Assignment: CrowdBook is a new startup that hopes to shake up the publishing industry with a new business model. It blends the traditional services of a publisher—selecting, editing, printing/digitizing and distributing authors’ books—with crowdfunding along the lines of Kickstarter.
Here is material provided by your client at CrowdBook. Use these notes to create an effective press release.
WELCOME TO CROWDBOOK.COM
A new way to connect authors and readers.
Crowdbook is a unique space in which authors present their projects, backers pledge and support them, and everyone benefits from the profits generated by the book sales.
Historically, young talents in art and literature have been supported by backers to launch their projects. With CrowdBook, you have access to the best community backers specializing in books. They want to become your publishing partners.
Did you know that most of the "best sellers" also had difficulty finding a publisher? With CrowdBook, backers have the ability to support new talent and help them not only publish, but also share part of the royalties from the sales generated.
Here’s how it works:
Authors present their work with the technical support of the publisher.
The backers support the project or author making it become a reality. Their pledge entitles them to different rewards and a portion of the profits generated by the sales of the book.
The books go for sale worldwide and profits are shared with the author and the backers
How does this CrowdBook thing work?
CrowdBook works with authors to publish books in a bold, new way. CrowdBook sees projects through from the ground up, helping to coordinate crowdfunding campaign, and, once the book is funded, working with authors to edit, publish, and distribute the book. Authors share in profits with their backers and with CrowdBook at the highest rates in the industry.
What is a CrowdBook?
The CrowdBook is a mythological creature from days of old. Part novelist, part crowdfunding guru, the CrowdBook flies through the skies, granting wishes to authors and distributing books throughout the land.
What is crowdfunding? How does CrowdBook use it?
Crowdfunding is a collective financing system in which a person or backers support a project so that it can be completed. CrowdBook is a platformed that specializes in books and publications where the backers, not only receive rewards established by the author, but also form a part of the publishing team, receiving a % of the sales once it is in distribution.
Authors come to CrowdBook to gather funding for their book’s publishing.
Readers pledge to support new talent that they discover on the CrowdBook site.
Both the authors and readers profit financially when books are sold. (From net profits, 50% goes to financial backers of the book, 40% to the author, and 10% to CrowdBook.)
It’s a new publishing platform that works. Risky projects get published and marketed just like any other title if they can get public backing that proves there’s an audience for the title. Investors win, CrowdBook wins, and the author wins.
Interview with author R.J. Huneke
I’ve worked on my novel, Cyberwar, from March of 2013 until March 2014, and over the last five months I began to reach out to agents, more than 300 who have worked in the thriller/commercial and even the speculative fiction genre to represent me. I’ve had a lot of positive responses, but I also got a lot of “Well, we think it’s great” but that they just can’t take a risk at this time with a debut novel.
I had considered going to smaller publishing houses on my own, but I thought my writing and the story was strong enough that I didn’t want to do that. I wanted real backing for this book, so when I read about what CrowdBook was doing it seemed to make a whole lot of sense. Here’s a company that had been a traditional publisher but sees the future of getting investors involved in getting a book published – I thought that was very smart on their part.
What really got me on the idea, though, was when I spoke to [company co-founder] John Q. Smith. I reached out to them to take a look at my work; he spoke to me briefly when I was in New York, and I was impressed that he was very much about not only keeping the quality of the books high, but also about keeping the creativity intact as well. He told me that in order to keep Ingram and his other distributors happy, he demands the highest quality, so if they take on a project and it gets greenlighted by investors, it’s going to be handled correctly.
Internationally, CrowdBook has taken off, so I felt that the model could really become very big in the U.S. It’s not the traditional route, but at the same time you have the support of CrowdBook. So when John told me he liked the first fifty pages and wanted to highlight it as his first big U.S. title, my decision was made.
What has the process of working with CrowdBook been like?
It’s been very good. I’ve spoken with a CrowdBook rep at least once a week since June – they’ve been very thorough and very easy to go back and forth with. We’ve discussed things like what do you envision your book cover looking like? They listened to my input and came up with a few different designs and ran them past me, even though when it gets funded and published it could have a different cover – this was one was for funding purposes only. They set me up with a copy editor that I’ve been working with, and we discussed ideas before it went live.
In addition, John came to me with the idea of getting investors involved in the project by becoming a villain or character in the book. [For $300 an investor can have a character named after himself (or herself); $600 and an investor becomes a recurring villain in the series.] I was blown away with that – it was John’s idea and I thought it was fantastic.
We brainstormed how to frame the pitch. And then, and this is interesting – one of my main concerns was can I use any of the book for promotional purposes – what am I looking at? It turns out that they’re essentially open to whatever I want to do. However I want to promote it they’ll help me with that. “Whatever you think will help to promote the book,” they told me, “we’re here to help you with.”
And in terms of the rights, they have it very simply laid out. They have the first serial rights, I have everything else. The book is very visual, I want it to be a movie at some point – those rights are all mine.
I first spoke to CrowdBook around the beginning of June, and we went live three weeks ago. Right now we’re at 20%. It’s difficult to tell how quickly the investors come in. I’ve been told that some projects get funded almost entirely during the last couple of days; for others it’s a more gradual process. They give investors 60 days to fund it, so if someone wants to get in, they have to do it now, otherwise they lose the opportunity.
I came into this with very high standards and expectations, and so far, I’ve been very impressed.