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Breaking into the Publishing Industry? Start Your Own Crowdfunded Publisher

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This World Book Day, we’re diving into the world of publishing. Breaking into the industry the traditional way can be difficult and expensive as the recruitment market is extremely competitive. If you dream of a career in publishing but aren’t sure if a fast-paced career in London at a well-known publishing company is for you, you should consider starting your own crowdfunded publisher.

Working on amazing new pieces of literature and creating beautiful publications is every book lover’s dream. Unfortunately, working at a top publishing house can be highly competitive or inaccessible for some truly brilliant candidates. Many companies are based in London and despite the rise in hybrid working, living within commuting distance of the capital city can be unaffordable for many people.

Starting your own business might seem like an intimidating option, especially when you consider the initial start-up costs. Establishing your own publishing company can seem like a financially impossible option, as traditional publishers risk money on every publication they produce. A crowdfunded publisher will need an initial investment to get off the ground but here’s why it might be a great option for people who want to get involved with publishing and have entrepreneurial ambitions.

Crowdfunding has changed up how people secure critical funding for personal expenses, projects, and start-up businesses. Members of the public support the missions that appeal to them; when they support commercial or social enterprises, they are often offered something in return for their investment. Crowdfunding allows people or projects to benefit from micro-investments, which is especially helpful if they haven’t been able to secure capital from large investors. A crowdfunded publisher hosts the cover, title, and premise of a book they are looking to publish and seek consumer investment in the production costs of that publication. People put money towards the books they want to see made and read. In return for their investment, they get an exclusive ‘reward’ in exchange for their financial help towards the book’s creation.

There is much less financial risk for your business when producing a book, as the money has all come from buyers who have, in effect, ‘pre-ordered’ the publication. This ensures that additional sales made after production are contributing towards a profit amount for both you and the author. This business model also allows you to judge the potential performance of a publication, as the number of investors and speed at which the project reaches its target will indicate how popular the book concept is. It won’t necessarily predict how the book will perform once it is published and open for general sales, but it will hopefully give you a good impression. Due to reduced financial risk, you might be able to support books and authors that have a less commercial, more niche appeal.

There are still risks to consider: you have to be careful to accurately budget and predict the production costs, factoring in your business expenses, salaries, and overheads, to make sure you can make a profit once the book is published. People may ask for refunds if they are unsatisfied with the ‘reward’ or book they invested in. You must be prepared for that potential outcome. Some books will not reach their target amount and therefore, will not receive any funding from consumers. In order to not feel that loss to keenly, be careful how much work you invest into the project before hosting it for crowdfunding opportunities. Like any project, the production process of a book could run into unexpected, additional expenses and it would be good to have a safety net fund in case this happens.

Starting your own business is always a risk. If the entrepreneurial life does suit you and you have a particular interested in publishing, this could be a great business model to consider undertaking. A successful example of this business strategy is Unbound, a crowdfunded publisher that uses a staggered rewards system for their contributors, so the more they invest, the more ‘rewards’ they receive in return.

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