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My Kickstarter Tips for Funding a Non-Fiction Book with a Small List

Kickstarter Campaign Length: 30 Days February 19 to March 19, 2016

I started a Kickstarter to fund the creation of my book The Video Marketers Cookbook for a couple of reasons:

To create a beautiful physical book that which could show exactly what I was trying to teach with my examples.

I wanted to validate this book with my audience. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just creating a book from my ego. (which I’ve already done before)

I wanted to create better experiences for the backers including deals for consulting, personal messages, other products for learning.

I wanted to challenge myself and teach myself how to campaign for something. I wanted to put my video marketing skills and brand to the test.

I wanted to show that even a small audience can be effective and generate revenue.


 

So here are my Kickstarter Tips:

Set a low goal.

This was the first tip I got. You can always raise more if you can. For this book I needed funding for the physical color printing on hardcover, which can rise to at least $1,600 at the lowest quality. From talking with Zac Starr from Crowdfunding Genius, said that low usually means $2000 – $4000 for most projects regardless of the industry.

Account for Kickstarter’s Fees

Kickstarter will take 5% and there’s a 3-5% fee for processing payments. So if you need $2000, it’s best to aim for something a little higher. All campaigns should aim to make more than their goal. Just to make things easier, I accounted for Kickstarter taking an even 10%, so I knew I would have to campaign for more than $2000 so at least when the fees kicked in I still had my $2000 for my book’s production.

Have a personal list of people to email before you Launch

I had a list, but I felt I couldn’t email them because I had literally just emailed them to buy the book on Amazon as an ebook. Target people who you know will be willing to support you financially and then when you’ve generated buzz, strangers will jump on the bandwagon. I later emailed them of course, but I had been given a tip

Have a compelling video

What does it take to make a compelling video? (check out The Video Marketers Cookbook 😉 

But seriously, it’s all about telling a story. How can you be entertaining and/or inspiring in the shortest amount of time possible. Done.

Create your own graphics in Canva or Photoshop

The titles and the rewards are best seen as custom graphics. Their design should match the theme of whatever your raising money for. The Kickstarter page itself is part of the whole product. People still want to be entertained and feel that they are contributing to a project that is cool and looks good.

FEATURES

I created this in Photoshop to make the page look and feel consistent to my brand

1

I created this in Canva

Organizing your backers and delivering the goods

There’s a Backer Report available to you in the dashboard of Kickstarter so you can easily see who has pledged to you. You can then message them if you need more information like email addresses. Also after you’re fully funded you can print out and export the complete list of backers and their info.

However, it seemed pretty useless because every backer was separated to their own excel sheet and didn’t have addresses for me. I don’t remember being prompted to ask for addresses, but this was a huge inconvenience because I had to ask and await their response to get back to me. And there’s more of a chance for error because I had to create my own list of backers so that they were on one sheet of paper.

Wth? Not sure why Kickstarter would have all the backers separte

Wth? Not sure why Kickstarter would have all the backers separate

Where to market your campaign

First and foremost will be your immediate friends and family. Gratefully they really jumpstarted the funding process to help generate buzz around my campaign early on. You’ll also want to do this. Other people who don’t know you as well will want to see you have a “decent” amount of funds before they decide to pledge. It’s kind of like reviews, they want to know they’re investing in something that’s worth it.

Here’s a list of places I marketed:

Facebook on personal and Facebook Fan Page

Update your Facebook Cover Page accordingly.

amazon-best-seller kickstarter-

My email list of 261 labrats (yup.)

YouTube: any video I put out I asked people to check out my campaign, vlogs, highlight videos, book trailers, etc.

Twitter: Not directly. Not a powerful lead driver for me, but a powerful connector for video response and conversation starter with individuals.

Instagram: Became really powerful tool for me to build buzz whenever I got a backer. One backer sharing on Instagram would spurn another. Backers usually came in pairs.

Also, I Googled groups that were cool with me posting my campaign in their group after I joined. I got one or two backers that way.

Lastly, I didn’t ask outright but some of my friends in the industry had shared with their lists as well.

Use the Rewards to test new ideas, products and services

You can test new things in the rewards without creating it first and see how many pledges you get for it. People asked for the audiobook before I created it as a reward. So I after enough asks, I put in the rewards and also sweetened the deal by adding it to the rest of the rewards beyond $15.

Model other books funded by Kickstarter (or whatever industry you’re in)

I looked at The Leader’s Guide by Eric Ries. I found them when I searched in ‘publishing’ and ‘most funded’. I wasn’t aiming for $588,903 like them, but I wanted to at least look like that guy. Design, copy, reward models and pricing –anything I could emulate. That being said, I also model other campaigns who were not related to books like successful board games and duffel bags. Here’s mine. 

 


“How to properly structure the story and info to gain people’s interest as well as the best way to get the campaign exposure so that you’ll reach or hopefully far exceed your goal?”- Adam Ivy

I can’t speak from a place of knowing 100% why people have bought into my Kickstarter. Obviously I asked, but if I can look at the way that I teach in my book or my talks on stage is that I hit an emotional button for people.

Everything worth looking at is entertaining or inspiring. My personal brand aims to inspire, while entertain as best as I can with my storytelling with video. That’s all I do every single time and I think there’s a niche type of people that like my personal brand, how I deliver my message and my products.

Now that’s just content. Marketing that content comes in the form of many things:

Facebook native video posting and running ad spend on it.

Vlogging about my journey and showing every win and loss and pointing to the Kickstarter link.

Also randomly, I decided to Google “where to post your Kickstarter campaign” and I found a site that had a few Google groups where I could post my book trailer and link. I got two backers from that!


 

How I chose my rewards

Again, I looked at my models, The Leader’s Guide, Stop Chasing Influencers and what I already had to offer. Over the years I had courses made, product ideas and services that I already offered. Now I could bundle them for my backers. Book credits was something I saw off someone else’s campaign and it was such a cool idea that I implemented that. In other words, how can you make your backers feel special and appreciated.

I tried to offer things at a deal and offer more than what I asked for in the amount.

Every conversation with someone is a potential backer

If you don’t fall in love with my brand from my videos, ads, posts etc. I also talk to people via Skype helping them with whatever I can help them with. I don’t pitch my Kickstarter, but it usually comes up in conversation and if that person wants to reward my service they usually find a way to say thank you. Sometimes, it meant backing my Kickstarter.

Stretch Goals

We reached our goal with 5 days to spare. So I created another set of rewards for my live event Get in the Lab LIVE and did the same marketing behind it. I didn’t expect to reach them, but you never know;)

Do you own research

Even after skimming this post, go research some more. It’ll help believe me. Google ‘successful Kickstarter campaigns’, binge on ‘how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign’ in YouTube. Ask people in the industry. Do your due diligence.

Pre-campaign before you go live

I planned to do this, but ultimately felt impulsive and ended up launching a couple days right after going live on Amazon with my book. Fortunately I had created a couple of things before hand: the copy, the reward tiers and the book trailer.

Buzz or Momentum

I came off hitting the bestsellers list on Amazon for the book, so people knew the content was good, but now I was asking them to invest in me personally. The best way to make a personal connection with your audience is vlogging in my opinion, which I have been doing for 3 years so I had working for me.


 

“Hey Meg. How scared were you about meeting your pledge goals or failing?” – Dan Dynesson
Oh yes, after my book didn’t reach #1 in Amazon when I debuted, I thought I was dead in the water. But in the end I said “fuck it, let’s do this shit”. And I pulled through. I was always teetering on mentally preparing myself for losing, but then I would combat that by trusting myself, my brand and my audience to see me and my offer (which was validated on many accounts).
Two weeks from debuting at #2, I hit #1 in Direct Marketing, so that helped the brand out alot.

Ultimately here’s where all my backers came from:

The video marketers cookbook kickstarter referrers

3-17-16

Most of my referrers are from Facebook, my most effective platform (so that’s obvious) and some came from my list. But Facebook works very well. And for a month I was everywhere with Kickstarter updates, success stories, behind the scenes etc. with video, pictures and emotion.
Looking at this you might think my audience is big, but it’s really not. You can have huge numbers but if a certain percentage doesn’t engage with you regularly, then you won’t be successful on Kickstarter. I’ve said this before, but $2000 isn’t alot of money. I could’ve done a couple of freelance jobs for it, or my husband could have bank rolled me, or my mentor or even my parents if I genuinely asked. But Kickstarter is used because you have an audience. If you don not have an audience you’re going to have to work extra hard to find your backers.

Campaign! Campaign! Campaign!

For some reason I like this word, every day you’re thinking, working, updating, tweaking, engaging, sending emails, creating content, asking, serving, commenting, conversating, campaigning for your goal. No matter what the amount, Kickstarter isn’t a passive thing where people give you money. You’re selling yourself, your product, your brand. To me it felt very serious, but at the same time I tried not to put that pressure on myself.

Planning Kickstarter from A to Z.

Have a Pre-lauch strategy
-Do a sequence of videos that lead up to your launch day providing value in your niche – collect emails to a list of potential backers
-Do webinars in sequence to collect emails of potential backers
-Create a “on the road to Kickstarter” mini series
-Have a list of people you can personally email about your campaign
On Launch Day 
-Share it like crazy on social
Throughout the Campaign
-Reward and thank backers immediately on social
-Create content that can point to your Kickstarter ie. vlogging, CTA at the end of your regular scheduled programing, Live video, interviews, any interaction with your audience, potential audience and clients.
-Don’t forget the link!


After the campaign:

Kickstarter let me know that their fees broke down like this:
5% to Kickstarter + 3% +.20 cents per backer for processing payments.
that came up to $207.85 in fees alone. So like I said, if your goal is $2,000 make sure you campaign for more to cover your fees.
Ultimately, I should be pocketing $2,298.15
As a secret reward, my husband Kevin said he’ll match my goal if I reach it. So now I have $4,298.15 to go all out and create something really special.
As of March 24, 2016 I haven’t received the funds from Kickstarter yet. Funds received April 4th in my bank account.

Fulfillment:

I ultimately decided to go with a local printer here in the Socal, since I would have had to pay shipping for companies like Lulu or Createspace for the books to get to me just so I could sign, re-package and ship out again; I’d be paying for shipping twice which isn’t smart.
The companies I came down to were Corporate Color and Alpha Graphics, both companies I could drive to personally and pick up the books.
I’m currently deciding on quality of book between the two since Alpha Graphics is cheaper, but much farther for me to drive to.

*Update April 10th, 2016

My printer: Corporate Color 

They have a great staff and I personally met and chatted with the CEO Mike Fredericks when I picked up the books. They were excellent quality and I’ll be working with them in the future for drop-shipping more books.

I ended up ordering 50 paperback, 50 hardcover with a total of $3525.12 including tax. It was the cheapest selection as well as best quality printing.

Shipping: Stamps.com

I signed up under the promo I saw for my friends Podcast 100MBA and got the digital scale and free postage. In reality, I wasn’t planning on staying with stamps.com because I only need to ship this small run of books. So while their promotion says you get $50 free postage, it was really only $5, as the other amount isn’t active in your first month of membership which is free (there is always catch).

Also I really wasn’t prepared for how much shipping was actually going to cost. My average costs were around $6 within CA where I’m shipping from and $10-14 anywhere else. Regardless, I spent a total of $180 on shipping through Stamps.com and I personally delivered some packages as well.

Use my code: C-DPRW-RHV

Packaging: 
Get creative! Use this opportunity to bring attention to more products and services you have, for example I created a special offer for my backers to attend my live event Get in the Lab LIVE. Additionally I have a resources and bonuses to surprise my backers with. I wanted to make it special, because it was a really special experience for me.
Digital Downloads:
Audiobook:
I used Gumroad to deliver the Audiobook that I recorded myself and created a code to download it for free
Digital Copy:
Again, I used Gumroad.
Bonus Video Course:
Delivered through Teachable.com
And a special video message 😉
Seen here:

Backer Updates:

In the end, backer updates were made pretty frequently throughout the campaign, 15 to be exact. And one backer had this to say:

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 6.21.12 AM

Thank you very much for appreciating my updates and effort during this campaign.

Comments 4

  1. Thanks for the great post Megan! We are launching a crowdfunding campaign for my husband’s upcoming book called The Marriage Mantra (he’s a relationship coach) on Publishizer. I’ll try following all the tips you shared to make the campaign a success.

    1. Post
      Author

      Nice! I was about to launch on Publishizer, but I figured, not too many people would know about it so I picked Kickstarter. All the best!

    1. Post
      Author

      Oh that’s too bad. But hey it just might mean you have to try a bit more to get people to understand what crowdfunding is, but I’m sure Publishizer has it’s advantages.

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