Last week, over a particularly splendid cup of latte (big shout out to Beam in Crouch End), I had a conversation with an aspiring writer about crowdfunding. I’m nearing the end of my third crowdfunding campaign now, whereas this young author is yet to dabble at all.
‘Oh, I couldn’t do that,’ he dismissed. ‘I hate promoting myself, and I feel like I’d annoy people.’
Firstly, if you’re a writer – or any other kind of artist – you should never be afraid of promoting yourself. It’s by getting people to like you that emotionally drives them to buy your product, so why spend all that time writing something if you’re not going to talk about it?
I explained this, and much more, and throughout the course of the conversation I saw that his view had shifted. On the strength of that, I thought I’d attempt to cover the key points discussed in this blog so that fellow creatives, and potential investors, understand why crowdfunding has become such an important resource.
Last year I wrote a blog titled How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, which looks at the practical aspects of running your campaign, but here are 5 points more focused on the actual value of putting yourself out there:
1. You’ll make great connections
Firstly, forget about the money. Getting your funds is great, but in my humble opinion your project shouldn’t fail if you don’t meet your goal. If this is the case, I’d say your business plan is pretty flimsy, and that won’t inspire investors. You should know that your project will happen regardless of how much money you raise, and if you’re in this position, you’ll be amazed by how many people will offer other methods of support – Radio DJ’s, Magazine Editors, Reviewers, Bloggers – all kinds of people will come back and express their desire to make a connection once they know what you’re doing. This won’t happen though unless you reach out in the first place.
2. You’ll streamline your followers (and followees)
What’s the point of having 5,000 friends on Facebook, for example, if you don’t message one another? I work on the assumption that people connected to me on social media are happy to receive media that’s social. It’s never okay to spam people, but sending a nice message that lets people know what you’re up to is a great thing to do. If they don’t respond, that’s fine – they’re probably busy. If they can’t support you, that’s fine – you should never expect them to. If they get snippy (which I never understand), simply tell them you’re sorry you bothered them, that you use social media for promotional purposes and that you’ll remove them from your friends list to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This way, you’ll know you’re only friends with the right people for you.
3. You’ll highlight those who really care
The real payoff for me is when people get back in touch bursting with enthusiasm as they tell you they’ve been following your recent activity and that they’re big fans of your work. Imagine an author who you admire messaging you directly about their upcoming project/s. It’s an awesome thing to do, and direct contact between readers and writers is a beautiful thing. When it happens, I still get a little overwhelmed, and naturally I go out of my way to remember those people and treat them to little perks like discounted books and samples of secret content whenever I can. After all, without these people, your career would never exist.
4. You’ll reach people everywhere
There’s a theory that I’m sure you’re all aware of called ‘the six degrees of separation.’ Well, now we’re in the pomp of a digital age, every single person that shares your campaign is making it immediately visible to all the people in their circles, too. The truth is, you’ll have no idea who’s viewing your campaign, and isn’t that a magical thing? By running your own campaign, you’re opening the door to making new like-minded friends, connecting with fans, selling products, finding investors, getting new work opportunities – seriously guys, the possibilities are endless. I have nothing to gain by saying this if it wasn’t true, and even though it takes a lot of time and effort to run a campaign, it really is deeply rewarding.
5. You’ll enhance your profile
If you’re considering a crowdfunding campaign, one of the core reasons will be to bring awareness to either yourself or a product. This will 100% be achieved through crowdfunding – it’s guaranteed! All you need to do is conduct yourself in a professional manner and not only will people discover you, they’ll like you, too! Be kind, enthusiastic, grateful and humble and not only will you learn a whole lot yourself, but you’ll come out the other side with a whole new set of fans and followers, which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.
To view my latest IndieGogo campaign and help indie publishing company Pen Works Media support new authors, visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-the-growth-of-publishers-pen-works-media#/