Crowdfunding Books: Part Seven – Unbound

This is the seventh in a long series of posts outlining crowdfunding methods and ways to get a book published other than the traditional route. The overview is here, Kickstarter/Indiegogo is here, Patreon is here, Pubslush is here, Inkshares is here, and Pentian is here.

unbound22Today we get to a foreign option called Unbound. It shares a lot of characteristics with some of the other platforms we’ve discussed. Specifically, it looks much like Inkshares, though there are some differences.

Founded in 2011, Unbound is one of the older of the potential crowdfunding platforms. Their success isn’t tied to width, as in, “we’ve published two books every minute for the last six months”; instead, it’s tied to quality, as one of the sixty or so books they have published was Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake, a massively unconventional book that really has to be read aloud, because the language he wrote it in–spoken middle-English–doesn’t entirely exist. But the book found backers on Unbound, got published, and then was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and became a bestseller.

That may be the best of what Unbound can do–allow authors to try out projects that don’t fit anywhere else.

Basics:

  • You sign in and create an account. It is, I need hardly say, free, and you can do it with Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • You propose to Unbound. They take 6-8 weeks to review your proposal and tell you whether they’ll put it up on the site.
  • If accepted, you put up a proposal page. This describes your book. Unlike other sites, you don’t have to have it written; in fact, the majority of books on the site are speculative projects that haven’t gotten past the theory stage.
  • People pledge to back them. Any sum from $1 up. You can also sell things incident to the book being published, like the dedication and acknowledgements, etc.
  • Contractually, you have 90 days to hit your target ($10k, roughly, and you need to get to at least 70% of this to get to the next level)
  • If you hit the kinds of pledges that indicate your book has legs, then Unbound gets involved and helps get the book ready. You get the time to write it, they edit and publish it, and help with marketing.
  • Revenue split is 50/50. Unbound owns the worldwide English language rights.

Downside: Many of the same problems most of the others have, Unbound shares. If you don’t have a robust network of fairly rich backers, you’re unlikely to hit the $7500 or so that you need to get the machine working for you.

There is one other serious issue for most of us, and that is this: it’s UK only. They do, they say, take authors from other countries, but this is the verbiage from the website: We are not against having non-UK based authors but this would depend on the project and the quality of the writing as we are a UK based company.

Tips:

  • Have a project that is unusual, literary, and strange. That’s the recipe on this site. Quite possibly it’s a UK thing.
  • Wish I had something else.

Unbound is not a differentiator in the market, except that it’s English. There’s a chance that it may become one, though, by branching into film and music as well, using its crowdfunding model to support other kinds of creative enterprises.

P.S. They’re very friendly. Their customer service people contacted me about why I’d signed up with them less than 24 hours after I submitted my registration, just to be sociable.

 

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