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On crowdfunding your way to a publishing deal

This is a Guest Post by freelance writer and journalist, Sabuhi Gard. Here Sabuhi tells us about her experience crowdfunding for her debut children’s picture book, The Valentine’s Day Cat.

The adage goes ‘everyone has a book in them’ but, thankfully, not all choose to write it down in the form of a book. For those who are attempting to write a novel, a children’s picture book or a piece of non-fiction, it can all be a very frustrating process. There is, of course, finding the time to write if you are juggling a full-time job or family commitments, writers’ block and also the countless rejections from literary agents and traditional publishers, which can lead you to ‘jack it in’ altogether.

For me, the possibility of rejection from countless literary agents and publishers put me off the traditional process, so I decided to try and get my children’s picture book published another way.

Self-publishing still has rather negative connotations and – on the whole – if you go down this route you will likely be hit by a barrage of negative comments from, or just be ignored by, the publishing houses and UK high street bookshops, which are already inundated with content from the traditional path.

I didn’t go down the self-publishing route, but I decided to crowdfund my children’s picture book via a publisher – Live It Publishing – their trading name is the catchy ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller‘. In order to start my crowdfunding campaign I had to do the following:

• Write a children’s picture book to a high standard
• Find a high quality children’s illustrator to illustrate the book on a limited budget
• Create an effective social media campaign in order to encourage the general public to pre-order a copy of the book
• Tell as many people that the book was available to pre-order via the online crowd funding platform
• Reach the pre-order target set by the publisher. In my case, I had to get 250 pre-orders from the general public in order to get a publishing deal (within 6 weeks).

Crowdfunding your debut novel or children’s picture book is not for the faint-hearted and it can get quite obsessive. Throughout the campaign I went through a range of emotions: from excitement that the book might be published to despair that not enough people will pre-order a copy, and it will never get ‘out there’.

It is nail biting, but worthwhile, stuff. The day my crowdfunding campaign was due to end, I got a call from BBC3 Home Counties Radio asking me to come to their studios for an interview about my book. While on air, I managed to reach my target. In fact, I went just over to reach 254 pre-orders, which was enough to secure a publishing deal and realise my dream of becoming an author.

The Valentine’s Day Cat (illustrated by Karen Moore) is available to pre-order via Waterstones.

author, children's books, crowdfunding, pre-orders, publicity, Sabuhi Gard, Social Media

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