For the past year or so I’ve given considerable thought to the idea of crowd-funding a novel. I figure that it would not only be a great way to get one of my novels out there, but it’d also help me create a deeper connection with my readers. After all, if I can get my readers to invest in a project financially, that will automatically create emotional investment as well, right?
For the uninitiated, crowd-funding is defined as “a method of raising capital in small amounts from a large group of people using the Internet and social media.” Or, simply put, people investing money (even as little as $1) in a project.
But when it comes to crowd-funding a novel, several things weigh on my mind.
First, what story should I tell? What would my readers want to support? I initially thought about crowd-funding Truffle Butter, but I was too deep into the process to start asking folks to contribute so I decided against it. I’m now thinking my hip-hop-tinged adventure story Fetch the Treasure would be the perfect crowd-funding project. I’m also planning a loose “trilogy” of novels set in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1990s — the era in which I grew up there — and maybe they’d be better suited for this sort of experiment.
Second, I wonder — would ANYONE really support any crowd-funding effort I launch? Sure, I have a wonderful reader base (I love you all), and I know a shit-ton of people, but I’ve come to recognize that being “popular” and knowing a bunch of folks won’t necessarily translate into sales or recognition. I mean, shit, I barely got anyone to buy my latest novel, Manhattan Sweetheart. So how would a crowd-funding campaign be any different? I wonder.
Now, this is idea is certainly doable. I’ve seen similar projects achieve crowd-funding success. Danyel Smith and Elliott Wilson’s seminal HRDCVR magazine project certainly found its share of backers (including Jay Z), and Ryan North’s To Be or Not To Be had one of the most successful publishing Kickstarter campaigns ever, raising more than half a million dollars. So again, this ain’t some pipe dream proposing — it can be done.
If I do decide to launch a crowd-funding campaign, it won’t be until sometime in 2016, after the release of Truffle Butter. So I’ve got time to think on it and make sure, if I’ma do it, to do it right.
Speak up, lemme know your thoughts — good idea, bad idea, whatever. If I move forward with this, would you support me?