Monday 19 September 2022

Financial Case Study: Janthopoyism Bible

If you are interested in writing a book using the crowdfunding avenue as I did (or if you're just a nerd for business stuff), I have chalked up the full financial results from my project below. Enjoy!

I based my economic model for the Janthopoyism Bible (Limited Black Edition) on socialist sentiments, whereby everyone in the world pays the exact same amount irrespective of location. This way, those who lived close (in the UK) would subsidise the postal cost for those overseas, especially when the currency was not in their favour.

I launched the Indiegogo campaign with various tiers, ranging from as little as £1 (a prayer) or £5 (digital copy) right up to £1,000 (I'd come to visit you anywhere in the world to collaborate on art) or £5,000 (tattoo your name on me).

I was banking on a £15 average: the printed book, signed, and mailed. I estimated £6 print per each book (50 copies) would leave £9 shipping a pop to be delegated however. It seemed a safe bet. Turns out, it was not, as we shall see.

39 people backed the project, raising a whopping £1,061, ultimately 212% of my stupidly low £500 goal.

As per usual, fomo struck many onlookers after the fact, and a further 14 people jumped into my DMs following, raising £239.7 on top of that, now £1300.70 in total.

With 53 people on board, I rounded up to print 60 books, because I also wanted a copy, plus it was nice to have extras to play with. This totalled £21.68 per book available, yippee! No sweat.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and many hidden (as well as obvious) costs rapidly chipped away at this amount.

Things first went wrong when the book was 100 pages longer than I anticipated, oops, me and my big mouth. That meant £7.13 per book to print, £427.7 all in.

Then there was the editing cost, £280.58. Of all expenses, this was probably the most worth it, as the quality of the product benefited endlessly, and I shudder to think of how many pages it would have been if not for this process. Shout-out to Jax!

The money arrived, and Indiegogo whacked out a £120.52 cut, WHA-POW! Paypal also stole £3.58 for no justifiable reason.

This left £469 after 60 books were in my lap. Sounds fine but, again, no.

Four contributors are the heroes of the story who went VIP and passed on £100 each. Most of you who receive the book owe it to them. Still, part of my gratitude came with additional prizes, which cost £47.71. Worth it from my side!

But one payment that proved my ignorance was general stationery (envelopes, printing, glue etc.), which totalled £59.28. Meanwhile, most international shipping required custom forms attached, a seemingly minor detail that came to £18.79.

Now we have £343 left, and we haven't even shipped anything yet! Which we shall do now.

Two VIP contributors lived abroad and deserved nothing less than the best postage care, costing £13.65 and £19.5 to Portugal and South Africa, respectively.

The rest of the shipping looked like this:
UK (27 copies) - £93.05 (£3.20 shipping per copy including return train ticket from Reading to London for hand deliveries)
EU (6 copies) - £53.95 (£8.99 shipping per copy)
Australia (5 copies) - £61.82 (£12.37 shipping per copy)
South Africa (1) - £14.85 (per shipping copy)
USA (11 copies) - £168.39 (£15.31 shipping per copy)

That's 52 copies.
There is another South African copy unaccounted for, which a friend's mom is hand delivering. Thanks!
Additionally, I gave 2 away for a competition, 2 more away to my friends who were kind enough to let me use their house like a book factory, and kept one for myself.
That leaves 2 more in case of emergencies.

In the end, the kitty was sucked dry, and I was £82 in debt.
This does not include the postcards I still owe those who paid for that bonus.
It also does not include tax, but I have an inkling I can write this all off because I lost the game?

There is a lucky twist to this story. Last year I wrote a book called Heartbreak Sucks! How to Get Over Your Breakup in 30 Days. Owed to everyone who purchased that publication, I had some extra cash in my "book account", which I'd yet to touch. This padding absorbed the entire £82 hit. I had other promotional plans for that cash, but still, I am grateful for you.

So there are two ways to evaluate this outcome.

The one is that I spent three years writing a once-in-a-lifetime book, and somehow, lost money, a total failure, especially considering a big part of my campaign was to give the profits to the Action Against Hunger charity. Sorry, starving kids. I cannot help today.

The other perspective is that I spent comparatively very little money and self-published a book currently on its way around the world. Honestly, when looking at it this way, I'm living in a dream. If I could go back two decades and tell myself this, I'd be like, "Holy shit, I wrote a book?" Yes, little boy. It's your fourth one, congrats.

To conclude, it was a worthy (and brave!) experiment that I am unsure I'll ever repeat. Indiegogo's cut alone is ridic, and I am certain there are better methods. Still, I learned so much, and I know I will only sharpen each book's strategy under additional smarts. One day, I'll be rich as fuck!

If you'd still like to help, please purchase the book on Amazon. That will super benefit the recuperation of funds and will also be the true moment to spread the word further than those closest to me (i.e. you). This is undoubtedly how I need y'all the most. It's be cheap. Fore more fun times, please keep an eye on this Instagram or this Instagram or sign up for the newsletter (preferably all three!).

And just know how grateful I am for everyone who supported a mate when they poured their life into something! For you, it's the cost of a pizza. For me, it's my life sprouting into meaning, thanks to you. ::HEART EMOJI::