My Kickstarter Experience: A simple starter walkthrough

So I have been thinking, I am going to try to do a Kickstarter for my novel I wrote for this years Nanowrimo. I posted a brief bit with a link to the page I am working on.

And then I thought “Hmm, I wonder how many other authors might want to try the same thing but are not sure if they can?” I decided to write a blog post about how and what I am doing for Kickstarter. Giving a walk through of my experience so that you can have a better understanding of what they do and how to go about doing it for yourself.

First off, Kickstarter  according to their own site:

“Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.”

The way they work is they are an “all or nothing” style funding. Either you meet your goal and get paid or your don’t and no money changes hands. It is up to you to get people looking at your project and sponsoring you.

This opens up a whole new world to people seeking support for their creative projects. For writers, this may help you decide if you are going to self publish or pursue traditional publication. Something to keep in mind when you are getting ready to set your goal amount.

When you first start your Kickstarter project they send you through their GUIDELINES to learn what is a proper Kickstarter project and what is not. Things like getting an album produced or, for writers, getting the backing to self publish your novel.

Next are the BASICS of your project. In this case, your book.

  • Project Image: Post the Cover Art if you have it already, if not post an image used for your author platform.  I am using a bit of art made by my husband that I am also using on Twitter. That way people will know it is really my project.
  • Project Title: For Books you can just use the title of the book or try to put something that is Eye Catching. I just put Death’s Hope for now.
  • Category: You will need to categorize your project. There is a section for Publication and sub sections on what type of thing you are seeking to publish. Fiction here.

(I strongly suggest going through their vids and such on how to pull off a successful kickstarter. You can get some great ideas and learn a great deal on how it all works)

  •  Short Blurb: If you tweeted about your project (135 characters) what would you say?
  • Project Location: Where is your project located? Kickstarter has a breakdown and you can look up current projects started by people in your area. If you are someone who likes to support local artists, check out what is being started in your area.
  • Funding Duration: This section is for how long you want your project to run on Kickstarter. They have a ‘small print’ section here. Read through it to learn what is the best action for your project.
  • Funding Goal: This is very important to research. Find out how much you will need for your project and then ask for that. Don’t get greedy. Look and see what other people are doing. I took a long look at the people who had achieved their goals and what they did.

Next section you will be asked to work on is the REWARDS section. This part was my favorite. Thinking up all the different things to reward my supporters with. Bookmarks, Signed book copies, Launch Party invites. Anything you feel would be seen as valuable and worth a person investing in your project. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for the things you are offering to your supports when you are setting goal and reward levels. Have fun with it and your supporters will too.

The next step is the STORY.

  • Project Video: Post a video about what you are asking people to spend their money on. It does not need to be anything fancy. Some folks might even think “Well if you can afford to get that video all cool, why you need my money?” It will make you look more credible if people see the person behind the project. Authors should really use this as a time to get your audience started.
  • Project Description: This is where you tell people about your book. What stage are you at? Is the book finished? Are you still working on it? What is it about? Tell people as much as you can without actually giving away the story. This is the section you want to be very honest and open in. People will read this to find out more about what the project is about and making their choice to give you money or not based on what they read here.
  • Risks and Challenges: This section allows you to show your supporters that you are fully prepared for the things that might happen during the course of your project. Print delays? Computer crashed and need to get a new one to finish the rewrite? There ya go.

From here it is all ABOUT YOU. Who are you? What kinds of things are you interested in? How can supporters find out more about you? Do you have a webpage? PLATFORM people! This is it!

There are two other sections to completing your project with Kickstarter. Account and Review. I am just getting into these sections myself so I will do another blog in the near future about what it is like to get through them. You will need to create an Amazon Business account and have either a Debit card or Credit Card for them to deposit the fund onto if you should make your goal.

I hope this was helpful for people who are interested in learning more about the Authors journey through the Kickstarter process. I will be posting more about this experience to share for future or upcoming authors!

Enjoy and let me know if this was helpful or not! Click the speach bubble at the top to leave a comment!

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Brand on a Budget for Newbs

Having a Brand Name is one of the Hot Topics that new writers hear about. What exactly is a brand name and how do you get one?

Well, Pepsi is a brand name. You have a certain image that comes to mind when you hear the name.

Starbucks, K-Mart, MARVEL. All of these are brand names. You know them, you know what they look like, and when they don’t you know it really is not them.

It is your ‘image’ as a writer. When people see your name do they recognize it? Does it mean anything to them?

You want the answer to be yes.

Regardless of how you choose to publish your work, Having a Brand will greatly increase your numbers all around.

Now I am sure you already know that today is all about social media. If you want to be a Name and not just a name then you will want to get involved in things like Twitter, Facebook and have your own web page. It is the way things work in our modern age of eBooks and YouTube. (You may even think about having a YouTube channel, I do. I also have a channel on Twitch.tv but I have been out of the vid realm for a few months. Both are under the name Iniriba)

Now, think back to Pepsi. You know what image comes to mind when you think about it. Red, White and Blue can, circle with a swooshy in the middle right? Now, I bet if you went and looked up Pepsi Co’s webpage, twitter and YouTube they would all have the same image or at least something that matches on all of them. BRANDING.

The idea is to do the same thing with who you are as a writer. What image  do you want people to think of when they see your name? Probably whatever you happen to write about, right? Ok cool. Now what?

Hire a pro.

Seriously. There are many folks out there who specialize in helping newbs find their Brand and creating great work that catches the eye and helps identify the author. A recent new follower of mine @MonkPAWcreative does this. Check out the great work at monkeypawcreative.com.

Just from a quick search on BING I also found brandingauthors.com and this great article Branding for Writers:An Essential Step to Building your Author Platform from thecreativepenn.com. Much better info than I have posted here for new authors learning about branding.

Now you are probably thinking, Wow! Iniriba, that stuff looks great but I am a newblett author with no cash to be had! Now what?

Well, if you are lucky like me and happen to be married to a would-be graphic artist then you are set! For the price of a home-made pumpkin pie you can have your very own Banner to spread across the net!

If not, well, for starter find out what it is about you that makes you unique as a writer. Then find a picture or even take one that you feel is a good representation of you. You can find places online that you can download different letter fonts from. Start with that. Just fiddle with text colors and fonts until you find a combo that says YOU.

Here is a “Banner” I made myself just using the paint program that came with my laptop and a photo I took on my phone.

You should be able to upload your “banner” as a background image for any of your social media sites. They should also have a FAQ that tells you how to do that.

It may take a bit of research to find out what works for you but I can guarantee that in the long run you will be happy you did. Talk to student artists who are looking to create their portfolio. You may find someone willing to give you a major discount if you give them the credit for the work and allow them to use it.

If you are self-employed you can always barter services depending on what you do. I happen to be a doula (I help women have babies. Not a midwife. I am support for mom and dad…Like a coach). My standard fee for service is $750. The majority of graphic designers I know are male so I would not be able to barter unless their wife/GF happened to be pregnant. In which case we could negotiate an arrangement.

The point is to find a way to make your name stand out. Be consistent through all of your media platforms. I know…mine are not consistent right now…Still need to make that pie. I do however have a great catchy name that helps separate me from others. If you see it you know it is more than likely mine.

If you have any questions about Branding yourself There are dozens of great websites out there to tell you all about it. @MonkPAWcreative and other people who actually do branding do a much better job of explaining the details…that is what they do.

I just wanted to give some creative tips and ideas for those of you, like me, are unable to afford the services of a pro until later. You may even surprise the Pro when you hire them and they see you have already ‘started’!

Best of Luck! Leave a comment below if you know of any other great ways to help newb authors brand themselves for little or no money. Remember that your brand is the visual representation of who you are as a writer. You will eventually want to hire a pro so that you also come across as pro. Could you imagine if Stephen King used a picture like mine?! >.< Yeah, me too…

(I am a newb author myself and this is part of my journey, therefore part of my blog. I do not claim to have any professional knowledge other than my own personal experiences in Branding for Authors. I really am serious when I encourage you to Hire a Pro!)