So you want to run a Kickstarter campaign. Is it worth the work? For Anna Prashkovich and me, the answer would be a resounding yes.
Kickstarter meant we broadened our audience, added new folk to my mailing list, sold over one hundred books and raised money for an advertising campaign for the official release. We still have to decide how to use that money. Maybe another blog post will follow on how we go about that.
It was a lot of work though. In addition to the huge amount of labour that goes into producing two graphic novels, we made a promotion video; decided on and costed out rewards; advertised the campaign through Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and Pinterest; I emailed everyone I know and asked them to consider backing the campaign; updated the Kickstarter page more than twenty times during the campaign; recorded a radio spot advertising the campaign to potential backers; created a forum on my website for backers; made posters, character stickers, and digital wallpaper.
And it was even more work after we were successfully funded. Then we had to process all the surveys so Kickstarter could send them to backers; create a database of all the information so we could ensure the right goods went to the right people; finalise the book files and add supporters names to the acknowledgements; send out digital rewards; order proof copies of the print books, design other merchandise including messenger bags and stickers; find the best place to order these from and then wait for Kickstarter to send the funds. Seventeen days after the campaign finished and my bank still isn’t showing the credit, but it should be a formality as the money has been sent.
If the volume of work involved doesn’t put you off then what do you need to do to make sure your campaign is successful?
1) Build your newsletter. I had just over one hundred names on mine before I started and I should have been contacting them on the run up to launch. In fact I didn’t send out a newsletter until after we launched, but thankfully we got away with that.
2) Contact your friends. Send an email explaining what you’re doing and asking people who know and love you to check it out. At least twenty percent of my backers were people I emailed directly or contacted through my newsletter. I also contacted Facebook pages and asked them to share a press release I created. About 30% of my backers came from Facebook.
3) Use the Kickstarter community. A radio station contacted me and asked me to record a spot advertising the Kickstarter drive. I was happy to do so and when it was aired my supporters numbers peaked.
4) Don’t ask for too much money, especially if this is your first campaign. Most Kickstarter campaigns fail and I saw a lot of them raise over $3000 and still fail. Work out what is the minimum amount you can raise and still fulfill your obligations and use that as your target.
5) Post regular updates. When backers comment on or like these updates your campaign will magically move up in the polls. We spent most of the time in the top 100 in our category and some of that time in the top 25, but only by updating regularly. I posted 21 updates in total, during and after the campaign.
And that is all I learned from my experience. We built a strong page, we included a video and rewards that were priced from £1 up to £250, and we did it. You can still see the page here if you want to check out the text, images and rewards we included. If you are going for it, good luck and feel free to put a link to your campaign in the comments below.