This blog post complements our Self publishing and crowdfunding a photo book post, by turning our analysis of thirty three successful Australian and New Zealand photo book crowdfunding campaigns into a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own campaign page for success. We’re not fortune tellers so we can guarantee you’ll reach your target but by implementing these suggestions you’ll certainly be in with a better chance.
There’s numerous platforms out there but we found these to be the most popular for Australian and NZ photo book projects.
Pozible: Australian platform in $AUD
Boosted: NZ Arts platform using $NZD
Pledge Me: NZ platform using $NZD
Kickstarter: US platform using $USD
Indiegogo: US platform using $USD + $AUD
GoFundMe: US platform using $USD
Kickstarter, Pozible, Boosted and Pledge Me all work on the all-or-nothing model, so if you don’t reach your target you don’t get the funds, while Indiegogo and GoFundMe run on a keep-it-all option where you can claim the funds even if you don’t reach your goal.
Boosted is unique in that it’s a philanthropic crowdfunding website backed by New Zealand’s Arts Foundation, and contributors are simply donating, rather than pledging in return for a Reward. Donors are also able to claim a tax credit of 33% for donations of $5 and up. Another advantage it has over the other NZ platform Pledge Me, is that their network is arts focused, so they are already interested in photography projects.
Their structure is similar and they all charge an admin fee to you (approximately 5% of money raised) and the pledger (approximately 3.0% + $0.25). Bank fees also apply.
Choose a platform that works in local currency and offers local support, such as Pozible in Australian, and Boosted or Pledge Me in New Zealand.
Setting up your Campaign Page
To set up your campaign you need to define:
- A project name
- Financial target
- Campaign length
- An overview of the project using text, images and video
- Rewards you’ll use to entice people to fund your campaign
If you’d like to make it easy to search and find your campaign, or your book, include the the word photobook in your campaign title. Keep it as short as possible too so it’s easy to weave into social posts and for people to remember. Creating a hashtag is also handy as you can ask your pledgers to use it to spread the word even further.
30 days is the most popular and manageable timeframe for a crowdfunding campaign but be warned, the whole project can take 12 months to a few years to plan, implement and complete, and you’ll need lots of energy.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort this involves, from planning through to fulfillment.
This will depend on what phase of the photo book creation cycle you’re at and what you want to fund – the cost of capturing the images and/or designing, printing and dispatching the books. Whatever it is you need to thoroughly research and prepare a budget, then set your campaign goal accordingly. See below for a guide on the cost of printing books with Momento Pro.
If relevant, donate a percentage of funds to a related charity or not-for-profit organisation as people appreciate projects with broad community benefits.
Tell them about about you and your subjects
The most successful campaigns involve creative arts projects with a great personal story. Your aim is to build trust and inspire action. – Elliot Chapple, Pozible
Funders back a project because of the people behind. They want to know you have the skills to be able to pull off the project so tell them why you’re qualified by mentioning your education and photography experience. Make the audience feel a connection with you by telling them about your past, why you were inspired to create the book, how you met the subjects, and something about their lives or situation.
Create an engaging video
Campaigns with videos are far more successful than those without, so we strongly advise you to include one. The most important thing to note is that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of time or money on your video, and you don’t even have to appear in front of the camera, but you do need to create an engaging, succinct and informative audiovisual.
There’s no doubt that people will feel a stronger connection to the project if they see you in the video. If you really don’t want to appear in the video then at least include a headshot in the slideshow and use your voice to narrate the video. The voiceover should explain the why, how and when behind your project. Check out the Written In Stone and PZPG campaigns for some great video examples.
To keep the visuals simple buy stylish use your studio or a clean, non-distracting wall for the backdrop. If you’re nervous speaking to camera, try sitting rather than standing, and use words you’d normally use in a conversation to ensure it comes across as authentic. If it’s natural to you, it always helps to throw in a bit of light humour too.
If you already have a dummy book or artist proof include some video of flicking through the pages, or add in some stills of the photographs or page designs. People respond better to video with background music but just be sure it’s appropriate and doesn’t drown out the narration.
Use a tripod to ensure a professional look and feel.
When describing your book it’s wise to confirm these details:
- Concept or purpose
- No. of copies in the edition
- No. of photos
- No. of pages
- Binding style and cover materials or embellishments
- Contributors i.e. designer, editor, Foreword writer
- Status i.e. book design complete, dummy book printed
Signed and numbered editions are considered more valuable.
Include photographs and page designs
Although you may have included photos and page designs in the video it’s important to also include graphics with your text description. If the book design is complete and you just need funds to print and dispatch the book, include 3-5 double page spreads. If you’re still in concept or capture phase, feature 6-8 photos, and mock up a few page designs. Just ensure that the photos and designs reflect the style and diversity of the overall book.
Confirm budget allocation
People need to know they’re backing a winner and be confident that their cash isn’t just going straight into your pocket, so outline what percentage of the proceeds will go toward research, shooting, design, printing, packaging, delivery, bank and platform fees.
A budget proves you’ve done your research, and signals to the pledgers that your project is more likely to succeed if you get the funding.
Our analysis shows an average of eight Rewards per campaign, with an average minimum value of $20 and an average maximum value of $1,500. We feel that four to six Rewards starting from $10 up to $1,000 would be most manageable for you, and for the pocket of most contributors. Here’s a range of Rewards regularly found in photo book crowdfunding campaigns:
$10 – Our heartfelt thanks
$25 – Acknowledgement in book
$50 – Photo print + acknowledgement in book + invite to launch
$75 – Standard Edition book + acknowledgement in book + invite to launch
$100 – Signed Standard Edition book + acknowledgement + invite to launch
$200 – Signed Standard Edition book + photo print + acknowledgement + invite
$750 – Limited Edition book + photo print + acknowledgement + invite
$1000 – Photo session with photographer
Rewards that involve zero cost are a great place to start i.e. your name appears in the book or an invite to the launch, but the most important thing is to make the main Reward a copy of the printed book itself. Some people make the book the only Reward, or the basis of all Rewards with something else thrown in, which means that each pledge is equivalent to a pre-order for the book – as you’ll see in the 52 Suburbs Around The World and Adventure Photo Challenge campaigns.
Humour goes a long way too, so have fun with your Rewards. Our favourites were:
- A high five and a drink at the bar for PZPG
- A trout fishing lesson for Audience
- A ‘slice of pizza’ for Pizza Hunt
Visit the Heavy Collective II campaign for an example of five simple but effective Rewards, including a zero cost Reward, past publications and prints.
Be strategic when planning your schedule to keep things manageable and maximised. Key to the success of any campaign is the timing and consistency of publicity and communications, and it’s imperative that you leverage your personal network first so you can get some points on the board before reaching out to strangers, and the media, because people like to follow the leader. Here’s some considerations for your schedule:
- 6-18 months before: Collate and grow your email database + social fans
- 2-6 months before: Prepare your email list of potential donors + media contacts
- 3-4 months before: Print dummy book + organise exhibition for launch campaign
- 1-2 months before: Prepare all content + communications for campaign
- Week before: Host a launch event
- Week 1: Launch campaign but only promote to family, friends + core supporters
- Week 2: Email your network, publish social posts + send a Media Release
- Week 3: Ask supporters to share the link with their networks
- Week 4: Email your network to remind them it’s an all-or-nothing campaign
- Week after: Order books + other Rewards
- 1-3 months after: Keep posting updates until all Rewards are dispatched
Week 3 and 4 are the most critical times for your campaign so plan ahead by asking a sponsor or generous supporter to hold off on pledging in the first few weeks, and drop a ‘cash bomb’ via a pledge in the last few days to give you something to shout about and inspire an avalanche of last minute pledges.
Pozible advise not to stress in the middle weeks if you’re not seeing a lot of activity, this is simply the U- Curve of Doom rearing its ugly head. This is common to many campaigns, and their statistics show that the majority of pledging will occur in the first and last few days of the campaign.
Host a one-night-only exhibition the week before launch to show friends the photos and dummy book, and ask them contribute to and promote your campaign. And at the end of the campaign, host a book launch to thank supporters and hand out the books. Not only will it be a celebration but you’ll save time and money on dispatch.
It is vital that you keep your funders happy and confident that everything is progressing well by publishing regular campaign updates. This is easy as each platform provides a tool for you to post messages direct to the campaign page. Every time a message is published, the system sends an email to those who’ve pledged funds. Visit the Written In Stone campaign for some good examples of updates.
A weekly update during the campaign is essential but many post an update a day. The trick is striking the right balance between regular updates without feeling like you’re pestering. Updates are even more important after the money has been raised and the campaign has ended, because funders need to know their money is being put to good use, and the rewards are on the way. Good communication will also be your saviour should you experience issues or delays with the production and dispatch of the book.
We strongly suggest you draft up all your major Campaign Updates prior to launch to minimise the amount of work you need to do during the thick of the campaign. Announcements that are helpful include: when the book design or dummy is finished; when the book is in production; to celebrate your receipt of the printed books; to confirm when the book and other physical rewards are on the way. Testimonials from pledgers and adding a new video in Week 2 or 3 of the campaign can also be effective.
Show gratitude for every single pledge with a personal thank you, and if appropriate, tag your pledgers in social posts so they can share them with friends.
How much to print a book with Momento Pro?
If we’ve inspired you to self publish and set up your own photo book crowdfunding campaign, we’d be delighted to print your books and help promote the campaign. To give you some indicative pricing, a single book can cost $15 up to $5,000 depending on the size, binding style, paper, finishes and production time, and the same book can cost significantly less when you order 25 to 250 copies.
Bearing in mind that our analysis of 33 Australian and New Zealand crowdfunding campaigns presented an average return of $18,5000, the average pledge across all campaigns was $125, and the average number of books was 225 copies, we’ve outlined some Momento Pro indicative book options and pricing below that fits comfortably with the parameters outlined above.
- A4 softcovers with 50 Matte or Satin pages
- $36 each for 25 copies ($900 total)
- $15 each for 250 copies ($3,750 total)
- A5 books with 48 section sewn Matte or Satin pages and a printed hardcover
- $50 each for 25 copies ($1,250 total)
- $35 each for 250 copies ($8,750 total)
- A4 books with 96 section sewn Matte or Satin pages with embossed linen hardcover
- $81 each for 25 copies ($2,025 total)
- $46 each for 250 copies ($11,500 total)
- These prices are indicative only, AUD, inc GST, ex delivery
All Momento Pro albums, hardcover and softcover books, and premium booklets, are made in Sydney, to the highest quality assurance standards. To find our more about orders of 25-250 copies visit our Volume Order page, request a quote or contact our Volume Order Manager.
Pozible Special Offer
Pozible is offering the first five Momento Pro customers who host a crowdfunding campaign, a 20% discount on platform fees. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your discount.
To learn more, get along to one of their free workshops on:
- Wed 2 May 630pm @ Possible HQ, Collingwood Melbourne
- Tue 15 May 630pm @ Commune, Waterloo, Sydney