Sadie Francis Skyheart

Screenwriter & Author

This is PART TWO of the good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful details of my recent experience with Kickstarter. 

Is crowdfunding right for your indie book? I can’t answer that for sure, but I can tell you a few things that will help you decide. I recently funded my debut novel, The Recollection of Trees on Kickstarter. If you’re considering the same, you might want to read this first.

Part Two: 3, 2, 1… Launch!

My project was 28 days, $2800. It was like the last month of pregnancy and the first month of parenthood, rolled into one. Yeah, that level of sleep deprivation, excitement, and stress.

Some people hold a launch party, others celebrate when they reach their goal. Either event stands to create more buzz. I didn’t do either, because I wanted to conserve my resources for my book launch party.

Remember, once your project is live you can edit some of the content, but not all of it. Read the fine print carefully. You cannot change your deadline or funding goal once it is launched, so be sure on both.

Send out your launch press release, post it on your website, send it to your email list, and tell the social media universe.

Brew a big pot of coffee and settle in for the insanity. Not joking.

Messaging magic:

  • How many days in/left until your deadline
  • How much funding left to raise or daily goal (% or $ amount)
  • Brag about the fun rewards
  • Name of the project with a link to it
  • Remind people that generous sharing is just as appreciated as backing, and LIKE whenever they do, it increases the visibility in newsfeeds.
  • Celebrate milestones
  • Be urgent, but not desperate
  • Be thankful

Sample tweet: #10DaysLeft Already 70% funded! #ThankYou for pledging & RT! (link, project name here) @kickstarter

Sample post: Did you know Kickstarter is all-or-nothing? Must raise $2000 by August 31 or project gets $0. Thank you for sharing &/or pledging: (link/name here)

It’s ALIVE!

I swear to all that is holy, this monster becomes a full time job. It is all consuming. I cannot imagine what it is like for the projects who raise six or seven figures. I aimed for just $2800, and it was a mental marathon. (If I had it to over, I might hire a student to do this, but I doubt it because I’m kind of a control freak—just keeping it honest.)

You have to balance between spamming your friends and making sure the message is out there. I posted messages about once a day on each of my social media sites.

Post updates on the Kickstarter project site, with some posts that are for “backers only” as a reward and an incentive for those who are thinking about backing. They can’t see it unless they are a backer.

Know which time is the best time of day to post your messages, to reach the most people. The middle of the night is a dead zone unless you’re reaching out to someone in a different time zone. If most of your potential backers have 9-5 jobs, send your message before or after those times, when they’re more likely to be checking email & status updates.

Schedule time for short breaks too, or you will feel chained to technology and start to lose perspective. Make sure to drink water between coffee cups, so you don’t get dehydrated and cranky. My family can attest to this.

I reached my goal with a week left in the campaign, and I chose to not try to reach another higher goal. I was happy with getting to 100%, and I didn’t want to annoy my friends, many of whom were getting inundated with political stuff because we were days from a primary. I did continue sending out thank you messages and reply to congratulations. 🙂 I also sent a press release to announce my campaign was a success.

There might be hiccups

Backer issues: Some people pledge and then the money doesn’t actually go through—the credit card is entered in wrong, no money/limit exceeded, who knows. It happened to me. There were four people who entered in the wrong number or expiration date, but corrected it (they have up to 7 days to fix the pledge on their end). Another did the same but didn’t check their email or messages until after the deadline for corrections had passed. Two others were dropped for any of the above reasons but never contacted me/Kickstarter.

The upside: as long as the pledges are made before your deadline, it doesn’t matter if some of them get dropped afterward, you still get the rest. And don’t worry, you don’t have to deal with anyone directly unless you choose to (I don’t recommend it)—Kickstarter sends them a reminder that their pledge is in error every 2 days for a week, then drops them.

The downside: If the dropped pledge is someone you’re close to or a larger pledge, that might be a bit awkward or mess up your budget, so be prepared for those minor possibilities. All of these details are only accessible to you—the public can’t see it when they view your project.

I am thankful even for the dropped pledges, because if they hadn’t pledged at all, I might not have reached my goal.

Beware of “helpful” spam

I received five or six messages through social media, often poorly written, pitching me on buying into some crowd funding boosting service. They all promised that they could get me funded and/or surpass my goal, for a small fee. The fees weren’t bad, but I would pay them whether they delivered on their promise or not.

One service offered some kind of bypass around the FB algorithm. Even if it was possible, I feel that if I need that kind of help, I shouldn’t be trying the crowd funding thing in the first place.

I also got a couple messages from other Kickstarter projects, asking me for help in getting the word out about their project, and one of them had already surpassed their goal! Total strangers. Maybe I’m being Midwestern, but that seemed pretty NERVY and GREEDY if you ask me.

NOTE: since the original publication of this article 08/15/2014, kickstarter has added a way to report this type of spam to them directly. Yay! [11/20/2019]