Friday, September 11, 2015

Crowdfunding 10 – The Campaign is Complete

Deadline is Upon Us
Part 1 – What I Took Away
My Deepest Thanks
 to My Wonderful
Campaign Contributors

Eve Paludan
Mikaela Quinn
Karen Walker
Mike Flynn
Connie Walker Gray
Laurie Fagen
Denise Domning
Kim Richards
Bryan Flynn
Daniel Zollo
Linda Style
Rick Walker
Ellie VandenBrink
Holly Thompson
Cathy McDavid 
Alicia Flynn 
Brandon Flynn
Bob Bleything 
Isabella Maldonado
Nikki Kimbel
Rosemary Sneeringer
Bob Gustafson
Sylvia Wright
Kathy Marks
Brittany Flynn
Sandy Yang
Cheyenne McCray
Merle McCann
Jennifer Drogell

Thomas
Annette Francine
LegsOhara 
donnahatch29  
Minu Jose
Phil Barnes
Luca Pandolfi
Martin Weber
Jack Johnson   
Micheal Koepisch
Adam Libonati  

Alec Hillbo
Roni Olson
+Anonymous (12)
I did not reach my 4K goal, but I did generate enough funds to get my older books reissued. Since I elected to use the flexible funding option the money is mine, but is earmarked for purposes that I put forward in my campaign. In this case I’m doing exactly what I said I’d do if I didn’t succeed – I’m using the funds to prepare my earlier books for reissue. I haven’t, however, broken out into sobs. I learned so much that feeling sad wasn’t an option.

What did I learn?
First off, that crowdfunding is a LOT of work. Next I learned that no matter how extensive I thought my research on running a successful campaign was, there was plenty more I still didn’t know. Third, and most important, I learned that the social media community is filled with encouraging and generous people.

I’m going to start with how much work it was, which is probably the most boring part, but what you most need to know.

Here is what it takes to launch and run a campaign
  •  Choose your crowdfunding platform
  • Come up with intriguing perks (what’s that? A giveaway that a contributor can request for a given contribution. Not all contributors request one)
  • Fill the site with content, easier said than done
  • Comb your family and friends for early supporters
  • Write press releases, tweets, and Facebook posts
  • Come up with updates for your contributors every 3-5 days
  • Write thank you notes for all contributions
  • Scour your mind for ways to generate more traffic as the excitement of the launch winds down
  • Implement some of those ideas.
  • Purchase a press kit campaign on Fiverr. It arrives two days late and is ungrammatical. Launch a dispute and remind myself to tell everyone not to use Fiverr because they don’t guarantee that their vendors live up to their promises.
  • Hire an email promoter – Green Inbox – highly pleased with the result and will use them again for book publicity.
  • Campaign nears end and contributions slow down. The gap is too large to generate motivation to contribute so I turn my energy toward perk fulfillment.
  • The deadline arrives and I send wrap-up thank you notes to all my contributors

What I would have done differently.
First off, more research. Trouble is this is something you always learn in hindsight. These are the actions I would have changed.
  • I would have set my campaign goal lower. This would have required changing my purpose for the campaign which was to buy bigtime advertising since 2K is not enough to pay for serious ads. However,  it would have made it easier to use the deadline to generate last minute contributions, whereas the gap in my actual campaign was so large no one could believe we could close it.  
  • I would have researched online press releases and how to find relevant media. Back  in the day when everything was done by snail mail or direct email I did considerable PR but I underestimated the value of it in crowdfunding, partly I suppose because I doubted that strangers would contribute to my campaign. I’m still not sure I’m a believer but I have learned that the highly successful campaigns get that way because they ignite interest in the larger community by using press releases.
  • I wouldn’t have ordered 250 foam fingers touting a runaway bestseller. Talk about optimism.
  • I underestimated the time and attention crowdfunding takes, otherwise I would have scheduled a shorter campaign.
Am I am glad I did the campaign? Absolutely, yes – no question about it. While the contributions I received were substantial enough to let me prep my backlist books, my biggest takeaway was character growth. I had to gird my loins (or some such, you don’t have to be a guy to do this) and get a steely spine to ask for money.
In installment four of this blog series I wrote that it was going to be hard for me.
And it was hard. Indiegogo has thought ahead on this quirk of human nature to come up with euphemisms for the words money and giving. Givers are called contributors, receivers are called campaigners, and money itself is called contributions.

There is, of course, a cultural reason for this. The subject of money is fairly well shrouded in mystery. We don’t tell others what we earn or ask them about their income. Nor do we like to ask for or be asked for money. Wealthy people often feel like others only want their money (there’s some truth in that). Poor people tend to think everyone wants to take their last dollar (also somewhat true). Even more crippling. the poor are often reluctant to ask for what they’re due. While these attitudes might be easing as new generations come forward, I think the flotsam that floats around money is a subconscious issue for most people who consider crowdfunding, one that keeps them from sending personal emails which are reputedly the most effective way to get contributions.

I know it was true for me and most of my reluctance came from fear that people would disapprove of my choice. A few did, but not many. One writer warned me that the entire writing community would get up in arms and I’d lose all my readers. Never happened. Another writer asked why I didn’t fund their advertising. I told them to let me know when they set up their campaign and I’d be happy to contribute. In truth, only a few expressed disappointment in me but they didn’t unfriend me and my Twitter following even increased. Most people cheered me on.

And therein is the character growth. I’m thicker-skinned these days and a whole lot less cynical. Just taking the step to launching the campaign boosted my confidence in ways I can’t quite explain and didn’t expect. All I do know is that I have no regrets and am willing to help others who are interested. If you're one of them, check back on Monday for part 2 of this post where I’ll talk about the do’s and don’ts of crowdfunding.


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

Week #7 Realities of Launch Week 
Week #8-9 Elbow-grease Time
Week #11  Do's and Don'ts


 To Connie Flynn Site

4 comments:

  1. I'm glad you made enough money to reissue your books. I know it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. I'm glad it was a growing experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tina. Funny, just yesterday I was thinking the same about you.One of my contributors called me an authorprenuer pioneer and it occurred the same could be said about you.

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