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Ep 056: “Crowdfunding Your Book”

Welcome to the 56th episode of The Author Hangout, a podcast designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

“The only way that people will want to buy your book is if they think it’s going to help them and they believe in you.”– Ryan Hanley

Crowdfunding Your Book

In this episode, we were joined by author and entrepreneur Ryan Hanley, who shared his story and insights about crowdfunding your book. If you have considered using crowdfunding to publish your book, then you don’t want to miss this episode.

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He’s a content marketing keynote speaker, podcaster and author who crowd funded over $10,000 in 21 days to self-publish Content Warfare, a book that helps business owners tell their story, find their audience and win the battle for attention online. Besides blogging about his winning strategies for building, activating and empowering an audience Ryan hosts the Content Warfare Podcast where he interviews some of the most prolific content creators on the web. Here to share his incredible story of successful authorship is Ryan Hanley.

How did you become an author and publish your first book?

“I wrote the book because I’ve been blogging for a while. It was always a side hustle for me. I was a full time insurance agent/insurance marketer at a single location independent insurance agency in upstate New York and I had been on the side, doing these things in content marketing and digital marketing for our business to help the business grow and on the side….I have this teaching nature. I started writing RyanHanley.com, my website became the platform for me to share what I was actually doing because I was starting to get questions like, “Why are you doing this?” “How are you doing this?” “What do I do when this doesn’t work?” I started answering those questions and I started to get the same questions over and over, and I started to see the same pattern over and over with people and why it wasn’t working and this is the premise of the book that I ultimately wrote, which was, they weren’t building an audience.”

He also shared his story about crowdfunding a book. If you are interested in crowdfunding for self-publishing, you don’t want to miss that part of the interview.

What are some tactics of promoting a book crowdfunding project?

Here is a pretty familiar tactic:

“The #1 tactic is, if you know you’re going to crowd fund, 30-45 days before the launch of the crowd funding campaign, start building an opt-in list. Basically what I did was, a large section of the book, the book is around 60,000 words and I took a 6,000 word section of the book and I paid my editor to edit that section of the book before he edited anything else. He actually happened to re-edit it, which was fine but I needed something that was crisp and clean and nice. I took that chunk of the book and I gave it away for free. I said, “Here’s a free section of the book, read this. If you like it you’re going to love the Content Warfare book and what I want to do is be able to email you when the crowd funding campaign goes live.” Completely transparent. I gave away this thing and I just marketed that to my blog email list, to my friends, to my Facebook and all my Twitter followers and I gathered 275 email addresses. What you have is, day 1, an opt-in list of people that aren’t just like know who you are but have said, “I want to be notified on the day that this thing goes live so I can contribute.” Not all of them will even though they opted in. I would say about 50% of that email list did.”

Why is building an audience so important?

Ryan talked a bit about building an audience:

“I have people who have been with me for half a decade who are on my email list, who’s been connected with me on Facebook and social media, who’ve seen me speak…this wasn’t just, “I’ve never done anything online. I’m going to write a book and expect people to buy it.” This was…I don’t want to say a lifetime, but a decent part of my working career. To that point, building up this audience of people who valued the work that I did and trusted me. If you’re an author and you’re sitting there, you’re wondering why either your book isn’t selling or you’re considering writing a book and you haven’t built an audience yet, I would pump the breaks really hard and start working on your audience. Because if no one believes in you, they’re never going to give your book a shot. Your book is a really big investment. Just because you wrote it and maybe it’s good, it doesn’t mean that anyone…that you deserve any attention or that anyone has any obligations to buy your book. Maybe your parents have an obligation to buy your book but no one else does. The only way that people will want to buy your book is if they think it’s going to help them and they believe in you.”

He also shared a great example of how another hustled and built an audience, that you don’t want to miss.

If you started over today, what 3 things would you tell yourself to help you sell more books?

Ryan is to the point about the top tips he has:

“Build an audience first. Make really good friends with every podcaster that you could possibly become friends with and have a good title, or something. I think having really good friends who are willing to market your book for you and having an audience are the 2 most important things. There could be a lot of little things for #3, like engaging cover, have an interesting title, the book actually has to be good. But if you have lots of friends who are willing to help you market your book in one way shape or form, your book will do well.”

How can people connect with you?

“If people are interested in learning more about me or just connecting www.ryanhanley.com is my catchall. The book Content Warfare can be found on Amazon. Any questions, write to me at www.ryanhanley.com I’m always happy to connect with people.”

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