If you're interested in learning more about running your own crowdfunding operation for your book, then today's guest blog by author Rebecca Bowyer is for you!
Check it out...
Running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of your novel can be a real emotional rollercoaster. I should know – I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of my first dystopian novel, Maternal Instinct.
Before I launched, what I really wanted to know was, what’s it like to run a Kickstarter campaign?
Crowdfunding has become a popular way for indie authors and small presses to raise funds for their next project. There are hundreds of really helpful articles about how to set up the project, run a successful campaign and fulfil rewards. I found there wasn’t much out there about the actual experience of running a campaign.
So, I kept a diary, and now I’m sharing it with you. Good luck with your campaign!
Diary of a successful Kickstarter project
Day 1: Launch Publish Maternal Instinct – a novel project on Kickstarter and share the link on my personal Facebook profile. Sit back and feel very pleased with myself indeed. Schedule social media launch posts for my public accounts. Freak out. Leave house to buy wine.
Day 2: Obsessively check pledge total - 17% funded already! Google “Kickstarter success rate.” Discover two-thirds of projects are unsuccessful. Freak out again. Too late to turn back now.
Get excited to receive messages on Kickstarter before realising they're all spam, offering to help promote campaign for the “bargain price” of $300.
Feeling nervous about “name a character” reward. Picturing fictional pregnant girl named “Boaty McBoatFace”. Colleague at day job threatens to get together with other colleagues to raise $300 and make me name a character after our workplace.
Day 3: Wake up to discover that Kickstarter has selected Maternal Instinct as a “Project We Love”. Squeeeee! Will be featured in search results and get a lovely heart badge.
Day 4: Obsessively check Kickstarter category “Projects We Love / Australia / Publishing”. Relieved to see almost all have been fully funded.
Day 6: 35% funded. Feeling very fortunate.
My brother pledges, asks me to name a character after our late Nan. Shed a tear or three. “Sylvia” is a much better name than “Boaty McBoatFace”.
Record a special Kickstarter episode of Story Addict podcast - me reading a scene from the book.
Day 7: The Notorious MUM shares the campaign with her 12,000 Facebook followers and now it's 46% funded!!!!!
Heartened by reading an article that says if a project gets to 20% funded it has an 80% chance of being fully funded. Start researching book cover designers.
Day 8: Another pledge, pushing me over the 50% funded milestone!! 53% funded. Post an end of week 1 update on Kickstarter and share it across my socials.
Check Kickstarter stats - $401 of pledges so far have come from Kickstarter site traffic, thank you Kickstarter!
Day 9: 56% funded. Get tempted by a “crowdfunding boost” spam email, promising to help me get more pledges for a VERY REASONABLE PRICE. Message Lisa over at The Notorious MUM (a Kickstarter veteran) for advice. She tells me to RESIST.
Day 10: 58% funded. Update my world-building writing post from 2017 to include a link to my Kickstarter and share the post on Twitter.
Day 11: Hit $3k! 60% funded! Update project page to include links to blog post series about writing and publishing journey, plus podcast ep and transcript of manuscript excerpt.
Struggling with the voice inside my head that says: BUT WHAT IF THE BOOK IS AWFUL AND ALL THE KICKSTARTER BACKERS HATE IT?? Remind myself it’s not awful.
Day 12: 69% funded. Feeling a bit flat today. Think I'm just worn down from all the excitement.
Day 13: Live tweeted from #Speculate19, Melbourne spec fic convention. An awesome day. Picked up 3 new backers through live tweeting!
Day 14: Campaign halfway mark, 71% funded! Crowdfunding marketing company emails me claiming their algorithm predicts I'll fulfil my goal and get >$7k funding if I can maintain momentum. Pretty chuffed, but I only need $5k.
Halfway mark celebration - publish updates on Kickstarter, Story Addict and social media. Invest $10 on Instagram and $15 on Facebook to promote the posts.
Day 15: This must be the mid-point lull people talk about. So frustrating as it feels like the campaign is SO CLOSE. Pledges are still trickling in, but I feel like bombarding people and telling them I promise to shut up when it's fully funded, even if the campaign hasn't ended. Probably not a great long-term marketing strategy though...
Day 17: No pledges for more than 24 hours then finally a single one! Not sure I can stand another 11 days of this. Exhausted and the suspense is killing me.
Day 18: LinkedIn sends me a $50 advertising credit, what perfect timing! Set up a Kickstarter ad on LinkedIn almost immediately.
74% funded. Only 10 days to go!
Start to seriously think about my final week push. Put together a collage of comparable book covers to use, plus a series of “which actor would play xx character if Maternal Instinct was made into a movie?”
Day 20: Introduce a new reward specifically for a friend of my mum’s who wanted two books. Share the new two-book reward on social media and two people pledge for it! Who knew people would want more than one?
Post a backers-only update on Kickstarter, including the images I’m planning to share on social media in the next few days. A backer shares the update on Facebook and tags a friend of hers to gauge interest for turning the novel into a PLAY!
Day 23: Feeling thoroughly depressed about the campaign today. What if it doesn’t make it to 100%??? Suspect I'm just tired.
Day 25: We made it! Goal reached 3 days early! 80 backers, $5,026 raised, 100% funded. Massive sense of relief. Also exhausted. I just want to lie down and sleep for a week.
Now the real work starts – publishing my first novel…
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