Things I Learned From My Kickstarter
I recently ran a Kickstarter for my books, Chime and The Fleetwood Skies. I learned a few things there in the trenches, and I have some stuff I'd like to pass on. Here's the skinny:
You better be ready to back your product %100
People can smell doubt. Why should they invest if you don't believe in it either?
Don't be bland and impersonal with marketing. It's boring and stupid.
Nobody buys crap that doesn't make them feel good. If you copy/paste marketing stuff you're better off saving your advertising dollars to buy your friends a cup of coffee. (Them telling their friends is better advertising anyway.)
Sub-Note-- book campaigns need to be finished and ready for retail. I have noticed from observing Kickstarter campaigns that book projects that are not finished or complete are usually the campaigns that are not even 10% funded by the end of their cycle. I can see the appeal of trying to fund a story before you are finished because it takes a huge investment of time and money, but the reality is that unless you have a very supportive fan base or a rich benefactor, no one is going to put money into a book that hasn't been completed, especially if you have nothing under your belt to prove that you can finish it and finish it well.
Connect with your backers
THANK YOUR BACKERS. They are giving you their hard earned money to take a chance on you. RESPECT THAT. IT IS A BIG DEAL. If you don't respect your backers, you are not only being a shish-kebab, but you are losing credibility and excitement for the next project.
Also, it's fun.
Connect using platforms you already have.
If you have Facebook, twitter, Instagram, deviantArt, Goodreads, YouTube, whatever, use that. It's fine to learn new things and branch out but you're more likely to confuse yourself and get distracted from your real goal while finagling with the politics of social media.
When in doubt, buy them coffee.
Do yourself a favor and research correct keywords for searches, however. This will get you free traffic and the most promising connections online.
You will get swamped with messages from marketing companies
Everyone wants a slice of that money you're working hard for. I would not recommend any of it, even if you're project isn't going as well as you planned.
Remember that the spikes in pledging are usually at the beginning and the end of the project. Don't fall victim to these companies taking your money out of desperation. Persevere and re-plan!
Ask your friends for help
And buy them that damn cup of coffee. People that care about your success want to help, and something as small as saying, "hey, can you share this?" can go a long way. Don't expect ANYONE to do anything for you, unless they are contractually involved in the project, but you never know what will make the right connection.
When possible, reach out in person.
(Further reading on this in The Art of Asking, which also houses a plethora of info on crowd funding.)
Start small, with an achievable goal.
Do something you can know you can finish, with a goal you know you can obtain, with a time frame and budget you know you can sustain. It sounds 'dah', but it's easy to over or underestimate things, especially when you've never done it before.
But, ultimately, and most importantly:
Get 'er Done.
Good luck, :)
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