Updated: Jun 26, 2020
As I write this, my first Kickstarter campaign is ticking down the hours to completion and I wanted to share five things that you might find useful when setting up your own crowdfunding campaign.
I set up my Kickstarter campaign to fund the first edition print run of my first children's book Our Dave and it has been a huge success as far as I am concerned. Initially I was reluctant about any kind of crowdunders - and bear in mind that Kickstarter is only one platform out there. I think I was reluctant mainly because I hadn't done it before, and it almost seemed too good to be true.
For my own crowdfunding campaign I chose Kickstarter. Mainly because of talking to people who confirmed that creative projects work really well on there. And my own experience backs that up. A quick internet search will give you the other options for crowdfunding platforms.
Firstly, what I would say is get comfortable thinking about money. About how much you need, how much everything you are offering is going to cost to make, about how much it is going to cost to post around the world, and about the VALUE of the items (not just the cost). Because it will all effect how big your target amount will be.
It is a brilliant idea to offer lots of cool content, but you have to factor the cost of production and the cost of postage for the things you're selling. For example, I have been offering not only a signed copy of my book, but a set of 4 bookmarks, a colouring book, a signed original artwork etc - depending on the reward tier. For the amount of colouring books that I want to order, it is going to cost me £100 and for the bookmarks it is going to be £115. I am ordering more to use outside of the campaign, but still, if I hadn't taken these EXTRAS into account I would be £215 less well off.
Don't forget that whatever you make the crowdfunding platform will take a small cut. It's just how they make their money. It's completely normal, but you must remember to factor it in. Kickstarter take 5%, and it is similar across the board. This means that for every £100 you make, Kickstarter will take £5. Make sure you factor it in when thinking about how much money your target is going to be.
Remember that -at least with Kickstarter anyway - the postage you charge will contribute towards your goal amount. So, just say you're offering a book for £9, but the postage to America is £12... It will look that you've just made £21 (£9+£12=£21). But remember that £12 is earmarked for postage costs. I had to really spend a long time working out how much money I needed to ask for to make sure I actually had the amount I needed once the postage costs and other fees were taken off.
Just say for example that you need £1oo to buy your books. And using the reward price above, you sell 5 books at £9 with a postage of £12 (£21 total) Kickstarter would say you've reached your target. Yay! (£21 x 5 people = £105). But remember you have to take off postage which in this case will amount to £60 (£12 x 5 people) so the amount you'll actually be left with is £45. Nowhere near your target. So if in doubt ask for a higher target.
Secondly, read all of the advice that the crowdfunding platform gives you. Yep, all of the creator handbooks, watch their instructional videos, read their tips for making a cracking intro video for your site, all of that. ALL of that. Nobody knows their business like they do. It is in their best interest to make your project a success, because remember you pay them a percentage of it! I read all of their stuff. I made sure I knew what worked best for my welcome video. I made sure I knew what they were looking for from campaigns in order to qualify for their 'projects to watch' badge. I set up a spreadsheet of contacts and wrote each of them an email asking them to share my project...
Anything they suggested I did. And you know what? My campaign target was met in 48 hours and I was chosen as a 'Project we Love' by Kickstarter.
Make your project stand out by doing what they suggest and it will pay off. Looking back at the stats for my campaign, over half of my supporters came directly from Kickstarter themselves. I didn't know them, or ask them to support or share my work. They came directly from people searching Kickstarter for something to support and my project caught their eye.
Thirdly, find other campaigns similar to yours, see how successful they are, and then see what they're doing. Look at how they've laid out their page, how much information they've given it, look at the way they speak to the reader. Take inspiration for what works and implement it when creating your own page.
Fourthly, make a welcome video explaining your project. Put your face in it, tell the story behind it, let people see you and get to like you and want to buy from you. The biggest piece of advice that I've taken from running my own small business Embers and Ink and self-publishing my own books is that people buy from people.
They are more likely to want to support you if they can see the person that their pledge will be making a difference to.
And lastly I'd say share it and have fun with it. Be proud. Share it with your friends and family and don't be afraid to ask them to share it too. Many people might want to support you but may not realise the impact that sharing on social media has on the reach of your project. So ask them outright, and tell them that it will make a massive difference to the success of the project. Because it will open your project up to new people and the personal-recommendation that a share from friends gives it will make it much more likely that someone will click through that if they saw it on an advert.
Now go, be creative and make some money!
Hi everyone, I'm Emma Woodthorpe and I'm an illustrator and writer from Sheffield in the UK. My debut children's book Our Dave is set for general release on the 30th September 2020 (all being well with Covid delays etc). If you missed the chance to be part of my Kickstarter, you will be able to buy directly from my website www.emmawoodthorpe.com. Bookshop stockists will be confirmed in the coming weeks!
Check out my illustration business Embers and Ink in the meantime. Find my Instagram page here: www.instagram.com/embers_and_ink and from there you can get links to my shop by clicking the link in my Instagram bio.
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