Crowd Funding For Authors.

April 23, 2014


The idea of ‘Crowd Funding’ has been around for a long time, however I suppose like a lot of people it never really grabbed my attention nor seemed as if it was anything I needed to know about. That is until a friend of mine sent me a message with this link attached.

This was in follow up to a previous BLOG of mine where I introduced my Dust Bunny stories for children :

Floater 3

I had recently been having a rant about the overall state of the mainstream book publishing industry and publishing Children’s Books in particular. Having discussed the potential market prospects of a new book from a new author with several ‘so called’ literary agents, their near hysterical laughter and long list of reasons as to why I should just go away and stop bugging them left me frustrated and near suicidal.

Begrudgingly I did have to concede that they had a point, next to writing fictional ‘Murder Mystery’ (my other chosen genre) it seems that writing for children is the hardest market to conquer. “Boy can I pick ‘em !”

Of course a casual glance around any cheap book shop, newspaper shops or supermarket will quickly confirm that the world market for children’s books is flooded to beyond saturation point by mass produced copies coming out of the cheap printing presses of India and China and sold for pennies.

My dilemma is that apart from the all necessary final editing the stories are complete and looking for a home, be it in print, audio animated or other visual media. All of these potential platforms call for illustration in one form or another something else which is not on my skills list.

Self Publishing was quickly ruled out for two good reasons, one the saturated market of cheap cover priced books out there mean the Self Published cover price would be far too high. Also because of the need for colour illustrations the cost of a Self Published book would then put it completely out of reach.
I searched around for some form of collaboration, having more or less given up on a printed version I started looking at the digital world for a solution. Here at least I was met with enthusiasm, OK more enthusiasm than realistic help I admit but at least they were not negative. However no one was interested in any form of project collaboration, all wanted payment up front with very little to show me what I was a) paying for, or b) going to get as a finished product.
Yeh Right ! I am the first to agree that what I know about the new Digital Worlds of Epublishing, Interactive iBooks, Apps and so on you could happily write on a gnat’s ass with a fairly large paint brush…. But know this, I have been around many Blocks, worked around the World for nigh on 30 years and while I may well have been born at night… it was not Last Night !

So you can imagine from my deep pit of self pity, when the Crowd Funding idea was tossed my way I looked at it with a somewhat jaundiced eye. I mean why would anyone, never mind a total stranger, fund me ? What could possibly be in it for them?

But there again the whole idea is surely in the word “CROWD.” Apparently all I have to do is to appeal to 10,000 people to fund me a dollar…. and out of a world estimated population of 7 Billion how hard can that be I wonder ?
So when the book appears for sale, then at least 10,000 people of the world will all get a warm fuzzy glow in the certain knowledge that without their dollar that would never have happened.

As a quick aside, if anyone is remotely interested this is how in 1884, the Committee for the Statue of Liberty ran out of funds for the pedestal base. In the ‘New York World’ newspaper the publisher appealed to the public to donate money toward the cause and in so doing they raised over $100,000 in six months.
Having looked a little closer into this type of funding it seems that it is quite common and has been used for all sorts of ventures, both big and small. Movie makers and Broadway producers have used it as have Rock Bands to fund World tours paid for by their fans.

Small or non listed businesses and companies can use it to raise capital in return for shares, while lesser projects can also benefit by seeking out potential backers.

In this instance combines a website platform for authors to appeal for funds and backers and then, unlike many other crowd fund organisers, take the project on to the next stages of final editing, digital publishing in the various formats and more importantly helping with distribution and marketing.

So where’s the catch ? Indeed are there any ?

For the Funder…. If I actually knew 10,000 people would they risk a dollar in ‘little ol’ me ?” If not can I enlist others to risk a little more ?
How it seems to work,

FANS can donate as little as $10 and they will receive access to drafts and receive updates from the author as well as a copy of the final work.
ENTHUSIASTS who donate $25 receive access to drafts, updates from the author, a paperback and ebook.

GRAND PATRON who donate $50+ will get access to the drafts, updates from the author, plus three paperback books and an ebook, as well as an acknowledgement in the book.

For the Author.… Well there is a exclusivity agreement, but there again that’s fairly normal, after all both parties need to feel protected. However unlike the mainstream publishing deals the author retains control.

So should I go for it ?

Why not ? As it stands my Dust Bunny stories are dead in the water…. Everyone who has ever read them says I should publish, many people have said they would help if they could or if they knew how…..

Is this the way they can……..?

I wonder, as I said earlier, not only do I not have 10,000 friends I’m not sure I even know that many people so in that case I need what friends I have to spread the word to their friends like some sort of wild Chinese whisper and may be…just maybe…..!

6 Responses to “Crowd Funding For Authors.”

  1. Jim Sellers Says:

    Merlin, I’d give you a dollar, make it two.

  2. merlinfraser Says:

    Bless you Jim…. Don’t happen to have 9,999 pals do you ?

  3. Jim Sellers Says:

    As you have the concept and some artwork, you have little to lose in going for it. Set up a Kickstarter or an Indigogo project and see what happens. Make sure all of us not UK types can participate and allow some money for mailing out books. You may be surprised by the interest in it. That’s my 2 Quid worth. Just keep in mind – large stores full of screaming children squealing to see you is the best case scenario.

  4. merlinfraser Says:

    Jim, I have joined this group ‘ and written up my profile and offered up chapter one of the Dust Bunny story.

    As it is a US based company all prices and donations are in dollars and of course all who donate will get copies of the finished article.

    The main problem right now is getting the message out there quickly. I had hoped that putting it on Linkedin might stir the imagination of all who know me there but so far it hasn’t even raised a mention.

    Here is the link to spread around for any who wish to contribute

  5. Raani York Says:

    Okay, Merlin. I spread word all over the networks I have an account with and hope word will spread out. – What I could offer you, if you don’t mind, is a Guest Post on my blog to introduce your Dust Bunnies (which I find extremely cute) by the way. – Do you think this would be an idea?
    Think about it, Merlin, and then let me know. There aren’t any limits you write as much as you want and we’ll see how it will turn out. There’s nothing to lose… 🙂

  6. merlinfraser Says:

    Hi Raani, what a kind and generous offer and as you say it can do nothing but good as the more people who know the better.

    I have no idea if the crowd funding idea will work, as I asked in Linkedin ‘Is it a good idea or does it smack of desperation ?’

    All I know is that to do the stories justice I must team up with people with more artistic and computer talent than I have or can afford and as you know if I cannot do the job well I won’t start.

    Thank you for your offer let me work on it and let me put an all new Blog together for your consideration.

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