Hey everyone, annoyingly I wrote this a while back and god knows where it is so I shall write it again. *ahem* Let's talk all about what I have learnt about using Kickstarter from doing a successful campaign on it.
So as most of you are aware, and if you are not where have you been, I ran a Kickstarter in August for my book 'Being Ginger'. The initial goal was set at £2500 and we ended up raising over £6200! We hit the initial goal in 5 days I think it was or was it 3... that whole month is now a blur in my head. But it didn't come without stress and months of previous work towards it.
I am putting this blog post together because I have a number of friends who are about to launch their own Kickstarter and I want to make sure they and everyone else knows what it takes to make it work.
First things first:
What is Kickstarter and How Does it Work:
Kickstarter helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. To date, tens of thousands of creative projects — big and small — have come to life with the support of the Kickstarter community.-
It makes money from taking around 5% of the total funds you raise, ONLY if your campaign is successful, amazon takes another 5% when it holds and sorts out your funds. Overall you will lose 10% but let's talk about that later.
As you can see below Art is actually in the top 5 of most successfully funded categories on Kickstarter.
Do Your Marketing
I am actually a part-time Social Media Manager and during the time of setting up the campaign, I was a full-time Social Media and Marketing Executive so I kinda know my stuff when it comes to marketing. Not that I actually do it properly for my own stuff.. anyway!
Do your damn marketing. I don't think I would have ever funded this book if I hadn't started pushing it for about 7-9 months beforehand. Some people are lucky and only have to really push it for 2 weeks before it launches but they ALREADY HAVE a strong following and have probably done a Kickstarter before. I was just some small artist from a small town who had 0 following and just had an idea.
I started to push 'Being Ginger' on social media back in 2017 and really focused on pushing it late 2018 early 2019 when I started posting one comic a week from the book every Sunday. Creating this schedule gave people a reason to follow my account, and helped build a strong audience specifically around ginger hair and these funny comics. I went from a mere 200 followers to now over 7k within the space of 8 months, with NO specifically paid ads or boosted posts.
I also started contacting and building relationships with ginger brands such as 'Ginger Problems' and 'Ginger Parrot'. These brand relationships were incredibly important as they had thousands of fans who were specifically following those brands because they wanted the latest ginger news, jokes and events and when my Kickstarter went live I knew they would share it to their followers.
Ginger Problems Facebook post- https://www.facebook.com/gingerproblems/photos/a.937514699719780/1431567440314501/?type=3&theater
I didn't do ANY paid ads for 'Being Ginger' but what I DID do is do paid sponsored posts on OTHER peoples pages for example:
Doing these significantly helped boost my following with people who were strongly interested in comics and specifically diary comics. It is worth finding people who are within your same field who do these same sponsored posts if you want to quickly increase your following with GENUINE followers unlike these "we will get your 10k new followers overnight!". Doing these also helped me build relationships with these larger artists and meant they actually shared my Kickstarter out of the kindness of their own hearts while the Kickstarter was live to help!
Know When You Are Ready
My biggest weakness is that I am incredibly impatient. I want it all and I want it now. I started drawing 'Being Ginger' in 2017 and honestly, the art was so bad. So very very bad but at the time I thought I was the bee's knees and I was ready to make this book.
Here is the very first comic I ever drew:
I was so damn proud of it and a part of me still is but when you compare it to my stuff now:
Not only has my art improved but my following has too which means my comics which were getting around 50-120 likes are now getting around 1k-2k likes. This shows me that people are really enjoying my stuff now, and that NOW I HAVE the audience to do this book.
It is horrible waiting but sometimes it really is for the best I mean seriously.... look at the first version of the cover:
Back to the Kickstarter it self
Postage on Kickstarter Can Really Screw You Over
Something I learnt the hard way- Kickstarter seriously screws you over with the postage.
When you set up your Kickstarter you will naturally calculate it against:
"Right my book costs £2k and the postage bags and labels will cost £200 and i will need around £100 for this and that so let's have my goal hit £2.5k for safety"
How Kickstarter works is like this: It will use the WHOLE pledge AND the postage pledged as a whole pledge which means if someone pledges your £10 tier you have £13 with the postage gone towards that £2.5k goal. It means you will hit your goal quicker yes BUT it also means that if you don't get any extra you will be seriously out of pocket because you will spend the 2k on the books, the 200 on bags, the 1-200 on whatever else it is maybe some flyers or something and you aren't left with ANY money left to post the damn things. Yeah annoying.
Make sure you take this into consideration and make your initial goal higher or you put some money aside to sort out the cost of postage. I was lucky that I sold more than I thought I would and after you have paid for your books it is pretty much 100% profit so I used the extra money to pay for the postage costs but it did seriously dent my profits which I was planning to put into the next comic book I am working on.
Your Friends Don't Really Want Your Book
Sorry not sorry to break it to you. They really don't, well most of them don't. Your close friends might. This is what I found out. But also thanks to my close friends who did back the project!
You will find out the hard way that a lot of your friends who have been cheering you on suddenly get very quiet during the Kickstarter. What they don't realise is that you can see exactly you had backed your project throughout and after the project. It really sucks and you need to prepare for this because if you are about to launch a Kickstarter on the fact that you have 300 friends on facebook and your book is £10 each that means £3000 right there, no. That doesn't happen.
Below is the chart Kickstarter gives you to show you where your backers came from:
Even with my 7k followers, only 42 people came from Instagram to back my project. Even with my 300+ friends on Facebook, only 44 came from Facebook to back my project. etc. Now they could have also seen it on social media and come directly through Kickstarter but I just wanted to show you the reality.
I hope this helps in some way and I will do another blog post if I think of any other key areas to cover. I am sorry if this seemed like a big rant, it isn't, I love Kickstarter and it worked so well for me. I will use it again for my next Being book for sure.
Did you find this useful? Please share on social media to friends and family who are thinking of doing their own Kickstarter and leave a comment on something you have learnt if you have already done one!