Reader’s Note: This week, we’re pleased to bring you a guest post from Justine Schofield, the Development Director at Pubslush, a crowdfunding site just for authors. As a special bonus for our readers, you can sign up for a free Pubslush account using the promo code EVERYDAY to receive The Guide: Tips to Successful Crowdfunding.

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In the current publishing landscape, it has become the author’s responsibility to build their platform, grow and engage with their audience and develop a marketing plan for their books. One of the biggest pitfalls of publishing can be when an author is overly eager to publish. Many times, authors end up impulsively publishing before they’ve developed the platform that will help them sell books.

Building an author platform needs to begin well before an author releases their first book. Being established and having an interested audience for an upcoming book will build the momentum necessary to stand out in the market. Now, crowdfunding offers authors a tangible way to rally support from early readers and continue to build upon their established platform.

In basic terms, crowdfunding is a way to raise funds for an upcoming project by soliciting the support of the crowd—aka the author’s network and audience. For authors with an established platform, crowdfunding allows them to test the market by promoting and building excitement around an upcoming book.

Crowdfunding fits seamlessly into the publishing process and can help authors to:

  • Raise funds. Of course, a crowdfunding campaign is a way to raise funds for publishing or marketing costs. The basis of crowdfunding is to fund projects and ideas. Authors can use the funds raised to help produce a high-quality product.
  • Collect pre-orders. Every supporter of a crowdfunding project receives something in return for their financial pledge, which makes crowdfunding a natural way for authors to collect pre-orders. Authors are able to sell books and fulfill orders before publication and early readers can be rallied to promote and review the book once it’s published.
  • Talk about and drive traffic to a book before it’s published. Building a buzz around a book before it’s published is essential for success. If an author waits until the book is released to begin promotions, their book is starting out a step behind. It’s difficult to promote a product that doesn’t yet exist, but a crowdfunding campaign provides a tangible platform that an author can drive traffic to and market their upcoming book.
  • Engage with early readers. A crowdfunding campaign page is an all-encompassing look at not just the book, but the author’s story as well. Authors are able to connect with readers on a more personal level and provide them with much more than they would get from shopping at a local bookstore or Amazon. There is little to no connection between authors and readers in the traditional market, but crowdfunding works to help build and foster important connections.
  • Share their book with a wider audience. Crowdfunding presents a unique discoverability aspect. Supporters of crowdfunding projects generally enjoy being part of the creation process and are more likely to share their support with their own network, allowing for an author to be more easily discovered outside of their established audience.

It’s essential for authors to start thinking of their book as a business and manufacture themselves as entrepreneurs. To gain traction in the book market, authors must know how to stand out and crowdfunding can help them to do just that.

The ability to talk about their book and prove market viability during the publishing process is priceless and can help authors to build their platform and the momentum necessary to practice more informed and successful publishing.

Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a pre-publication platform that offers crowdfunding and pre-order options to authors and publishers. A writer at heart, Justine received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. A prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding, she is a regular contributor to The Future of Ink, Business Banter and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter