In 2012, former advertising copywriter Jack Cheng had the chance to publish his first novel through Kickstarter, the web’s largest crowdfunding site. He raised more than $23,000 in just three weeks, allowing him to hire a professional editor and publish his manuscript, a story about the human side of technology.
The launch and exploration of crowdfunded book publishing has only just begun.
In most instances, reward-based crowdfunding is a better fit for book publishing than investment crowdfunding. Book projects tend to have fairly straightforward reward tiers, like a copy of the book for a moderate pledge or a digital version for a smaller contribution.
That’s not to say crowdfunding a book is a simple process — difficulties are bound to arise. The vast majority of funders for publishing projects tend to come from the author’s personal networks. With a book project, it can be difficult to spark the viral sharing and support across social media that is so essential for a successful crowdfunding campaign. Although ‘publishing’ is one of the more popular categories on Kickstarter, only 32 percent of publishing projects reach their funding targets — significantly behind the site’s 44 percent average success rate.