This morning I discovered there were some potential misconceptions circulating that need to be clarified.
Right now eSpec Books is running a Kickstarter campaign for two novels by bestselling authors Jack Campbell (The Sister Paradox) and Brenda Cooper (POST) (http://tiny.cc/Novels2016).
A comment made on one of their posts regarding the campaign startled me this morning. The person commenting was under the impression that the author was running the campaign and that they would only write the book if the campaign funded.
My apologies to the authors for this outward perception.
To our audience, please be assured of two things. One, eSpec Books is the creator of this crowdfunding campaign (more on this in a moment); and two, both novels that are the focus of this campaign are and have been written for quite some time.
Now…back to the business of crowdfunding.
I cannot speak for all authors and publishers who use this tool, but this is the reasoning behind eSpec Books use of crowdfunding as a part of our business model.
As an independent publisher we have the knowledge and the skill to run our business, but not the capital. Traditionally those going into small press accepted that there will be a period of years where their company will run in the red (accumulate debt, rather than profit), but eventually turn a profit. Many publishers function and have functioned successfully under this principle. Many more have crashed and burned because their profit margin has never caught up to their debt. Others bear the stigma that comes with low-budget production and in their imperfect dealings with their authors and vendors when they can’t keep up.
Not only is this bad for the industry and the authors, but it is a great source of stress for the publisher. Having been in this industry for over two decades as both a publishing professional and as an author, I have seen companies, lives, and dreams crumble under the weight of that pressure. This is one of the reasons for the longest time I swore I would never become a publisher.
Then along came crowdfunding at the same time various publishers I worked with were beginning to crumble. I experienced my first campaign as a participant and saw the potential. It was possible to pre-sell a book. It was possible to pay more than a pittance to authors and artists and other various individuals that make a book happen. It was possible to create something and yet be in the black right out of the gate.
Now, before any more misconceptions sprout, crowdfunding is not free money. It isn’t buckets of profit. It’s not easy. eSpec has run seven successful crowdfunding campaigns and I have been a participant in a handful more. They take exhaustive work to set up, promote, and fulfill, and that is beyond the work of actually producing (in our case) the book or books funded. Most campaigns are not successful. When they are, at least in our experience, in the end there is little actual profit coming directly out of the campaign and whatever monies are not used for production are shared equally with the author(s) for their efforts.
So, building a company with crowdfunding as a part of your business model helps create a more stable platform that eventually will not require crowdfunding in order to produce works. Yes, this is the goal. But what most do not realize is that crowdfunding is not solely a source of funding. It is a platform where we as creators can build a community, an audience for our works. We show good faith and our backers show loyalty. In an industry where it is difficult to get noticed because of the sheer volume of work produced each day, that is more value by far than the funding itself.
We hope that has made things a bit more clear and we thank you for your patience when we go into promotion mode. Of course, we always are hopeful that you might also find what we are doing of interest and check it out.
Our current campaign is for two very different coming-of-age novels.
In Jack Campbell’s The Sister Paradox 16-year-old Liam is an only child who suddenly finds himself with a sword-wielding sister from an alternate dimension. And if that isn’t strange enough, she’s come to take him on an important quest…involving cursed keeps and dragons.
In Brenda Cooper’s POST 16-year-old Sage has grown up almost exclusively within the confines of a botanical garden, a safe haven from the post-apocalyptic collapse of the outside world. Sage, however, is tired of the sheltered life and wants to discover the world rebuilding itself outside the garden’s walls. She learns hard lessons on the way back to civilization…
Thank you for giving us the time to share with you and we hope you might take a moment to visit our campaign page and learn more about these wonderful books. http://tiny.cc/Novels2016