By Amy Collins
– Amy Collins
(on one of her grumpier days)
But what if you could have ALL THREE? For many authors and small publishers, crowdfunding gives them the time and money they need to publish properly. But it is not a magic bullet. Crowdfunding projects have become almost as competitive as book publishing itself.
Nita Winter and Rob Bader are the photographers, authors and publishers behind Beauty and the Beast, a book that celebrates wildflowers in California and exposes the harsh realities of climate change on the wildflower landscape.
Nita and Rob decided to use Kickstarter for their crowdfunding efforts and were kind enough to share some of their experiences with us. It is our hope that their experience will help you when you are deciding how to approach crowdfunding for your project.
What They Did
Nita and Rob had a goal to raise at a minimum $20,000 to help them with the printing costs, however, the expenses incurred with publishing this book went beyond that. But what they did (and what many people recommend) was to set a lower goal and hope to exceed it.
They strongly recommend that you set a monetary goal that you can meet or you might end up getting nothing. With Kickstarter you have to reach your goal or all the funds are returned to the supporters.
They did what the experts and articles suggest. They:
- got great incentives
- used visuals and video
- got the page built out to optimize and maximize the excitement for the book
What They Found Out
- Kickstarter (and any crowdfunding site) has to charge for their hosting and services.
- It is important to spend the time to properly do a complete social media campaign including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- They should have launched on a Tuesday.
- They should have focused on their own platforms WHILE creating the book, not waiting until the book was created.
So, Nita and Rob made their actual “goal” for $23,000 to include all fees that Kickstarter charges to allow them to collect $20,000.
Many authors get so excited about launching their campaigns, they neglect to set up proper plans and posts for social media. Video, images, and facts and figures shared through out a campaign often allows interested viewers to SHARE the links and get a LOT more attention for the campaign.
They aimed for a Tuesday launch but due to a few delays, they didn’t launch until mid day Thursday. Therefore they ran into slower email reading and social media time (Friday and the weekend). Studies have shown that Tuesday is the best day to get the most email reads and interaction.
Nita and Rob spent so much time over the past three years getting the book’s images and stories ready that they neglected their personal platforms.
They did an excellent job of getting commitments from individuals and organizations to help us spread the word through their platform, but they wish they had had all fo their promotional material developed earlier so when they launched they had a broader base to work from.
What They Now Know They Should Have Done Instead
Regarding the launch date, they would have waited until the next week and pushed the campaign out a week.
As photographers and visual people, both of the authors say that wish they had started an Instagram account at least 6 months ago if not more a year ago to develop their own followers.
What are They Doing Now?
In the end, in spite of the glitches in the schedule and the learning curve, what mattered most was their persistence and willingness to promote. Beauty and the Beast is looking to benefit from Nita and Rob’s hard work.
To see the success and a good example of a crowdfunded page, check their campaign out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/winterbadger/beauty-and-the-beast-california-wildflowers-and-climate-change