Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Authors to Publish Books

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If crowdfunding is changing the way we finance small businesses, it's also making its impact felt for the creative set. There are plenty of amazing sites to crowdfunding music. Bands and musicians are using these cutting-edge financing tools to finance their next concert or album, many times bypassing traditional labels completely.

Why an Author Should Crowdfund

But authors are getting in on the crowdfunding game, as well. Crowdfunding provides a good alternative to the existing options for authors. 

Consider going the traditional route of getting a publisher. There are way too many writers seeking literary advances and even if you land one, the average advance and the average support given to an author from a publisher are both shrinking.

Sure, you can take the self-publishing route but that's a gamble. You write your book and launch it out into the ether, with no idea how it will perform. If you're printing hard copies, that means you, as the author, take on the costs of printing, without the faintest idea of whether your next magnum opus will sell.

Enter crowdfunding. It's like pre-selling your book with the added advantage of building a fan base as you do it. The founder of Upbound, a UK based platform for authors described crowdfunding books like this:

“Our users love to be involved in the process and have critical taste. They are not passive consumers – they’re micro patrons,” he explains.

So, where are the top sites to crowdfunding your next book?

List of Top Crowdfunding Sites for Authors

Pubslush: The company describes itself as a community that connects authors with their future fans.

As the step before a book is published, authors and publishers can host crowdfunding or pre-order campaigns for upcoming titles.
Readers can find their next book before it’s even released.

There's a discovery mechanism in play on Pubslush. Self-motivated readers can explore the site looking for interesting material while authors can begin to publish and receive the financial backing (and interest) from a group of hungry readers.

Taking a look at Pubslush's top campaigns as sorted by amount raised, you can see that even the top authors aren't raising millions of dollars on the site, but rather building small communities of fans.​

Unbound: This is a fun site and based in the UK. Authors pitch ideas to readers and if they gather enough financial interest in their books, they write them. Looking around at some of the successful campaigns, it looks like a few breakout crowdfunding projects raised tens of thousands of pounds.

The Unbound model is very straightforward: the author pitches an idea and if enough readers support it, the book goes ahead. Unbound is both a funding platform and a publisher, fulfilling all the normal publishing functions but also splitting a book's net profit 50/50 with the author.

And here's how one author described Unbound:

Traditional publishing is in the doldrums, it's collapsing. Publishers are looking around for new ways of going forward. I think Unbound could be the future.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo for Authors

The two largest general crowdfunding platforms are also very active in the literary category. 

  • Indiegogo's Writing category: The site lists many successful campaigns from short stories to full-blown novels.
  • Kickstarter's Publishing category: The largest rewards-based crowdfunding platform's publishing category had over 600 projects in it when I composed this article -- everything from projects from new anatomy coloring books to redacted stories from popular podcasts.

Like music and art, crowdfunding is a perfect medium for today's author. If leveraged appropriately, crowdfunding isn't just a more efficient way to fund a book's publishing, it may be a better way.