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endford
06-02-2018, 07:12 PM
Hi,

For some time I've been thinking about setting up a website where readers could pledge funding to a book based on the first few chapters. If enough people pledge funding, the author could continue working knowing that the book has an audience, and s/he will receive the full payment once the work is ready (and can continue selling the book, of course).

I thought of this when I learned about testing markets for new products. It occurred to me that it is really a shame that one can only test the market for a new book (or submit it to an agent) when the manuscript is basically ready - and that takes a lot of work and time. Wouldn't it be better to hone a short excerpt only, and if it doesn't hook enough readers, try again immediately with a new idea?

I have a little brochure website for this at www.booksfortomorrow.com (http://www.booksfortomorrow.com/?utm_source=aw1) . Do you think a site like this dedicated to writings would be useful? Would you use it?

Dennis E. Taylor
06-02-2018, 07:30 PM
You're essentially talking about pre-ordering. Unless you're asking for more money than the eventual cost of the book, which I don't see working. And pre-ordering generally is only workable with authors that people already know.

I'm a little perplexed by the concept, though. If you are writing in a genre that you're familiar with, you should have a fair idea of what ideas will be interesting and what won't. Beyond that, it's more about execution than anything. You can have two books with the same idea, theme, and general plot arc, and one will be good and the other might be, well, not so good.

If you want to get feedback on a work-in-progress, try a crit group, or the SYW forum here. Or a beta reader forum like betabooks, although that'll require you to have a completed work.

lizmonster
06-02-2018, 07:34 PM
For some time I've been thinking about setting up a website where readers could pledge funding to a book based on the first few chapters. If enough people pledge funding, the author could continue working knowing that the book has an audience, and s/he will receive the full payment once the work is ready (and can continue selling the book, of course).

I know some writers who use Patreon for this sort of thing. Kickstarter as well.


I thought of this when I learned about testing markets for new products. It occurred to me that it is really a shame that one can only test the market for a new book (or submit it to an agent) when the manuscript is basically ready - and that takes a lot of work and time. Wouldn't it be better to hone a short excerpt only, and if it doesn't hook enough readers, try again immediately with a new idea?

Everyone's got their own process, but for me this wouldn't work at all. There's no way for me to properly hone one piece of a work until I've written the whole thing. Can't say it wouldn't work for some writers, though.


I have a little brochure website for this at www.booksfortomorrow.com (http://www.booksfortomorrow.com/?utm_source=aw1) . Do you think a site like this dedicated to writings would be useful? Would you use it?

The biggest issue I see from a business perspective is that there are already sites filling this niche, and they're pretty well-established. You'd need to offer something Kickstarter and Patreon don't, both to your writers and your contributors.

Polenth
06-02-2018, 08:12 PM
As others have said, there are already crowdfunding sites. The problem is an unknown author isn't going to have fans. A few chapters isn't really enough to turn most people into fans. What usually happens is the author's friends and family donate. Which is okay if they have a lot of friends and family with money to spare. Otherwise, it's unlikely the project will get donations.

I do donate to book crowdfunding sometimes. But I'm unlikely to put money towards a project that isn't finished unless the author has previous work. I want to see a history of finishing projects rather than abandoning them.

cornflake
06-02-2018, 09:15 PM
Same as Liz, I read this and thought 'isn't that Kickstarter and Patron?' -- and all the people who try posting their work in serial form?

I think the main issue with this is that, outside of non-fic, most people don't think of writing as something that needs funding, as most novelists write in their spare time.

Maggie Maxwell
06-02-2018, 09:25 PM
There have been publishers that have made this their business plan ("crowdfund $X and we'll publish you") but they're generally not looked highly upon, and I couldn't tell you their names or if they're even still in business. Like others have said, you'd have to compete with Kickstarter and Patreon and fight with the fact that most of the crowdfunding is going to be from friends and family of the writer and that convincing outsiders to participate is going to take a lot time to earn trust and a good reputation. You'll want to make sure that everyone who signs on is someone that's going to finish their work and finish it to a satisfactory degree and not leave funders hanging after giving them a taste. All in all, it's just not a good plan, especially when people can go to a bookshop and buy a million books that are already completed instead of having to encourage a stranger with their money to do something that thousands or others do for the love of it.

endford
06-03-2018, 12:51 AM
Thanks all for the feedback! It's much appreciated. Yes, I was aware of the competition, but was still wondering what you thought. Well, I won't push this idea further then :-)

cornflake
06-03-2018, 04:40 AM
Also, who the hell writes something with the idea that 'if X people on a rando website don't like it, I'll abandon it and write something else!'

Reminds me of that guy who was here pushing the collective-writing website to write by committee, so it'd be popular. The whole basic ideas behind social science, populations, sample selection, etc., seem to have been lost somewhere along the way.

frimble3
06-03-2018, 07:22 AM
As a reader, I would be reluctant to pay out money for an unfinished, unknown quantity. Both book and writer.

GOTHOS
06-17-2018, 12:35 AM
This online essay (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/gaps.com/patreon-earners/) mentions an author who garnered a hefty no of patrons on Patreon, apparently through building up his fan-base on Facebook. He had no previous publications, but released chapters in installments.

I'd like to figure out his promotional formula!

Earthling
06-20-2018, 02:17 PM
A writer auto-DMed me on Twitter, asking me to contribute to a Kickstarter fund for her and the other anthology authors. It was to pay them a "salary" while they finished their stories.

My response was not positive.

Dennis E. Taylor
06-20-2018, 11:25 PM
A writer auto-DMed me on Twitter, asking me to contribute to a Kickstarter fund for her and the other anthology authors. It was to pay them a "salary" while they finished their stories.

My response was not positive.

As in 'spammed' you? That's an automatic block with me.

Earthling
06-21-2018, 11:43 AM
As in 'spammed' you? That's an automatic block with me.

Yep. It was an auto-DM that went out to everybody who followed her.

It's a block for me too, but I couldn't resist replying first. I said something like, "Was this meant for someone else? You can't really be asking strangers to pay you a salary for writing?" and she replied, "Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm doing."

Just wow.

veinglory
06-21-2018, 06:24 PM
As others have said, just use Kickstarter. I have pledged to about 20 books on Kickstarter, 6 of them got funded. As a minimum I expect an ebook copy as a reward. I would never pledge on a private site because it just feels scammy to me.

GOTHOS
06-30-2018, 11:29 PM
To me Patreon sounds like a better promotional tool, but one guy on Youtube asserted that when starting out you'd better be able to drive traffic from other sources. That seems easy for people who do art or videos, but I'm not sure how prose writers can make their work attractive enough to grab Patreon supporters.

veinglory
07-01-2018, 03:08 AM
I see Patreon is a way of maintaining supply, not to get it started. I fund podcasts that way because I know I like them and want more.

Maggie Maxwell
07-01-2018, 04:35 AM
Yeah, Patreon is for people who have proof they can output. For a writer, that'd be self-publishing regularly of good quality. Prove you can supply stories at a decent clip and promise bonuses of character sketches, flash or short stories in established settings with familiar characters, credit in the Acknowledgements, etc, and you can get Patreon followers. But you have to have something to show first.

BenPanced
07-01-2018, 06:56 AM
I see Patreon is a way of maintaining supply, not to get it started. I fund podcasts that way because I know I like them and want more.


Yeah, Patreon is for people who have proof they can output. For a writer, that'd be self-publishing regularly of good quality. Prove you can supply stories at a decent clip and promise bonuses of character sketches, flash or short stories in established settings with familiar characters, credit in the Acknowledgements, etc, and you can get Patreon followers. But you have to have something to show first.

I've only donated to things like YouTube channels to help a director with output (pay for various staff, editors, equipment, etc.) or a group to maintain the physical tapes that get transferred to the channel (a TV broadcast museum in Chicago gets regular donations of unwanted VHS/Betamax cassettes). A writing project like this sounds more like something that would be better suited for Kickstarter or Gofundme. But, as others have said, you'll need the proof you can maintain regular output to convince donors you're not scamming them.

Fallen
07-03-2018, 12:04 AM
I support a few authors on Patreon. One particular author is excellent with this, and mixes his novel writing with his drawing abilities, turning out comics as spinoff stories to his novels, weekly artwork etc.