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February 27th, 2014

Which Crowdfunding Site is Best for Authors?

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by David Rogers

best-crowdfunding-site-for-writers

It’s easy to see why crowdfunding has become so popular among self-published authors. Using donations to cover some or all book costs can be a way to turn a book project from a dream into a reality.

But still there are questions:

1. What is the best crowdfunding platform for writers?
2. How much money should authors ask for from their donors?
3. What kind of rewards should be offered?

Of course there are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions. For this article we want to focus on the differences between several crowdfunding sites, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. First up is Kickstarter:

kickstarter-logo

Kickstarter is one of the most visible and popular crowdfunding platforms. The site allows all kinds of different projects, including fashion, technology ,theater and, of course, books.

Books almost always fall under the Publishing category on Kickstarter, where your book will compete for attention with children’s books, non-fiction works, magazines and any number of other types of publications. Some projects will be just asking for a small amount of money to help publish an ebook while others will be asking for quite a bit of money for research, writing, editing, printing and marketing a book.

For in-depth information on how you can successfully use Kickstarter to raise money for your self-published book, check out our “Kickstart Your Kickstarter Book Project Guide.”

Funding Type: Fixed Funding

The amount of your goal on Kickstarter is extremely important because the site uses an all-or-nothing funding method. If you do not meet your goal, you receive no money.

When setting your goal, a delicate balance must be struck between:

1. A goal you have a realistic prospect of reaching.
2. A goal that covers all the expenses of your project.

Fee: 5 percent

After you meet your goal, Kickstarter charges a flat fee of 5 percent of the total you earn. If you do not meet your goal, you are not charged.

Where Can You Use Kickstarter?

Kickstarter currently is available for project creators based in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Backers, however, can be located anywhere in the world.

indiegogo-logo

Indiegogo is another popular crowdfunding site that serves a large variety of projects. Kickstarter and Indiegogo work very similarly, though Indiegogo uses the category Writing for most book projects.

Funding Type: Fixed Funding –OR—Flexible Funding

One of the biggest differences between Indiegogo and Kickstarter is that the former allows you to choose between fixed funding or flexible funding. Fixed Funding works on an all-or-nothing model just like Kickstarter, but Flexible Funding allows you to keep whatever money your raise, even if you don’t reach your goal.

However, the fee is variable dependent on how your project performs, and you must choose your funding type before beginning your project.

Fee: 4 percent or 9 percent

If you choose fixed funding, you will be charged a 4 percent fee if you reach your goal, but you won’t be charged anything if you do not meet your goal.

For flexible funding, if you reach your goal you are also charged 4 percent. However, if you do not reach your goal, you are charged 9 percent of the total you raise. Indiegogo explains that this is to encourage project creators to set realistic goals and promote their campaigns.

Where Can You Use Indiegogo?

Nearly anyone with a bank account can begin a campaign on Indiegogo. However, the platform does not allow campaigns originating in countries on the U.S. OFAC sanctions list.

Pubslush

Though it operates on the same crowdfunding idea, Pubslush is a niche platform that only hosts book projects. In addition, the entire platform is designed to support authors and offers writer-specific marketing tools they can use to promote and improve their campaigns.

Using Pubslush gives authors an audience that, generally speaking, will be looking to support only book projects, which can be a great way to find backers for your book. However, that audience is much smaller than the crowd provided by sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or other larger platforms.

Funding Type: Flexible Funding

Pubslush allows authors to select a minimum funding requirement that must be at least $500. While the author can raise any amount over the minimum amount, they also have the option to set a maximum funding goal.

Fee: 4 percent

Pubslush charges a flat rate of 4 percent of the total amount earned.

Where Can You Use Pubslush?

Like Indiegogo, anyone that has a bank account and isn’t located in a country on the U.S. OFAC sanctions list can submit a project.

Other Charges (For All Platforms)

As a final note about charges, it should be noted that most platforms charge a payment processing fee in addition to the flat fee. This tends to range from 2-4 percent, and is something you should look into before creating your project.