Since I reached out to 10 Kickstarter creators, I have heard back from the vast majority of them. I got a chance to chat by phone yesterday with William Heimbach, the author of The Whale Who Dreamt of a Snail. It is a testament to Kickstarter's community-drive nature that he took 45 minutes! out of his Tuesday morning to chat with me about lessons learned and ideas for launching my own Kickstarter. How amazing is that!
William was full of helpful information, and I'll share it here in bullet-point form, even if that means I won't be able to recreate his voice on the page. In other words, this is paraphrased :)
Also, it was heartening to hear from William about how doing the Kickstarter actually helped him launch his web-design consultancy, My Digital Land. William and his wife now work full-time at home with their kiddos on their business! To me, that's something you can't learn by just looking at the pages from successful Kickstarters. It's a multiplying effect thing -- putting yourself out there in a big way and not having any idea where the success where take you!
Thank you, William!
I also reached out to the creators of You're Doing Great, Baby! I love this book, and it has success written all over it from the get-go because it has messaging inside for both parent and child. I wish it had been around when I had babies! Here's what creator Beth Taylor told me:
Thanks so much for your kind words about our book. It is a real honour to
be included in your list.
Your project sounds great and it's fantastic that you're reaching out to
ask questions. Looks like you've had some good advice already.
Stuff to do before launch included finishing the book itself so that it was
ready to go to the printer, producing the description, video and graphics,
and finalising our reward levels and funding goal (we spent SO long on the
rewards and funding goal - good to have one or two people outside of the
project you really trust to help with this). I also had a lot of blog posts
in various states of draft so that I'd have blog posts to publish during
the campaign when we were busy with other stuff.
My advice for writing your description and doing your video is to write
them so that your personality shines through - it will differentiate yours
from all the others. Whether you use humour or it's a bit quirky -
personality is so important when there's a tonne of stuff out there.
Having a spreadsheet with every detail possible (printing costs, reward
costs, postage costs to a range of places and costs of packaging material
etc.) really helps you decide what your funding goal should be and helps
you track your progress.
Another thing I did before the launch of the campaign was to draft emails
to everyone I knew who could possibly be interested. The emails, which I
sent out on day one of the campaign, were personal (not to a group) and
invited them to check out the project and share it with others. I found
that for each person who shared the project on Facebook we would get about
one of their friends backing us. It really helps if people sharing the
project say something about why they think it's important/why they love it.
It's good to have a timeline ready that you can add to/change. I gave each
week a major theme so that the blog posts I published would have a theme
and then also included a post per week about something to do with the
process of writing or illustrating it.
During the campaign I'd say I spent 3-4 hours per day and my husband would
have spent 1-2 hrs per day inc. replying to messages from backers, writing
blog posts, producing and posting pics to social media, publicising
campaign on different Facebook group pages etc. I found the free graphic
design website Canva.com incredibly useful for graphics.
I don't think that Instagram and Twitter brought in many new people, but it
was useful to have a presence on there as well as on Facebook. I found our
Facebook page the most helpful.
We did the Kickstarter in August 2015 and we are still working on some of
the rewards in February 2016! We allowed a lot of time in the deadline for
people but we are still working on the last of the custom artworks and I
haven't done all the consultations with people yet. People always say to be
careful how involved your rewards are and to avoid postage as much as
possible and I'm sure it's true - but we also wanted to feel like we were
offering the best value for money for people and so we included some more
labour intensive rewards anyway. You've got to do what feels right for you.
It's not an easy way to make money by any means, but it's the best way we
found to get our work out there and find a community of people interested
in our project. Hopefully if we do another book we will have lots of people
already interested and on our mailing list.
Things we maybe should have done differently would be to put more time into
getting the project into other people's blogs and online publications. We
only had one (online) newspaper article and two blog posts written about us
and it would have been great if there was more. If there's any longer
lead-in stuff you can do (line-up a magazine article or guest blog posts or
an appearance on a podcast/radio/TV show) before launching that would be a
good idea because four weeks goes by really fast!
Wishing you all the best with your campaign! Looks like you've got all the
People can buy copies of our book here: http://www.doinggreatbaby.com/shop/
Beth & Jeff
Thank you, Beth and Jeff!
Can you tell I'm falling in love with Kickstarter? I already see my memoir now. Kickstart My Heart: A Love Story :)
I'm launching the Tessalation! Kickstarter on March 1, World Math Day! Wish me luck!
Emily Grosvenor, author of Tessalation!, a children's book about tesselations and patterns in nature.