I recorded my interview with Allen Stroud (of Lave:Revolution fame) for the Lave Radio earlier in the week and something we talked about got me thinking. We discussed my kickstarter, the reasons for starting it, the process I went through to get it ready and the journey to completion. Which led to a question we didn’t discuss:
Would I have done anything differently?
It’s not a fair question in a way as I started the kickstarter with to real undestanding of what was needed for a kickstarter and what the followers required from a kickstarter. I was a rookie, a first-time-Timothy, thrashing about in the deep end simultaneously trying not to drown while winning some kind of money laden race.
In that kind of situation, I think you do ‘The Best You Can With What You Got’.
Perhaps a better question would be: “What would I do differently next time?”
On that question I do have some answers:
1) Move to the UK. If I had been a UK resident, I could have used kickstarter instead of Indiegogo (which allowed campaigns from anywhere in the world, unlike kickstarter). This would have eliminated a large barrier to the main Elite audience and would have made my job a whole lot easier
2) I think I did pretty good in terms of the wordage on my campaign page. concise details leading to the more detailed synopsis at the end. What I didn’t do enough of was providing information in the other medias. Video, Audio, Images. I relied on the community to begin with for video and images. I should have made my own videos from the get-go. Purchased that video editing software straight away and opened with my introduction video.
As all Elite fans and hangers-on for the main Elite kickstarter will know: There is nothing like a lacklustre opening to kill your campaign.
3) From this starting point of strength I should have continued on with videos. In hindsight it is clear how much the pledgers and followers demand, even need, updates. Videos are something the internet users seem to require to keep breathing. I did some videos, but I think I should have done more. More of myself, more full of pretty imagery from Elite, more general video updates to keep the pledger’s hunger sated.
4) Half way through my campaign a supporter asked about an audiobook stretch goal for my campaign and suggested that I read the story. Having watched my videos he must have thought that I spoke with some base kind of elegance. Although I did add the audiobook as a stretch goal I didn’t really take that opportunity by the throat. There were many options. I could have created audio only feeds, akin to Lave Radio. I could have (cheaply) made one of my existing short stories into an audiobook and either added it to the site as advertising or given it away to a special pledge tier.
5) Having watched some of the other kickstarters it made me realise how narrow my focus was. I came up with what I thought were some pretty good pledge tiers for my supporters but I could have cast my net in completely different directions and maybe caught a few more supporters.
6) Finally, I would go back in time and create a following BEFORE I needed it. Not afterward. I had some small semblance of notoriety because of the Huge Plasma Accelerator, but that only reached a small portion of the Elite community and wasn’t really enough to create that critical mass you need behind you for one of these campaigns.
The crowd funding experience was like no other and something I am glad I did as it’s something I’ll never forget. It was a lot of work, it was quite nerve wracking through out and in the end it was extremely exciting and satisfying when I crossed that finish line.
Would I do a kickstarter again? Yes, I think I’ve learnt quite a few lessons to make future kickstarters more effective.
Do I think I’ll actually do a kickstarter again? Probably not, but who knows? A production run of paperbacks or a professional quality audiobook are always attractive options, for both “And Here The Wheel” and the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.
A quick tibbit of novel news: Still keeping to my daily goal of 1000 words a day so right now I’m sitting on 41,000 words and rushing head first toward the Mid Point / Contextural Shift where everything changes. EVERYTHING.
But in a good way.
For the reader, anyway.
The protagonist sure ain’t going to be thanking me.