Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting Started with Crowdfunding - Week Two . . . Confusion, Confusion, Confusion

 Don’t get me wrong. The Indiegogo site is very well organized. It’s just that there’s so much available and so much needed to make the page look the way I want it to. A logo to design, swag to develop, giveaways to order. There are contact lists that need reviewed, copy that needs writing. People contacted to find me a videographer who will work for food.

Finally it’s upload time.  Read that copy one more time. Decide you hate it. Rewrite it. Head off for the Indiegogo campaign page. Review other campaigns to make sure yours is good enough. Input your title, change your title. Read the instructions on where to find the dashboard. Fail to find the dashboard. Keep going even though you don’t know what the dashboard does. Start uploading copy. Wonder if you’ll ever find a videographer.

The world of indecision is not comfortable. Feels a whole lot like writing a book. All the pieces have to pull together to make this campaign work. But I’m determined to do it. And as each day gets closer, I get more excited. Am I really doing this? Yes, of course dummy, you really are. Launch date is July 25 and the deadline is getting bigger in the rear view mirror.

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

•    I opened the Indiegogo campaign not too long after I began thinking about doing it. I believed them when they said I could start the actual campaign whenever I was ready and I procrastinated a lot. But having the basics set up

and waiting motivated me to move forward.

•    While I was trying to decide, I read everything I could find about  successful crowdfunding. I browsed dozens of other Indiegogo campaigns and even went to some of the competitors to see what they offered. I paid special attention to the introduction video and/or graphics to see what appealed to me and what didn’t.

•    To me it seemed that perks were the most important element, even though having them is optional. These small gifts create a warm, inviting feeling around the campaigns that offered  them. Particularly when they were accompanied by fresh and  sassy narrative.

•    What is a perk? It’s something that you apparently get for nothing from a company or an event. If you go to a concert and they hand you a glow stick – that’s a perk. It’s just something extra you get when you buy something else. I concluded, in fact, that crowdfunding is all about the perks. And the copy. The stuff I thought worked best was perky, often snarky or self-deprecating, but always fun. It made me want to contribute because I felt the campaigner valued contributors enough to give extra thought to their gifts. It made the campaign go beyond begging.

•    I also saw campaigns that didn’t work. The biggest mistake in books, music, and other creative endeavors campaigns was that their
books were their only perks. This felt like a new variation of the “buy my book, buy my book,” theme.  Although I will certainly give away my designated bestselling book, I will not make it, or any of my other books, the sole item in the perk. Contributors aren’t buying my book, per se, they’re buying a chance to support my career. They’re buying a few minutes at an amusing campaign site. And, hopefully, I’ll lift their hearts.

As already mentioned, I decided to do the campaign to round up new readers as much as to generate funds for advertising. That’s why my campaign goal is only $3894, which scary as it sounds is not a particularly lavish advertising budget. I’m hoping that the activity around the site will push the book up the rungs, increasing royalties, and giving my book the momentum to—with a little help from my friends— become a runaway bestseller.

So this was week two. Next week I hope to have my campaign flag and logo ready to reveal. I invite you to stick with me on my journey and will strive to be successful enough that I inspire you to launch your own campaign, should you choose to do so.

Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

To Connie Flynn Site

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Considering CrowdFunding? Tips on How to Begin

A few months ago I went to a writer’s meeting. The speaker, a well-respected agent, mentioned that he had purchased a small publishing company through the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. I’d heard of Kickstarter on Shark Tank and that agent inspired me to investigate the crowdfunding phenomena. Not sure what that is?

Flash forward several months. I was working on a new book cover for FIRST WE KILL ALL THE ZOMBIES. Critics had been saying the book looked like it was written for young boys, and I ended up agreeing. So . . . I was pulling up various category lists on Amazon, trying to get a feel for color mixes and composition that more clearly defined what the book was about. I searched strictly by genre, categories and keywords.

About the time I’d pulled up the fifth or sixth keyword, I noticed something. Every list I opened was topped by an average of ten FREE books. I had to know more, so I went through twenty book lists under frequently used Amazon devised categories and keywords. Category after category, keyword after keyword, one after the other like good little soldiers in a row, the lists were topped by FREE books. Had I inadvertently pulled up actual free books bestsellers lists? No, not so. This is simply what readers get when they do random searches by category, genre, or keyword on Amazon.

My first thought was, no wonder everyone’s saying sales have badly fallen off.

Amazon’s search engine is incredible. It can find almost anything anywhere. Which is good. After all, everyone has met someone at an event who’s expressed genuine interest in their book and say they’re going to buy it. So what happens next? Quite often that person (who let’s assume was genuinely interested) has lost your card, forgotten your name but goes to Amazon thinking, ‘it's something about zombies; no, wait, maybe it’s ghouls . . . or vampires.’ Finally they remember it is zombies and enter that keyword.

Presto! The list pops up. And the top ten zombie books are FREE. So what if they came in to buy my book? Why search for a new author, no matter how nice, when you can fill up your Kindles with free books?

My second thought was, I don’t stand a chance of rising on the lists for longer than a nano-second.

And when you can’t keep you books high enough on the lists, you don’t make enough sales. That’s when I began seriously considering crowdfunding.

I had a few things to overcome – not the least being the feeling that I was begging . Click on begging to read the wonderful blog that helped me see crowdfunding another way.  Be sure to watch the Amanda Palmer video, too. It’s well worth the time.

This brought me to my third thought:
"The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
     - Albert Einstein

In business this has been loosely paraphrased to: Whatever you’ve been doing to reach this level of success will not take you to the next.

In other words, new strategies and approaches will be needed. Publicizing solely within the publishing community was not going to increase my audience. I had to reach an outside audience beyond the world of book blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and possibly even Google (can you imagine that?).

And it would take a lot more money than I have.

Welcome Indiegogo.

I finally committed to my campaign. I’d researched the topic and felt I was as ready as I was going to be without actually doing it. I chose Indiegogo because they were very savvy in showcasing bands, filmmakers, visual artists, writers and other creative endeavors. What’s more, their support of new campaigners is extensive and on-going and their fee schedule is the most generous.

I developed the campaign’s theme. The title is HELP CREATE A RUNAWAY BESTSELLER and the slogan is Toppling Goliath One Book at a Time — Goliath being the online superstore that must not be named.

Seriously, I’m not one of those people who thinks Amazon is evil. It’s simply a business and today’s businesses have an unhealthy fixation on the profit motive and wiping out their competition. If we take control of our book marketing we can create our bestsellers. One book at a time. One author at a time. Then Amazon becomes our tool instead of our obstacle.

I’m now in preparation mode. I’ve started writing various perk descriptions (a perk is something you give in return for the contribution). I still have to decide exactly what all the perks will be. My launch date is Saturday, July 25.

So between now and July 25, and during the campaign itself, I will be blogging my weekly progress. This week I added copy to my Indiegogo page and put up graphics and reached out to find a videographer to record my introduction to the campaign. I’m also emailing my already known supporters.

The campaign will last for 40 days. During this time, contributions will be made, perks will be delivered, new ones added to the mix, and contributors will be kept appraised of our bestseller’s runaway status

If you would like to know more about crowdfunding, I’m hoping this blog will help. If you’d like to contribute, thank you very much. If you’d prefer just to help, then tell people about me and my books ( and let them know this is a chance to watch their identifiable efforts push a book higher on the bestseller lists.

If you have questions about crowdfunding, would like to offer advice or just want to tell me I’m nuts, I’m more than happy to hear from you and to respond.

Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

To Connie Flynn Site