring your book is to check out Amazon. Look for books in your niche and look at the reviews, see who sponsored their books and who wrote the forward. 




Visit the authors website to see if they mention any sponsors they’ve had. If they have had sponsors, part of their sponsorship deal will have included a mention at least.


What are you Offering?


Once you’ve got your shortlist, figure out what you can offer them.




All sponsors want visibility. Mentions in the book itself, in interviews, on your social media, and on your blog, on your website and landing pages, as well as premium placement inside the book on the covers or inside pages. They may well expect inclusion in any mailshots to your member base. Choose just one or two sponsors in your niche.


 


If you have a member email list of about 2,000, you can charge $2000 and up for a back cover sponsor. If your list is smaller, or you don’t have a list yet, start out with $500-$1000 and get two sponsors.


Funding

Promotion


Arrange and schedule social posts and other ways to approach backers for funding. Maintain postings to update people about your project, any new pictures or chapters and other points of interest.


The first 48 hours of your crowdfunding campaign are critical. Getting off to a good start will help you to build momentum for the entire campaign.



Build your networks before the launch via Facebook, Twitter, your email list, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and whatever else. The bigger your network before you launch, the more people you will have to draw on for pledges.



Encourage the people you know will pledge to do so in the first couple of days. That is, your family and close friends.


Create hype around the launch. Offer certain rewards for a limited time or at a discounted price for the first couple of days. Do a countdown. Release teaser videos. You want as many people as possible in a state of anticipation when you go live.



​Write the title, copy and keywords for your Post or Press Release and add images and links. You can also look at previous copy from your Filestore and insert that copy into your new post. Add Notes to keep track of your posts and use the scheduler to plan future posts. 



Your social media page links are preloaded from your profile so just click and paste your posts. 



If you are subscribed to Get Posted because you'd like to write and let the system do the rest, Publication Portal will distribute your post to all your registered social media pages.



Log and keep track of your team members, folks who are helping you get the word out. 


Social Media


A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly on social media. So less text and more images. Video, even better.



Don’t hold back from posting every day. People have liked your page or are following you because they are interested in what you are doing. Not everyone will see every post you put up. Posting every day is not spam.



Only 20% of your posts should directly ask people to pledge to your campaign. 80% should look at more meaningful things such as exciting project news or relevant developments globally (with your crowdfunding link at the end). If you continually ask people to pledge they will lose interest.



Plan your social media posts before beginning your campaign. You will save time and the posts will be better thought out.


PR Campaign


Write a media release for your campaign. Crowdfunding is popular in the media and there is every chance you will receive coverage.



It’s important to target relevant publications and journalists and tailor your media release for each one. You will see more success if you spend more time on fewer journalists than if you send your media release to everyone under the sun.



Make sure your media release is newsworthy. Create a hook and start with it so journalists will read on.



Include high-resolution images (300dpi) with your media release. Your story will have a better chance of being picked up if you offer a great image to go with it.


Be Creative


You're writing a book. You are creative. Be creative in everything you do. Your videos, your social media posts, your descriptions, your rewards, your publicity, everything. Your whole crowdfunding campaign is a marketing endeavour so entertain.



Recruit as many team members as you can to get behind your campaign. People tend to pledge to support a person rather than an idea. The more people you have promoting your project, the more pledges you’ll get.



It can be tricky to keep people engaged throughout the middle of your campaign. It happens. Try releasing new rewards, posting new videos or writing thanks on the Facebook pages of your supporters. What’s important is to keep communicating with your potential supporters during this period. There are many ways to do it. You just need to use your imagination.



If you can manage to keep people engaged throughout, you’ll see a big upswing in pledges in the last few days of your campaign and right before deadline.



Funding

Application


Armed with a suitable Project Proposal, you can apply to the primary Crowdfunders and Grant Funders for your niche or region. Publication Portal will log and monitor pledges and advise on all aspects of the process towards becoming fully funded.


Log your funding source websites, the date you applied to them, how much funding you have received from them, how much is still outstanding and any deadlines. Make Notes and log resources.


Crowdfunding


Share your Story​



How will your product or business idea benefit potential funders? Tell them who you are, what you’re planning to do, where the project idea came from, what your budget is and why you’re passionate about it.



Make sure to create a great-looking project image as well as a compelling video. You have to have a stunning video pitch. Make sure the video quality is crystal clear, your story is compelling, and your product shines. Show you’re credible by speaking clearly, outlining the concept and the benefits, and demonstrating exactly how it works. Connect emotionally with a personal story in a way that a potential backer will be able to relate to. Finally, talk about why the product is unique. People need to know what problem you’re solving that will be appealing to consumers.



Offer great rewards



People will back your project if they think it’s worthwhile, but it’s always good to have great perks for your pledgers, too. You’ll likely want to refer to the aforementioned Creator Handbook to figure out what you can and cannot offer, as there are some restrictions you’ll need to be aware of.



You’ll also want to be fair with your rewards in terms of price points, and make sure you can actually fulfil them. It’s fine to promise your pledgers big rewards, but don’t forget that delivery can take considerable time and effort. Be realistic.



Set a funding goal



If you’re launching your campaign on Kickstarter, be aware that it has an all-or-nothing funding model. If you meet or exceed your funding goal, you get to keep the money. If not, you don’t get anything. Platforms such as Indiegogo work on a slightly different model, where you get to keep the funding regardless of whether you reach your goal.



At this point, it’s important to think about how much money you need to get your project up and running, and how many people you know might be willing to pledge. Although you may attract the attention of new people with your campaign, most of your support is going to come from those who already know you. Be realistic. Also keep in mind that you can’t change your funding goal once you’ve initiated the campaign.



Promote your campaign



There are many different ways to make people aware of your crowdfunding campaign. Here are a few tips for getting the word out:



Use social media to spread the message.


Reach out to the media and bloggers to get coverage for your cam­paign.


Host a live event to drive up interest and engagement.




Your campaign is unlikely to succeed without a 100 percent commitment on your part. You need to think of it as a full-time job while you’re driving toward your campaign goals. Leverage every relationship and marketing channel available to you.



Update your backers as your project progresses



You need to keep your project backers in the loop as you move forward with your campaign. If you don’t share regular updates with them, you could lose their interest and might not be able to attract as many pledgers as you’d like.


Crowdfunders


Links


Grants


The purpose of a grant is to fund the completion of a work and the grant pays your expenses while you complete it. 



For a first-timer, writing a grant application can sound intimidating. Where do you start? Where do you look? What do you do?


But it’s OK. Funding institutions want to fund writers. 




Who gives out the grants?



Arts councils, universities, private foundations and authors' associations (such as PEN and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) are all sources of grants. Some are grants for artists or writers in financial distress due to illness or emergency, but many are to fund specific projects, intended to pay a writer's normal 


The granting institutions want to know they're funding someone who's likely to produce good work so you’ve got to show you’re involved with writing on a regular basis.  Without something to prove you're a serious working writer, you're not likely to be eligible. Establish your track record.




While we’re talking about money and building portfolios, why not write and article and post it to 1000s of editors for paid publication? Use our Get Posted Module. 










Find a grant that fits 



Start with your region, state, province or country and Google "writing grants fiction" or "writing grants poetry".



Check out writers' resource sites and subscribe to newsletters.



Ask other writers if they know of any grants.



Contact past winners. Granting institutions publish the winners' names on their websites; call a past winner and ask about the grant, and the writer's experience.



Don't be shy -- most writers are willing to help another writer with information.



Look at writers' magazines; most have a section on grants in the back.



Look for writers' organisations in your genre, like the SFWA or the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.



Read the information on your area arts council's website



Network with other writers on writing sites like Zoetrope and Show Us Your Lits




Know your grant: Read the requirements.



When you've found a grants that you are eligible for, you need to read everything you can find out about them. 



Is the submission date a received-by date or a postmarked-by date? 


Will the granting body accept applications by email? 


How will you know your application has been received? 


Do they want a publishing history? When and where? 


Do they want to see some of your work? How much? Ten pages? A sample chapter and synopsis? The whole manuscript? 


If you don't get funding, can you re-apply with the same work to a later deadline? (Usually, yes.)


Do they want identifying information on the work, or not? (You can be disqualified if they don't, and you leave your name on the piece somewhere.)



Don't skimp on reading time or skip over anything. Make notes. I recommend a notebook with a page per grant so you can compare easily without skipping among websites. Mark deadlines on your calendar.




Give yourself time



A last-minute entry is probably not your best work, unless you've been polishing for several months. I'd suggest starting work on your support materials at least one month ahead of the deadline. If you haven't got a month, perhaps you need to wait until next year, or find another grant with a longer deadline. Don't waste time, paper, postage and stress for anything but your best.




Prepare your support materials



This is the big step, the one that's going to take the most time.


Support materials can include any or all of: a publishing history, an artist's statement, a synopsis of the novel and pages from the work, or the complete work itself.



Your publishing history is simply the list of what you've published (and been paid for), where and when. Make sure it's up to date. I change mine every time I publish something. Don't worry if the first one looks sparse; keep working on it.



An artist's statement tells the granting institution about your concerns and work as an artist. This is where you tell them about your major influences (but briefly) and what direction you want to take with your work. Tell them what themes and motifs recur in your writing, and why. For example, part of my artist's statement says "A recurring theme in my work is the transformation of human to animal and back, and the blurring of the lines between human and animal."



The synopsis is just that -- a brief retelling of the story. It usually take two or three days to write a good synopsis. Instead of "blow-by-blow", think "back-cover blurb", something to make people want to read the work. Here's a line from the synopsis for my novel-in-progress "Under the Skin," whose hero can take either human or dog form. "Now he's locked in the pound, nine hours from home with no memory of how he got there. And he's due to be neutered Thursday."




Send sample pages to wow the judges



You will probably be asked to send only a portion of the work you want funded. Make it the very best part, the one that will keep them turning pages. Don't worry about showing only a portion of the plot. The judges may not care whodunnit or whether the guy gets the girl in the end, but they will want to know you can write. That's what you want to show them.



Start by choosing what you think is the best section of the work. Find some people whose opinion and honesty you trust, and ask them to read it and comment. This is not a time for warm, fuzzy feedback. If your opening paragraph is boring, you need to know. (If you can get them to help with your synopsis, all the better!)



Often several members of my writing group apply for the same grant. When that happens, we hold "application binges." We all read each other's pages, then meet for an afternoon to make suggestions. I've always made improvements to my entry after one of these critique sessions, and I wouldn't think of making a grant application without one.



Judges often read entries on a tight deadline, or in the time around their full-time work. One told me that he had over a hundred entries to look at, at forty pages per entry, and less than six weeks to read them. If a writer didn't grab his attention early on, he didn't finish the entry. You must grab the juror's attention in the first two pages, and preferably on page one. If one of your readers says something doesn't work, ask for the reasons, and listen to them. Then rewrite, trim, rearrange, or perhaps pick a whole other section and start again. See Step 3.



It's not cheating to ask for this help; if you publish a novel, you'll be working with an editor who'll have suggestions to make, too. Thoughtful, critical readers can vastly improve your application, and your chances.



Before you mail your entry, double-check the rules and make sure you've complied. I once was actually on the point of mailing my entry when I wondered if I'd left my name on the cover sheet. I ripped open the envelope to check. I had. Five minutes and five new cover sheets (and a fresh envelope) later, I sent in my entry. If I hadn't checked, I'd have been disqualified.




Finally, if at first you don't succeed, hit them again



The bad news is that there are more excellent entries than there is money to fund them.



But take heart; most grants allow people who miss the first time -- or second, or sixth -- to apply again. I applied five times for grants before I got one, and four of those applications were the same novel, the same pages.




One writer I know applied eleven times before he got a grant. The second application is a lot easier.



The good news is that winners usually can't re-apply for a stated time, which gives other applicants a better shot. Judges and juries may also change between deadlines, and your work may be more to the taste of another jury. Perhaps on a new jury, your entry will be the one that someone will fight tooth-and-nail to fund. They can't fund it if it's not in there.



There's more good news. Although published writers are also applying for those same grants, a less-experienced writer can win. I've yet to publish a novel, but I won a grant when some experienced published writers did not. The quality of the submission told. If I can do it, you can do it.



And there's still more good news -- there are lots of grants. Keep looking, because you won't find everything the first time around.


Yes, it's time, paper, postage and stress, but if you really have a good story, it's worth trying, and trying multiple times. If you succeed, you'll be paid to write your novel. And you'll still have the novel to sell.




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