Sharita Manickam and Jen Bruno want young girls to envision their futures as anything—CEOs, astronauts, artists—absolutely any dream at all.
The photo book shows real girls modeling future professions and it caught fire on Kickstarter raising over $21k with 616 backers.
Turns out, stoking the fires of a revolution is popular business.
Sharita was kind enough to share some insights and experiences of her campaign.
With 139 backers on launch day, you must’ve done a ton of behind the scenes work to prepare everyone for your campaign’s launch.
What types of “behind-the-scenes” work did you do that contributed most to that huge first day?
Before launching, we held a Thunderclap campaign (Thunderclap is a service that has since been discontinued).
Basically, it was a way of getting your early supporters (family, friends, social media contacts) to sign up to help spread the word about your Kickstarter launch.
We asked our contacts to support us by signing up by linking their social media accounts to our Thunderclap campaign. Then on the day of our KS launch, Thunderclap posted a one time, free message to all of those supporter’s social media feeds telling their friends/followers about our launch! Thunderclap was likened to a “social media flash mob”.
In the weeks leading up to the launch, we made social media posts and graphics explaining how Kickstarter worked as we learned many of our friends and family members were unfamiliar with crowdfunding and pre-orders.
We also sent out a market survey and received 700 responses and about 200 people signed up for our newsletter.
We also had some early bird specials for the first 48 hours that we promoted heavily. We sent out an email blast the morning of our launch to friends and family.
“It’s a lot of work, relationship building, and strategy, but one of the main things we would like to express is that you can’t be afraid to sell yourself and ask for help.”—Sharita Manickam
How long did you engage your audience and potential backers before launching?
We began our social media campaign about a month before we “intended” to launch, but ended up having to push back about a month.
We used social media to increase enthusiasm about empowerment, count down to our impending launch, and collaborate with other accounts with like-minded missions.
How large was your audience before you launched?
We had about 900 followers on each platform, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and about 700 email addresses (500 friends and family and 200 survey respondents) collected.
The ever-changing, always elusive social media algorithms of FB and IG make marketing a product so much more difficult than ever before.
Since we didn’t have the budget to pay to boost our posts, we created “boost groups” of our biggest supporters and each time we posted something on FB and IG, we send a link to our “boost group” so they can go like or comment that post. It increased our exposure quite a bit.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your Kickstarter campaign?
We were blown away by the immediate support—the link sharing, the enthusiastic posting, etc. We didn’t expect that to happen right away, and then when we were selected as a “Project We Love” by Kickstarter within a few hours of launch, we were really surprised.
We’d been advised by several Kickstarter veterans that sales were likely to stall once we hit our goal, so that didn’t come as a huge shock, but had we not been prepared for it by others, I think that would have been a really difficult pill to swallow.
Your video is brilliant. Where did you find all of your sweet young models to participate? Did you do the video yourself or hire an expert?
Thank you! Since the photo illustrator, Jen and I have young children, we were lucky to have a fairly large pool of children to reach out to who are friends of our kids.
We ended up with 72 models in total and found many through word of mouth. Our video model is a friend of my daughter and her older sister did the voice over. Jen’s son is also in the video, as is another book model and her mom and brother.
Our video was filmed with an iPhone and I put it together using apps.
How was your experience with IndieGoGo InDemand after your Kickstarter ended?
We just haven’t had time to build our own website yet so IndieGoGo InDemand seemed like a good way to continue taking pre-orders.
I don’t think we received much new exposure from IndieGoGo, but we ended up raising about $2500 through inDemand from people who either missed our Kickstarter or were just learning about the book through social media.
With so many backers, has fulfillment been an issue? What solution would you recommend for authors who find themselves overwhelmed with logistics? Did you go with BackerKit?
Our shipment of books from China was held up for weeks at the Port of New York, so we were about a month behind schedule on fulfillment. Once we received the books, we sent them all out within days.
We did use BackerKit.
It took a lot of time to setup but in the long run it simplified our fulfillment.
I hesitated about the cost at first, but it more than paid for itself from add-on items our backers purchased through Backerkit. I would recommend Backerkit, especially for those with more than a few hundred backers.
Also a label printer is a must for quick shipping!
What advice would you give a fellow author who is looking to crowdfund their book?
Sales don’t happen automatically.
Kickstarter doesn’t sell anything for you.
It’s a lot of work, relationship building, and strategy, but one of the main things we would like to express is that you can’t be afraid to sell yourself and ask for help.
We reached out to many other successful Kickstarter brands along the way to gather advice and to partner and cross promote.
We also asked our friends and family to help be an extension of our sales team by using their social media and word of mouth channels to spread the word.
We couldn’t have done this alone, and we advise anyone considering a crowdfunding campaign to rally their troops before they launch.
What are you working on at the moment and do you have plans for more books?
At the moment we are working on driving traffic to our Amazon listing through influencer marketing and ads.
We keep a running list of occupations for a sequel and have ideas for other books, but at the moment we are just focusing on this one!
Sharita Manickam grew up in Maryland. After graduating from the University of Maryland, she moved to New York City, where she worked in marketing until her first daughter was born. During the next couple of years, Sharita discovered a passion for writing and co-wrote a television drama script for a major network. Her love of writing, coupled with her love of reading to her daughters, sparked the idea for a children’s book. Sharita lives in Forest Hills, NY, with her husband, Maurice and their two RAD girls. RAD Girl Revolution is her first book.
Jennifer Elliott Bruno grew up and attended college in Kansas before relocating to Tallahassee, FL to pursue a career in property management. She met her husband, George, in Tallahassee, and the couple moved to New York City where they soon became parents to a little boy named Henry. Shortly after his birth, Jennifer pursued her passion by opening a photography business. She currently resides with her family and miniature dachshund in Forest Hills.
Bonus resources from Sharita and Jen—feel free to model your graphics after theirs
Before you publish your first book or launch your book’s Kickstarter campaign, you first need to warm-up your audience.
Marketing experts talk about audience warmth and how warmer audiences have much higher rates of conversion (meaning, they see your post or ad and buy your book right away).
How important is it to warm up your audience?
Cold traffic usually sees 2% conversion rate vs. warm/hot audiences with 65%-75% conversion rates.
Ooh, la la! How can we get more of that hot traffic?
I don’t know about you, but if I’m spending money on Facebook ads, I want the best conversion rates possible.
Many authors haven’t a clue as to how to build OR warm up their audience. Fortunately, conducting audience education will do both.
Don’t underestimate the amount of effort required to build an audience
It’s easy to underestimate how much work is required in building an audience. We often see successful authors launching their next books with ease and a minimal marketing strategy with great success.
Established authors who have published multiple books have built a devoted following of hot or warm audiences.
Their readers are already familiar with their work and are hungry for the next book to come out. As a result, they don’t need to do a fraction of the education that we need to do as first-time authors.
They already did the work and developed trust over time by consistently delivering high-quality books and content.
These authors don’t necessarily need to do a book launch campaign that spans several months with each new release because their audience is already warmed up.
In this article, I assume that we are all working with zero audience and need to build from scratch.
Here are some tips for building and warming up your audience before you launch:
Cold traffic: These people have never heard of you or your book(s) before.
Direct cold traffic to things of value:
- a podcast where you discuss the origin story behind your book
- a blog about the important topics your book addresses
- an infographic about something interesting about your audience, book, or topic area
- research findings that support why your book is so important to read
- a survey asking them questions that are related to your book’s topic
- a behind-the-scenes look at creating the book
At the bottom of each of these ‘destinations’ invite them to subscribe to your newsletter so you can continue to engage with them in a meaningful way.
Warm traffic: These people know of you and follow you on social media or subscribed to your newsletter.
Direct warm traffic to next-level stuff:
- download a lead magnet: free e-book, excerpt of your book, or a companion PDF
- informational webinars
- invite them to in-person events
- special offers or discounts on your book(s)
Hot traffic: These people have purchased from you in the past.
Direct hot traffic to your books/offers:
- straight to sales pages like your book’s Amazon link.
- Pay-per-click ads on Amazon and Facebook
Keep in mind that only a fraction of your audience will be hot but be sure to segment them from the cold/warm readers so you can send them the right messages.
Learning from Mistakes
I’ve made a TON of mistakes and didn’t realize why my Facebook and Amazon ads weren’t converting well.
The problem was that I was treating cold traffic like hot traffic and was directing people straight to my sales page in my paid ads.
I ended up wasting money on ads that never converted and even worse, I missed opportunities to engage with my audience.
I want to make it clear that I’m still learning and experimenting with all of these techniques. I don’t think that will ever stop.
As you grow and engage with your audience, send them different content and see what resonates.
Maybe your audience loves to read blogs, maybe some love to listen to podcasts, maybe they love infographics. Who knows?
Discover what your audience likes, what you like to create, and either strike a compromise or do one or two formats really well.
For example, I really enjoy making videos and I think they allow a lot of my personality to shine through. But, I also know that due to my time zone, my audience doesn’t see my live videos until hours later.
Because my audience (you all!) love to read, I write blogs and occasionally include videos at the bottom. I also include a link to the related blog in the videos that I post to YouTube. (Subscribe to my YouTube channel here.)
It took me time and some professional help to figure out a marketing strategy for my business. Here’s what I did to improve my conversion rates.
Bring in Some Experts
Overall business strategy help
I had no idea how to strategize the marketing plan for my business, so I invested in small business marketing coaching with Stephanie Ward at Firefly Coaching. We did a deep dive, six-month coaching plan where she met with me 45-minutes/month and gave me a huge to-do list at the end of each session.
Stephanie was great at analyzing my strengths and steering me toward bolstering my weak areas. Our sessions gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone and take bigger risks.
Click here to visit Stephanie’s website to see if she can help you.
My website was somewhat of a mess and my marketing friend, Amel Derragui, kept giving me tiny pointers here and there. It was clear that I needed to fully hire her services in order to improve the navigability of my website and grow my audience. After making her suggested changes, my website now receives TONS of compliments from visitors and my newsletter list is growing.
Click here to see if Amel can help you optimize your website and grow your audience.
Improving my cold traffic conversions
When it comes to cold traffic, you need to have the right keywords and ad copy in place. I’m currently working with Laurie Wright on my Amazon keywords, book blurbs, author bio, and ad copy.
Improving your business requires investment, constant education, and involving experts when you’re out of your depth. Don’t be afraid to hire experts.
You can still learn everything on your own, but be prepared to spend a lot of time and money while you are experimenting and figuring things out during the learning process.
Crowdfunding Authors Often Overestimate the Warmth of Their Audience
Don’t make the mistakes I did and send cold traffic directly to your sales pages (i.e., your book’s Kickstarter page).
I see this all of the time with authors who run Kickstarter campaigns.
Crowdfunding authors will often direct people to their campaign page, which has a much lower conversion rate than if they directed them to a blog, video, or infographic, throughout their entire campaign.
Also, most readers are unfamiliar with crowdfunding and don’t know what’s happening or how to proceed.
Instead of asking you, your readers feel overwhelmed and close their browser’s tab without doing anything.
Educate your audience first
You need to educate your readers about your book, send them to blogs, podcasts, and articles to warm them up before you can send them to your Kickstarter sales page.
Once they are there, you need the right copy, graphics, and engaging video to convince them your book is worth backing.
Not sure if your campaign page will convert? I’m happy to review your campaign page before you launch.
Here’s an external marketing-specific article on How to Warm and Convert Your Cold Traffic.
Planning my own book’s Kickstarter campaign has resulted in a bit of strategy analysis OVERLOAD, some momentary doubts of failure that I promptly kicked to the curb, and then the realization that I ALREADY have all of the tools I need.
Reasons Why I’m Not Worried About Failure
Tools: Fortunately, I have a handy Excel spreadsheet calculator so I know exactly how to price my rewards and calculate my profit margins (thank you, past me, for being so smart).
If you want this calculator/calendar/supercharged Excel spreadsheet PLUS email templates, PR templates, and all of the tools you need to manage your crowdfunding campaign, you can buy it here.
Knowledgeable network: I already have a network of crowdfunding-savvy authors because I’ve been COACHING THEM—oh yeah, another good move, Lisa.
Hard work always pays off.
Superbacker status: I’ve spent oodles of my own money investing in other authors on Kickstarter and now it’s time for me to call in some chits.
Participate and invest yourself into a community and you can rightly call on that community to support you when it’s your turn.
I believe in my book: My book has been vetted by 300 students already, parents, and teachers and everyone thinks it’s totally awesome and the book series as a whole has legs.
I’m also working with an amazing illustrator who is a DREAM to work with (no, you can’t have her until we’re done) who is doing a brilliant job at bringing my book to life.
So, yeah, I’m not worried about failure. BESIDES, I know that failure won’t kill me. I’ll learn a TON of valuable lessons going through the process again myself and I plan to run this campaign as I did my original $10k.
Want to follow along/support me?
You’ll get good KARMA and I’ll pay it back/forward/sideways, don’t worry, sign up for my VIP newsletter here: yes, I love supporting children’s books on Kickstarter
Learn about crowdfunding YOUR book and see if it’s right for you:
Enroll in my free crowdfunding mini-course here: https://bit.ly/mini-crowdfunding
I’ve been listening to positive affirmations for gratitude since the new year rang through and thought that positive affirmations for writers might help some of us (including myself) overcome that nagging self-doubt that usually plagues us and keeps us from reaching our goals.
I wrote these affirmations to help overcome procrastination, imposter syndrome, and insecurity.
The truth is, we can all create beautiful, creative, and engaging pieces of writing. It will require time, effort, and hard work, but we all have those skills within us. Hopefully, these affirmations will help you silence your inner critic and start creating the books that I know are ready to come to life.
“I always want to improve as a writer.”
It’s not every day that a children’s book raises nearly $40k on Kickstarter, but that’s exactly what Audrey Smit and Jackie Knapp did with their first book, The Adventures of Lily Huckleberry in Scandinavia.
As we all know, or should by now, fundraising is a full-time effort and the end result of months or years of audience building and engagement.
I spoke with Audrey about all of the preparation and work she and Jackie did to garner such stunning success.
Note: Whenever somebody makes something look easy and effortless, understand that a TON of effort and work went into it on the front end even if you can’t see it. There are no shortcuts to success.
Let’s go under the hood of their Kickstarter campaign and find out what worked and what didn’t.
You raised ~50% in the first 24 hours—can you describe a bit of the pre-launch work you did to make that happen? We all know it’s not easy to generate that much energy on launch day.
Yes, the first days are everything!
Before the launch we reached out to influencers that we thought would be interested in the concept of Lily Huckleberry – travel influencers, book influencers etc.
I contacted people I already had a connection with (that’s always the easiest) but also reached out to tons I didn’t know at all that I thought would be interested in our idea.
We got maybe 7% positive responses back when we reached out. It was a lot of work but every person we could find to help spread the work made a difference.
You have to be shameless, talk about what you are doing with pride + passion— it’s contagious. And keep knocking on doors, you’ll get a LOT of no’s but keep reaching out to new people.
Another thing did as we launched: Jackie (my co-author) and I had made a bet with my husband (which we included at the end of our Kickstarter video) that if we funded under one week, he would have to let his Viking beard grow to be a foot long so we could braid it for the book release party.
For some reason that got a lot of people fired up to pledge early, haha! I guess lots of people (including many of our friends) wanted to see him do something a little ridiculous. I think it really helped people connect with our campaign from the beginning in a genuine way.
It’s all about thinking outside of the box. In the end you never know what is going to stick so you have to try a lot of different approaches.
“In the end, you never know what’s going to stick so you have to try a lot of different approaches.” – Audrey Smit
It looks like you have a very large audience already established from your design business. What types of outreach would you recommend to authors who may not have a large audience already established?
Yes, a bigger pre-established audience definitely helped, but you can definitely make it with a smaller audience.
Use what you’ve got and again, think creatively!
Start with friends and family, of course, but don’t stop there.
Promote to whatever audience you have on social media and try to reach out to the press ahead of time about your project/idea.
Very often local newspapers are happy to run an article/interview about you and or your book—you will just have to do a little research on how to best approach them and how you can make them look good with your amazing story.
- set up a booth at local events during your Kickstarter
- team up for giveaways with other influencers on social media to increase your reach,
- and if you have a little bit of marketing money to play with, consider things like Facebook/Pinterest ads.
What would you say surprised you the most about running your Kickstarter campaign?
It takes SO MUCH time and energy! Ha!
Setting up the campaign is only the tip of the iceberg, you have to put a lot of effort into promoting it along the way, getting back to people, etc.
BUT it is so amazing to see people gather around your idea and put their weight behind it, and the work is completely worth it. It’s truly amazing.
Are you planning additional campaigns for future books in the series?
We are in the process of writing our second Lily Huckleberry book and we’ll be doing a Kickstarter campaign for it.
Having the ability to raise money for editing, printing, marketing is game changing.
We would not be able to self-publish without Kickstarter.
I also find that Kickstarter campaigns to be an incredible marketing tool —people love getting behind ideas they love and it helps build a community around your book.
What unexpected opportunities have resulted from running your Kickstarter campaign?
We were stunned that we raised well over our initial goal—nearly $40K!
That allowed us to invest more in the book, to make a stunning products that people are raving about. That also allowed us to invest in marketing a little more, have a book trailer made etc.
Also unexpected: my husband was quite stunned he lost his bet with Jackie and me.
Being a sales manager in the corporate world, he couldn’t believe he had to let his beard grow for months on end.
Quite a few of his clients asked him about it, and he had to boast about his wife beating her funding goal on Kickstarter.
Anything else you’d like to mention? Future book plans?
Well, as I mentioned, our second Lily Huckleberry book will be coming out later this year!
After wandering in Scandinavia with her Viking friends, Lily will be going somewhere in Asia to solve another big mystery…but I can’t tell which country yet, it’s still a secret.
We LOVE self-publishing—it is so much work, but also gives us so much creative + business control.
We are really excited to do another Kickstarter campaign and see if can turn our dream of a series into reality! Our goal is to release one new Lily Huckleberry book every year, and have her travel to all the continents so our readers can dream far and wide with our brave Lily.
Audrey Smit is the founder of This Little Street, a design company whose colorful and happy aesthetic has built a following of nearly 20K. She has worked as a pattern designer since 2015, recently launching several successful product lines of her own.
Originally from France, Audrey lives in Berkeley, CA with her Danish husband and their four adventurous little girls, who are constant sources of inspiration for her work.
Follow her on Instagram: @thislittlestreet
Children’s book authors often face steeper costs when creating their books than adult fiction or non-fiction writers.
There are the additional costs of illustration (ranging from $1200-$10,000 for a 32-page picture book), and often the cost of a print run of 3,000-10,000 books from either local printers or printers overseas. Then there are warehouse and fulfillment fees to cover for orders placed on Amazon.
Many children’s book authors are turning to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to not only fully fund their books but also boost their marketing efforts.
- In the Facebook Group, Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, which I recommend joining, many of the authors have successfully Kickstarted their books and subsequently, their self-publishing businesses to great success.
Why Crowdfund Your Book?
Crowdfunding does a few things that waiting to market your book launch doesn’t.
When you crowdfund your book, you…
- Validate your book’s idea with your audience before you get too far down the road of creation
- Engage with your audience in a more personal way and offer them special rewards in addition to your book—something you can’t do on Amazon.
- Communicate directly with your backers—Amazon does not provide you any information about who buys your book
- Generate more funds for your book than you can selling the same number of books during a pre-launch (profit margins are a bit larger than royalty rates)
- Boost your confidence when your book is demanded by the readers. There is a feeling of incredible pride and humility when you realize that your readers are helping you create your book.
- Create a viral buzz about your book. By cramming three months of marketing efforts into 30 days, you generate a veritable swirl of energy around your book.
- Can afford a better team. When you crowdfund your book, instead of footing the bill from your own pocket, you can pay thousands for an experienced illustrator. You can opt for the thicker paper that’s more expensive. You can end up with a higher quality book when you have a larger budget (all things considered equal, of course).
And magic takes place during and after a crowdfunding campaign.
Like local news coverage, radio spots, cross-collaborations, and other opportunities that occur when you start reaching out to anyone and everyone who might be interested in your campaign.
The time-limited nature of the campaign forces creators to be bold and take action when it comes to marketing outreach that doesn’t usually happen during other book launches.
Examples of Children’s Book Crowdfunding Campaigns
While some campaigns are more successful than others, almost every campaign listed has resulted in an incredible boost to the visibility of the book, the sales, and/or the audience who is ready to purchase subsequent books from the author.
Note: *All of the following book images are linked to my Amazon affiliate account which results in tiny donations in my tip jar when you click at no extra cost to you.*
Title: The Adventures of Lily Huckleberry—travel books for kids
Author: This Little Street
Total raised: $38,560 (154%)
Title: The Children’s Book for Little Girls Who Dream BIG! Rad Girl Revolution
Author: Sharita Manickam & Jen Bruno
Total raised: $21,436 (142%)
Title: Not Especially Special
Author: Katie Savage
Total raised: $15,154 (126%)
Title: ‘You Stole my Name’, Dennis McGregor’s new children’s book
Author: Dennis McGregor
Total raised: $27,302 (137%)
Title: I’m NOT just a Scribble—Children’s Book that Inspires ART!
Author: Diane Alber
Total raised: $15,343 (153%)
Author: Jay Miletsky
Total raised: $13,923 (116%)
Author: Brandon Walden
Total raised: $6,550 (131%)
Author: Stacy Bauer
Total raised: $6,411 (160%)
Title: Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound
Author: Jamie Untz
Total raised: $7,215 (103%)
Now, don’t be fooled by the amazing successes of the authors who have funded their books using crowdfunding
There is nothing easy about crowdfunding even though these authors make it look effortless.
One in three crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter fail (1 in 3!).
Click here to get on my calendar for a free 20-min chat to see if a) crowdfunding is right for you and b) if I can help you.
Crowdfunding is tough, but I’ve created tools and templates to make it easier.
Also…grab my freebie below and avoid some pitfalls when planning your campaign.
I have found that the best workshops for my learning style are like mini-boot camps. They are goal-oriented and time-sensitive with students who are enthusiastic and ready to achieve their goals.
I want to be surrounded by people who, like me, are hitting the pavement, ready to go.
What is a masterclass?
A masterclass or mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.
In addition to you achieving your goals (e.g., fully funding your book), participating in a masterclass has at least three tangible benefits.
When you know you’re meeting every week and will have to speak up and discuss your project, you end up getting more done than when you operate in a vacuum.
I’ve met so many authors who have said that they have completed manuscripts that are collecting dust for years. YEARS! Life gets hectic and in the way of accomplishing our goals.
All of a sudden, what we once thought was a priority gets replaced by the urgency of the NOW and we end up dropping our work. It happens all of the time.
By joining a masterclass, your peers are committing to holding you accountable, and likewise, you are serving as their accountability partner. Simply by asking someone, “What are you struggling with this week?” forces a type of self-reflection that may be missing in the lone writer’s world.
2) Expert guidance
As lovely as peer-to-peer groups are, and I’m part of many of them, it’s extremely helpful to have an experienced person guiding the group. Masterclasses are generally organized by someone with experience who is not only skilled at managing people but at helping them reach their goals within a certain time period.
When I hired my marketing coach, I desperately needed direction. I needed someone to ask me questions that I didn’t know were important and hand me an extensive to-do list that would advance my career to the next level. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I needed help. Big time.
Without an expert guiding the way, peer-to-peer mentoring groups remain largely self-serving. Yes, you will probably reach your goals, but it won’t have the time-sensitive boot camp nature that masterclasses or masterminds often have.
Really great masterclasses contain exercises and action items to help the participants cruise through the material, apply it, and advance more quickly than working solo.
3) Personalized tutoring/mentorship
Readers of blogs and listeners of podcasts are subject to the limits of the creator’s pace. A masterclass incorporates established material (courses, blogs, podcasts, etc.,) with tutoring to allow participants to advance at their pace, ask questions, and receive individualized support.
The opportunity to ask questions, gain clarification, and obtain peer and mentor support is a unique feature of the masterclass design that is lacking in other online course forums.
Helping more authors successfully crowdfund their books
After beta testing my Crowdfunding for Authors course, I noticed that the group interaction was where a lot of the magic happened.
However, the course is self-paced, and some students didn’t launch their campaigns at the same time. That’s totally fine but I saw a missed opportunity.
By grouping together crowdfunding authors who are all launching at the same time, we can create a network where we share resources, leverage marketing opportunities, and get real-time support before and during their campaigns.
The mentoring support happens in the crucial pre-launch phase and the peer-to-peer support happens during the campaign phase.
Crowdfunding is all about community and so often, writers find themselves trying to build a community from scratch. It’s much much much easier to build momentum, rally positive energy, and battle the self-doubt when there is a network of like-minded people doing the same thing at the same time. (the whole, A rising tide lifts all ships, concept).
Interested in learning more?
If this sounds like a concept that would be of interest to you—an online course with guided expert mentorship and supportive peers—then click here to schedule a no-pressure information-only 20-minute call with me to find out more or send me an email here.
Registration for the Crowdfunding for Authors Masterclass for March/April campaigns closes on January 31.
If you’re serious about getting your book fully funded in March or April, then click here to find out more.
“Procrastination is self-hatred.”—Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club.
Woah, that’s a bold statement. I’ve heard of procrastination being related to laziness, anxiety, and depression but not self-hatred.
I’ll admit, I’m no Superwoman when it comes to powering through and beyond procrastination. I’ve had to devise multiple systems, test out new theories, and come up with creative ways to hold myself accountable in order to stay on task.
Even with a ton of resources, prioritized action lists, a fancy new journal, and positive incentives, I still procrastinate on projects or activities that I need to accomplish in order to move my business and writing forward.
I’ve been listening to positive affirmations and even created my own affirmations specifically for writers in order to keep the mindset moving in a productive direction.
We all have the same 24 hours in the day to accomplish our goals.
Dedicated writing time
As part of a change in my routine, I scheduled dedicated writing time between 8:30 am-10:00 am every day. I have found that word count goals don’t work for me but dedicated time always does.
Sort of like cleaning where I give myself 20 minutes to clean whatever is around me, I give myself 90 minutes to write about whatever it is I want to write about. It doesn’t have to be going toward the word count of my latest novel if that’s not what I’m interested in writing about that day.
After 90 minutes of writing, I move on to responding to clients’ emails and creating content for my websites.
Write during your most productive time
We all have “productive” times during our day. These are the moments where the words flow effortlessly from our brain to our fingertips. The time when we feel most energetic and excited about writing.
For me, the morning is when my brain is freshest and ready to tackle problems.
Ideas often surface after I meditate in the morning before the kids wake up. I jot those ideas down and expand on them during my block of writing time.
Ideas for stories that come to me later in the day are recorded and I’ll write down as much detail as I know I’ll need to capture the idea and revisit it later. Sometimes, I rush upstairs and capture the flow before it disappears—my fingers clacking furiously on the keyboard.
These moments of inspired writing don’t happen often for me, so it’s crucial that I capture them when they do.
Reduce your distractions
I’m the first to admit that I often choose to become distracted in Facebook groups under the guise of being helpful for others.
While I’m doing those authors a service, I’m doing myself a complete disservice because the time I spend on Facebook is time I’m not spending creating my next book or helping a client with their books.
I’ve reduced my distractions by limiting my phone time entirely and I don’t look at my phone between 7 pm and 10 am if I can help it.
I try to steer clear of Facebook group interaction until my scheduled blocks of time dedicated to email and social media in the afternoons when my productivity is already naturally waning.
You know yourself best
You already know what you need to work on and what distractions you face.
Limit the distractions that are within your control (we can’t control when our kids need us or when our dog has to go outside) and make the most of your productive time.
I’ve made the decision to go to bed a bit earlier and wake up at 5 am in order to start my day with exercise, gratitude, and meditation. I feel it’s given me a competitive edge on starting my day right, owning my schedule, and outlining my goals for every day of the week.
How do you plan to accomplish your goals?
Are you launching your book on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo in March or April of this year? If so, then you need to get started with a crowdfunding outreach plan and strategy.
Click here to schedule a no-pressure 20-min chat with me to see if my Crowdfunding for Authors Masterclass is right for you.
Paving the way for others is never an easy task and one that children’s book author, Rebecca Hamer, discovered when she launched her Kickstarter campaign to her mostly-Australian audience.
Rebecca’s Where Oh Where is Monty Bear? picture book series helps kids deal with both big life transitions and small everyday challenges.
Knowing that Monty Bear was heading to Australia next, Rebecca decided to launch her third book, Where Oh Where is Monty Bear Australia using Kickstarter as a launch mechanism.
Rebecca’s YouTube channel is great. I mean, just look at this video!
Scroll down for Rebecca’s insights about bringing the concept of crowdfunding to Australia.
What surprised you the most about running your Kickstarter campaign?
It was shockingly hard to get everyone on board. This was my third book, so I knew the publishing process and felt confident taking on a new marketing strategy.
Preparing for the campaign was extremely time-consuming and I knew I had to get everything done by a hard deadline.
So many people don’t realize how long it takes to build your campaign page and even though I have experience making videos, it still took me forever.
What would you have done differently?
I would’ve done more Facebook group interaction and started engaging with people 2-3 months before launch.
I joined a lot of teachers’ Facebook groups and had connections from my previous two books but didn’t want to bug them too much.
“Find your people who are looking for what you’re delivering. They may be homeschoolers, teachers, parents, babysitters, who knows? But find them and nurture your relationships with them.”
Did you pay for any advertising?
No, not really. I paid $50 in Facebook ads but those didn’t convert. I didn’t do a press release or anything formal.
I was able to land some visibility in Offspring Parenting Magazine’s newsletter and I reached out to Big Life Journal because they added my YouTube channel as one of their recommended resources.
All of the parenting and teacher blogs want payment for sponsored posts (~$700/post). I had lined up exposure with some bloggers but many of them didn’t follow through.
What advice would you give an indie author thinking about crowdfunding?
Spend a lot of time building relationships. Teacher bloggers are super supportive and were the best source of support for my books on emotional literacy.
Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket.
Develop a cult-ish following of your work and build an audience who can’t wait to support you. Find your people who are looking for what you’re delivering. They may be homeschoolers, teachers, parents, babysitters, who knows? But find them and nurture your relationships with them.
Your audience is largest on Instagram (5k), did you find most of your backers came from that platform?
I grew my audience after making baby sleeping bags and I learned about social media over the past five years.
My Instagram followers are all from my first business and surprisingly, most of my backers were coming from Facebook. Most of them were not friends and family but one circle removed.
I also have a huge network of expat supporters who were great at sharing the campaign but weren’t backing it themselves.
Was having an Australian audience tough with your crowdfunding campaign?
I’d say so. People need to be educated about what crowdfunding is. Nobody in Australia is familiar with Kickstarter and most of my backers were first time backers.
The email templates in the Crowdfunding Vault were really helpful in doing that audience education and outreach.
Would you do it again?
No. I burned through all of my goodwill in Australia and I’d really have to work my tail off to build a new audience.
Despite raising funds to cover the cost of your book, did running your Kickstarter help in any other way?
Yes, it really opened doors to new opportunities that I didn’t anticipate.
Maggie Dent is the Queen of Common Sense and is huge on the speaking circuit with her Maggie Moments. I sent her a Monty Bear package and she is open to future collaboration.
Creating the Kickstarter campaign really gives you a lot of content and testimonials that you can use in future marketing efforts.
What are your future plans for Monty Bear?
My immediate plans are to tackle the Amazon machine and get my books on that platform for a new audience. That should be…a lot of work!
Rebecca Hamer, BA Arts Psych, Grad Dip Ed, Masters Management….. Is an Early Childhood Education Specialist with over fifteen years teaching experience in Australia, Indonesia, Russia and Singapore. She has a passion for literacy development and believes that home and school co-operation is essential in facilitating children’s literacy learning.
She uses MONTY BEAR as an interactive way to engage children with all facets of literacy, including, speaking, listening, reading and writing. Rebecca loves seeing students and parents since fifteen years ago who still cherish photos and stories about their real life experiences with MONTY BEAR.
Visit her website: http://montybear.com.au/
Kickstarter campaign link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/461149098/where-oh-where-is-monty-bear-australia