LynneQuisition: Pubslush

Interviews by Lynne CantwellWhen somebody decides to look for crowdfunding to make a bowl of potato salad, you know the practice has hit the mainstream. Authors who are looking for financial help for their latest writing project have their own site to turn to: Pubslush. Nicole McArdle at Pubslush has agreed to take a seat in the comfy chair and answer a few questions for us.

Nicole, I think we’ve all heard about Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. What makes Pubslush different?

Nicole: As a niche platform, we are able to meet the needs of authors, publishers and literary professionals that other platforms simply cannot. All of our features have been created with the author in mind. For example, our flexible funding model, with a fixed low platform fee, was an answer to those frustrated with the all-or-nothing models of other platforms. Also, we understand that publishing is expensive and authors should be entitled to keep the most possible money they’ve raised, which is why we take the lowest platform fee in the industry, 4% of a successful campaign. The fee of other platforms ranges from 5-9%.

Pubslush also provides comprehensive data to all campaigners. Upon completion of a campaign, authors will walk away with demographic information such as location, age, gender, traffic source and click through rates, to effectively target marketing and promotional efforts.

Lastly, your project will be showcased to a serious literary community, meaning your book won’t be competing with potato salad, or other trending crowdfunding campaigns. If your campaign is successful, it remains a part of the Pubslush community forever and the author can drive traffic to the sale of the book once it’s published through our Buy Button feature.

Lynne: What sorts of projects are people using Pubslush for?

Nicole: We offer authors two options: crowdfunding, for those looking to raise funds to publish, and pre-orders, for those not interested in the funding, but who want to conduct an aggressive pre-publication marketing campaign while gaining sales and receiving analytics and data.

Lynne: How much help is available for authors who want to set up a campaign?

Nicole: One of the great things that sets us apart from other sites is our dedication to author support. We want all of our authors to succeed, which is why we created Pubslush Prep. It gives authors the option to have our team help them create and coordinate their crowdfunding campaign. We offer several different levels of support, which can include all types of services from unlimited email contact with our Pubslush Prep Team, to strategic and personalized tweets for the whole duration of a campaign. If you choose to join the program, a member of our Pubslush Prep Team will work closely with you to create rewards and tailor your campaign to be as effective as possible.

Lynne: You just mentioned rewards. Which ones get the best response?

Nicole: Rewards act as a great incentive for a reader to support an author’s campaign. Authors can, most obviously, offer a copy of their upcoming book, but can also offer more personalized rewards, such as a thank you card, a social media shout out, a dedication in the book, and more.

We often encourage our authors to set rewards that won’t cost them money. Over the years we’ve seen many effective and creative examples of this. For instance, a cookbook author once offered a one-hour Skype lesson as a reward. Teaching a reader how to cook a recipe from his own book while getting to know the reader built a long lasting relationship between them. Another great reward example that is of no cost to the author is offering to name a character after a reader.

Lynne: Of course, the main thing writers are interested in is selling books. Do investors in Pubslush projects turn into readers?

Nicole: We don’t typically call campaign supporters “investors,” because they aren’t investing in a project. Rather, they are pledging money in order to receive something in return — most often, a copy of the finished book. In most cases, anyone who supports a campaign is doing so because they are interested in reading the story, so our support-to-reader ratio is high. With that being said, there are those who choose to support a project simply because they are touched by the goal or mission behind a campaign and want to show their support.

Crowdfunding is a great way to attract new readers because you’re essentially involving them in the book creation process. In many cases, without readers supporting a project, a book wouldn’t be able to reach publication. As a reader, it’s rewarding to be a part of the publishing process.

Lynne:  Does Pubslush help authors find readers/customers?

Nicole: One of the most important things that authors need to know is just because a campaign goes live, it does not mean the book is going to sell itself. Self-publishing of any kind takes a great deal of work. With that being said, authors should be ready to dedicate the time and effort needed to promote their book, long before their campaign goes live. Pre-campaign preparation and promotion is vital to a successful campaign – so much so that Pubslush created the Launchpad, a feature that provides our crowdfunding campaigners with a landing page to drive traffic pre-campaign. Launchpad allows authors to get their supporters excited, build momentum and be ready for their campaign on Day 1.

Lynne: Sounds very interesting, Nicole. Good luck with it, and thanks for stopping by.

Indies Unlimited does not endorse or support any specific providers of products or services.

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

21 thoughts on “LynneQuisition: Pubslush”

  1. Great article. Last fall, I hosted a Kickstarter campaign that was woefully unsuccessful. I mean, it sank like a rock. I wanted to raise $2,500 so that I could buy back the rights to my debut novel and publish it, along with the two sequels, through the small press I founded, Baskethound Books. I made the video, offered prizes (who doesn’t want a coffee mug with a basset hound on it?) and ended up with two backers. Total raised: $35.
    Kat asked me why I didn’t use IndieGogo, and the answer is because I had never heard of it. I’m almost curious to see what would happen if I tried with PubSlush. How much more public humiliation do I have in me?
    (Hope this isn’t too long of a comment. If so, my apologies).

    1. Annette, personally if the Kickstarter failed, I wouldn’t bother with PubSlush either unless you’ve built a larger social network since then.

      I did do a Pubslush last year and it failed miserably as well, only 4 supporters with less than $200 raised (and half of that was from my sweetie who was one of the supporters).

      One big lesson I learned from that and doing further research is that unless it does hit the big “niche” thing or something that people just go nuts for, like exploding kitten card games, then your main contributers will be the people around you. So if you have a small social network or a social network disinclined to promote your PubSlush campaign, it still won’t go anywhere. 🙁

      I did a couple of podcast episodes about the experience. It was humbling, though I also looked at the bright side – I found out who my first true fans are 🙂

  2. Good to see PubSlush getting more notice. 🙂 I think their “min needed” vs “desired” is a nice option that more places should consider.

    I do think it should have been noted that the Pubslush Prep is not free beyond a checklist of pre-campaign stuff, it costs $50-300 depending on the selected package and, of course, are paid for regardless of success or fail.

      1. Hi Anma, thanks for pointing that out. While this is an add on service at an additional cost, it has proven to be beneficial and successful for our authors. We also frequently run promos for this, so authors can get these packages at a discounted rate (can’t beat a good sale!)

  3. I think this holds a lot of possibilities, not just for independent authors, but also for those of us independent publishers who have terrific ideas for books such as anthologies, seasonal titles and general interest works with a broad commercial appeal. As someone who has done a lot of packaging and producing of series both in fiction and non-fiction, I would approach Pubslush with the big projects, not just an individual title.

    1. And a publisher, particularly with an anthology, would have not only your own network but the contributing authors’ networks to draw from, as well. Not a bad idea, Teresa.

      1. We work with many independent publishers and have special offers and programs to fit their needs as well. If you’re interested, I’d love to chat further with you about this.

  4. Another excellent LynneQuisition; always good to get it straight from the horses mouth. I think, like everything else, it depends on so many variables and if you have them all flowing with you it could be good. However, like so many other options, it is certainly no quick fix and one should definitely count all one’s marbles, and don’t forget the bag of breadcrumbs, before venturing into the maze.

  5. Very interesting. Maybe I should write a book. 🙂

    I know there was a big to-do with an author who did a Kickstarter campaign recently and included in her costs along with the actual costs of creating the book (editing, cover, etc) she included an allowance for living expenses during the period she would be writing the book. There was a lot of negative attention due to that. Does Pubslush have rules about what expenses are and are not allowed to be included in the money raised in a campaign?

    1. That’s an excellent question, Al. And even if certain things are allowed, there may be a way to phrase your appeal so that you don’t get the kind of blowback that other author got.

  6. What I want to know is why I could not browse the website and see what they did. I managed one page and then was blocked by a ‘You must join up to see more.’ notice.

    Why should I join up and invent a password if the site is not what I would care to use? I wanted to see what books were doing a promo and how it worked. I might even have wanted to support a campaign but could not.

    It makes me wonder what is hidden!!!!!

    1. Hi Lindsay,

      I’m Justine, development director of Pubslush. I just wanted to let you know you’re absolutely free to explore the site without having to sign up. To exit out of the sign up prompt, simply click the “X” in the top right hand corner of the pop up box. You do have to sign up if you choose to support a project, though!

      If you have any other questions, you can email me directly at justine @ 🙂

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