Living through the Kickstarter rollercoaster.
I did it twice. TWICE! What kind of lunatic does that rollercoaster twice? Me. That's who. I did it back in 2013 with my first novel Bloodmark in the Bloodmark Saga, to help pay for the marketing, editing and proofing process before it ever got printed. I remember that one more fondly than my more current one, for Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love. That one ran me hard and nearly broke my heart.
I went through all the hard work of writing up my story, doing the video (ahak! that's what I look like on camera!), and making all the reward levels. Then I have to hit the "launch" button.
You know, that dreaded button that takes it from some secret precious dream, to being publicly seen and judged. Both times I've walked this walk, it has taken me a few days to push that button. I'm an introvert to the core. I'm private. I'm weird. I'm self conscious. Frankly no one likes being judged, least of all me.
It is hard to put yourself out there waiting to fail.
That's how it feels. Like public failure over a 2-3 week time frame. Like sitting yourself and all your dreams in a giant apothecary jar in the middle of Time Square for the world to watch and judge whether you are worthy. It is rather terrifying to be honest.
I did a lot of things to try to keep the campaign relevant and talk about it nearly daily, without saying the exact same thing. To me that builds interest and excitement. So I announce the campaign, I post the video, I tag and thank all those that I know that donate, I create other merchandise, I post about mile stones in the campaign, I posted each of my endorsements separately, anything I could do to keep it interesting while really just asking people to donate books to mom's in need. My project was even selected to be one of Kickstarter's Projects We Love category, yet another great way to promote the project.
I was even invited on WCCO Radio to talk about the book one day, which was amazing! I am so thankful for that experience and for the attention it drew to Mama's Knight. Not only on Kickstarter, but the project as a whole.
Part way through the campaign I changed my main image to something more recognizable and engaging, because I realized the one I originally selected was so small in the mini-ad form on Kickstarter that it wasn't competing with the others. So I learned to ride with the punches and adapt to the situations.
I shared it on Facebook on my author page, my private page, on Twitter and Instagram, on my blog, and in personal emails to pretty much everyone I know. (This is a good time to pause and say THANK YOU to everyone for your love and support!) It truly couldn't have happened without everyone coming together.
I made levels to donate a book, get a book, get a mug, all kinds of different ways to engage people in what I believe will make a huge difference in mom's lives. But all the while I was sweating bullets and pitting out my shirts! I hated the process of asking for help. I'm admittedly bad at it, but it is a good lesson in Pay it Forward Kindness. The number of people that supported me, friends, family and strangers was inspiring.
Lastly I had a few family members and friends waiting to donate to the bitter end that I knew would get me across the finish line in my moment of need. They were going to donate anyways, but I knew they would all tailor their donations to help me succeed. Thankfully we did, and with that money I am able to donate 250 books to mamas in need!
Food for thought: make sure you set your goal as low as you can, because the lower it is, the easier it is to succeed. The higher the mark, the harder it will be to hit and more you will need to network your pants off.
I have vowed never to do this again. Even though I have had two successful Kickstarter campaigns. Who knows what the future holds, but hopefully this little bit of rambling will help you set up your Kickstarter and succeed. Good luck dear reader, I believe in you.