Buddy Can You Spare a Dime? A Guest Post by Danielle McPhail

Over the past few years WGGs has gotten to know several dozen authors. With those introductions has come insight into both the process of writing and the process of publishing.

If you are anything like me, you often get too lost in the story to think about how the book came about. Well, lately, I have been paying more attention than I use to AND have learned that there are multiple ways to go about it.

Today we are taking a look at a way that you may be familiar with but not in regards to publishing…CROWDFUNDING.

With a new project in the works, I’ve asked eSpec Books (and friend of WeGeekGirls), Danielle McPhail to tell us why crowdfunding can be an important thing for authors and readers alike.


Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?

by Danielle McPhail

 There are a lot of small presses with their hands out for money these days. I should know, mine is one of them. Let’s just get that out there to start. But also, let me tell you why.

Publishing has become a market-driven industry. That means traditional publishers take little risk by only signing books they feel support that market share they are targeting. It also means that if you look at the list of a traditional publisher you are going to see a lot of the same names doing the same things and not a lot of solid variety. Because it is safe.

Now, this isn’t to say anything against traditional publishers. In fact, if I can put on my author hat for a moment I will tell you that most authors if offered the chance for a deal with a traditional publisher will take it. But there aren’t a lot of those opportunities out there and there are a lot of authors competing for them.

So what do you do if you write something niche, something that appeals to a very specific target audience, but not necessarily the market as a whole?

I’ll tell you. There are two paths you can take: a small press specializing in that niche, or publish it yourself. The problem is, either way, the resources a traditional publisher has to draw on just aren’t there.

This is why you see many independents (both publishers and authors) turning to crowdfunding to support their projects. Let’s look at why:
     1)  Capital. Individuals or small presses rarely have the same volume of liquid assets available to them as a traditional publisher does.
     2)  Market. Independents rarely get recognition or visibility in the market. Even if they work  with a distributor, it is rate that brick-and-mortar stores will stock their titles, and while internet venues will list the book, they aren’t investing in inventory.
     3)  Reach. Social media can only take you so far in connecting with your target audience.

How does crowdfunding help overcome those issues? Other than being an organized platform of like-minded individuals with an infrastructure to support their efforts, it allows independent creators to do several things.
     1)  Test the viability of a project. If the campaign creator does their job properly, using social  media, blogs, and internet news sites to spread the word, they can learn before they invest any money into a book if there is sufficient interest to make it a viable investment of funds and time.
     2)  Presales. Basically when you run crowdfunding for a project you are preselling whatever it is   you want to create, and if you are fortunate there is enough interest to make that happen.
     3)  Building visibility. Crowdfunding platforms are a community. No matter which one a person chooses for their needs, they are making connections and—one would presume—making a name     for themselves. That goes beyond any one project. If you are fortunate enough to fund and do a proper job of producing what it is you said you would produce, the forum gives you an audience  for future projects, whether they are also crowdfunded or not.

My press, eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com) was built through crowdfunding. We use this as a part of our business model because it not only allows us to produce quality books by quality authors, but because each book we produce is paid for in full. None of our books need earn out their production costs before they become profitable. This means the company is solvent from the start and we can offer authors a better royalty rate. It means we have the funds to pay editors and designers and artists, to invest in the programs and equipment that will allow us to continue doing what we are doing. It also means if we conduct our business wisely and don’t overreach ourselves, we can continue producing books for a good long time, instead of crashing and burning like so many previous small publishers who tried to do too much with too little.

Instead we will gain a reputation for producing quality work and delivering what we say we will deliver, establishing good faith with both backers and authors.

So, when you see someone flogging another Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Patreon campaign, consider that they aren’t asking for free money. They are asking for you to believe in their dream and to join forces with them to help make that dream possible.

Are there risks? Of course. Can you minimize those risks by choosing who to support carefully? Of course.

And I will tell you this, for a world that contains literary diversity created by those who care about their craft and their audience more than they do some elusive market trend, I will take that risk ever time.



Danielle McPhail is the co-founder of eSpec Books, an independent publisher specializing in speculative fiction. eSpec has been in operation for two years and hopes to be around for many more.

Right now they are crowdfunding two original novels by bestselling authors Jack Campbell and Brenda Cooper.



by Brenda Cooper

The world, for some, has crumbled.

Disease and natural disasters have brought on social collapse in the Pacific Northwest.

For Sage, born and raised in the safe haven of the Oregon Botanical Gardens, that has never been more than academic. What more could she ask for than to be safe and fed?

But life in the Garden is static.

Sage longs to experience the world beyond the Garden walls as society climbs from the chaos. Her reckless exploration forces her elders to give her a choice: Stay here, hidden in safety, or go and never return.

Sage chooses to leave.

Will she learn soon enough on her journey that the world outside the Garden follows no law?

That there is no predator more dangerous than man?

Will she learn soon enough that to rebuild the world one must be ready to fight for it?
She will need to if she chooses to live.


by Jack Campbell

Liam is his parents’ only child, and that’s just fine with him.

Until the day the sister-he-never-had shows up at school.

Just to make it worse, the sword-wielding Kari tells him they have an important quest to complete.

And that’s how Liam finds himself dragged into another world, facing basilisks and unicorns, cursed objects, elves, and even a dragon, all magical and dangerous, but none more so than the sister he didn’t have until that morning. A sister who turns out to be quite good with her sword, and ready to use it when faced with things like a dragon as long as her brother is at her side.

Liam begins to realize two things: it’s going to be a very long day, and having a sister can be weird.

But most unsettling of all, he’s not sure he minds…


Check out more on this project here http://tiny.cc/Novels2016.


So, when you see someone flogging another Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Patreon campaign, consider that they aren’t asking for free money. They are asking for you to believe in their dream and to join forces with them to help make that dream possible.

This quote was probably the most important part of Danielle’s post, in my opinion. As a reader, I have little knowledge of all the logistics involved with getting work published.

***I have, however, supported my favorite indy band in this manner for years and it was entirely due to the sentiment in the above quote. Watching them flourish in their uniqueness and creativity because they are truly believed in is incredible.

As Danielle mentioned, most writers wouldn’t turn down an offer from a one of the BIG publishing houses BUT in the meantime, they are still writing and often waiting for someone to see it.

Over the last two years GiGi and I have had the privilege of befriending multiple local and convention going authors. We’ve seen them dragging cases of books behind them, setting up their own tables and sitting behind that table for hours hoping someone will see something they like and purchase it.

Be it small press, self publish or crowdfunded, these books are created by beautifully talented and incredibly hardworking people who’s work deserves to be seen.

So, if you have found something that you think you will like in the above mentioned project, consider becoming a part of it’s creation and bring another authors work into the light!


Thank you Danielle for sharing your world with us! We wish you the best with this and EVERY project in the future 🙂


5 thoughts on “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime? A Guest Post by Danielle McPhail

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