How WWI boxed set As We Were was privately crowdfunded through a heartfelt email

By   Hannah Bickerton 1 min read

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When historian, teacher and author David Hargreaves and researcher Margaret-Louise O’Keeffe wrote their 780,000 word four-book World War One chronicle As We Were, it was considered too large, expensive and niche for a traditional publishing deal. Not giving up, David and Margaret decided to self-publish their book and crowdfund privately through their combined network. As co-authors on the project, they had access to David’s dedicated former students and Margaret’s fellow academics, in addition to history and WWI enthusiasts acquired through the online blog The Century Journal, from which the book originated.

Instead of crowdfunding publicly via a third-party platform, such as Indiegogo and Patreon, David and Margaret wrote a heartfelt email to personal contacts and subscribers, sent out far ahead of publication, which requested funds for the project by way of purchasing one or multiple advance boxed set copies retailing at £100, and also included a nicely-produced video featuring an interview with David about the project. David had numerous existing connections, including a range of very high-profile people across the world who he had previously taught and tutored, as well as the dedicated readers of his blog. Margaret also helped gather support from contacts within her academic circles. Collectively, they had an email list of around 500 recipients of which they estimated an 80% hit rate.

After only two months, David and Margaret had raised 50% of the funds needed for their large-scale book project. By the end of their crowdfunding efforts, they had acquired a total of £28,000 with 300 people backing the incredibly bespoke book box set, which went on to sell several hundred copies and appear in The Sunday Times and The Spectator.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.