Crowdfunding is a good way for authors to put their books out. You post a project on a project board and have friends and family (and hopefully strangers) donate. It actually works for a variety of things, but there are some websites that particularly target authors: Pubslush and Unbound are two that looked particularly appealing to me.
However, not every crowdfunding website is ideal. Since I am trying to create an entire publishing company, crowdfunding loans look good to me right now. Traditional banks give loans to small businesses sparingly and my bank has already told me I would have to show increasing returns for five years to get one. I have only worked a little over a year as a freelance writer, so I would have a long time to wait to expand into self-publishing. They also have donation crowdfunding and reward crowdfunding (where you give people who donate a reward like a free book or two after you reach your goal). The only kind of crowdfunding I don't recommend for freelancers is equity or royalty crowdfunding. Not only would these be difficult to pay out and manage on your taxes, most freelancers/ authors are not going to have a corporation set up that would easily be divided into shares.
Be prepared - you will have to show you know what you are doing and you are going to complete the project. Many of the better crowdfunding websites will screen people who want to post and all the loan/ equity ones will.