Are crowdfunded books good prospects?


Crowdfunding projects are all the rage right now, helping to finance initiatives ranging from shoes you assemble yourself to a debut record to a foraging kitchen to books of all genres and sizes. Some campaigns are started to support people who have experienced a loss, such as a building destroyed, or an Alaskan airplane that went up in smoke. Others are more entrepreneurial in nature, including a number of writing projects.

Surprisingly (to me at least), a number of books received much more than the author requested. Hello Ruby, a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories (and which I contributed to), received 3,807% of their requested amount, or $380,747. The most-funded project of all – ever – on Kickstarter is a chooseable-path book version of Hamlet, which raised more than $580,000, or 2,904% of its initial goal. There are children’s books, comic books, inspirational books, personal stories, histories – you name it.

With all the money being given in support of books, does this mean that ghostwriters should be hunting for crowdfunded projects as clients?

The short answer is, probably not.

Some projects do receive more than the author requested but most do not. The reality is that those books that received 100% or more of the requested amount are still in the minority. Some caught the attention of the local or national media, others benefited from supporters with large mailing lists, but most remain at least partially unfunded.

That said, books that have received full funding may actually need your help to meet the commitments made to their donors. Making contact to offer your services wouldn’t be a bad idea.

What would be a bad idea is investing many hours in a project that will be completely funded through a crowdfunding campaign. No matter how confident your client is that full funding will be achieved, proceed with caution. Do not clear your calendar and turn down other work until you can confirm that the needed funds have been obtained and handed over to your client.

Without confirmation of a cash-infused bank account, you are unlikely to be anything more than a helpful supporter yourself, rather than a paid professional ghostwriter.

Have you ever pitched the sponsors of a crowdfunding campaign?

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Marcia Layton Turner

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