Social Media Skills Help Pay the Cost of Publishing a Book

Cost of Publishing a BookPhil Simon is no stranger to book publishing.

With two books already published and doing well, he found himself unwilling to go the traditional publishing route with his third book, “The New Small“.

“It all really boils down to controlling your own book’s destiny.”

“It all really boils down to controlling your own book’s destiny,” explains Simon. “I wanted the power to drive my own book to success instead of having to leave its destiny in the hands of someone else who might not be as invested as I in the book’s future.”

Another Way

The obvious move seemed to be self-publishing however, that approach concerned him.

“I wanted my third book to be of the same high-quality as my previous two. The cost of doing so on my own seemed prohibitive.”

“I wanted my third book to be of the same high-quality as my previous two,” says Simon, “That meant hiring a proper printer, editor, proofreader and cover-designer. The cost of doing all this on my own really seemed prohibitive.”

It was award-winning author Seth Godin who came to Simon’s rescue in the form of a podcast called, “The new dynamics of book publishing“. In it, he mentioned a site named, “Kickstarter”.

“At Kickstarter,” explains Simon, “You can raise money to fund creative projects. After exploring the site, I thought, ‘Why not use this for my book?’.”

Fundraising the Social Media Way

Once Simon set up his Kickstarter project page, he began using the tools provided by the site to put his social media skills to work in three key ways:

  1. Giving Back – a cornerstone of social media success is to give as much, or more, than you receive. Knowing this, Simon used Kickstarters ability to create different “levels” of pledges, each of which was tied to something that the contributor would receive in return for their donation. To his delight, the top level pledges sold-out first which he believes was directly tied to the promised return, “…the book will be dedicated to you! (And you’ll get a signed copy of it.)”.
  2. Consistency – Simon used Kickstarter’s “Update” feature to regularly blog on his project’s progress. This constant engagement kept him top-of-mind and likely led to greater word-of-mouth chatter about his project. It also demonstrated dedication to his book project and made potential contributors more likely to give because they felt his project was going to be finished successfully.
  3. Community – Simon made a conscious effort to reach out to other Kickstarters for ideas and strategies. He also contributed to other projects which helped build good will. These efforts allowed him to build a community of people who would spread the word about his project and send potential contributors his way.

Simon did not limit his efforts to Kickstarter alone.

“I’ve been blogging, commenting and actively participating in social media for the past two years,” says Simon. “Those efforts really paid off because I was able to tap that network and direct folks to Kickstarter.”

Results

Simon reached his goal, $4,000, with the help of 112 contributors. Actually, he blew past his goal and raised $4,602.

“With Kickstarter,” explains Simon, “it’s all or nothing so you should set the bar intentionally low because if you don’t reach your goal, you get nothing. That said, you do get to keep money donated above your goal amount, so you are not limited to that lowball target.”

“I had a great tribe in place to announce (and buy) my book when it was published.”

Another advantage is the community that was built along the way.

“In reaching out to fellow Kickstarters, bloggers and my extended social network,” says Simon, “I had a great tribe in place to announce (and buy) my book when it was published. That’s a great head-start in my goal to make “The New Small” a success!”

More Information

This post focused on Simon’s use of his social media skills and Kickstarter to pay the cost of publishing a book. If you are interested in learning more about his self publishing journey during which he actually created his own publishing company, hired a professional team and found a printer, a good starting place is his post, “Kickstarting My Third Book“.

Comments

  1. This was really wild Matt. I literally had no idea that such a thing existed.

    I can very much appreciate what the author went through though. I’ve written to paperbacks and looking back I’m bothered by the lack of marketing the publisher gave to them. If I had to do it over again, I’d have way more control and a very new-age, ‘social’ approach. (Actually, I will be writing a 3rd before too long so I’ll get to put these new lessons to the test)

    Thanks for the read Matt.

    • Glad you liked it Marcus.

      Yeah, this is some powerful stuff.

      One the one hand, socializing a book really gets the word out and makes a much bigger splash upon publishing.

      On the other end, it also helps validate that there is an audience for a book, even before it is written. How powerful is that for a publisher and how motivating for an author?

      I would love to hear more from you when you try the approaches laid out above!

      -Matt

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    Social Media Helps Pay the Cost of Publishing a Book – Using his social media skills, Phil Simon was able to raise the money needed to publish his third book his way….

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