Note, this is not a Pubslush sponsored post. I’m just trying to get the skinny on different crowdfunding platforms and want to present pictures where it has worked. At the bottom of this post, I’ll give my first impression pros & cons. If you have thoughts, leave them in the comments and we can reflect together. But first, cue the lovely Angela Miller – Pubslush fan & Author! ~Catherine
In the lead up to our *crowdfunding podcast, I’m going to share with you ahead of time this insightful email-interview with Angela Miller, author of the book You Are The Mother of All Mothers, a beautifully crafted story and support for those dealing with bereavement after the loss of a child (as is her blog, don’t miss that either).
Angela raised her publishing funds through PubSlush – which is a crowdfunding platform specifically for the creation of books and other writing projects. Much like folks going to Kickstarter to shop for cool new ideas, toys, games, films, clothing and more, the idea is that folks who love to read can do the same thing at Pubslush – like a massive bookstore of novels-to-be, where readers fund the creation of those books.
*(Crowdfunding: “Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” ~Thanks for that definition, Wikipedia.)
Angela loves Pubslush, which makes sense since she’s raised over 12,000 dollars and has been able to produce a lovely gift book for those in need. (On her website, Angela describes herself as a Typer of Truth and Healer of Hearts, which, I think, is also great insight into her book.)
In this week’s upcoming podcast, we’ll touch on Angela’s experience with rewards and using crowdfunding – but honestly we didn’t dive too deeply into the Pubslush meets author story. So here’s the actual email interview I will refer to in the show.
OH! And – Notable! When asking for experiences around Pubslush through twitter, Pubslush themselves suggested we contact Angela. Therefore, you should definitely check out her completed campaign. It’s a good example of how successful crowdfunding gets done.
OttawaWrites: Angela, simple question: Why crowdfund?
Angela: Crowdfunding is God’s gift to writers who want to become authors. Not only can you raise enough money to create the best, highest quality version of your book possible, but you can also grow your platform, secure pre-orders and get your book buzzing before it hits the shelves.
OttawaWrites: I’m extremely curious about Pubslush suggesting we chat with you. Why did you choose to crowdfund with Pubslush, and why do you think they recommended I ask you questions?
Angela: I extensively researched all crowdfunding platforms before choosing Pubslush. What sealed the deal for me were two important things:
1) Pubslush’s impeccable customer service that I’d experienced in my initial interactions with Amanda Barbara, and
2) Pubslush was crowdfunding for books only, which really appealed to me as a soon-to-be author.
Pubslush made my dreams come true as an author and I will sing their praises all my life. Seriously. Choosing Pubslush was one of the best decisions I made in publishing my book. As for why they suggested you chat with me, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing it’s because I’m more than a little bit passionate about all things Pubslush. From start to finish, I could not be happier with my experience with Pubslush.
Read more here about my Pubslush experience here: http://blog.pubslush.com/my-13000-ticket-to-publishing/
OttawaWrites: Your cover is beautiful. I see it’s included in your Pubslush video. That makes me wonder, what efforts did you invest in before meeting your Pubslush goal (e.g. cover designer?) and what did you save till after the money was raised?
The gorgeous cover you see on my Pubslush campaign page was added after my book You Are the Mother of All Mothers was published in June 2014. My original campaign picture was a beautiful landscape shot I had taken at a local nature centre.
OttawaWrites: What type of budget were you accounting for in your crowdfunding campaign?
Angela: My goal was $12,000 and I ended up raising $12,978 in 49 days.
I knew my book would be costly to produce because it is a gift book and because I had the highest standards possible for the quality of book I would produce: full colour custom art, high quality paper, velum dust jacket, hand lettering throughout etc. Basically I wanted it to be the most gorgeous book anyone had ever seen. I knew I’d need to hire a talented team to exceed the quality of book I had in mind. Every dollar raised through my Pubslush campaign paid for publishing expenses, which included: proofreading, editing, cover design, interior design and typeset, custom art, marketing, printing, and distribution, etc.
[OW Note: This is why it’s good to gather quotes before setting your funding goal! Decide how much will be DIY and how much will be supported by professionals. 2nd Note: no skimping on editing.]
Ottawa Writes: I noticed that there is a “Pubslush Official Publisher” button on the side of your page where folks can join the community. What is Wise Inc Creative Publishing, and did this Pubslush bring any attention to the community?
Angela: WiseInk Creative Publishing is my publisher. They are the best of the best of the best.
Without them my book wouldn’t exist. WiseInk wholeheartedly believed in me and my book from start to finish and beyond. And more than incredibly savvy in the publishing industry, they are simply good eggs, with incredible hearts. Amy Quale and Dara Beevas of WiseInk are two people I am honoured to count in my corner. I would recommend WiseInk to anyone who wants to publish the best possible version of their book.
Ottawa Writes: Most popular reward? Least popular reward?
Angela: The $25 level was by far the most popular, which included a signed copy of my book + an ebook. A close second was the $175 level which included a signed book and one name on the “In Loving Memory Tribute” page of my book. My target audience is bereaved moms and this was a meaningful way they could back my passion project and honour their child in a beautiful way. Least popular was the $300 level.
Ottawa Writes: What surprised you during the crowdfunding?
Angela: What honestly surprised me the most was that my campaign didn’t fail miserably! That was by far one of my greatest fears, and it was debilitating enough to the point that I almost didn’t crowdfund because of it. I’m grateful I listened to my heart instead.
[OW Note: Many writers feel much the same. A good way to gauge whether you’ll be successful is to gather a list of potential supporters before you actually start the campaign. That way you’ll have a good idea of what you can make at minimum. Then let people surprise you.]
Ottawa Writes: What is the top tip you can give authors thinking of crowdfunding their book?
Angela: My top tip would be to believe in yourself and your book more than anyone else– no matter what.
Set your sights beyond your ultimate goal.
Strategically plan to blow your campaign out of the water, and don’t stop until you do.
Never, ever, ever give up in crowdfunding or in life. Know without a doubt you can do absolutely anything. You have to believe this all the way from your head down to your toes. There is no one else who will market your campaign (and your book) for you– or as well as you. You’ve got to be the one to take the bull by the horns and give it everything you’ve got and then some. You can rest after. But for now, pour all your sweat, blood, tears, heart and soul into this like nothing you’ve ever done before. Once you do I promise it will be one of the most shining moments of your life, and your success will pave you a gorgeous path to unimaginable places.
Thanks so much to Angela for taking the time to chat and share about her experiences. If you’d like to find her book You Are The Mother of All Mothers and more of her story, check out her website, A Bed For My Heart at abedformyheart.com.
Pros: I like this idea of writers & authors easily finding one another – that is great. I’m quite in favour for empowering writers and readers, which Pubslush helps achieve. Also, the customer services sounds great. Kickstarter provides good resources to its project creators, but very little direct support – it’s hell trying to find someone to call. So YAY pubslush for customer service! I was humming & hawing over the community of only readers and writers, but ultimately this seems like a good idea. Goodreads works, isn’t this a step forward in the same vein? However, I still wonder how much an unknown writer will receive in support from unknown readers, vs those they themselves bring to the campaign. Nevertheless, community = pro!
Cons: I do, however, get very sticky when being denied browsing access to viewing the different projects on the go. That causes me to immediately stop browsing, and I suspect it would stop potential readers from browsing as well. Personally this would cause me to hesitate before signing up. Dear Pubslush, please change this and make it easier for people to shop.
[update September 3rd, 2014: Following the release of this interview, I was contacted by Justine Schofield of Pubslush’s Development Director. She let me know Pubslush is glad to have feedback, and takes it all under consideration. In regards to my con, here’s her explanation of Pubslush’s reasoning: “our team works very hard to build our community and provide our users with the best possible tools in order to be successful on our platform and beyond. In order to support a campaign on our platform, you have to make an account so we have the supporter’s information to provide to the campaigner. Our prompt to create an account only requires a name and email and is intended to streamline the process of discovering content and books.” If anyone wants to bring more thoughts to Justine, you can get in touch with her, or let me know and I’ll send you her contact details.]