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Things I'm learning from my first Kickstarter  RSS feed

 
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Here are some things I've learned over the last two weeks. 

here's a link to my kickstarter
It to raise funds for a book about growing your own linen - a truly awesome topic - but also a proof of concept test to see if people want to know about this topic.  We made funding in just a few days and here I am now, with two weeks left to go and things are looking pretty good.

  • people are amazing.  They believe in this project so much that they are willing to pledge money to make it happen.  They are willing to buy the book before it's printed.  I love you guys!
  • This means I have a lot to live up to.  Making the book the best book possible was a lot of pressure before, but now it's even more because these people show they have faith in me.  I don't want to let them down.
  • I wish I had known that shipping was included in the pledge total.  I looked all over but didn't see this anywhere in the instructions.
  • Asking people who I thought would be enthusiastic to spread the word is tremendously tedious.  And yet, there are also wonderful people who discovered the kickstarter and were happy to spread the word without me even asking.
  • Because I have some clout with permies, I'm making a list of who was helpful and who didn't have enough time to post to Facebook.  I'll refer to this list when the time comes that they ask for my help to promote their stuff.
  • very few pledges came from kickstarter sources.  About half the pledges came from permies.  Permies is a powerful promotion engine and I'm going to put a lot of energy into increasing this power in time for my next book.
  • Permies is by far the largest source of pledges.  We have all sorts of tools to help people promote their stuff, I used about a quarter of the tools so far.  We have a targeted audience that participates in what they find on permies.  This is fantastic!
  • 30 days is a really long time.
  • When people say this is a lot of work, they are understating.  When they (or Paul) says it is a "fuck Tonne" of work, they are coming nearer to the truth, but still very shy of how much work it is.
  • I'm glad I spent several months researching how to hold a kickstarter
  • I'm glad I listened to Paul Wheaton's podcasts on kickstarters
  • I'm sad I'm so camera shy.


  • I'm glad to be working with such tallented people.

  • more thoughts to come.
     
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    raven ranson wrote:I wish I had known that shipping was included in the pledge total.  I looked all over but didn't see this anywhere in the instructions.



    So if I pledge $15 and it adds $5 for shipping, it adds $20 to the total pledge bar? I always thought it would be $15.
     
    Shawn Klassen-Koop
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    I just did further research on my previous post. Apparently I have been wrong all this time. Wow, I really hope your campaign still makes enough to cover all the shipping!

    I don't understand this setup. Doesn't it seriously (and unnecessarily) complicate campaign budgeting? It seems to me that you have to know in advance how many people you expect to support at each reward level, whether those reward levels involve shippable goods, and what the distribution of shipping locations will be. On the other hand they could just collect shipping and not include it in the total. And then you'd get exactly as much shipping money as you need and not need to worry about budgeting for it.

    Gonna go write to Kickstarter support...
     
    raven ranson
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    Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:I just did further research on my previous post. Apparently I have been wrong all this time. Wow, I really hope your campaign still makes enough to cover all the shipping!



    Me too.  It ate up all my zombie attack buffer budget pretty quickly.  But I think we're on track to make this work.
    Now, if only I could sell half my flock of sheep, this would give me a nice cash buffer to help with other unexpected surprises.  But, if things keep going the way they are and the kickstarter makes a little more, I think we'll be alright. 
     
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    Because I have some clout with permies, I'm making a list of who was helpful and who didn't have enough time to post to Facebook.  I'll refer to this list when the time comes that they ask for my help to promote their stuff.



    I 'shared' twice on facebook and that is probably my limit there as I always feel uncomfortable posting something that is asking for money no matter how wonderful and worthy. 

    I'm assuming others might feel then same?

    It's awkward when I know many of my friends would love your book but can't afford it...many are craftspeople also, and this is one reason I pledged at the three book level so I could share two of them.

    Somehow I'm thinking you didn't intend for this statement to sound like it does?
     
    raven ranson
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    Thank you for posting.  It's appreciated.

    It is awkward asking for money.  I worried that I might be seen asking for charity which isn't what I want to do.  I want to create something that people can hold in their hands and be useful to them.  I see this Kickstarter as selling a product.  Or more, accurately, pre-selling the product to pay for the production. 



    I know what you mean about cost.  It's a difficult balance to produce the most affordable book possible while still remaining financially sustainable.  It's a very difficult balance and means we've sacrificed a lot of content we wanted to include in the book to keep the final price affordable.  I have to be very careful how I spend my money - it's often a choice between books or food.  My Library has been the best resource for me on this journey.  I'll be donating copies of the book to my local library.  In Canada we are required to donate a few copies to a national library service - one will be archived and one or more will be spread around the country so that people can borrow the book.  I don't know what the system is like in the US.  But I like the idea of encouraging people to use local libraries and most libraries have a place where you can request books.

    I've also set up a model that encourages shops to carry the book so the customers can save on shipping and it helps local economies.  I'll be adding the book to amazon eventually, but not right away so that the physical shops have a chance.

    But that brings us to another thing I learned from the kickstarter.  It doesn't end with the production of the book.  Once the kickstarter is finished, the book printed and rewards sent out, there's still a lot of work left to do. 
     
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    Judith Browning wrote:

    Because I have some clout with permies, I'm making a list of who was helpful and who didn't have enough time to post to Facebook.  I'll refer to this list when the time comes that they ask for my help to promote their stuff.



    I 'shared' twice on facebook and that is probably my limit there as I always feel uncomfortable posting something that is asking for money no matter how wonderful and worthy. 

    I'm assuming others might feel then same?

    It's awkward when I know many of my friends would love your book but can't afford it...many are craftspeople also, and this is one reason I pledged at the three book level so I could share two of them.

    Somehow I'm thinking you didn't intend for this statement to sound like it does?



    I shared it once on my page, and then on a bunch of pages that I thought would be interested in it, and that I'm already a participating member on. I don't want to spam people because,

    (1) If I look like I'm spamming, people will think your stuff is spam, and that's no good!
    (2) If I post on pages where people aren't interested in that kind of thing, they'll be really unhappy with me and maybe ban me. Being a moderator here on permies, I totally understand that mentality!
    (3) I don't join new groups just to share stuff, because, well, that looks like spam, and then #1 happens.

    A few days before the kickstarter is over, I'll probably share it again on my page, and bump it in the groups I'm in, so people remember it exists and make their pledges. I know a lot of people are probably like me and wait until the last moment to make a pledge.

    ================

    I really wanted to get info out about this book, because (1) I think it's such an important book, (2) There's probably people out there who really would want to know about it, and would be bummed if they didn't hear about it until after, (3) I want to support Raven!

    I think a large reason that Raven has gotten so much support here on permies is because people already love and know her. SOme might be supporting her just to support her. Other's know her book will be great because they've seen her writing here on permies. She's got a lot of "street cred."

    I think building those connections is so important, and permies is a great place to build connections just like Raven did.
     
    raven ranson
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    Having something physical to give to people has reached a whole new audience I didn't expect.

    I made a postcard ages back - more to motivate myself than anything else.  It announces the deadline to the world and it has pretty pictures in it.  Every picture has about 20 stories attached to it, so I can customize my pitch depending on who I'm talking to.  Most importantly, it's blank on the back, so I can write things on it, like my contact details and details about the sheep I have for sale right now, before I give it to them.  They turn it over, see the pictures, ask questions... it begins.



    I left a stack of 10 of these at my local import grocery store (they get a lot of foods from Europe and the Middle East).  Not really the kind of audience I expected to be interested in my book - it's mostly immigrants and refugees from the Middle East, foodies, and people like me who want to eat healthy foods from countries that don't use so much toxic Ick on their crops.  I'm friends with the owner so he encouraged me to place a stack at the till. 

    Yesterday I went back and the cashier asked for more postcards.  He said they are incredibly popular and lots of people are talking about it the book.  I had noticed that there has been more traffic to my website from typing in the address.  There have also been more kickstarter pledges coming from my website.  I didn't know where that traffic was coming from, but now I think it's coming from this shop.  From my postcards.

    I wish I had used some link that could do tracking instead of just crowinghen.ca
    I'm glad I didn't use the kickstarter link because I want these postcards to be perennial - as in useful if I have any left over.

    The rate things are going, I'll be out of postcards before the kickstarter ends. 

    Mostly I made these because I like sending postcards and I was too lazy to go into town and buy a dozen (which was about the same price as printing 250 when we factor gas and time into the equation).
     
    A sonic boom would certainly ruin a giant souffle. But this tiny ad would protect it:
    It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
    http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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