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Kickstarter…the promissed land…

kickstarterOn their webpage Kickstarter claim Kickstarter is a vibrant community of people working together to bring new things to life.”

This statement appeals to my inner author child and I notice my ears prick up  to attention. But is it real? Could it bring my book to life? It seems too good to be true!

As we know, crowd-funding has become a primary go to source for those of us with BIG dreams and empty bank accounts.

I started researching into this a couple of years ago when I first wrote ‘The Cat Can’t Swim”.

I had every intention at the time to put together a campaign with nothing but a leap of faith….

Then life happened. My mum had a stroke and other factors to lead me off course for a little while.

At the beginning of this year however I decided it was time to take the plunge and asked for some advice on a very supportive local Facebook group. My question was Do I show my whole book on my campaign or just a teaser? It is a picture book after all.

The responses were pretty evenly split down the middle-both with valid arguments for and against. Then I received an response from a fellow author who has successfully self-published her book from her Kickstarter campaign. She gave me wonderful advice, all of which I will share with you.

Find a Good Printer!

I know this seems like a pretty obvious one but I had spent many weeks researching this and the ones I had found were either way over priced or required massive quantities. It is also hard to know what their finished quality is like.

You will need to get the book quoted before putting together the rewards for your campaign. This will require choosing the layout, paper weight, binding type, size etc.

Once you have your cost per book you can start to work out what to sell it for – keeping in mind the going price for similar books in your category. I would also allow for the cost going up between the initial quote and the time you actually go to print. Also remember to make allowances for the 5% fee that Kickstarter will take if your campaign is a success.

I will be going with Print Ninja on her recommendation. They were great value and I have been super impressed with them so far. They are really efficient and sent me a sample pack to help me chose paper weights and styles. This included three picture books they had printed for other authors. The best thing to is that you receive a further discount if you include their logo in your kickstarter campaign.

Don’t over-promise!

It is really important to not underestimate the amount of work involved. Yes we know it will be hectic to get your project finished, find your printer, design your rewards, write your bio and create your video but that is apparently nothing to what is required to keep your campaign gaining momentum and answering emails from potential backers etc. Apparently all this can require several hours per day for the duration of the campaign which can be up to 60 days.

This is something I am already sure I would do. I had grand Ideas of offering a signed copy of my book to each person who backed me………Let’s say it is successful then I could have 700 books to sign….Did I mention my arthritis LOL!

OMG….. hours per day replying to emails from potential backers seems excessive! Not that I am complaining about this point. I would happily do this as it will give me a chance to communicate with my readers but luckily I am in the position to do this as a stay at home mum.

Make a Kickass Video!

This is my Moby Dick! This video is supposed to be humorous, unique, unexpected, great quality, engaging, and most importantly make people want to buy your book. Ok so I’m going to be honest, this is where I want to get off my Kickstarter train. See you later, nice knowing you but how the bloody hell am I supposed to do that? I don’t have a little pocket film crew  that I just whip out each time I want to make a kickass video, and let’s tell the truth here, If I could afford to pay for such crew then I probably wouldn’t need to use Kickstarter……..RIGHT!!!!!!!

Seriously though, I had thought maybe I can just make a little video on my iPhone. I even bought myself a $17.50 tripod. I was good to go until I watched some of the videos of other picture book campaigns. I seriously need some new friends who can help me out with this! I am NOT giving up!!! Today!!!

Be ready to go!

Another great piece of advice is to have your book ready to go straight to the printer, because apparently the time comes around so quickly that before you know it, it’s time to ship! Considering I haven’t finished my illustrations this was an invaluable piece of advice for me as I was about to launch my campaign.

Spend time on your Rewards!

Next up are the rewards. What will people get for backing your project? Well I have already established that 700 signatures might be over committing somewhat? There are amazing examples on the Kickstater page and a few that appeal to me are to give the higher end backers something they will actually want.

Such as:

An original artwork print from the book limited edition.

Discount for volume i.e. 1 x book $25, 2 x book $40, 3 x books $50, you get the picture.

Good Karma for your $5 backers

Bundle packages are great where you take several of the smaller rewards and wrap them up together for a pretty penny!

My advice is to check out your competition by searching similar campaigns, and getting ideas from rewards that have proven to be successful.

It is important to spend time on developing your rewards as over-promising can leave you with a lot of work and stress later on – not to mention very empty pockets.

Some other advice…

Pre write your blog posts and email drafts so they will be ready to go as you need them. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with your target audience and make your campaign know through relevant blogs, forums and other social media outlets.

Get your friends working for you. Your true friends will be happy to support you and share your campaign. If they don’t then send them a gentle email….BEGGING them!!!

Another idea is to create a Facebook event for your friends called “help launch my kickstarter campaign’ and let them know that all those who do will be invited to your extraordinary launch party.

To avoid stress later on, make your dead-line (delivery date) is reasonable. Give yourself enough time to get the books printed and dispatched to avoid people messaging you screaming “WHERE IS THE REWARD I PAID FOR?”

But mostly her advice was to go for it. Have fun!!! You have nothing to lose really. Sure you won’t get anything if you don’t reach your target but all it cost you is your blood sweat and tears which for a self-publishing author is just an average week right.

If you want to check out the book of the author Beth who gave me this great advice you can check out her book “You’re Doing Great Baby” here

Please let me know if you have any other tips or success stories you would like to share with me.

Thanks for reading. I hope it’s been useful to you,

Cassandra

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