Pubslush is a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Our niche platform allows authors and other literary pioneers to raise money and gauge audience response for new project ideas while supporters pledge their financial support, democratically bringing books to life
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“IF THE TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING ROUTE DOESN’T WORK, WELL THEN FUCK THE TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING ROUTE…SPEAK UP & SPEAK LOUD.”
Crowdfunding: Facilitating the Transition from Traditional to Self-Publishing

by Jane Monica-Jones

I believe we live in the most fortunate and opportune time to be a writer. From the world’s insatiable need for written content through a multitude of online and printed channels to the rise of easily accessible resources for writers to fund, print and market their stories. 

As the publishing industry continues to grapple with the ever changing landscape, the writer has emerged as the self determining victor.

No longer is our publishing success determined by a publisher’s letter or offer. Through the phenomena of crowdfunding and self-publishing, the publish, market and sell model has been jumbled. Now writers can market the story idea first, sell and then publish.

Although the writer has to wear new hats as marketer and salesman, we now get the opportunity to transform our words and ideas into something we can hold, without anyone else telling us yes or no.

In 2003 I self published a small kids picture book, before I knew anything about crowdfunding and paid for the printing out of my own pocket. 

There was something so magical about opening the cardboard boxes that contained my little book. The smell of ink and paper has been burnt into my nasal cellular memory. What was once a hazy string of words and ideas in my mind was now something real in my hand.

Ten years ago it was pretty unique to self-publish and I was fortunate enough to have the help of my sister who owned a magazine at the time, to do the desktop publishing. But the magical feeling still remains every time I look at the last few copies of my book that I haven’t sold.

Fast forward to today after years of working in corporate and arts marketing and with the discovery of crowdfunding, I have changed my view of how to self-publish successfully.

Self-publishing is more than just the self-printing of a book. In order move those boxes that will be filling up your spare room, it is vitally important to dedicate a sizable portion of your resources, financial or otherwise, to marketing. 

In the crowdfunding model, we market our idea first through the crowdfunding platform, sell it in the form of the money raised and then create the book. 

I believe it is vital that you factor in book marketing costs into your goal amount and outline this in your campaign message. You do this by mentioning your desire for the continued success of the book with further marketing and promotion to the greater market, outside of just your backers. 

Informing your potential backers of your need for a marketing budget builds credibility for you and your campaign. It shows your dedication and professionalism to the success of your book. 

Running a crowdfunding campaign is a wonderful process of gauging the market for your work. It is also a great way of honing your marketing skills. If you able to raise your self-publishing funds through crowdfunding, through all your efforts in promotion, networking and marketing you not only have an audience for your book through you backers but also evidence that there is a market for your book. 

But one big word of warning to the artist in you. If it appears that you haven’t been successful in reaching or coming close to your goal through crowdfunding, please do not think that there is something wrong with your book. I am a great believer that there is a market for pretty much everything. You just have to find your customers and touch their hearts. And you do this by crafting your crowdfunding campaign through the platform, your pitch and your story. 

So before you press the go live button on the crowdfunding site, get as many people as possible to review your pitch, tweak it, work on it and put as much passion in as possible. Also prepare, prepare, prepare how you are going to get the word out that your crowdfunding campaign has launched and why people should contribute. You do all this, and you will be having the sweet smell of ink and paper wafting up your nose in no time.

Jane Monica-Jones is the author of “How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign” available on Amazon.  

Social Media and Crowdfunding Authors: Twitter

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Traditionally, authors have sought the assistance of publishing houses to produce, market and distribute their books. However, traditional publishing is an extremely difficult industry to break into and, as a result, many aspiring authors are choosing to self-publish. Self-publishing, although more work for the author, also provides the author with more freedom to produce the book they want. Many authors are choosing to self-publish for that reason, and with the recent developments of social media, now is the best time to be your own publisher. Social media provides authors with a direct connection to their audience and they can market themselves widely at no cost.

The ability to connect with so many people for free can help authors to more successfully self-publish their book, and now, with the introduction of crowdfunding for writers, social media can also help to mitigate the financial risk of self-publishing. Crowdfunding is a way for a writer’s personal and professional networks to financial back their book project, helping to eliminate the out-of-pocket expenses of self-publishing. The writer’s ability to develop a strong social network through social media can help their crowdfunding campaign and, ultimately, the overall success of their book.

Every facet of social media is important when looking to build your following as an author and it’s important to build that following before the launch of your crowdfunding campaign. With the ability to connect with readers, writers can market themselves on websites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Wordpress, and Tumblr…and we’ll tell you how!

Twitter: The Future of Authors and Crowdfunding

Twitter is the perfect way to begin the branding of yourself as an author and gain a following before you begin your crowdfunding campaign. Letting your personality shine through your tweets and the individual interactions you will have with your followers will help to build your audience organically. The best way to get your readers excited about your book is to develop a personal bond with your audience—then their interest in your book will grow from that bond.

Searching hashtags that are related to you as a writer and the subject of your book will help you connect with your audience. Searching relevant hashtags will provide you with an immediate pool of people who may be interested in you and your book. There are over 200 million users on Twitter today, just think of how many opportunities you have to make connections with your audience!

Twitter contests are also a great way to get your readers excited about your upcoming book. Offer up free book giveaways, or even something more creative, in exchange for retweets and you’ll organically develop new followers and potential future readers. Contests will help to create a conversation and maintain a buzz around your upcoming book.

Twitter provides an instant connection to your audience and the ability to forge relationships with potential readers, so it’s naturally also a great place to link to your other social media sites. For example, linking to your blog will give your followers access to longer posts and enjoy more of your writing instead of being limited to your Twitter personality.

All of these free tools available give writers the opportunity to produce something they might not have had the chance to, had they been forced to follow the route of the traditional publisher. Building your following through interactions on Twitter gives you the chance to create a readership all over the world. Seeking out your audience and connecting with them is crucial if you’re thinking of crowdfunding for your book project because crowdfunding requires having a strong personal and professional network. 

Women on Wednesday—Adela Crandell Durkee

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Adela Crandell Durkee

1. At what age did you begin writing? Is writing your sole career or do you have other jobs in addition to being an author?

I “wrote” my first published piece (in The Flint Journal) when I was six years old.  I dictated the story to my mother, who took it all down in shorthand. She taught me the values of trusting myself, and of self-editing.  I remember her erasing her mysterious short-hand scratches when I corrected myself hand changed “the little girl lifted her hands like this,” to “the little girl lifted her hands over her head.”  Mom clipped the story and saved it for years, giving it to me just a couple of years ago.  

I always loved story-telling and writing.  That said, I most of my career is in science: microbiologist, chemist, quality assurance professional.  I held leadership positions in large and small pharmaceutical companies.  There I honed my writing skills by creating protocols, reports and procedures.  Writing instructions is a great way to build skills in writing details:  turn the black knob one-quarter turn counter-clockwise or until you hear a faint click and see a faint stream of steam escape.

I also love my vocation as wife and mother, which requires a lot of upfront investment and pays wonderful dividends.

2. What are some of the struggles that you have faced in the writing process? How were you able to overcome them?

The hardest part is getting started, and the second hardest is stopping.  I cannot write too close to bedtime, or my mind won’t relax.  Sometimes just the process opens up a flood of ideas.  This can have a paralyzing effect. Now I keep an electronic journal of ideas for later.  

3. How do you see writing as an empowering experience for yourself and other women?

I just love to write, it’s part of who I am and how I ground my thinking.  It’s a wonderful feeling to organize all the mish-mash of my thoughts into words on paper.  Sometimes, just putting a pencil in my hand helps me to coalesce my thoughts.  When recognizes me for my writing, it’s the best feeling in the world.  The only thing that beats that feeling, is holding one of my newborns for the first time.  Come to think about it, the process may be the same:  lots of gestation, waiting, and wondering, and finally, something I can share with the world.

4. If you had to describe yourself in three words only, what would they be?

Tenacious (I loved it the first time someone described me as tenacious.  My heart shouted out a big “YES!”)

Passionate (My sister pointed out that characteristic as so much more satisfying than emotional.)

Imaginative thinker (Sometimes I imagine what the squirrels and birds are thinking as they scamper around my yard.  On a serious note, I love logic and following a thread to imagine various consequences, intended and unintended.)

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

When I met my husband he promised we would visit the seven continents.  We’ve gone to North America (!), South America, Europe, and Africa.  I hope either Australia or India is next.  (I know India is not a continent, but it surely warrants a trip of its own.)  I’ll save Asia for last.  And I’m not going to Antarctica, although I’m game for Alaska for my dose of the cold-cold climate.)

6. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? Do you have any exciting plans or projects coming up?

My first novel, A LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, will be finished by the end of March.  I plan to get a boat-load of rejection letters because that’s the best way to get published.  Anyways, that’s what Stephen King and Anne Lamott both tell me in their books on writing.  I am putting my tenacity to work by submitting short pieces and I’m learning how to  monetize my two blogs The Black Tortoise and Once a Little Girl.  Eventually I plan to transform Once a Little Girl into a memoir.  In my free time, I’m editor of my ASQ Chapter’s Newsletter (http://www.asq1212.com) and I love to garden, play with my grandchildren, adventure with my husband, George, and of course, read.

http://www.theblacktortoise.com

http://www.oncealittlegirl.com

http://www.facebook/TheBlackTortoise

Http://klout.com/Blacktortoise

@blacktortoise

Literary Spotlight: 95Notes

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95Notes is a creative literary journal based out of Chicago, but operating on an international scale.  The magazine is in the final stages of launching an online edition, and submissions can be made here.  We got a chance to speak with Shaunwell Posley, president of 95Notes, about his take on the industry.

How long has your journal been running? 

We are actually just celebrating our 5th year in existence.  95Notes Literary Magazine has been running November 2007. We began as an idea between students in a poetry class at Chicago State University and it is heartwarming to see how much we have grown since our founding. We have received over 15,000 submissions from all over the world from locally in Chicago, all the way to Japan. For the last five years, we have featured the works of some amazing artists and writers like Quraysh Ali Lansana, Frank X. Walker, Adrian S. Potter, Randall Horton,Veronica Bohanan, R.S. DeFrance, Tara Betts, C. Leigh McInnis, Sara Wang, Leila Emery.  We have also published the first works of many up-and-coming writers.  95Notes Publishing is looking forward to the future, where we will launch, 95Notes Literary Magazine Online. 

What is the focus of your journal? 

95Notes is a platform focused on showcasing quality creative writing and artwork. We represent all creative writers and artists within the literary community. We are dedicated to bringing quality writing and artwork to the brink of the creative world starting in the heart of communities where literature is needed most to educate young minds. We are providing all individuals with creativity a chance, as we believe that literature and art is a part of everyday culture and it must be represented in all communities.  We truly let artists and writers be themselves. 

What defines quality writing for you?  

 Quality writing is extremely hard to define because it includes so many elements, but I will try my best to make a complete and sufficient definition. Quality writing is writing that is unique containing detailed and specific information that clearly emphasizes and showcases a coherent purpose. The word choice must be concise, strong, and vibrant. The style and setup must be distinct. The grammar must be clear of errors or if errors are present, then the consistency of errors must be at a minimum. Also, the information being presented must show a connection. Overall, writing is complex and practice is essential in becoming excellent at the trade.

How important is a support system for up-and-coming authors? 

I believe that it is essential for writers to have a support system as this is needed in order to stay actively encouraged while writing and also if assistance is needed, someone who has experience in the craft of writing can provide help and guidance. I believe that all writers need to support each other and becoming a part of a local or national community is necessary. 95Notes will feature a community area on the website specifically designed for writers to make connections with others. Also if writers and authors have suggestions on how they would like to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues, they are free to submit their suggestions to 95Notes@gmail.com and we will take all suggestions seriously in order to create the perfect experience. 

What resources do you recommend to writers looking to improve?

I believe that one of the best ways for writers to improve their craft is by consistently writing and reading. It is hard for a writer to truly become an expert in their craft, especially if they are not practicing with a goal to improve and also by reading the writings of other authors. But in regards to the initial question, I believe there are multiple, actually, an unlimited amount of resources for writers and I will list them below:

·         Pw.org (Poets & Writers)

·         Purdue University Online Writing Lab (owl.english.purdue.edu/)

·         Blogs of fellow Writers / Teachers

·         Stanford’s Resource Center – Standford.edu

·         Pubslush

·         World Wide Web is filled with resources for writers

·         PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! 

What’s the best way to purchase your journal?

At this time, the journal can be purchased by sending queries to 95Notes@gmail.com but will be available for purchase at website once complete, which will be by end of year. Also, if interested in subscriptions, queries can be sent to 95Notes@gmail.com

Literary Spotlight: 491 Magazine

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Running both online and in print, 491 Magazine is always look for talented new poets and artists.  Those looking to submit their work can do so here.  We got a chance to speak with Caitlyn, editor at 491, about what she sees in the industry. 

How long has your journal been running?

Since May 2009.

What is the focus of your journal?

We publish poetry and art.

What attracted you to working on this journal?

I’ve been in love with print for as long as I can remember, and I’ve watched quite a few print magazines cease publication. I wanted more poets and artists to have a chance to hold their work in their hands. 

What is one mistake you see many fledgling writers making?

Fledgling writers often focus too much on publishing instead of honing their talents. There’s no race to get published. I’ve heard many experienced writers talk about regretting pieces they placed early in their careers. My advice is to read more than you write. Write a poem and put it away for a while. Give your work space and time. 

What resources do you recommend to writers looking to improve?

I’m a big proponent of classes of any kind. That could be anything from an MFA program to a local workshop. It’s important to build a community of writers who help each other grow. Classes are a great way to meet like-minded writers. 

What’s the best way to purchase your journal?

Subscriptions are available on our website (www.491magazine.com). You can also buy individual issues at www.491.magcloud.com.  

Literary Spotlight: Black Lawrence Press

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Pubslush had the chance to speak with Dianne Goettel at Black Lawrence Press, an independent press that runs frequent contests for literature and poetry. Authors looking for more details on these contests, as well as the press itself, can get more details here

What criteria do you use as a publisher to choose projects?

The only criteria that is important to us is literary merit. We do not choose books based on commercial viability. If a book sells well, we are pleased; but the most important thing is making wonderful volumes of contemporary literature and non-fiction available to readers. 

What does your company do that makes it unique?

We work very hard to support our authors. We are a small press with a shoestring budget, so we are not able to sink funds into advertising or travel, but we work hard to get our books reviewed, to set up local events for our authors, and to get the word out about their books. We also work very closely with our authors on their cover art. It is important to us that our authors love their covers as much as we love their poetry and prose.   

Talk more about your St. Lawrence Book Award.

The St. Lawrence Book Award is an annual award for a first collection of poetry or short fiction. From the very beginning, Black Lawrence Press has been equally committed to poetry and short stories. As such, a number of our contests are open to both genres. We just closed the ninth annual Saint Lawrence Book Award and look forward to announcing the winner and finalists soon. Previous winners include Marcel Jolley (fiction), Stefi Weisburd (poetry), Jason Tandon (poetry), Fred McGavran (fiction),  Yelizaveta P. Renfro (fiction), Brad Ricca (poetry), Katie Umans (poetry), and Adrian Van Young (fiction). 

What is one mistake you see many aspiring writers making?

The most important thing is to send a polished manuscript. Errant apostrophes and spelling mistakes often belie a manuscript that still needs revising and, therefore, ends up in the rejection pile. 

What resources do you recommend to writers looking to improve?

Find a good writing workshop in your area or save up and go to a well-respected writing conference. To find out more about the opportunities available (and to learn about what editors are looking for at the moment), check out Sapling: http://blacklawrence.homestead.com/Sapling.html. If there’s nothing great in your area and you are not able to travel, check out the Dzanc Creative Writing Mentorships: http://www.dzancbooks.org/dcws

What’s the best way to support your publishing company?

Buy books! http://www.blacklawrence.com/

Literary Spotlight: Anderbo

Anderbo is a well known and renowned e-journal that accepts both fiction and non-fiction.  We got a chance to speak with Rick Rofihe, Editor-in-Chief and accomplished author, about his experience in the publishing business. 

How long has your journal been running?

I started the first Anderbo—Anderbo Books—in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1971; it was my second publishing company. There were some problems choosing a name for the first—Straw Books—so I decided to “invent” a new word, like “Kleenex”, you know. Because my thinking was, why “ruin” a word? Like, “mustang” used to be a horse, but now it’s a Ford car. In any case, when the e-version of Anderbo was conceived in New York City in 2005, I had wanted to call it “Virtue”—as in “Virtue is its own reward”—but that domain-name was already taken, so I went back to Anderbo. 

What is the focus of your journal?

Anderbo appreciates diversity in voice and style, delivered in high-quality prose (fiction or nonfiction) or poetry.
 

What attracted you to working on this journal?

E-publishing itself. Because, in a practical sense, the paper book or journal or magazine or newspaper is already as obsolete as the vinyl LP-record is, especially when it comes to the time and costs devoted to their manufacture and, especially, distribution. I was born into an era in which recorded music still came on heavy 78 rpm discs—now even my compact discs are passe. When Kindles and Nooks started popping up around me I figured their users to be odd show-offs, parading their electronic affectations. I still don’t own an e-reader, but soon I’ll be the one, even to myself, appearing strange, cluttering up my environment with hard-copy newspapers and magazines.

Any advice to authors looking to get published?

My advice is: ENTER LITERARY CONTESTS! It may seem like a long shot, but your odds of winning or at least having your work published are actually much, much, better than through a regular submission. 

What resources do you recommend to writers looking to improve?

Lorin Stein, the current Editor of the Paris Review, has put all the interviews with writers and poets that that magazine has ever published up on their website—that’s a good place to start. Also, if an aspiring writer ever gets a chance, by having their writing accepted at a publication, to observe a professional editor at work—my own have included The New York Times’ Charlotte Curtis in the early 1980’s and Open City Magazine and Books’ Joanna Yas in this century—a lot can be learned about dealing with the written word.
 

What’s the best way to purchase your journal?

Anyone, anywhere, anytime, can read it on a computer or smartphone without charge at http://www.anderbo.com.


Rick Rofihe is the Publisher & Editor-In-Chief of Anderbo. He is also the author of FATHER MUST, a collection of short stories published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Editor: Jonathan Galassi; Agent: Gail Hochman). Rick Rofihe’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Grand Street, Open City, Unsaid, Swink, and online at fictionaut, slushpilemag and epiphanyzine. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, SPY, and online at mrbellersneighborhood. A recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, he has taught MFA writing at Columbia University, and currently teaches privately in New York City. He is a member of PEN; was an advisor to the Vilcek Foundation for their 2011 prizes in the field of literature; and is the judge of the annual Open City Magazine No-Fee Rofihe Trophy Short Story Contest, now in its ninth year.