Crowdfunding is well known as a buzzword, but many people still struggle to grasp the concept. So here’s a quick definition: crowdfunding is a means for artists, entrepreneurs, and businesses to raise funds and mitigate the financial risk of their creative projects or business ventures.
In even simpler terms, it’s a way to generate financial backing from people who believe in your project—your family, friends, peers, and audience.
If you’re a writer who’s thinking about self-publishing, crowdfunding provides an opportunity for you to diminish out-of-pocket expenses while gauging and connecting with the audience for your book. There are many steps to conducting a successful crowdfunding campaign, but if you’re a crowdfunding newbie, here are a few tips you’ll want to know before getting started.
- The most important thing to keep in mind: crowdfunding requires work. A successful campaign takes motivation and determination. A majority of supporters of a crowdfunding campaign are generated by the crowdfunder through aggressive marketing.
- Pre-campaign planning is essential. The duration of a typical crowdfunding campaign is 30–60 days, so it’s imperative that you’re 100% ready to go on day 1. Devise a detailed marketing plan before the launch of your campaign and set targets for weekly outreach. Creating weekly objectives will help you more easily manage your outreach efforts and overall goals.
- Research and know your goals. It is essential to know the costs of publishing before launching your campaign. The publishing process can be extensive and the costs can range drastically depending on your publishing goals. For example, a full-scale publishing effort (hiring an editor, hiring a cover designer, formatting the book, printing the book, securing ebook distribution . . . and the list goes on) will require much more funding than simply selling ebooks on Amazon. To determine your funding goal (the amount you hope to raise) and your reward levels (incentives you offer for various levels of financial support), you’ll need to know your overall publishing goals. Helpful hint: Keep in mind you will have to ship the rewards to your supporters, so factor in shipping costs when determining your funding goal and reward levels.
- Having a pre-existing network is key. Although marketing to your general audience is very important, a majority of the support for your campaign will come from your pre-existing network, so it’s very important to reach out to these people first. Take the time to send each person in your network a personalized email informing them of the launch of your campaign and asking them for support. Note: You have to be direct. Ask people in your network for support and provide a link to your campaign, making it as easy as possible for them to follow through.
- Keep the momentum going. If you lose interest in your campaign, what makes you think others won’t do the same? You need to have as much enthusiasm on the last day of your campaign as you did on the first day. Also, it’s very important that you continue to engage with your supporters during and after the campaign. They’ve made a financial investment in your book, so keep them updated with your progress.
If you’re seriously considering conducting a crowdfunding campaign, start building your audience now. Organically grow your social networks and make genuine connections so when it’s “go time” for your campaign, your network will already be in place.
Ask anyone who has conducted a crowdfunding campaign and they’ll tell you it’s hard work. You will have to market and promote your book, but in the end, you’ll have the funds you need to bring your book to life and a network of supporters who are interested in your upcoming publication.
These are a few basic tips that will help you conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign. There’s so much more information available, so if you’d like to learn more, visit Pubslush 101.
Written by Justine Schofield, communications coordination at Pubslush. Justine Schofield is the communications coordinator of Pubslush, a global, crowdsourcing publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge the initial audience for new book ideas. Pubslush also operates an independent imprint that acquires books from the platform, and for every book sold, donates a children’s book to a child in need. Justine graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA, with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and is currently enrolled at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing. She specializes in social media and public relations and has held various freelance editing and writing jobs, and her work has been published in many online and print publications.
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Of all the complicated and tedious stages of the book compliance process, copyright registration may be the most confusing. Between deciphering weird terminology like “claimant” and “limitations of claim,” establishing reasonable timelines, and dealing with legal intricacies, registering copyright claims can be mentally exhausting.
Fortunately, the Greenleaf staff is very familiar with the copyright process and can break down the basics. Below is a quick but fairly thorough look at the process.
Once a book is published, its author or claimant (we will deal with the distinction between author and claimant later) must apply for a copyright. Every US copyright application must be submitted to the Library of Congress Copyright Office. Although technically an author’s original work is protected under US copyright law from the moment it is created, we highly recommended that authors officially register their work to ensure additional statutory protections under the U.S. Copyright Act (which can be significant). A registration application can be submitted up to five years after the work has been created, but it is best to apply for registration soon after the book is published. (We recommend no more than 1-3 months). It is important to note that registration may only be submitted after the book is published.
The registration process consists of a series of questions regarding the nature of the work. The basic questions address the type of work (usually “Literary Work”), the number of authors involved, and the publication date of the book.
One of the more confusing questions is whether the author is registering as an author or as a claimant. The author of the work is simply the individual responsible for its creation; the claimant is the copyright owner. Regardless of who created the work, the claimant will own all of the rights to it. If the author and the claimant are different, the claimant must have written proof that they are indeed the owner of the work (through “work for hire” or assignment agreements etc.). So if you are registering your work, make sure that you understand these requirements and that you give the registration process the proper attention as not doing so may cause your registration to be delayed or rejected or even have legal implications for you down the road.
Once the copyright application is completed, two copies of the work, along with shipping slips from the website, must be sent to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The LOC may take several months to complete and file a registration, but this proactive measure ensures that the book is registered and protected.
If you get overwhelmed with copyright registration, there are informational tools available on the LOC website that give a detailed explanation of the process.
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Written by: Stacy Tetschner
Stacy Tetschner is the CEO of the National Speakers Association, the organization that wrote the book ‘Paid to Speak’.
The National Speakers Association will be exhibiting at Greenleaf Book Group’s Author Summit event, taking place September 25th to the 27th in Austin, TX. To learn more about the Author Summit and purchase a conference pass, visit the event website GreenleafAuthorSummit.com
It’s long been said in the speaking profession that if you want to solidly establish your credibility as a professional speaker, you should write a book! In this business, having a book is like having an oversized business card; it tells others what you know and how good your information is, and it establishes your professional image. Once you have the book and have marketed it appropriately (and incessantly), you may be invited to do paid speaking engagements. But how does that happen? Here are three quick and easy tips to help you out.
1. Make sure your book and your topic are engaging
It’s great to have a story and expertise in an area—but make sure your content has value in the marketplace. I have met incredible storytellers over the course of my career, and many of them tried to make the transition to getting paid to speak. What they didn’t realize was that while their story was entertaining at a cocktail party, it didn’t translate to a presentation in front of a paying audience. When writing your book and your speech, ask yourself: Why would someone pay me for this information and these stories? Will it further their business, motivate their employees, or give them new and unique skills and techniques? And how can I customize it to speak specifically to this audience? The days of a one-size-fits-all speech are gone—those hiring speakers want you to tailor your expertise and information to their audience. If you don’t, they will likely move on to select someone else.
2. Speak, Speak, Speak
The best way to book more speeches is to . . . speak more often! When you are developing your message, and even once you have it refined, you need to practice, practice, practice. Do it in front of a live audience as often as you can, even if they aren’t paying you. You’ll learn something every single time you practice live, and if you can video record it you’ll learn even more when you go back and review the footage.
3. Free to Fee
You will likely have to speak for free quite a few times as you establish your credibility and following, but once you have your message refined, it’s time to find audiences that not only want to hear what you have to say but are also in a position to hire you to say it. Find Rotary Clubs, chambers of commerce, and other associations and volunteer to speak for them—you never know who will come up afterwards and ask what your fee is to make that same presentation to their company or group. At that point, you can negotiate based on the budget they have available until you establish demand for your speech and can attract higher-fee engagements.
Speaking is a business, and as any in other business it takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself. Many get into speaking wanting to be an overnight success, but that rarely happens. Create your plan and work it—and I look forward to seeing you on the platform!
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Today is Culinarians Day.
If you love to cook, either professionally or for fun, today’s your day. And if you love to cook (and eat!), you probably have a decent-size cookbook collection. Who can resist glossy pages chockfull of inventive recipes, gastronomic essays, and four-color photos featuring scrumptious ingredients and dishes? But there’s also something to be said for the no-nonsense appeal of the old-school cookbooks, such as The Boston Cooking School Cookbook that Fannie Farmer, the founder of Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, self-published in 1896. Today, Greenleafers share their favorite cookbooks.
My cooking is typically met with blank stares, forced smiles, and half-eaten plates. But I have a friend who is an amazing home chef, and he’s been dipping into Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. Lee is a Korean-American chef who brings Southern flavors to Asian comfort food. It’s a gorgeous book with plenty of narrative, which, as an editor, I enjoy. I'm just not allowed in the kitchen while it's in use.
My favorite by far is the good ol’ red-and-white-checkered Betty Crocker Cookbook. It reminds me of my mom cooking during my childhood.
I love all my cookbooks, so it’s difficult to single out a favorite. Super Natural Cooking is one of the best vegetarian cookbooks I’ve come across. When I open it to find a recipe, I want to make them all. And every recipe I’ve tried has been painless and turned out amazing. Plus, the photographs are beautiful. Sprouted Kitchen is a close second.
Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The 50th Anniversary Edition is a beautifully produced book, a work of art unto its own. It's the kind of book you want to make sure not to spill on while you cook. Of course, the real beauty lies in the instruction of classic French recipes as only Julia could present them. It’s an essential cookbook for any collector.
Holy Turkey! Last year I braved the task of cooking my first holiday turkey. After scouring sites such as Pinterest, Allrecipes, Food Network, I finally found this GLORIOUS recipe on how to brine a turkey from the Food Network’s “Good Eats” host Alton Brown. Brine? Nope, I’d never done that before. Relieved that my first turkey was not an epic fail, the entire family agreed that this was, hands-down, the juiciest, delectable bird they had ever tasted. I’ll be following this recipe every year.
My favorite is The Starving Student's Cookbook! I never could have gotten through college without it! I learned all of my basic cooking from here and how to be a little creative on a very small budget. I eventually passed my copy on, but I’ll never forget this book. It is simply the best cookbook ever!
One of my favorite authors for comfort food is the Pioneer Woman. I have these two cookbooks of hers:
This is her blog with all her recipes along with a bunch of other things she blogs about.
This Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork recipe is one my favorites because it is delicious, easily feeds a group of people, you can do a lot of different things with pulled pork, and all that's really required is throwing everything in a crock pot or a Dutch oven.
If you wanted only one cookbook in your kitchen, the 2nd edition of How to Cook Everything should be the one. Mark Bittman has provided not only 2,000 recipes that even beginning cooks could easily create but also a fantastic reference guide for seasoned culinary experts. How to Cook Everything and The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Edition) are used weekly in my kitchen—because I can't just have one cookbook.
In 1976, Doris Janzen Longacre dedicated More-with-Less (A World Community Cookbook) to her mother and mother-in-law: "two cooks who are traditional but creative, thrifty but generous." The cookbook was "commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee in response to world food needs." The 25th anniversary edition of this guide that heralded a simpler, healthier diet was published by Herald Press in 2000. Its recipes are still easy to prepare, delicious, and representative of cuisines the world over. The illuminating text shows compassion for the hungry and Mother Earth. As the epigraph—a Creole Proverb—says, "A full stomach says: A ripe guava has worms. An empty stomach says: Let me see."
I love America's Test Kitchen because they test all the recipes and show you the results.
I like Eating Local. It has great recipes for the kinds of veggies that you get from small farms (or in a CSA box) and features lots of small, organic farms across the country, including one that I have gone to in Austin called Green Gate Farms.
I am the world's worst cook. I think the cookbook most helpful to me would be one called "How Not to Kill Your Guests Every Time You Attempt to Feed Them," but I've also found great value in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything: The Basics.
That being said, I will admit to harmless kitchen crushes on Yotam Ottolenghi (author of the recently released cookbook, Jerusalem) and Andrew Zimmern (with whom I enjoyed spectacular meals when we worked together at Minneapolis' now-defunct hotbed of disfunction, Cafe Un Deux Trois). I also love a good zester.
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Surely you’ve heard the old adage that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Although it’s a pretty good rule of thumb in most circumstances, let’s be honest, when it comes to books, we all do it! First impressions may not always accurately convey the true essence of what we’re seeing, but when it comes to publishing your book, it is important to remember that your cover really can say it all!
In fact, a book’s cover is as important as the text inside. A great cover sets you apart from the competition and can give your book that little extra oomph needed to make a good first impression with a book buyer. Once you’ve gotten their attention with your cover, you follow through with your writing.
Don’t believe me? Let’s ask Greenleaf’s experts!
One of our distribution account executives says, “A good cover sets up the story and conveys the emotion within the story. The cover should be eye catching in a way that is consistent with the genre, but makes the book stand out.”
Similarly, our art director says, “A good cover makes a connection with the reader from the shelf. A great cover continues to resonate with the reader as they read.”
And, we’re not the only ones who feel this way. Penguin Executive Creative Director Paul Buckley, in an article published in The Atlantic Wire, explains that a cover represents the book. It gets “readers excited about the book, and [sells] it.” He goes on to say, “We have a split-second to catch your eye as it scans the crowded bookstore. Hence the cover must stand out with distinction, the copy should be readable, and the overall effect should be enticing. This is true for every book, regardless of genre.”
So, what makes a great cover great? It’s thoughtful, creative, and informed design.
What is your favorite book cover? Share with us over on Facebook.