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Choosing the right crowdfunding platform

Obviously, as a site with a crowdfunding platform, we think you should choose ours. PubLaunch is going to have the best crowdfunding platform for books ever, and you’d be downright silly to choose anything else.

Okay, now that we’ve got that obligatory bit of self-promotion out of the way, it’s down to the real business. What are the things you should look for when finding a home for your campaign? Well, let’s start with the biggest myth of all.

It doesn’t matter how popular the platform is. 

Really. You could be on the top ranked platform of all time or on a WordPress plugin and it will have very little effect on how well your campaign does. There is an idea that a popular crowdfunding platform means more people will stumble onto your campaign. The truth is, most people only visit crowdfunding sites because they’ve been brought there by something (a Facebook post, their friend, a news article, etc.). Typically, contributions from random passersby make up less than 10% of your total funds. So, if you can’t count on a popular platform helping your campaign, what else can you look for?

Judge the book by its cover.

Well, maybe not the cover, but the way it looks. Check out a few platforms and pay attention to what their campaigns look like. You’re (hopefully) going to be bringing a lot of people to your campaign, so you want to put your best foot forward. People are visual. A poorly designed and hard-to-navigate platform will cost you support just like ripped jeans and a baggy sweatshirt will lose you the job interview. So make sure the visuals are good and the site is easy to use.

What payment methods do they support?

Can you use PayPal? Is it a direct deposit? Wire transfer? What secure payment methods do they use? Some of these deduct heavy fees so make sure you figure this out beforehand.

What kind of support does the platform offer?

What happens if something goes wrong and you need to troubleshoot? Is it the kind of site where you submit an anonymous query and they respond 3 weeks later because they’re swamped with customer-support issues? Or do they have someone standing by 24/7?

Flex or fixed funding?

Kickstarter is famous for offering only fixed funding, meaning that if you are $20 shy of your goal you won’t collect your funds. Whether you prefer one over the other is entirely up to you, although there tends to be a somewhat higher success rate with fixed funding (because campaigners are more aggressive when they know they could easily lose all their money or because it encourages people to set more realistic goals). Either way, determine the absolute minimum amount of money you need to publish your book and go from there. (We opted to offer a combination of the two, meaning you can set a min and max goal.)

Do they require a campaign video?

Mandatory campaign videos are becoming less common (later we’ll tell you why this is fantastic), but it’s still extremely important to determine whether the platform will require you to make one or not. If you have never even touched the camera setting on your phone, the last thing you should be doing is making a campaign video.

And that’s about it. Let’s review: Take a look at what other campaigns look like and how easy they are to navigate, make sure you understand what payment methods the platform offers, investigate the quality of customer support, check whether they offer flex or fixed funding, and make sure a campaign video isn’t required.

Happy crowdfunding!