UmeNow Offers Crowdfunding for Indie Authors

The private, social-networking website UmeNow has revamped its features to allow crowdfunding for independent authors and other creative professionals. While many sites allow indie authors to start blogs to promote their work and connect with their readers, UmeNow has added the ability for anyone in the world to donate directly to the author.

“We offer independent authors the tools to attract funding from people who want to do more than just purchase one book,” explains UmeNow founder Evelyn Castillo-Bach.  “If someone wants to donate to a promising author so they can pursue other writing projects, UmeNow offers an easy way for this to happen.”

All funding goes directly to the author and donors are not required to have a UmeNow account. Donors are taken directly to the author’s Paypal account page.

The crowdfunding capability is available at no charge to all UmeNow members. The crowdfunding tool appears within the blog section of UmeNow. Whenever an author writes a blog, the donation button can appear on the blog itself, making the crowdfunding process very easy. The only requirement is that the blog must be posted so anyone in the world can see it. If an author selects privacy settings that allow only UmeNow members to view their blog, the author’s ability to raise funds will be limited to site members.

When a member creates a blog page, they can select to display a donation button that directly links to their personal Paypal account. And because tracking and ads are banned from the UmeNow network, authors can be sure that no one else profits by linking into their readers. Authors can also start groups and invite their readers into those groups, or fans can start groups to discuss their favorite books.

UmeNow’s Castillo-Bach understands the needs and interests of indie authors, because she recently published her first e-book, entitled “Champions, Inc.: Powerful Life Principles.”

About UmeNow

Launched in 2011, UmeNow is known for fiercely protecting the privacy rights of its members. All ads, third-party apps, and games are banned to safeguard members from back-door tracking and unauthorized information extraction.

UmeNow was founded on the premise that you should have the right to socialize and connect with your family, friends, and colleagues without giving up your right to privacy. Information you share online shouldn’t be tracked and monitored by advertisers or data collectors and data brokers who want to collect as much information as they can about you to sell or trade with banks, creditors, future employers, insurance companies and others.

The UmeNow network offers a two-tier membership structure. With a free membership, you can enjoy a full-featured, ad-free, social-networking experience, including blogging, a photo gallery, polling, and a personal profile and wall. The premium membership ($6.00 per month) lets you create private, protected group walls for family members or work groups.


About UmeNow

Read Interviews with Indie Authors about Self-Publishing

A new book can help indie authors find their way through the world of self-publishing and book promotion. In “Interviews with Indie Authors: Top Tips from Successful Self-Published Authors,” Claire and Tim Ridgway talk to 34 top indie authors to learn how they got into self-publishing and how they made their books a success. The authors publish a wide range of genres (science fiction, mystery, romance, comedy, young adult fiction, horror, and non-fiction) and use many different strategies to connect with readers.

“When I began my own journey into self-publishing in February 2012, I found lots of books to help me with the technicalities of self-publishing, but what inspired me and helped make my books successful was reading the stories of authors who’d been there and done it,” explains Claire Ridgway. “I wanted to learn from the masters and find out what tools and techniques they used to ensure success. As my own books hit the bestseller lists, I began to be asked how I’d done it and what advice I could share. That’s when the idea for Interviews with Indie Authors hit me.”


Book: Interviews with Indie Authors: Top Tips from Successful Self-Published Authors

Meet the Authors Interviewed in the Indie Authors Book

Amazon Author’s Page About Claire Ridgway


Publisher of Digital Imaging Website Produces Magazine

One of the favorite parts of my magazine career was writing case studies about entrepreneurial photographers, artists, and designers who were early adopters of new technology. They began experimenting with pro-model digital cameras and printers long before all of the technical bugs had been worked out.

Feedback from these pioneering creative pros helped technology developers figure out how creative pros might want to use the new technology. The input from early adopters also helped tech companies determine which features should be automated in order to encourage non-techies (like me) to start buying new cameras and printers en masse.

One of the most enterprising creative pros I have worked with is Wayne Cosshall, an Australian photographer, writer, instructor, and entrepreneur. He started publishing the Digital ImageMaker International website in 2005, when online publishing was new and blogging tools weren’t nearly as simple as they are today.

The content of Digital ImageMaker was geared toward creative hobbyists and professionals who had mastered image-editing tools and had begun to experiment with everything that was possible with digital imaging and printmaking.

Recognizing that digital tools would enable photography, art, and graphics to converge, Wayne started writing articles about photography, web and graphic design, digital art, illustration, video production, editing and special effects, computational art and photography, and 3D graphics and animation (both 2D and 3D).

Wayne and I haven’t met (yet!), but he has been a regular contributor to the HP Pro Photography blog that I helped launch in 2006.

Recently, Wayne has been experimenting with different self-publishing platforms for photography-related publications. He has self-published different forms of e-books and recently produced the first issue of his print-on-demand magazine.

His self-published book “Photography Wisdom” in available in five different forms:

  • A print book from Amazon
  • An ebook for Kindle from Amazon
  • An ebook for Kindle and other ebook readers
  • An ebook from Apple
  • A  video-enhanced version of the ebook as an app for the iPad

Print-on-Demand Publications

The print-on-demand magazine is a compilation of some of the best articles from the Digital ImageMaker website.

To avoid having to pay for a large print run upfront, Wayne used HP’s print-on-demand MagCloud service to produce a magazine filled with stunning photographs and art.

MagCloud can produce saddle-stitched or perfect-bound magazines from the pages you upload as print-ready PDFs. To lay out your pages, you can use Adobe InDesign, Quark Xpress, Microsoft Word or Publisher, Apple, or any other software that can output a suitable PDF.

Wayne describes his experiences with the MagCloud service in a post on the HP Pro Photography blog.  He says that “Before I started on my own project, I bought a couple of other photography publications from MagCloud so I could examine the image quality and the paper. Happy with this, I moved forward.”

After previewing and approving a sample copy of the first issue, Wayne released Digital ImageMaker magazine for sale on the MagCloud website.

Cosshall says the print quality of the magazine is impressive: “Color is great, image detail is excellent, and the print is crisp and lovely. The paper feels good to handle, and the cover stock works well.”

The 60-page inaugural issue of Digital ImageMaker magazine includes lengthy, lavishly illustrated articles, including:

  • an article about computational artist Don Relyea, whose Generative Flowers II exhibt was displayed on two 50 x 30 ft. HD outdoor screens in Victory Plaza in Dallas.
  • an interview with Austalian artist Jane Davenport who works on a mix of photography, drawing, and painting projects and creates products ranging from books to clothing
  • an interview with wedding/portrait photographer Nadia Salameh
  • a profile of photographer/psychotherapist David J. Bookbinder who produces mandalas from images of flowers.
  • an interview with mixed-media printmaker Bonny Lhotka, whose ground-breaking work in inkjet image-transfer printing is included in the  Digital Darkroom exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
  • a profile of the Digital Art Guild, which is dedicated to advancing the concept of digital fine art while promoting public knowledge.

Reading the magazine provides a real sense of how diverse the “image-making” community has become. It’s exciting to see how many digital techniques creative pros are now using to either create or enhance their art.

An Ad-Free Photography Magazine?

While I understand why publishers must sell advertising to support the production of magazines, it was notably refreshing to read a photography magazine in which the articles aren’t interrupted by a clutter of “look-at-me” ads.

When advertising headlines and product photography aren’t competing for attention  with the visuals on the editorial pages, you can appreciate each artist’s work in a different way. It’s like visiting a museum where the works on the gallery walls aren’t displayed side-by-side with advertising posters.

Personally, I have always loved magazines (which is why I studied magazine journalism in college).  But Wayne’s self-published version made me regard the possibilities of the magazine format from a fresh perspective. It looks like I’m going to have to give it a try!


HP Pro Photography Blog: MagCloud and Publishing for Photographers by Wayne Cosshall

HP Pro Photography Blog: HP’s MagCloud Self-Publishing Service Can be Great for Photographers

HP Pro Photography Blog: Photo Book Publishing Comes of Age


Magazine: Digital ImageMaker Magazine on HP MagCloud

Website: Digital ImageMaker International