The Crowdfunding Concept
First, let's talk about crowdfunding and Kickstarter in general.
Crowdfunding is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain exposure and backing from the general public to make their concepts and inventions into real products. With the explosion of the internet, sites like Kickstarter, still the most popular crowdfunding site in the world, that community of people grew to a global community of potential backers.
Kickstarter is compensated by taking a healthy bite of your campaign funding when you run a successful campaign, but if you can meet your objective and fund your project, it's worth it. Also, in return for backing a project, backers are given rewards. That's compensation that you, the developer must provide at the end of your successful campaign. Usually, a copy of your book or a free product along with other incentives that developers create to determine funding levels. For my campaign, $25. or more got you a signed copy of the book. $60. got you signed copies of the book series. You get the idea.
Kickstarter is an all or nothing venture, meaning, if you don't reach your funding goal, you get nothing and your backers do not pay or receive any rewards. You also walk away without getting the contact information of those backers. That's the worst part because if they believed in your project, they could become very important additions to your mailing list!
The publishing category on Kickstarter is not the most popular and many campaigns fail, so why do it? FOr exactly the same reasons you set up preorders and mailing lists. To develop a following of readers and to, hopefully, boost your Amazon sales rank and get more reviews at launch. Also, to help fund your project: Book Cover Art, Editing Services, Etc...
So Why Did I Fail?
That's really a one sentence answer. My funding goal was too high. I shot for the stars at $4,500 and ended my campaign with just under $1,000 pledged. So, the question is, why was it too high? It wasn't my rewards. I still think they're awesome and creative and have gotten excellent feedback on them. What prevented me from reaching my goal?
- I didn't have a large following ready to pledged at launch. Basically, my friends and family and a few members of the Kickstarter community were my backers. I should have been pushing this campaign to my blog and Twitter followers and on my Facebook Book Pages well in advance to garner some momentum. I could have tried a local press release and advertised at my local library reading club. I needed to have a decent sized fan base ready to pledge. I didn't
- I should have had my friends and family committed to making their pledges on launch day! Getting 20% funding in one day is enough to propel your campaign to the front pages of Kickstarter so that community members who aren't looking for you can see you.
- My video was lacking. It has been 5 years since I last made a video from a slide show and since then, Microsoft has changed all of the software. I needed to download new, learn how to use it, and being a writer not an artist, I don't have images of my setting or characters so I had to improvise.
- I didn't market my campaign soon enough. I eventually boosted a post on Facebook and ran a sponsored ad on Google with all the right key words and I did see an increase in traffic, but by then it was too late.
- I was a first time Kickstarter with no credibility in the community and no success rate to back up my claim that my project would succeed and be worth it.
I have since relaunched my campaign with a very low funding goal, simply to help absorb some costs and to, more importantly, let the 20 people who really wanted me to succeed have another chance to get their rewards fulfilled. I am confident that this will be a successful campaign and thus, help to grow my credibility in the Kickstarter World.
I will also become an active member in the community. I'm sure there are projects out there that I would love to see become a reality and hopeful developers like me, who deserve to have their dreams fulfilled. This too, will help me grow credibility for future campaigns, should I decide to give it another go.
Take a look at my improved, but not epic, video