Crowdfunding update – 8/15: I’m deeply shocked to learn that Pubslush, the crowdfunding platform that has housed my campaign for my memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces for the past 45 days (minus the time I was on vacation) is closing its doors for good starting August 21st. I’ll post more details as I learn them. In the meantime, I would like to share my insights of what I’ve learned from this crowdfunding experience.
As a first time memoirist, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to crowdfund my first memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces with Pubslush, an exclusive platform for authors to help build a platform that would help sell and promote my book. With the funds raised, I could offset some of the hefty marketing and publicity costs and help build book buzz.
So as part of the preplanning, I gathered names of people to personally reach out to and wrote six guest posts about the Pubslush experience as resources for writers. I carefully crafted a letter why my book project was near and dear to me that was ready to go. However, getting money is difficult work and you must have a well-thought out strategy that brings in constant supporters.
During the course of 45 days, I reached out to more than 2,000 people. Yes, you heard right – 2,000 people and still, I didn’t reach the financial goals of my campaign. One might view this as a failure. Yet, I gained nearly 50 supporters. Those supporters will get a copy of my memoir as a reward and hopefully, will help spread the word by posting and sharing reviews on Amazon. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to sell anything including books. Like any crowdfunding campaign, the key is working at turning your existing fan base into supporters. Here are some strategies that have worked so far:
1.An extensive personal outreach campaign can turn any fan into a supporter even an unknown fan. If you look at many of the campaigns still running over at Pubslush or Kickstarter, many haven’t raised much because they’re waiting for supporters to come to them. That’s not how crowdfunding works. You need to personally reach out to every individual to ensure a successful campaign. There are no shortcuts.
2.Devote most of your crowdfunding efforts directed to people you know well like family or friends or people you have some kind of relationship. Maximize your network over at LinkedIn and Facebook. Perfect strangers need to feel the passion for your project and if there is no connection for one reason or another, there’s no support.
I made sure that each individual received a personalized email. Some supported right away, some said they’d check it out. Several of my supporters ended up running their own campaigns and sharing my tweets via their network. As a result, their friends ended up showing support. Social media magic was unfolding before my eyes.
3.Offer other ways for people to support. Even though I had received many “silent responses including those that said, “I can’t afford it,” (the lowest level of support was $1) I provided a tweet in the email. They became my instant cheerleading squad and supporters came in through that way.
4.Educate your peeps about crowdfunding. Before becoming a supporter, many good friends and family had no idea about crowdfunding. As part of the education, I made sure they understood that when they become a supporter, they will receive a copy of my book.
5. Strategize towards increasing the number of fans not the funds. I would get deeply disappointed if I didn’t reach my financial goals, so on our strategy call, Amanda Barbara, the CEO of Pubslush suggested that instead, I focus on the number of supporters. Focus on the personal outreach not the cash.
Luckily, I was able to meet the $500 minimum payout for the funds I raised and will receive the funds even though I didn’t reach my financial goals. But I am still in the middle of the campaign and like I said, I’m still quite shocked by the email I received last week announcing Pubslush’s decision to close its doors for good on the 21st.
PLEASE HELP ME REACH MY FINANCIAL GOALS!
For all you supporters out there, you have less than FIVE days to support my campaign for my memoir Accidental Soldier and help me reach my goals. As a reward, you’ll receive a copy of the book, and if you’re a reader, this speaks volumes!
Have you ever run a crowdfunding campaign? How did it go? Feel free to share your experiences below.