Last Friday I did something that felt very brave to me, and also a little crazy. I put out a blog post about how hard it was to develop my Kickstarter rewards for my forthcoming campaign for Tessalation! and asked my friends to comment on it before it goes live on March 1, World Math Day.
In retrospect, this wasn't scary at all. It was the smartest thing I've done. Doing so, I gave the very people who had encouraged me to do Kickstarter in the first place a chance to help me shape my campaign to fit their needs before I launched it. People like:
Frequent Kickstarter backers, prospective book buyers, an independent bookseller, fans and moms
Here are some of the things I learned from the Facebook conversation we had.
1. The price point for a children's book launched on Kickstarter should be about $25
People will spend about $20 on a hardback children's picture book, and will willingly support a friend's Kickstarter to be a part of that campaign and feel like part of its story. Anything more and it feels like the price isn't aligned with the true value of the product.
2. Prospective buyers do not want to donate to charity.
I had planned to have an option to donate to the organization Pretty Brainy, which supports math and science interest among young girls, but most of the people I interact with thought this wouldn't get a lot of interest, that the product is the most important part of the campaign. That's good news, since Pretty Brainy has never responded to my inquiries!
3. Supporters want a variety of rewards at a variety of price points.
It's easy to go completely overboard with ideas of how to make branded products around the Kickstarter campaign -- Tessa plushy doll, anyone? -- but the ones that gained the most interest in our conversation were a custom puzzle (fitting with being a piece of the Tessalation! puzzle) and a giclee print from the book.
4. Incentivizing multiple books received is a great idea.
My Facebook fans felt that asking a parent to donate a book to the library was too much of an ask, but giving them an option to order two books for a smaller price tag was an attractive option. So I'm changing that particular reward to allow Kickstarter campaign participants to have a book for themselves and for a friend for $45, which is an effective discount.
5. Friends like to feel like a part of the project
My friends, especially the ones who are frequent Kickstarter backers, have been uber-supportive of Tessalation! and its potential campaign. They are the ones who convinced me to do Kickstarter in the first place and they are the ones who helped me fine-tune the rewards. I respect and value their opinions above all else! Some of them have even done their own campaigns and were able to clue me in on little details I might have missed. One suggestion was to be very careful what I promise at the "Angel" level, the highest level. Otherwise, I might end up doing a school visit in Australia! Come to think of it, that doesn't sound half bad...
Have you tested your Kickstarter rewards before launching? What did you discover?
Emily Grosvenor, author of Tessalation!, a children's book about tesselations and patterns in nature.