Yesterday (October 12th 2015) marked the one month countdown to the date I shall launch The Five Things Book on Kickstarter (November 12th 2015). Over the last few weeks I have literally been working non-stop on the campaign, figuring out the best way to tell the Five Things story in the best possible way. This process is still ongoing and it suddenly dawned on me just how consuming Kickstarter is – nothing that is worthwhile, is easy, *they* say. Believe me, Kickstarter is not easy. Don’t get me wrong, the actual website is very easy to use, setting up the campaign on their site is simple. In fact, it’s easier to understand than Facebook – so if you are thinking about running a Kickstarter, but are put off by the technical side of it, don’t be, the site is excellent.
When you have everything you need, in place, to add to their beautiful website, that is pretty simple. Getting everything in place is the tough part. Not sure what I mean? I thought it would be worthwhile to document my whole Kickstarter experience to explain how setting up a campaign works and to highlight the effort needed to launch a campaign. So, here is a sample list of issues, dilemmas and problems I need(ed) to organise in order for my campaign to get going. This might give you an idea of how detailed the planning for a Kickstarter needs to be.
- Create artwork – Including profile image, book spreads, reward mock-ups, logo designs, typographic headings.
- Personal biography – Write about myself so everyone knows who I am and what I do (harder than it sounds).
- Headshot – Get a lovely photo taken of my head (also harder than it sounds).
- Story – Write the Five Things story. I need to let people from all over the world know what the project is about and what it aims to do. Many, many drafts and re-drafts.
- Rewards – What will I offer? How much will I charge? Where can I ship them to? Is it affordable?
- Postage – How much will posting them to Ireland, Brazil, U.S.A., Japan, South Africa…cost me. (The Royal Mail website is ‘bookmarked’ on my computer.)
- Packaging – How will I ship them so they arrive in perfect condition. And, what will the package weigh – will the added packaging bring the weight over 1kg, therefore bringing the price up by £5/6 per package.
- The book – What size will it be? How will I know what weight it is without it being produced yet? What paper will I use? Who is going to print it?
- Manufacturers – Sourcing all the people who will work with me in order to help bring the products to life. Who are they? What are the costs? What if I need more or less in my order? All these things affect the cost of the final products, massively.
- Blurb – How can I adequately describe my project in 135 characters? Tough.
- Project title – How can I adequately describe my project in 60 characters? Tougher.
- Video – Too scary to talk about, requiring a later blog post all of it’s own. (More to follow in the next few weeks.)
and on, and on, and on… You get the idea. Kickstarter requires a lot of time, planning, effort and research.
So, why bother?!
When I first heard about the platform, I remember thinking – ‘why would all those people give complete strangers money?’
At that time, I did not really understand the mechanics of the site nor the notion of crowdfunding. I soon discovered that crowdfunding is reward based; these people are not merely giving their money away as charitable contributions, they are buying something in advance of it being produced. In essence, we give strangers our money everyday; for a cup of tea on the way to work, a pair of new shoes bought on Amazon or a book from your local charity shop. We generally don’t know the people who have made these products, yet we give them our money. That is the amazing thing about Kickstarter; you get to know the story, and the person, behind the product. In fact, by backing the project, you become part of the story. This provides a huge feeling of satisfaction and also an amazing feeling of ‘I helped this come to life’. This is definitely true for me when I back anything on the site, helping someone bring a product to life is very rewarding. It’s quite addictive too; when you do back a project, regular updates keep you informed and you get a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the beginnings of amazing products/’things’. Something you don’t get when you purchase an item from a ‘normal’ e-commerce website.
This is why I have chosen Kickstarter to fund the publication of my book. I want to share the story with as many people as I can and hope those who back me, will feel they have helped to create something (amazing) too. And, of course, I also get the funding required to bring the book to life. Kickstarter has enabled so many amazing things to come to life, with your help, I hope The Five Things Book will join that list.
The photo on the spread example, was taken by amazing Belfast photographer Simon Hutchinson. Kindly, Simon agreed to let me use it for the book.
(Artwork and imagery may change in the final version.)