Project: BACON is go. I am so excited & relieved. It takes 2 weeks for the Kickstarter project to mature and funds to transfer (minus taxes and all that jazz), so I am using that time to plan, sketch budgets and figure out exactly what I can do. It has been quite an experience, good and bad (mainly good and very positive), and I thought that I would share with you some thoughts and some things that I learned as I know that you are curious and some of you are considering this as a route for your own publishing (and other) projects.
Firstly, do use Kickstarter. I took a risk, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I knew I wanted to be independent. For that to happen, I had to be prepared to fail. It was worth it. I have lots of plans for this project and this is only the start. I had sleepless nights, it didn’t help that I got really bad sunburn (the worst that I have ever had) and couldn’t sleep for about 4 days anyway, but that gave me plenty of time to think and plan. Naturally, to worry too. That is only normal. If you are not worried, you are doing it wrong.
I submitted my project to Kickstarter and tweaked it over several weeks before hitting publish. I asked people I trusted and respected for feedback. I told friends, some thought it was exciting, others were aghast and thought it was too high risk and questioned why I was rejecting the traditional route. Some thought that I was asking for too much, others not enough. I decided to stop asking people and just focus on what I thought was right, what I thought it needed and also what might work.
I studied successful food (and other) Kickstarter projects, how they communicated their message, the reward levels they offered. I looked at projects that hadn’t succeeded to see the other side. I planned out my reward levels saving the products for the last week and a final push (they were always going to be in there, I could see that successful projects add exciting incentives later so I decided to do this).
I still made several mistakes however. Here is what I learned, and I hope that this helps you.
Be realistic and don’t be greedy. I only ever aimed for enough to cover the costs of production (this does not include my personal or living costs). I hope to make my money from this book by selling the ebook when it comes out next year. Anything over would have been a bonus, and while I did get £4K over, this is going directly into Bacon Box design and production as more than I imagined wanted those. But that opens other doors – which I was hoping might open – so I am very excited about this.
Offer something tangible and real. Lots of projects offer links and shout outs for early reward levels, personally I don’t see the value of these. If I commit to a project, I want to be part of it, I want something real and I want updates. This is why I offered The Bacon Post at the £3 level. It wasn’t heavily subscribed but I wanted everyone to feel part of it if they wanted to, no matter what their financial situation. Offering 10 new recipes as part of this process allows people to see progress and feel part of it, and everyone who kicked in will get it. So that is 740 people. Which is great.
Do make a video. Don’t make that video in your back garden on the hottest day of the year and in the middle of it, with watering itchy eyes and hay fever with your friend standing on a chair videoing it while you are both drinking wine (although thank you Denise, I am very grateful, and I owe you one). Give everyone an insight on you, your project and your story through the video. Mine should have involved some cooking and some tasting. I had planned two further videos but life compressed and didn’t allow it. This is otherwise known as bad planning.
Update your project very regularly. Add more videos and imagery. I didn’t do this. I should have.
Clear your diary for your funding period and give it all of your energy. I wanted to do this but other things came up. This couldn’t be helped but it wasn’t ideal. I still gave it everything I had. Even if at times it didn’t look like it, I was always planning and sketching.
Do some design work up front so that people can relate to your product and more importantly, want to have it. I should have designed the cover before launching the project so that people could visualise the book. I didn’t.
Do create infographics. Successful projects look great and are very well put together (generally). Lots of them have infographics. Again, I didn’t but I think you should.
Start a PR campaign early. I didn’t, I didn’t have one at all. This was a mistake. I had always planned to start pushing it in the second half of the project as I didn’t want to tire people, bore people or wear people out. This was a bad attitude. I now know that people want you to succeed and really get behind you to help make it happen. I should have been contacting the media in the UK from the day I launched to get the word out there and reach lots of different people. I should have written a press release. Successful projects do, some even have PR representation.
Regular pledges keep your project active so figure out ways to keep bringing people in. Busy projects sit on the popular projects page and attract attention from people on Kickstarter who otherwise wouldn’t see your project at all. This ties into PR activity and is especially important in that tumbleweed infested wasteland in the middle.
THE GOOD STUFF
Independence. I succeeded and I feel like a door has opened. I feel very good about the world and all that is in it. Thank you.
Restored faith in human nature. I work in a very isolated way, which isn’t terribly healthy, at least for me. I had such immense positive and supportive contact from people that really wanted this project to succeed that it reminded me about all of the good things about what I do, and why I love it. Again, thank you.
I am excited that you will be following the journey from the beginning to the end and I will be asking for your input too at points, of course only if you want to give it.
Now, some of you are still trying to pledge on Kickstarter. You can’t. But if you want to subscribe to any level still, please email me and we can work something out.