On his blog “Get Published Now, David J. Vallieres looks at a Kickstarter-style crowdfunding project based around a small-press-published historical horror novel called The Express Diaries, with a goal of $5,500. The idea was to get paid to create a deluxe edition of the book before it even shipped, and also create some buzz so that their regular self-published edition would get a good sales boost at the outset. It seems to be working well:
As of this minute they have raised a total of $7,195 for this project. By my count they have promised delivery of 102 copies of the deluxe hard-bound copies of the book (some signed, some unsigned). I’m not counting the ebook deliveries or audio recording promised to supporters (delivered by email) nor am I counting the postcards that go along with some of the books in the hard costs for this project.
Their gross profit from each book then is approximately $70.54 to date. They still have 19 days to go in their campaign so if they get contributors above the $70.54 level that will add to their gross profit per book. Anything below that will decrease their profit per book.
They’ve raised almost three hundred more dollars since then, though according to their campaign’s site they still have 30 days left to go in it. Perhaps they extended it?
It’s interesting that Vallieres chooses not to count the e-books or audio books when divvying up the costs among the printed books sold, isn’t it? At the moment, only 14 $10 and 4 $20 e-books have been sold, which is just $220 out of the $7,490 earned to date. But it’s $220 that doesn’t require sending more paper books out.
And this means Vallieres’s statement in the second paragraph above is wrong: people who contribute $10 or $20 for e-books or e-books with audio will increase the gross profit per book, not decrease it, because the e-books don’t require sending more physical books.
Either way, I suspect the publishers don’t really care about how much profit per novel they make; they’re alredy surpassing the lump sum of money they wanted to get, and they had set limits on the number of books they would print and ship for that. So even if they have to send out every book they offered, they will come out ahead.
I’d never heard of “Indiegogo,” the crowdfunding site used for the campaign, but it seems to use the same basic setup as Kickstarter. And we’ve already reported on some book and e-book projects (such as Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Century tie-ins, or the Order of the Stick webcomic collections) that used Kickstarter to sell. Though not all of them were successful. Stream-of-consciousness writer Mark Baumer’s Kickstarter to raise $50,000 to write 50 books in a year didn’t even make $2,000 in pledges. Clearly just having a Kickstarter is not an automatic guarantee of success.
Nonetheless, it seems that crowdfunding fiction is a really popular fad lately. I wonder if it will stay around for the long haul?