Crowdfunding your book is a relatively new way to pay for pro-level publishing. The best platforms offer low commission, user guides, and publishing options. Some campaigns make more than their target (yeah) and some make less and do not launch (aww). The odds do seem a lot better than submitting to agents you do not know.

The best campaigns have something that is shareable, understandable and uses ‘vanity’ to their advantage by adding donor names to the book. You will also need a good sales script and headline. (Read this  Foundr post about writing headlines).

There are three publishing-specific funding platforms to choose from, plus hundreds more general funding platforms:

  • Ink shares
  • Unbound
  • Publishizer (a ‘virtual’ agent for popular book ideas) 30% cut

Joanna Penn says she spent two months, or approx. 80-100 hours preparing all the things and promoting her crowdfunding campaign. Managing the campaign takes 1-2 hours per day. So consider how much time you really have (and energy) to put into this strategy.

The most successful literary novel on Publishizer at that time, Joanna’s results were 334 copies sales of a first novel, grossing $6,475 in total sales and a net of $4,275. (Or $47 an hour). Plus, she had the book production done for her. This small success is still a success and sure beats the vast majority. Read full story.

Proposals for Traditional Publishers

My article here deals with writing a proposal or ‘pitch’ for traditional publishers and agents. We highly recommend Nina Amir’s book, ‘Author Training Manual‘ if you are deadly serious about selling your manuscript to a publisher.

Great manuscript? Try these Australian publishers:

FONTAINE PRESS – Flagship traditional publishing imprint, offers a small number of authors a ‘no-fee’ based standard royalty-based publishing contract (1,500+ submissions are received yearly). They make a substantial investment with all Fontaine Press titles. 

Hybrid Publishers & Manuscript Development

Manuscript Development programs offer, for a small fee, a chance to get mentored across several months and sometimes a chance at publishing the book.

Queensland Writers Publishable – for Emerging Writers over 18, $55 to enter.

Hawkeye Publishing Development Prize 2022 – must have draft ready – $45 to enter.

LARGE LIST of hybrid publishers on Australian Publishers Association directory – under Associates – Small Publishers.

Publishers with Reviews of 5 Stars  on

Fontaine / Vivid (various departments).

Vivid (without Prime) is an aid to self publishing, but does not include marketing.  People say: “very competitive pricing” “Australian”  “very personal”. “$10 USD to publish on Kindle“.


Cons: distribution depends on pick-up by the selection team.

VIVID PRIME – Premium, partnered publishing imprint offers a small number of authors the chance to work hand in hand with them to successfully publish their next Work, with guaranteed promotion + distribution into Australian bookstores, worldwide distribution via Ingram Group, and publicity/PR support alongside the author’s significant promotional efforts. Vivid Prime give back around 15% to the author as royalties.

Preparation Aspects to Consider When Publishing

This different view on the pre-work for a manuscript is useful (more about fictional writing and getting an agent):

Self-Publishing Costs

If you decide that it’s too much of a long shot to get arts funding, a small publisher or so on, then you’ll want to know the costs of self-publishing.

The total may range from $4,500 – $6,800 for getting professionals to help create a non-fiction (for your brand) book.

TypeApprox. Cost AUDAlternative
Dev. Editing of 60,000 words:avg. $4,000
Outlining and using a structure. Use a Book Coach who edits ($1,800 – $3,000), so the structure is better and content targeted to reader.
Copy Editing of 60,000 words: avg. cost $2,200
Try US editors and pay >US$25 per hour.
Use your English teacher.
Typesetting paperback$300 – $1500,
depends on number of images / design
Print: Learn about book layout and subscribe to InDesign for $29 a month (x 12). Takes about 50 hours to learn. (See
eBook: Format your first eBook in Word using normal Style.
Use Kindle Create and other tools.
Illustration$50-150 eachChildren’s books and some non-fiction need illustrations. Use stock images (high res) for about $10 each. If custom designed, expect to pay $50 B&W and from $100 for full colour illustration.
Cover Design (print)$200 – $500Buy readymade covers. Ebook only:
Use Fiverr designer, teamjunho ($45) for print book cover.
Proof Copy and Legal copies$35You need one initial copy to check and then 3 legal deposit copies, plus P&H.
Setup Cost$65IngramSpark have a setup cost, but is refunded on order of 50 books for you. You can avoid it by looking for discounts in their newsletter.

Aust Government Arts Funding

You might find it easier to apply for Arts Grants Funding to help with new book research or writing skill development. There is limited eligibility. Have a look at:

You might find it easier to apply for Arts Grants Funding to help with new book research or writing skill development. There is limited eligibility. Have a look at Arts Hub and the Copyright Agency.

Also check “Individuals fund” on Arts Hub, for a grant of up to $5,000 for extra mentoring or residential writing course.

  • Arts Hub – select Writing & Publishing, then your State. Four National awards (grants) exist for writers aged under 30.
  • The Australian Council – literary fund (more for high-brow literary works)
  • Local Historical Society if a book has a historical basis


InkShares is a virtual publisher of mainly fiction with a social factor. They edit, produce, distribute, and facilitate some lower-reaching marketing. See a live example page here:

Publishizer (US) offers some tips here about raising book funds: will connect your book project to about a dozen agents and publishers, and their interest depends on numbers of pre-orders and followers you have. Thus, success lies in your ability to rack up some views and sales based on the concept, video, and sales copy.

Downside: They collect 30% of any revenue you make during launch, although opportunities are the main reason to try them.

Other Ways to Fund:

Sponsorship – Letter Writing

If crowdfunding doesn’t appeal and you’re nifty at writing persuasive letters, then you can send proposal letters to registered charities and companies who you perceive to have an interest in your topic. The aim is for them to become a sponsor (and a distributor too).

This is totally win-win, as they will get wholesale copies of an interesting book for their customers or donors a value-add and you will gain a resale order of hundreds of copies plus a profit to go towards production and editing. (You do not lumber them with those details). Ways to personalise:

  • With custom printing you can insert a promotion about them at the back
  • You can choose a different cover with the organisation’s name on it just for their order.

Read more about this in the book, ‘Maverick Marketing’ by Lisa Messenger.