Building Your Business Business Financing Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Authors To Publish Books Get others to contribute toward your next book idea By Ashley Donohoe Updated on September 2, 2022 In This Article View All In This Article Unbound Publishizer Kickstarter Indiegogo Patreon GoFundMe Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Leonardo De La Cuesta / Getty Images Whether you plan to release a traditional book or ebook, you’ll encounter various costs throughout the publishing process. Using a crowdfunding platform to fund your book can help you cover your expenses by getting several interested people to contribute toward your goal. Often, you’ll offer potential donors a reward such as a signed book copy. You can then share the campaign to build interest and get contributions. These platforms can work in different ways as some also help with the publishing process while others just allow you to raise funds. In addition, you’ll encounter fees and restrictions that affect which site you might choose to help fund your project. Key Takeaways Crowdfunding lets you raise funds and market your book ideas.Unbound and Publishizer help connect you with publishers plus raise funds.Some other platforms work for raising funds but don’t offer publishing support.Consider fee structures, restrictions on content and rewards, and funding rules. Unbound Based in the U.K but allowing worldwide submissions, Unbound helps you raise funds and publishes your book for you. Its services include producing, printing, and shipping your work. Note Unbound requires you to submit your idea for approval, and has a continual list of genres for which it isn’t accepting submissions. In an email interview with The Balance, Bookfox founder John Fox explained that Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher, not just a crowdfunding site. “Their editors selectively choose a few novels and present them to the crowd as the best novels that they want to crowdfund,” Fox said. “And you get the best of both worlds—curated content and also money raised by people who want to read this type of material.” The platform decides on a target goal that depends on your book and its features. The fundraising process takes an average of three to six months. Unbound publishes your book only if your project gets fully funded. You’d then agree to a contract where the platform gets half of your book’s profits. Readers can buy your book online and in person at bookshops. Pros All-in-one solution Useful vetting process Flexible distribution options Cons All-or-nothing funding Certain genres aren’t accepted Preference for UK-based authors Publishizer Publishizer is a fundraising and literary agency that can help you crowdfund pre-order copies and land publishing deals. It guides you through creating your book proposal that the editorial team reviews for acceptance. You can then create your campaign, start marketing your book and offering bonuses and raise funds from readers during a 30-day period. Your publishing deal options depend on the pre-orders sold. Publishizer uses the following benchmarks: 500 pre-order copies at $20 per copy: Queries to acquiring editors and traditional publishing imprints1,000 pre-order copies at $20 per copy: Queries to acquiring editors at Big Five publishing houses Selling fewer than 500 copies still grants you the funds, but may not lead to a publishing deal—you’ll be responsible to publish and deliver pre-ordered copies. Note It can take up to six months to sign a publishing deal through Publishizer. After the campaign, Publishizer charges a 30% processing fee on your funds plus standard PayPal fees. It typically takes three to 10 business days to get the money. If you land a publishing deal through the platform, ongoing royalty rates will vary. Pros Step-by-step guidance Connections with publishers Flexible publishing options Cons Eventual royalties vary Short 30-day campaign deadline Signing deals take time Kickstarter Kickstarter has a history of more than 225,000 fully funded projects and $6.8 billion raised. The site allows you to post media about your book, share ongoing updates, and respond to backers. You can choose to offer rewards and set up multiple tiers to boost interest in your book. Note Check Kickstarter’s prohibitions list before starting your campaign or offering rewards.For example, books that claim to offer a cure for cancer may be rejected. You’ll create your project, set your goal, and choose a deadline between one and 60 days. Kickstarter reviews your project to determine approval first. Once it goes live, you’ll need to reach your goal by the deadline or else receive no funding. The funding method and short campaign time increase pressure, but also provide control. If you receive full funding, you’ll pay a 5% platform fee plus per-pledge payment processing of 3% plus 20 cents (pledges under $10 have discounted fees). You also have to wait 14 days before getting the funds. Pros Intuitive platform Well-known for creative projects Flexible backer rewards options Cons All-or-nothing funding Approval required No direct publishing support Indiegogo Indiegogo is a popular platform that targets entrepreneurs who want to launch new products. It works a lot like Kickstarter in that you create a page showcasing your idea and offering various perk levels to supporters. However, there’s no approval process, so you can get your book campaign live and raise money quickly. You can choose the fixed funding option that’s “all or nothing” or the flexible funding option that lets you get funds even without meeting your goal. If you do reach your goal, you could get ongoing funding through the Indiegogo InDemand program. The platform has a maximum 60-day campaign deadline. If you choose a shorter deadline, you can extend the deadline once. Indiegogo charges a 5% fee on your raised funds along with a per-transaction fee of 3% plus 20 cents. There is up to a 15-business-day waiting period to receive your money once the campaign completes. If your pledges top $1,000, the platform holds 5% of it to cover refunds and chargebacks. Pros Two funding options Potential for ongoing funds Flexibility for campaign length Cons Up to a 15-business-day payout waiting period No direct publishing support Possible reserves held Patreon Designed for content creators, Patreon uses a unique membership-level system where you can set up a page for your book and get monthly support from interested readers. Each level can offer specific perks, such as access to drafts, bonus chapters, or one-on-one experiences. Monthly memberships provide ongoing revenue and make the platform ideal for sharing self-published digital content. Patreon offers three plans for creators: Lite: No membership tiers, but offers a creator page and access to tools and workshops; 5% feePro: Supports membership tiers, analytics, and priority support; 8% feePremium: All the features of Pro, plus dedicated partner management, merchandise for membership, and team accounts; 12% fee Note Patreon charges two different transaction fees: one for donations above $3 and one for donations of $3 or less. Pros Ongoing monthly income Flexibility for offerings Support available Cons Fees can be high Revenues may not cover all costs GoFundMe With more than $5 billion raised, GoFundMe is a longstanding crowdfunding platform focusing on personal fundraising. However, it allows creative and business campaigns, too, so you can set a goal, share your campaign, and receive funds without a set deadline. Unlike other platforms, this platform prohibits offering donors any rewards in exchange for donations. So you can’t offer book copies, for example, to encourage donations. Instead, GoFundMe lets you send donors messages to show appreciation. GoFundMe lets you withdraw donations whenever you receive them. Since this isn’t an all-or-nothing platform, you’ll get to put the funds toward your book regardless of your fundraising goal. No platform funding fee applies, but you’ll incur a transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Pros No platform funding fee No campaign deadlines Flexible withdrawals Cons No donor rewards allowed No direct publishing support How Crowdfunding Can Benefit Authors Crowdfunding provides a way to cover publishing costs and keep more of your profits. Getting the money upfront makes it easier to proceed without needing to rely on loans or personal funds. However, you’ll want to keep in mind any fees that cut into your proceeds. Note All-or-nothing crowdfunding platforms come with the risk of getting nothing in exchange for your fundraising efforts. Platforms that let you offer rewards to donors may be more attractive to the people who want to support your book. “You want to be offering character illustrations, signed editions, alternative covers, NFTs, editor proofs, extra chapters, character backstories, etc.,” Fox said. “Offering escalating tiers of rewards is catnip for crowdfunders.” Crowdfunding also serves as a helpful marketing tool. You can see how interested people are in your book early on to decide whether it needs more work to be marketable. In some cases, you directly connect with publishers. You also build an audience who could become long-time fans and support future works. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Can you crowdfund a book? You can crowdfund your book and get enough donations to cover some or all of the various publishing steps. Some platforms assist with the publishing and distribution processes, while others only raise funds. Is Kickstarter good for authors? Since Kickstarter focuses on creative professionals, it's a good choice for raising funds to publish your book and gain fans. It allows you to offer exclusive rewards to encourage donations. Can you use GoFundMe to publish a book? GoFundMe offers flexibility that can help you raise the funds needed to publish your book. While the platform lacks any publishing tools, you can withdraw the donated funds anytime and find your own publisher. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Unbound. "Quickly Raise Funds for Your Next Book Idea." Unbound. “How Long Will It Take for a Project To Fund?” Unbound. “Why Should I Publish My Book With Unbound?” Publishizer. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Publishizer. “How We Work.” Kickstarter. “Stats.” Kickstarter. “Prohibited Items.” Kickstarter. “Why Is Funding All-or-Nothing?” Kickstarter. “Fees.” Kickstarter. "If My Project Is Successfully Funded, How Do I Receive My Funds?" Indiegogo. “Deadlines.” Indiegogo. “Fees & Pricing for Campaigners: How Much Does Indiegogo Cost?” Indiegogo. “How Do I Get My Funds?” Patreon. "We Only Succeed When You Succeed." GoFundMe. “About GoFundMe.” GoFundMe. "Fees."