Let’s get this out of the way: this ain't your tech buddy’s crowdfunding platform. Unlike the most popular platforms out there (and don’t get me wrong, they’re popular for a reason), this one is made just for you: the writer. You may not have a cool gadget or a shiny new app to promote, but you do have a story that deserves to be shared.
This is a platform that’s designed for you. So let’s talk about how you can take advantage of our features in the best way possible.
1) Minimum and maximum goals
Normally, you have two ways to raise money:
“all or nothing” (meaning, if you fall short of your goal you don’t collect any funds)
“keep what you raise”/flexible funding (meaning, you get to keep any funds you raise whether or not you reach your goal)
But funding a project is more nuanced than that. You might have chosen flexible funding but raise way less than what you need. Now you’re stuck between returning all the money or producing a low-quality book. Or you might fall just short of your goal but because you chose “all or nothing” the project falls apart.
Instead, PubLaunch has something called minimum and maximum goals. Your minimum goal is the absolute least amount of money you need to go ahead with your project. Your campaign won’t succeed if you don’t reach that number and no one’s credit cards will be charged.
Your maximum goal is the amount you’d like to raise and the one that everyone sees on your campaign page. Maybe you want to devote a portion of your budget for a marketing campaign or, if you had the money, you’d like to sell your book as a hardcover as well as a paperback. These are things that aren’t essential to getting your book out but would definitely make your life easier.
The minimum and maximum goals allow you to be strategic. Make a conscious decision about what you need to make this book happen the way you want it, then think about the things that you’d like but could live without.
There is a safety net build into PubLaunch’s platform in case all else fails: the top-up feature.
When you’re building your campaign page, you’ll be able to specify ahead of time how much you’re willing to pitch in if your campaign doesn’t reach its minimum goal.
Using the top-up function can help you meet your minimum goal, even if that means pitching in an extra $200. That top-up ensures your contributors will still be charged. You don’t have to worry about committing to a project without being able to follow through, or starting all over after working so hard to build that very-hard-to-come-by crowdfunding momentum.
Together, the min/max goals and top-up feature let you make your decisions ahead of time instead of being forced to scramble at the last minute when your only plan falls through.
3) A platform fee that stays at 5%
There are a few websites that vary their platform fee based on how much you raise, but on PubLaunch it stays at 5%. Crowdfunding is hard enough as it is, so there’s no sense in the added stress of figuring out how much you’re actually taking home based on different scenarios.
Campaign page features
Now, on to the campaign page itself and the subtle differences that help set the book-crowdfunding tone.
1) Your manuscript’s excerpt
The manuscript excerpt gives people a chance to get hooked on your story. Excerpts function the same way product pictures of a new gadget on a Kickstarter campaign or the preview pages on Amazon work – they give people a taste of what’s to come and help them decide whether or not it’s worth their investment.
It’s a good idea to limit your excerpt to 1000 words. Pick the part of your book that you feel best represents what you’re trying to do. Even better if it leaves your audience with a cliffhanger. Take as much care as you can to check that the excerpt is error free.
2) Your tagline
A tagline is the quickest way for viewers to find out what your book is about. It’s displayed at the very top of your campaign page and on the campaign’s thumbnail. It’s also one of the first things viewers will see and could be the difference between someone moving on or reading more. So make those 140 characters count!
Your tagline should be a distillation of the most important parts of your book. How do you come up with one? I suggest sitting down with good old-fashioned pen and paper (and maybe strong coffee or your most inspirational Spotify playlist) and writing as many versions of a tagline as you can think of.
The basic formula = character + conflict + question
Ex. Alex has lived her whole life on the sea. But now alien termites threaten to destroy her ship. Can she kill them before they sink her home?
Once you’ve exhausted yourself of ideas, start to piece together your favorite elements from the different sentences you’ve written. Rework your taglines until you’ve got a few that you’re happy with. Then show them to a few compliant friends who haven’t read your book and ask them what they think it's about and what makes them (or doesn’t make them) want to read it.
Take their comments, rewrite, and pick your favorite. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary until you have one you’re happy with.
Make sure it’s punchy and leaves something to the imagination.
3) Genre and campaign image
The last two are pretty basic but make subtle differences to your page.
The genre tag allows visitors to quickly and easily identify what your campaign is about. Take the time to pick the right genre for your book. It will affect reader’s expectations and how and to whom you market the campaign.
Your campaign image is also really important because it sets the visual tone of the whole page. Unlike other sites, PubLaunch doesn’t have a spot for a campaign video, since it often hurts writers more than it helps them.
Instead, pick an image that best suits your genre, audience, and story. Keep in mind that the image will be cropped to 1170 x 360 pixels.
And that’s the whole story! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. Happy crowdfunding!