Thursday, October 31, 2013

How To Kickstarter Pt. 3

Content is key. Yes the video is important, and the prizes are too, but what you put on your Kickstarter in both the original page content and in your updates is potentially the most important. Not everyone is going to watch your video, but they might skim the page. Not everything you put on the page is going to be read but people might look over your project updates. The content you put up has to showcase your project and the reasons why other people should get excited and get on board!

With our Kickstarter we began with something catchy:

Whit Clayborne accidentally dates a soul eater and unwittingly falls for a vampire - and it's only his first week demon hunting...

This single sentence tells you about the project and hopefully draws you in with interest. Saying something like "I wrote a book and you might like it." won't get you very many backers. Think of something eye catching, something different, what makes your project unique and interesting? 

Since we are promoting a novel, we used our content to explore a couple of different things.

We discussed the book in a section called “book summary.” While we didn’t describe the book in its entirety, we did try to list things that would interest potential backers.

We also talked about “us” (my co-author and I) because people want to connect with the individuals who made the product. The video can be used to do this as well, but we explored our background and our interest a little further in the written content.

We discussed the prizes and shared some graphics related to this topic. 

We also shared our stretch goals (if you make more than your initial goal amount what else will you be doing with backer’s funds?) and I tried to make these related to what we are doing but also interesting so people would be excited about reaching them.

Lastly, I shared where people could keep in touch with us and our future projects. Your connection with potential backers doesn’t end with Kickstarter. Let people connect with you across the Web and maybe they’ll buy future books/CDs/artwork – whatever you’re working on.

My first update was a video, my second was a link to the first chapter of the book, and my third were the cute bitstip comics I shared in a previous post on here. These were all employed to hopefully get new people interested in the project and to keep backers interested in what’s to come. 

Don’t use updates to tell people what you had for breakfast. These shouldn’t be a nuisance and should only be used to thank backers and to get backers excited. By making updates open to the public you can potentially hook new people but if you have content you only want your backers to see then make sure the update is not public. 

Ultimately, keep your content appealing both with the text you use and the variety of media available to you to promote your project.

Want to see our content in action? Check out our Kickstarter at:

Friday, October 25, 2013

By the Power of Bitstrips

I thought it would be nice to break up the monotony of the Kickstarter campaign and instead share something I've been working on to promote the book. If you're on Facebook or have a smart phone you may have seen the Bitstrip app. This is a program that allows you to create a character for yourself and your friends and to put them into one frame comics. I decided it would be cool to do a couple of these with Whit and his roommate/bestie Brooks from the Full of Whit series. Enjoy!

The deep bond and hilarious misadventures of Whit and Brooks continues in book one of our series "The Beginning of Whit" on Kickstarter now!

Friday, October 18, 2013

How To Kickstarter Pt. 2

Okay, so part one was all about the video. Which is important. But another important feature of your Kickstarter, is your prizes. You want something related to your project, something you produce, and something interesting that will entice people to lay down money on the project because of what they will receive.

It took us a while to determine what our final prizes would be. We started out with a wide range of ideas some that seemed too simple (not valuable enough) and some that felt too difficult for us to make in a timely fashion or even too cost prohibitive. You want to give out some awesome stuff but you also want to raise money for publishing your book, not just raise money to make rewards and walk away from the process with just five dollars in your pocket.

What we settled on were obviously copies of the book, but then also series themed gift ideas. I had noticed on other Kickstarter campaigns that people were labeling the different levels, perhaps in an attempt to make them sound more interesting (which works) and so we decided to do the same. We created your basic prizes and then higher level “tracks.”

We did a demon hunting track with Demon Hunting Society gear associated with the prize levels.

We also did a Big City tourist track with prizes centered around Big City businesses.

We also took a look at what we could achieve in a limited amount of time and what the final cost would be for supplies. Our final decisions were as such:

As you can see we tried to have complementary prizes at each level of the different tracks but this also allowed people a little bit of a customization to their rewards.

What about the ideas we had to scrap? Well, those might end up being useful for future giveaways either during the campaign or once the book is out in print. I’ll talk more about that in a future post. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Kickstarter. Pt. 1

I have just launched my own Kickstarter for the first book in the Full of Whit series - "The Beginning of Whit"!!!!

What? No booing!

Anyways. I decided to share some of my experiences with you here since Kickstarter is a very viable option for indie authors to get support (both monetarily and otherwise) for their projects.

I also decided to drop this into a multi-part blog series because it's a lot of content and I don't want to overwhelm or bore any of you. So bear with me. ;)

My Kickstarter Timeline:

August - filmed the original video for Kickstarter
Early September - finish editing video, polishing up text, creating content for page.
Late September - typing all of the information into Kickstarter, tweaking video, adjusting content
Early October - jumping through business account hoops, final touches on Kickstarter page, waiting for Kicktarter to approve the project
October 8th - Kickstarter launched!
November 7th - Kickstarter will end.

Okay, so if you pursue a Kickstarter for your project it might not take you months to get from idea to launch but it might take you that long or longer. Kickstarter is a lot of work and even though we are only in day two of the campaign, and I can't say if it's worth it, I can say what it was like putting it all together. 

The first bit (other than several conversations and some serious planning) was making the video. It took us about 3 hours to shoot all the footage we wanted, and we only utilized about 5 minutes of it. The other usable footage has helped in other ways, like a promo/introduction video I made for my co-author and I for our FB page and Youtube page. Compiling the video, (because we shot a lot of our stuff in small segments and we didn't have a set script so many takes had to be scrapped), took over 20 hours to complete. 

The point of the video is to introduce yourselves, your product (the book), why you need backer's support (printing, editing, cover art, etc.) and what they will get out of it (shiny new books! and other goodies.). It's also important to make your product sound interesting - why are you passionate about it, why do you think it's worth a backer's time and money.

The video should be as professional as you can make it which means cutting down on background noise, considering the location of the shoot and utilizing the best equipment you can afford. I actually saw a Kickstarter video that was filmed in a mall with people walking by, the noise of the mall and the noise of the music playing in the mall on top of the authors talking about their project. I'm not sure if their project was successful but their video was pretty awful. 

I tried to create the simplest background I could - just a solid color wall with no pictures or other distractions. I also tried to limit the amount of ambient noise, but that was difficult in a busy household. We also filmed inside to limit any of the unpredictable noises that you could get outside or in a public location. 

When I compiled the final video, I utilized photos (some of our own and some free ones from to introduce different segments of the film and I utilized free music from the free music archive (windows movie maker actually suggests this site as a viable option for movie music). I also utilized windows movie maker to make my film, and it was good enough, but I know it's not the best software out there.

Lastly, I showed the original film to several people and altered it with their feedback, then showed them an edited, and changed that as well. I think I finally went with the fifth or sixth version which was a suitable time (5 minutes or less - to keep the interest of the viewer) and held enough content to promote the project. 

Long story short, here's my Kickstarter video for you to enjoy:

Friday, October 4, 2013