Using Pubslush to Fund Your Next Book

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There are quite a few crowd-funding sites out there now, if you’re looking for help financing your first book (editing, cover art, etc. can easily run you a thousand dollars or more). I did Kickstarter early on in my self-publishing career to help pay for the production of the first Emperor’s Edge audiobooks. It’s not for everyone (and it’s hard to get enough backers if you don’t already have at least a small fan base), but it can be a viable solution in some situations.

I haven’t used Pubslush, a crowd-funding site specifically for authors, so I invited fellow author Ilana Waters to talk about it today.

Using Pubslush to Fund Your Book

Hello there! First, let me just thank you Lindsay—so much—for having me on your blog. I eagerly follow your adventures in self-publishing, and think you are an all-around very cool person. No lie—it really is an honor to be here.

Anyway, for those who don’t know me, my name is Ilana Waters, and I’m also an indie writer. If you’re into fantasy books for kids and teens, you can check out a few of mine at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and I-tunes (and two of the short stories are FREE!). Since I’m looking to branch out into books that are more for the teen/adult market, I thought I’d try Pubslush, which is what I’m here to talk to you about.

What is Pubslush?

If you’ve never heard of Pubslush, you’re not alone. I hadn’t heard of it either until I started looking into crowdfunding options for my book. Basically, it’s like Kickstarter, but for literary projects. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where people ask for help financing various endeavors. If enough awesome people donate, the project moves forward. All the donators have to do is select their rewards along with their pledge amount. Folks may remember the incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign Lindsay did for the Emperor’s Edge audiobooks.

How does Pubslush work?

Pubslush isn’t all that difficult to set up. You log onto the site, make an account, and it walks you through the process of entering information about your book, your campaign goals, etc. The campaign itself is where the hard work comes in. You have to get people excited about it, the same way you would with any fundraising effort. On the plus side, it’s a great way to gauge potential interest (i.e., readership) in your project, say, before you write Book XXI of your Games of Thrones fanfic anthology. 😉

Tips for a successful campaign

–Set a reasonable goal. Donations to pay for editing, formatting, print-runs, etc. are reasonable. Funds to pay a personal masseuse to rub your shoulders while you write . . . not so much.

–Create (and promote) cool rewards. I’ve seen authors come up with out-of-the-box ideas, like letting readers give input on future books (Lindsay did this with her Kickstarter).

–Keep supporters updated and thank everyone. A lot. 🙂

–Have a book trailer to go with the campaign (I went ahead and had a mock cover done too). Studies show your campaign is more likely to be successful with some type of video. Ditto for having your manuscript complete, so if you’ve been looking for extra motivation to go with the upcoming NaNoWriMo, now you have it!

My personal Pubslush

My own Pubslush campaign has just gotten underway, but I hope to post a quick update in the future about how it went. Until then, go here to support The Age of Mages, my urban fantasy, and earn cool rewards!

In addition to getting a copy of The Age of Mages if the campaign is successful, my reward levels contain goodies like a mention in the dedication, social media promotion for your book or business, and newsletter sign up. But best of all are the heavily-discounted manuscript critiques. If you have a writing project, and would like a professional set of eyes to look over things like plot, characterization, structure, etc., I’m your gal.

I’m even running a special deal—the next three people who donate at the $25 level will get the $50 reward, and the next three who donate at the $50 level will get the $100 reward.

If you have any questions or comments, shoot me an e-mail me at ilanabethwaters[at]yahoo[dot]com. Here’s where I am around the web if you feel like trailing after me:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Wattpad

Thanks to everyone for reading. Double thanks if you check out the campaign and donate. TRIPLE thanks to Lindsay for having me on her blog, and for continuing to be awesome.


I know a mage should be able to handle anything, but really, the circumstances are getting quite ridiculous.

What do you get when you cross a vampire with a witch? The vulgar might call it a half-breed or misfit. But the result is actually a magical creature with untold powers and numerous enemies.

In other words, a mage.

Joshua’s witch mother has been missing and presumed dead since he was a teen. Years later, when he learns she might still be alive, the only thing he can think of is finding her. His antagonistic vampire father agrees to help, but Joshua fears he may have ulterior motives. The situation becomes even more complicated when they discover the reason for her disappearance: she possesses a mysterious crystal whose powers remain a secret.

Unfortunately, Joshua and his father aren’t the only ones interested in the crystal. As their search leads them from New York to Las Vegas to Rome, they’re pursued by the Paranormal Investigation Agency, the High Council of Witches, and yet more vampires. In the process, they uncover a plot to wake the deadliest vampire who ever lived.

If Joshua can find the crystal, he might find his mother — and stop a massacring blood-seeker from rising. But that involves not fighting with his father long enough to hold off adversaries both human and supernatural.

It might just be more than one mage can handle.

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Comments (13)

Any thoughts on building awareness and getting people to donate if this is your first book and you don’t have a reader base? I’m reluctant to ask friends/family to donate unless I know they’re interested in the book.

Hey Greg–great question. I wouldn’t be so worried about asking friends/family to donate–it’s actually one of the things Pubslush recommends. Many of them are happy to help just because they want to support someone close to them.

Other than that, asking your initial supporters to reach out to readers and reading communities they know (as well as doing it yourself) can help get the ball rolling. Goodreads, Kindleboards (I know Lindsay hangs out there sometimes), and your regular social media channels are all good places to start. 🙂

Hi Greg! I work for Pubslush and am happy to answer any questions you might have. In regards to how to build awareness for your project – offering sincere and enticing rewards will ensure you’re providing your supporters with something of value in return for their financial pledge. This helps to lessen any hesitation you might have about asking friends/family to support your campaign.

It’s important to remember it’s up to the campaign creator to build the momentum for their campaign, so using all your resources is a vital to your success!

That’s really awesome! I was wondering when books would get their own crowdfunding site! I really don’t like that you can only browse once before they force you to sign up, though. That’s an immediate damper for us lurkers who might be interested in funding once we see what the site is really like.

The Alexa traffic ranking on the Pubslush site is actually lower than this, your personal blog/author site, Lindsay. Bravo! But that makes me worried that there might not be enough traffic there to actually succeed, and I didn’t have enough time on the site before being required to sign up to be able to see more and determine if anyone had actually been funded or not.

I wish you had someone on here who was part of the Pubslush company, or who had been successfully funded through them and had more to to say about the full process start to funded.

Also, it really frustrates me—and I’m sure I’m not alone—when people use the chance to talk about a very breakthrough thing on very popular blogs to piggyback off of respected peoples’ readerships like this.

More than half of your guest’s copy was ad copy, and that’s not what your faithful followers come here to read.

Thanks for the feedback on the post and what you want to see here, Sam.

I think Pubslush is relatively new, but you raise a good point as to whether it’s better to put up a campaign there or to use something more established, such as Kickstarter. I know I’ve backed out on backing interesting projects on other sites, because it would have involved me walking across the house to get my purse and credit card, then filling in all the information (since KS is linked to Amazon, that’s all automatic for me, so I’m more likely to back someone on a whim there). It doesn’t sound like much, but honestly, I’ve abandoned a lot of shopping carts because they didn’t have Paypal.

I agree that having to make an account just to surf a site is a turnoff. Maybe they’ll change that in the future.

Hi Sam! Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I work for Pubslush and am happy to talk about the process, our successes and any other things you might have questions about. We are a newer platform, and with our niche focus and audience, we don’t have as much traffic to our site as some of the bigger platforms. However, our users are all readers, writers and publishers. This ensures projects on Pubslush are being seen by those who would be interested in them, and not getting lost in the shuffle.

We’ve had many successful projects funded through Pubslush. Our support continues post-campaign and when a Pubslush book is published, the author can add a Buy link into their book page. The buy link drives traffic to where the book is being sold. In essence, we have a whole bookstore on our site of Pubslush books that our readers can continue to discover and purchase.

Please feel free to send an email to with any other questions you might have!

Two of the bright spots in checking out the PubSlush site are: only a four percent slice for the website, and a charity bent to that slice. I did not have time to check the payment fees (Kickstarter uses Amazon, who takes another 3 to 6 percent for handling the financial transactions). I also did not see if there has been charity work already that can verified.

Hey John–Pubslush charges the campaigners (not the supporters) a 7.5% fee (their fee plus credit card processing). I’m not sure exactly how you’d go about verifying the charity.

However, one of the really nice things about Pubslush is that when you sign up, you’re assigned a super-helpful support person who can answer all your questions! If you want me to look into this further for you, comment back or shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll check with my support person for you. 🙂

Thanks, Ms. Waters—I am interested in a few things. The details on the charity work would be something positive for me—do they have a webpage stating what they have already done, and numbers associated with that. I also would like to know how many projects have been run on their site, and the percentage that reached their goal for the year-to-date and since they were founded. I would also second the motion that transparency is important to me in every business relationship, including my crowd-funding sites. I would like to see the projects, and move around the site without having to sign up first.

Let me contact my Pubslush person and see what information they have. I’ll post their reply in these comments. And feel free to call me Ilana! 😀

Hi John! I work for Pubslush and am happy to answer all of these questions and any additional ones you might have. Shoot me an email at and we can chat!

Hey John–here’s what my support person had to say re: the charity-donation portion of Pubslush:

The Cause

The Pubslush Foundation was established to fight illiteracy worldwide by donating books and educational material to children with limited access to literature. Every campaigner on Pubslush can choose to donate a percentage of the funds raised to The Cause as a way to join the fight against illiteracy and promote social good.

Our commitment to aiding literacy initiatives worldwide is fostered by strategic partnerships with select philanthropic organizations. We feel by bringing our heart into the publishing process we can make an impact in the world and we encourage Pubslush campaigners to join our movement.

Admittedly, it’s a little vaguer than what you were looking for. But she said I was free to provide you with her e-mail address if you had follow-up questions. Here name is Sara Mendelson, and she can be reached at

Hope this helps–at least a little! 😀

Thank you, Ilana. I appreciate the time taken on my behalf.

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