Crowdfunding a book is hard.
I'm about 5 and a bit months in and I've managed to scrabble to 68%. I'm a few pledges away from the crucial 70% mark, at which point the data suggests it gets a lot easier. (People like to back a winning horse.)
So what works? My original plan was to drip feed funny, well-written content through blogs and sites like Medium, using social media to gather hits which I assumed would translate into people pledging for the book. It's the same logic behind fudge makers handing out samples in the street so that you might buy a whole packet.
I've learned that this isn't a great strategy. Why? Simply because people expect great content for free these days, and so hooking people into to paying for content is very difficult indeed. Even if they like your writing.
So what's the solution?
The answer is human connection. Getting out there and meeting people, building relationships.
When people feel they like and trust you, and that you have given them the gift of your personal attention, they are very likely to support your book. There is no shortcut.
So that's been my focus: events. Offering my time and expertise to people, helping them on their own personal creative journeys.
Yesterday, fellow Unbound author John-Paul Flintoff and I took this to the next level. We used Meetup.com to arrange an event called "Change Your Life In an Instant". We put up this provactive title, a similarly hubristic blurb and a brief biography. Sixty total strangers promised they'd come to a small, bohemian room off Brick Lane to take part.
We had no idea what to expect. To be honest, I sort of assumed it would be a disaster. It would be me, John-Paul, two drunks and a murderer. But, we thought it was worth a punt.
In the end 27 people turned up. A huge variety, but not a murderer in sight.
There were two drunks but that was unavoidable, John-Paul and I had to be there.
We had united a tribe of people who were looking for something more from life, who were looking to learn and improve. Passionate strivers, we called them.
It was hugely inspiring to be involved with. The level of trust they put in us was humbling. The event went brilliantly, and we all went to the pub afterwards to get to know each other a little better.
Will this translate into pledges? Watch this space. But one thing's for sure, there seems to be huge potential in Meetup.com
You've just got to be generous enough to do it.
If you want to hear John-Paul interview me last night, you can hear the five minute clip here:
I will blog about "Change Your Life In an Instant" later today, I promise you that you'll takeaway something important from it.
Thank-you so much for pledging for my book. You've made me very happy indeed.
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