Guest Post by J.M. Frey, award-winning author of Triptych, HERO is a Four Letter Word, The Dark Side of the Glass, and more.
Many authors have used Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to finance the production of their next book. But if you don’t know how to use these sophisticated platforms you are destined to fail. My SFF client, J.M. Frey, has some tips to get you started.
#1 – Have A Mentor
Seriously. Have someone on your side who has done this before. I am very lucky to be friends with Hope Nicholson (https://www.Kickstarter.com/profile/hopelnicholson), who has run two very successful campaigns for reprinting Nelvana Of The North (https://www.Kickstarter.com/projects/hopelnicholson/nelvana-of-the-northern-lights-canadas-first-super?play=video_pitch&ref=users) and Brok Windsor (https://www.Kickstarter.com/projects/hopelnicholson/brok-windsor-lost-wwii-comic-book-returns). I paid her in beer, and Hope was instrumental in helping me craft the pitch, the video, and letting me know what rewards perks tended to be the most popular, and what would be an appropriate cost for each. Her experience has been irreplaceable, and I know come Do-Everything-I-Promised time, she will once again be an amazing guiding hand.
If you do nothing else, get a mentor with a previous successful campaign.
#2 – Have a Clear Plan and A Budget
For your own sake of mind, have clear contracts (even if it’s a project between friends; maybe especially if it’s a project between friends so they remain your friends) with clear financial expectations and money/project delivery dates. Have it all written in as plain and clear a way as possible. Also preplan what you’re going to spend your Kickstarter gains on – backers will want to know where the money is going and why you need so much, and when they will get their stuff. Plan all of this before you start making the project.
Transparency is the best policy.
#3 – Pre-Write Your Announcement Posts
…and queue them before you make your project live. Hope accidentally beat me to the punch in announcing my project because I made it live (without telling anyone but a select few) and then began to post about it. I spent the rest of the day scrambling to catch up to myself and making silly mistakes like forgetting to put the project URL in my social media messages! Silly Jess!
# 4 – Use the Peer Review Feature
Get friends, your mentors, and people who have donated/run projects on Kickstarter to review your project before you make it live. They always have valuable suggestions on clarifying and tightening your pitch. Do this well before the project goes live, so you have time to tweak.
#5 – Engage Your Backers
Use the project update feature, have conversations with them via social media, answer their questions publicly via the FAQs, and try to give them special little moments of insider info, sneak previews, and feeling like they have ownership. Like in a good book, bring your audience along for the ride.
Their excitement is what will get your project funded, so get them excited; provide plot twists, plan out climaxes, and tell them the story of the project. Also, plan out your stretch goal perks in advance and advertise them. Try to make it something that people will want badly so they’ll donate more and pester others to donate, too.
#6 – Back Others
Engage in the community. People who are only asking for money look selfish. Spread a little love around, and talk up other projects that you think sound nifty or important.
And please, check out my Kickstarter for my adult picture book The Dark Lord And The Seamstress (https://www.Kickstarter.com/projects/jmfrey/the-dark-lord-and-the-seamstress)