Ben Galley is a self publishing consultant and self confessed imagination jockey who is crowdfunding his next novel – Bloodrush, we asked him to tell us why and reveal his tips for a successful project, as he explains…
For most of this year, I’ve been doing something new. My last series of books, The Emaneska Series, was epic fantasy, thoroughly medieval in nature, hinting at classics like Lord of The Rings. It’s a genre that is infinitely popular, and I’ve seen a lot of success. So of course, for my next project, decided to do something different. I started writing a western fantasy.
It’s a blend of genres that I like to think hasn’t yet been explored. Stephen King had a stab with The Dark Tower. As did lord of UK fantasy Joe Abercrombie, with his Red Country. However, those are really the only notable examples. That was my first motivation, to explore the relatively unexplored. My second was the excitement of mashing the aspects of epic fantasy together with the tropes of the western genre. Lords and cowboys. Deserts and mythology. Railroad and magic. Plot ideas and quirky elements flooded my writer’s brain. In the end, I couldn’t help but give in.
It’s been quite an adventure, and a steep learning curve. As Bloodrush is based in an alternate 1867, in Wyoming USA, I had to do quite a lot of research. It’s been a long old slog to get it written, but finally, it’s now done and firmly in the editing stage.
All this effort gave me a thought: I wanted to share this journey with my readers, and let them be a part of this new direction. I began to share snippets and blogs about the book. They received such a great response that it led me to think of something else. What if I crowdfunded Bloodrush‘s release? Let people get directly involved and invest in the concept of a western fantasy?
And that’s what crowdfunding is really all about. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, crowdfunding is essentially a fund-raising method and a way of bringing products and concepts to life. It’s become very popular in recent years thanks to the advance of technology and social media. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have become very popular for entrepreneurs and micro-investors (backers) alike. Kickstarter alone has raised millions since its launch, and funded thousands of games, films, apps, gadgets, and of course, books!
The best thing about crowdfunding is that it’s a two-way street. Not only can it bring projects to life and forge new fanbases, it offers the backers themselves a chance to get directly involved in a project, and to receive something in return for their donation – crowdfunding platforms allow project owners to offer rewards in exchange for funds. This is what the concept of crowdfunding revolves around and what makes it so exciting. Rewards can be very unique indeed and I believe they’re key to a successful project.
That’s right, you can fail at crowdfunding! With most platforms, you have to raise your chosen amount of money within a certain time period amount. If you don’t hit your goal, you’re project is unsuccessful, and all the funds are returned to the backers. Several factors determine the success of a project. The strength on the concept itself, the marketing of the project owner, the amount, its description, and of course, the rewards on offer.
The crowdfunding platform I’m currently using to fund Bloodrush is called Pubslush. They’re relatively new on the scene, but they focus primarily on crowdfunding literature. It’s a niche platform that’s geared up for authors, and they’ve funded many book projects so far. And like Kickstarter, the projects revolve around rewards.
When I was doing the research for the successful Kickstarter project I ran in 2013, I analysed the reward structures of several popular projects. Here a few of the the gems I gleaned – ones I have put into practice with my current Pubslush project.
Start small and go big:
I think a good reward structure helps a project to appeal to all different types of backers. Some backers will want to spend a lot, some might only want to spend a little. If your rewards start out at £100, it’s a big ask for those who are mildly curious or strapped for cash! What I’ve done is start very small, at £2 for a shout-out on social media, and then go big, up to £150. With my last Kickstarter project, I went up to £500.
Keep it incremental, and keep it varied:
Big gaps between rewards can also deter your backers, and create difficult decisions. Jumping up in £25 or £50 increments in the early reward levels leaves no room for manoeuvring, and leaves you no room for variety. I’ve kept my levels between £5 and £15 apart, and changed it up each and every time. For instance, for £5 you can get an eBook version of Bloodrush. For £15, you’ll get that and the Emaneska Series in eBook to. For £25, you can get limited edition badges. It’s all about keeping it related to your book, and keeping it special, exclusive.
Allow people to get their hands on your book:
My project is all about my book, so it only makes sense that my rewards reflect what I’m trying to fund. For just £25, backers can grab a signed paperback copy of Bloodrush and an eBook copy. Backers also receive the book before anybody else in the world does!
Theme the rewards:
All my rewards are western and fantasy-themed, meaning that they’re individually named, to add a little something to the project. For instance, there’s the Bloodrusher’s Hamper, or the Shaman’s Caboodle. Or the Digital Cowboy Package. This is something I also did with my Kickstarter project, and I believe it definitely helped toward my success.
Include something very special:
I always like to include a reward that is really special and unique. With my Kickstarter project, I offered the chance to be drawn into the graphic novel I was funding, as a character in the artwork. That particular reward was incredibly popular, so with Bloodrush, what I’ve offered is the chance to get your name written into the book, in a special thank-you section at the start.
So that’s my Pubslush project, and the opportunity I’m offering to readers. In summary, crowdfunding is a symbiotic process that lets people get involved at the grass-roots level, snagging something special in the process. In return, I grow my fanbase, get to meet some great new readers, and publish a novel at the same time. That’s why I’m crowdfunding my next book.
(c) Ben Galley
Find out more about Ben Galley here…Twitter: @BenGalley; Facebook: /BenGalleyAuthor