Friday, 21 June 2013

Fundraising on Facebook


Keep those donations coming in.
I visited a bookshop back in early December to promote my novel, Covenant. At the time, the proprietor said he was fully stocked and suggested I return in a few months. So, as it's June now...ta da!

I handed him a photograph (a real 6 x 8) of Covenant's cover, with the ISBN, my email address and a URL for reviews on the back. He seemed reassured that he could order it through Gardners, like the rest of his stock. No guarantees, although I think I made an impression.

Print-on-Demand is more cost-effective, but there are costs - as my recent decision to tweak those last few typos, post publication, can attest. Then, as every author knows, there are other costs: paperback review copies and freebies, postage, travel to shops and events, bookmarks, posters, photos, CDs for ebook giveaways face-to-face and maybe even a t-shirt of the cover as a competition prize. It all adds up, so what's an impoverished writer to do?

Maybe social media can come to the rescue, in the form of a Facebook fundraising app?

Remember when Unbound launched a crowdsourcing initiative and Terry Jones got his book funded? Well, from what I can tell, this is a similar idea, only, this time, you're targeting your own audience / FB community. (It could also be another motivator to build your community before you go to print.)

I did some trawling (no, not trolling) and checked out the donateapp.

Here's what you need to know:
1. It's a free app, so you download and install it like you would any other one.
2. It's available for use by charities, charitable events, non-profits and just about anyone else.
3. There is a 2% processing fee, plus a $0.40 USD charge per transaction.
4. Donations go into your PayPal account, so the usual PayPal fees apply, and can come from the usual sources (other PayPal accounts and fantastic plastic).
5. The actual donating is done 'on the page', so the donor doesn't need to leave Facebook.

The one I've seen isn't the only fundraising app on Facebook, but it seems to have the lowest processing fee and others aren't all compatible with PayPal yet.

How could it work for writers?

Well, like those independent film start-ups, you could link your donation with some kind of reward. Only, instead of appearing as an extra, a large donation (or a random draw from all the donors) could name a character. Or else, once a funding target has been achieved, you could pay for some of those 'freebies'. Maybe readers could even prepay for thier book, although I'd suggest you've actually written it first before you download the app.

As readerships are increasingly international, your funding base, potentially, could be similarly inclusive. According to wikipedia, in 2012 there were 88 states (sovereign and non-sovereign states) where English is an official language.

If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how you get on.

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