This is the fourth in a long series of articles about how and where to crowdfund publishing books. The first (summary) is here, the second (Kickstarter/Indiegogo) is here, and the third (Patreon) is here.
Founded in 2011 by a mother-daughter team of publishers, Pubslush caters directly to our targets: readers. There are no videos here to compete with, no cartoonists (well, okay, but only if they write books), no multi-platinum bands. All you get on Pubslush is books.
Pubslush is also quite successful at funding the projects that it takes on. According to some figures, more than 50% of the posted projects meet their funding targets. Most of them are, admittedly, quite modest, but some are more ambitious, in the low 5-figure range. Pubslush provides a robust platform for marketing your work, as well, and the best website of any of the sites in this series, I think. Additionally, Pubslush has a foundation and supports literacy for underprivileged kids.
- You choose the level of pre-publication support you want. There are seven levels:
- Free (it does come with a pre-campaign checklist)
- Bronze ($50, gets you an impressive level of services, including campaign consultation for designing reward levels, email templates, etc.)
- Silver ($100, all of the above plus a dedicated campaign relations coordinator)
- Social Media Only ($150, adds tweets and Facebook statuses custom to your project, feature on Pubslush’s blog, and Pubslush SM boost)
- Gold ($200, most everything above plus a marketing director)
- Platinum ($300, you get the idea)
- Iron ($750, gotta love that iron is more than double platinum, must be a GOT thing. This level is essentially a vanity press level, adding Storiad as a publisher/promoter.)
- Platinum Plus ($1000, but you don’t get Storiad, which is interesting and somewhat disappointing)
- Having chosen a level of support, you present your book. There is some support for every level, even the free one. You get a cover photo, a pitch (back-of-book blurb), and a sample, about 10 pages (3000 words or so).
- You design your campaign and funding level, put up your reward packages, and off you go. You get 60 days.
- You designate minimum and maximum levels, like Indiegogo. If you hit the minimum, you keep everything after that. Pubslush takes 4%, which is less than anyone else.
- Your Pubslush campaign page converts to a sales page with a “buy button” that takes you to your Amazon page.
Simple. Actually, it really is simple. Pubslush has a clean, easy-to-navigate site, it’s very attractively put together, and anyone should have no trouble with it.
Downside: You’re going to be doing a great deal of the work yourself. By “work” I mean you’re going to design the cover, you’re going to do the editing (or, please for Heaven’s sake, get a pro to do it), and you’re going to do almost all the promotion of the thing, even at the higher levels of support.
It’s not too harsh to say that Pubslush essentially functions as a basic way to generate pre-publication momentum and take in some money earlier on in the process than you otherwise would be able to. You can be as professional about this thing as you want, which means that in general, most of the projects aren’t all that professional.
- Use the site as additional boost for your already-go project. If you have a book, and you’re going to self-pub the thing because it just doesn’t meet the industry’s go-to vibe at the moment (I think we’ve moved to ghosts now, having exhausted zombies and before that, vampires), Pubslush is a good way to use crowdfunding to spread out some of the financial benefits, so you can spend money in prep instead of shelling it out yourself.
- Spend money on cover design. If you’re going to attract additional backers beyond just the friends and family you’re already courting, you need to have a brilliant cover, one that says you’ve done a professional job.
- Make your pitch outstanding. You get one shot at this. Don’t take it less seriously than you would an agent or publisher query. Professionals are always on their game.
My worry with Pubslush is that it’s a site that generally caters to people who think their books are terrific, and just can’t get past the gatekeepers of the industry. I won’t lie; while there’s some validity to this thinking, most people that engage in it are delusional (not clinically, just normal-human delusional). It is absolutely true that many great books were rejected for a long time before getting published (often under quasi-miraculous circumstances, see Rowling, J.K.), which certainly indicates that there are terrific books that did NOT have their own individual miracles, and have never been published at all. Yours may, indeed, be one of these.
If it is, Pubslush is a way for you to find out, for very little risk and not much more work than you’re already doing.
Next time, part five: Inkshares.