Crowdfunding for Broke Writers: Survey Results

I’m planning on crowdfunding to publish my already written and finished novel, Books & Bone. I’m not the kind of person who likes to jump into big decisions without really examining them, and I’m also extremely broke, so crowdfunding has a lot of risks for me.

So! I made a survey with a goal of a small sample size of 100 respondents (which is ambitious for me, since I have a very small network). I wanted it to be applicable to other writers in the same situation, so I kept the questions general.

You can view the results here but I’m going to break them down a bit anyway.

First up, I made a few mistakes I hope you can learn from if you ever try a survey like this:

  1. The survey ends if you answer ‘no’ to the first question, but those people still may have had relevant answers to the following questions. This was stupid, and means that my actual sample size for all but that first question is 95.
  2. I let people answer ‘other’ and add their own answers on several questions. This made some of the results a mess. I should have just had a ‘any other comments’ question beneath each question.
  3. I simplified complex questions in the name of getting useful answers, but some of the questions were too ambiguous for users.

With all that in mind, the data is not perfect and it’s a small sample size, so take it all with a grain of salt. I certainly am!

One thing I don’t regret is multiple choice questions without ‘maybe’ as an answer. Though this is a complex topic, I would not have gotten one third of the respondents I got if I had required more complicated answers. What’s more, forcing people to choose between Yes or No, when it comes down to it, is a lot more useful than Maybe in this kind of situation. Maybe nets you nothing, and I’m sure anyone reading these results understands that the answers to ‘maximum pledge’ or any other question rely on certain conditions personal to each respondent.

Anyway! On with the answers and some (VERY light) commentary.

All I was really looking for here was whether ANYONE would consider supporting a new author. The answer is YES (huzzah!)#

 

Of those willing to support a new author, here are the numbers of those willing to support a fantasy or young adult book. Again, here I was really just looking for: is the portion significant or is it niche? It’s significant enough for me.

I was really pleased to see that the factor everyone agrees on is a good sample. That’s easy enough to arrange and means you really shouldn’t skip it!

Okay, this one needs a little bit of commentary because I allowed people to submit their own ‘other’ answers, which largely led to people explaining what otherwise would have been the answers I supplied. LESSON LEARNED.

The numbers here actually divide more like this:

The book already being completed wasn’t a relevant option for me (since my book IS already completed regardless), but of course respondents didn’t know that and I ought to have included it.

Anyway, hopefully that makes it a little easier to read!

This is reassuring! People don’t really need a video to come to a positive decision about your campaign. However, since a large portion of people want to know what the author looks like (gasp, see below) and 80% of successful kickstarters have them … I’m probably going to make one anyway. D:

 

This is NOT what I wanted to hear, but it’s good to know. I don’t want to lose out on 14% of backers because they don’t know what I look like, especially considering a third of respondents want to know even if it wouldn’t affect their decision.

I wanted to add another question for people who said yes, or that they would like to see me anyway: ARE YOU SURE?

 

This is another one that will need a better breakdown. This question was meant to assume that there would definitely be ebook copies, as well as other digital rewards. Not everyone assumed that, so I should have made it clearer.

Simplified, the responses look more like this:

Next:

Okay, so here we can see that an ebook copy is the most important factor, but the second is paperback (eclipsed from this image for some reason). Short stories and additional related content (worldbuilding, character profiles etc) are the next most important.

Audiobook was a suggestion which I really wish I’d included. I bet that would be a popular backer reward if I’d offered it.

Anyway.

Another one in need of simplifying.

Again, kicking myself over not including audiobook. That was user-added and might have gotten more votes. Ah well.

And finally:

 

So obviously this is the MAXIMUM, which will rely on individual factors and preference. People might well require a physical copy of the book to hit their maximum, or have signed bookplates or bookmarks or other such things. But it does give you a clear idea of how far people will go. Not many backers are going to offer $50 no matter what you’re offering, and more than $50 had just 1 vote.

It’s nice to see that $5 is not most people’s maximum though.

 

ANYWAY that’s the survey results, and again please do check out the actual results analysis on google forms. For me, this makes me cautiously hopefully that my digital-only reward system will get some backing — but of course, that means I need to ask for a lower funding amount since it will alienate a portion of potential backers.

There are also a lot of additional comments from respondents at the bottom of the form. It’s a mixed bag, but I’m glad that people took the time to respond and clarify.

I’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking of crowdfunding the publishing of your book. Maybe we can bounce ideas off each other and provide feedback on each other’s campaigns. And of course, when I DO launch my kickstarter campaign (gulp) I’ll be sure to write up how it went, what worked and what didn’t!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Crowdfunding for Broke Writers: Survey Results

  1. I’m one of the respondents: I’m glad to see the results.

    If you don’t want to be in the video, then don’t! You should have some type of video, but plenty of stuff on Kickstarter and other sites are just voiceover with other art, or just pleasant backgrounds. Stick to your strengths, and don’t force yourself out of your comfort zone just for this.

    1. Thank you so much for saying this. It does feel like a lot of pressure when normally I am so careful not to reveal myself online. I think I will give it a go and film something, but if it doesn’t feel right, I’ll stick to voiceover, just as you suggest. 🙂

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