A Guide to What Works and How

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The Unique Problem of My Book

One of the problems I have with raising funds in this method to write my book on crowdfunding is that it’s not “more of the same.”

That is, most crowdfunding is successful for people and groups that have already built a substantial audience for the kind of thing that the audience likes. Amanda Palmer has a huge following in real life and on Twitter and on her blogs and elsewhere because of the decade of music she’s made. She already recorded the album that she used Kickstarter to raise what was ultimately $1.2 million ($100,000 was the goal).

Someone who loves Palmer’s work says, “Ah ha! Something along the lines of what she’s done before that I already love, but new, and I get to be part of it, and I can get exclusive things if I pay more for them, like an art book or a private house concert.”

This is less true for products, in which people may never have purchased anything from the makers of the Pebble watch, which took in over $10 million for their effort, but the backers could read up on the track record of the makers, and the product was compelling enough to pre-order.

I’m somewhere in the middle, which may be a problem. While I know that millions of people have read my work over the years, some of it is without byline (as at the Economist in the print edition, or just with initials on the blog), and much of it is the kind of writing that people may not recollect my name.

I have nearly 7,000 followers on Twitter, and some have rather large followings to which they have already or will re-broadcast my book’s Kickstarter project. That network effect will certainly help.

But I don’t have a critical mass of fans who are saying, “Glenn, that thing you do: we want to help you to more of it.” It’s also true that this book isn’t precisely like what I’ve done before. I’ve written dozens of books and thousands of articles, and this book will be a bit like some of the how-to books (especially in the Take Control series) and somewhat like some of the articles. But it’s entirely new.

I do expect I will be able to fund the project. My marketing and PR efforts start in earnest on Monday, when I start to reach out to friends and colleagues, write articles for other sites, and send email to many of the folks I’ve spoken to over the last several months about writing this book, and whom I want to profile in it in the case studies part.

I’m 3% there after the soft launch. Let’s see what happens when I turn on the engines.