3 Benefits of Joining a Masterclass

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.

1) Accountability

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 joining a master class?

If you want to join a group of authors who are all laser focused on crowdfunding their book between now and April/May 2024, then check out my Author Launch Accelerator Program.

Quality Printing and Fulfillment for Authors: The Porchlight Book Company

books with a yellow background

In the realm of self-publishing, authors often find themselves defaulting their publishing options to print-on-demand like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Ingram Spark, because breaking into the publishing supply chains is dominated by traditional publishers.

Not only that, but most companies who work with traditional printers have zero interest in working with indie authors. That is, until now. 

In the past year, we have seen an incredible shrinking of the traditional publishing world. That means, fewer traditional publishing offers, smaller advances, and smaller print runs. None of which is great news for authors.

Many authors don’t really know the process for printing and distribution once their books are published, which is why the Porchlight Book Company would like to help.

Empowering Authors Beyond Kickstarter

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are invaluable tools for creators, but they lack infrastructure to support authors specifically. The Porchlight Book Company has worked with traditionally published authors to fulfill pre-orders as well as deliver book swag bags to large conferences. They understand the complex world of distribution, and have been doing it for decades.

Dan Brouchoud wants to help more independent authors level up from the low-quality options offered by print-on-demand and assist authors with the printing and fulfillment.

However, there is one limitation; authors must have a minimum of 250 book orders. Beyond the 250 book threshold lies significantly more affordable printing and fulfillment costs. Beyond that, they are ready to collaborate with any author, ensuring the worldwide fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards or pre-orders.

This means they can report all sales to The New York Times and NPD BookScan, offering authors the recognition they deserve and sales evidence for future manuscripts.

Moreover, they offer the invaluable service of helping authors obtain quotes from printers or utilize their established relationships within the printing industry. 

So, if you’re looking to move away from the print-on-demand model, this option might be a more reliable and quality-focused solution for you.

Bestseller Reporting

In addition to their distribution services, Porchlight Book Company offers a unique advantage. They provide bestseller reporting, a service that authors haven’t yet been able to utilize in connection with crowdfunding. 

Previously, all of those books pledged during a Kickstarter campaign would count as one order, but Porchlight can show the proof that the books were indeed ordered and shipped to individuals worldwide and contribute Kickstarter pre-orders into the bestseller status. This means they can report all sales to New York, offering authors the recognition they deserve.

While smaller authors may not hit the bestseller list with just a few hundred sales, bestseller reporting should no longer serve as a barrier for traditional authors to pursue crowdfunding.

A Scalable Solution for Every Author

If you’re an author looking to take your self-publishing journey to the next level, Porchlight Book Company is here to help. You can contact Dan at dan@porchlightbooks.com for printing and distribution services tailored to your book project.

For more information visit their website: https://www.porchlightbooks.com/

Frances Mackay shares 8 major tips for launching your book on Kickstarter

Frances Mackay

Frances Mackay’s publishing career started during her 20 years as an educator. She’s published over 90 books for Scholastic, Oxford University Press, Folens, and more. 

Her latest picture book, Baby Worries, is live on Kickstarter (and a Project We Love), and she’s here to share her lessons learned from the pre-launch and launch process for authors looking to crowdfund their books on Kickstarter.

Frances Mackay’s 8 Major Tips for Launching Your Book on Kickstarter


I thought I’d share with you my Kickstarter journey and some tips that may help anyone considering doing a Kickstarter. My campaign has just begun – but there’s a lot to share about the journey of getting there.

My tips for getting yourself ready for your first KS campaign:

    1. Plan well in advance! I first thought about doing a campaign in April, and I planned to do the launch in July, thinking that 3-4 months would be long enough to get ready.

      I live in Australia, and I didn’t consider the summer vacations in the UK and USA, so I changed the launch date to September instead – and thankfully, I did because I just didn’t anticipate the work involved in getting everything ready.

    2. Look carefully at other book campaigns already launched on Kickstarter. Study the pages – how the video has been done, what their page looks like, the graphics, etc. Compare the differences between the successful campaigns and those that didn’t succeed – and note of what appears to work best.

    3. Back some campaigns yourself. Kickstarter likes to have creators who have backed other people before they create their own campaign. It also gives you an insight into how the platform works and the types of messages you receive as a backer. Note what you liked and didn’t like about the information you received from these campaigns.

    4. If you can afford to do so, get guidance from Kickstarter consultants. I used the services of Lisa Ferland, who is very experienced in helping children’s book authors create their campaigns. You can get one-to-one help or purchase her vault of guides and templates – it is very thorough – I couldn’t have created my campaign without this help.

    5. Purchase Canva Pro. I can’t recommend this app highly enough – it’s not very expensive per month and is invaluable in creating everything you need – videos, graphics for social media ads and posts, flyers, brochures, worksheets – you name it – Canva has customizable templates for everything. It’s the one app I couldn’t do without in my marketing creations.

    6. Build up an email list. I started with 65 people in April, and I now have 1900 emails! An email list is invaluable because over the months before the campaign, you can communicate with these people, give them freebies, tips, and ideas, etc., to build a relationship with them – and hopefully, they will be your biggest supporters when the time comes.

    7. Invest in a mailing site to send your emails out. I use Mailerlite. The main reason I chose it was because it offers 24/7 chat support – even at the lowest cost level. And this chat service has been a huge help to me when I was learning how to use the program – as it’s very tricky at first!

    8. Finally – find out as much as you can about printing, shipping, and fulfilment. Decide if you are going to use offset printing and have the books sent to you where you have to store, pack and ship everything yourself or POD – or a combination of both. Working out what was best for me took a long time. It will be different for everyone, and it’s vital that you work out the costs involved to make sure the rewards you offer are profitable.

 

If you found these tips helpful, please consider supporting Frances with a Kickstarter pledge at any level as a way to say thank you and support the crowdfunding author community.

The illustrations are adorable and kids love laughing at all of the animated characters and scenes.

Click here to see her campaign on Kickstarter

Frances Mackay

Frances Mackay

I taught primary school for 20 years in Australia and the UK and have published over 90 books for Scholastic, Oxford University Press, and others. Baby Worries is my fourth book now available on Kickstarter with bonus materials perfect for teachers, parents, and librarians.

Top 5 Cons when launching your book traditionally instead of on Kickstarter

top 5 cons to a traditional book launch

Affiliate Disclaimer: The following article contains Amazon affiliate links below.

Many authors (me included) who experience success on Kickstarter and build a large audience will then launch subsequent books directly to Amazon or host pre-orders on their websites. 

Why? 

Mostly time and effort.

Kickstarter campaigns require a lot of organization and it’s very tempting to skip over all of the hype building and coordination of multiple stakeholders and publish directly on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) so that your book is available TODAY and ready to buy.

Children’s book author Leigha Huggins, raised nearly $14k for her first book, Love Lottery, on Kickstarter and recently released her second book, The Giving World, in October 2021 directly on Amazon.

I asked her what her honest experience was launching in both methods and she generously shared her true feelings on a Kickstarter vs. traditional book launch. 

The following is from an interview with Leigha in her words.

What results did you see in a 30-day launch on Amazon vs. a 30-day Kickstarter campaign?

To be quite honest, the traditional book launch has been a bit of a letdown. I haven’t been really impressed with the soft launch of The Giving World on Kindle Direct Publishing.

I think we broke $100 in sales during our first week, but it was nothing compared to the excitement of reaching a goal of $4,700 on day one of my Kickstarter for Love Lottery. (See Fully Funded in 24 Hours for how Leigha did this.)

What are three pros and three cons you’ve experienced launching your book traditionally compared to your previous Kickstarter campaign?

Traditional book launch on Amazon

Pro #1 – I don’t have to fulfill orders (I’m printing with KDP so orders are all handled by Amazon).

Pro #2 – I didn’t have to create a promo video.

Pro #3 – Instant availability – readers don’t have to wait for the campaign to be over or for a print run of books.

Con #1 – There is no urgency. It’s one of those things that I think people will just check it out at some point on Amazon, but there’s no incentive for them to do so during launch week.

Con #2 – Just hitting the publish button (well a bit more than that) is kinda like getting a high-five as opposed to throwing a party!

The excitement with an Amazon launch just wasn’t as grand as having launched a Kickstarter for Love Lottery.

Both books were equal in terms of the love and the intention of bringing both books to life but the feel of the launches was very different.

Con #3 – You can’t do a Kickstarter once you publish… or could I still possibly run a Kickstarter for The Giving World hardcover edition?

(Lisa’s answer: Yes, you can run a Kickstarter campaign for a hardcover edition or limited-edition print run.)

Con #4 – You wonder what your Kickstarter launch would have raised…

Ha… one more …

Con #5 – You have no idea who bought your book on Amazon so you are unable to follow up with your customers when you launch books in the future.

Would you say that your pre-launch time and effort for a traditional book launch was more, less, or about the same amount as your Kickstarter launch?

Not at all close.

Where you put effort, you usually see a reward.

Let’s just say I put a lot, lot, lot of effort into the launch of Love Lottery – and still a good amount of time for The Giving World.

What would you change about your traditional book launch (if anything) to have more of a Kickstarter-like effect?

I wish I would have done a launch date or even promoted a date for a “Now Available on Amazon” launch.

I could have then built up some excitement with a countdown.

Do you prefer the Kickstarter model or the traditional book launch model? Does it depend on the title you’re releasing?

I’m sure it would depend on the title and the purpose of the book, but hands down the best way to introduce something into the world is with the support of other creatives, not just your book in the sea of Amazon listings.

I would 100% recommend running a Kickstarter – especially if this is your first book. But in the same breath, a traditional launch has its place too.

Would you do a traditional book launch again or do you prefer Kickstarter?

I think it would depend on the situation. Kickstarter is my preferred method of introducing my passion project into the world.

But timing and urgency – and just time, in general, lead us to launch our newest release on Amazon.

Anything else you want to mention?

I have had mixed feedback on the cover of The Giving World.

With Love Lottery, I loved the interaction on Kickstarter and allowing backers who supported you to vote and have feedback on things that were still in progress.

It would have been wonderful to have people give their insights and let them give us feedback on the cover options.

Bio

Leigha Huggins The Giving World

With love, purpose, and warmth, Leigha Huggins invites you into her world with her heartfelt stories. Leigha believes intention and words are the guiding force in life. Visit her website to learn more about The Giving World.

Website: www.thegivingworld.org

 

 

More Books by Leigha Huggins

Related

I too, had some regrets about launching my book directly to Amazon. Watch the video below for more:

Want to work together? 

If you’re serious about launching your book on Kickstarter, then I’m here to help you figure it out without needing to recreate the wheel.

I offer free tips here and on my YouTube channel as well as a personalized comprehensive 1:1 crowdfunding coaching program that keeps you on track and organized.

Click on the link below to book a 60-min discovery call and fill in the questionnaire to see if we are a good fit to work together.

Lessons Learned from Launching 7 Kickstarter Campaigns

Joseph Becker is currently raising over $20k on his 7th Kickstarter campaign for his children’s book series Annabelle and Aiden. 

Joseph was kind enough to answer some questions and provide some insights to how he was able to use Kickstarter as a marketing tool for his books.

You’ve launched 7 different campaigns on Kickstarter for your books and it’s clear that your audience has grown with each success. Why do you enjoy launching on Kickstarter versus a more traditional book launch on Amazon or your website?

 
Kickstarter is a wonderful platform because it draws a large crowd who apparently browse Kickstarter for projects to fund. A surprisingly large amount of funds always come from this cold audience.
 
Also, I think of Kickstarter as free advertising: it costs nothing upfront, so there’s really no risk involved. And every pledge you get is another free signup on your email list.
 
This is a great way to gain a following and a community behind your books. It’s the ultimate marketing tool.

For each campaign, your funding goal was very low compared to how much money you raised. What do you think contributed the most to get people to back the campaign vs. waiting for the official publication of the book? 

The first thing that comes to mind is getting large (and I mean huge) Facebook pages (with hundreds of thousands or millions of ‘likes’) that align with the “mission” of your books (whether celebrating diversity, environmentalism, or childhood development) to share your campaign.
 
That is the number one thing. 
 

How much audience education do you typically do before you launch?

That’s a tough one. Now, I just post 2 to 4 “Kickstarter coming soon” posts weeks before to whet everyone’s appetites. There used to be a tool called Thunderclap that was the best tool to build excitement for an upcoming Kickstarter campaign, but they were shut down by the social media giants.
 

Do you find it gets easier with each campaign or do you face new challenges each time?

Both. It gets easier to raise money but at the same time your standards and expectations and goals get higher, so they are harder and harder to reach.

I’ve done 5 campaigns. For the first four, every single one raised $7,000 more than the last. However, the 5th one raised $3,000 less than the fourth. That was a bit tough for me, even though it still raised $17,000: a number I would have been ecstatic about just 2 years earlier.  

 

How did you meet your illustrator?

Through searching with Google. We’ve done 5 books together, all through email. I still have never spoken with her, which amazes people. She lives in Italy.  
 

What advice would you give an author who is in the middle of their campaign and still hasn’t funded?

I’d give them pointers and encouragement, and let them know the Kickstarter algorithm does kick in at the end for a strong finish. 
 

Will you continue to launch new books via Kickstarter?

Probably. 

What are you currently working on?

I have a few book ideas, and have started one or two, but I am really going to try to turn my business model over from print-on-demand to printing through China and selling through Amazon Advantage. That will take time and lots of money, but that’s my next step.

I may take a break from creating new books for a year or so, and try to up my game in selling the five titles I already have. 

 

Anything else? 

Folks could learn more at www.AnnabelleAndAiden.com

Be sure to check out his campaigns below to see how he priced his rewards and structured his campaigns.

Be sure to check out his current Kickstarter, Oh My Gods!

 LIVE now

Bio

Joseph Becker holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law. When he’s not practicing entertainment law, playing drums, or enjoying the great outdoors, Joseph enjoys all the science and philosophy books and podcasts he can, pondering the bigger questions and dreaming up ideas for future children stories.

Visit his website at annabelleandaiden.com.

Discover the Magic and Chaos of Motherhood on Kickstarter

Lindsay Madsen discovered inspiration and ideas amidst diapers, laundry, and sleepless nights. There’s something about rocking your baby in the wee hours of the night that gets your brain cells tingling.

In Lindsay’s case, she wanted to share hope and support for fellow moms who are in the thick fog of exhaustion that comes with those early baby days.

In this author interview, I asked Lindsay what work went into planning her board book campaign on Kickstarter.

Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to launch your book, The Lovely Haze of Baby Days?

Launching a Kickstarter made a lot of sense to me. I wanted to show the world I was serious about this book, and the impact I hope to make with it.
 
Struggling with loneliness and feeling disconnected from your community after having a baby is a real issue for women, and this reality is only getting worse during the current pandemic. 
 
By choosing to Launch a Kickstarter, I was able to centralize all the information about the book and give people an opportunity to preorder the book.
 
This was important because it let me showcase the important message of support, AND get the funding organized (hopefully!) in a more efficient way to bring the book to life. 
 
The last thing I ‘ll mention is the compressed time frame. 
 
As you’ve said yourself, it’s a really concentrated marketing effort in a short window of time. I’m a mom of four kids 5 years and younger, so time is not something I have an abundance of.
 
While the intensity of the work was heavy lifting, I could  map the time out in my mind of all the things I wanted to do over the weeks leading up and the weeks running the campaign.
 
As a first time author, I felt it helped bring structure and goals into my launch planning. 

What type of preparation did you do before you launched?

The most important preparation I did was creating a website and starting a mailing list. You engage a lot of people during your time preparing the book, the rewards, the marketing, etc. 

Having a mailing list was a great asset for communicating important messages to everyone and building excitement for the upcoming campaign.

Time wise – I spent at least 8 weeks from the moment I decided to run the campaign to launch day, but I knew from the start this was part of my plan – so I always had the pieces of it in mind as I researched & prepared.

I guess the preparations fell into a couple of categories:

  • Audience building,
  • Book development,
  • Pre-launch marketing, and
  • Kickstarter research. 

What has surprised you the most about crowdfunding your book?

A good surprise was how much I loved connecting with people in the audience/community.

I really enjoyed the process of building both my author and my mom network as part of my preparations. It is a logical thing to happen, I am passionately working on a book to support new moms – so of course I would love learning from authors and engaging with the people I hope to help with my book!

Something I struggle with is the unexpected loss of sleep. I am really excited about the project and the Kickstarter, and my best opportunities to work a lot are in the evenings.

IT can be hard to turn my brain off when I finally get to bed. So there is a big emotional/mental attachment to running a Kickstarter, and I wasn’t as prepared for that!

What advice would you give an author who is considering crowdfunding their book?

Marketing: Know your message and articulate it clearly.
 
General: Share your enthusiasm! People get excited when you are excited.
 
Practical: Build your audience as big and early as you can! Include an email list. 

What advice would you give a parent (of young children) who is also planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign?

First, give yourself more time than you think you need to do things, something child related often pops up and it’s so stressful if you haven’t built in time buffers to accommodate surprise tasks.  

Second, be creative with how you get things done. I let me kids look at illustrations and give me feedback, I listen to podcasts when I play on the floor with my babies, I have started sending voice messages while on a walk.
 
After the campaign, I hope to compartmentalize more , but efficiency is critical right now.
 
I am trying to share the journey with my family too, so they can be excited for the project wins with me and also be a little more understanding when I need to work more than ever before. 

Any final words of advice? 

Build your author community as you go along. There are things my family and real world friends don’t understand and can’t provide advice on, while creating a book or running a Kickstarter campaign.

I am so grateful for the author friends and Kickstarter buddies I have met and developed friendships with. We support each other – and that is a really valuable resource while on the author journey. 

Bio

Lindsay Kellar-Madsen is a writer, business developer, and twin mama with  four young children.

Although Canadian, she lives with her family in the Danish countryside where they explore, go on adventures, and thrive in their everyday chaos.

Her first picture book, The Lovely Haze of Baby Days, is currently available for preorder through her Kickstarter Campaign: https://bit.ly/2RsXMdL

Fully Funded in 24 hours: Love Lottery Success on Kickstarter

love lottery cover photo

Leigha Huggins has worked on her Kickstarter campaign since mid-2019, when she first started to conduct the market research and campaign preparations.

She knew her book about the love and joy children bring into our lives was an important message to share, but she was unsure about how to approach her Kickstarter campaign.

After some help and encouragement, Leigha made the leap and launched her campaign in May only to find herself rocketing to success.

Fully funded in 24 hours, and currently exceeding $10k with a $4k goal, Leigha has discovered the power of sharing a positive message that resonates with readers. 

Below are Leigha’s tips on what made her campaign a huge success.

Tip #1: Let people know how to help and what it means to you

I feel like lots of people like to help as long as they know how.

I have tried my best to reach out to my top people and ask them directly to please help me.

I let my early supporters know that I was going live and how important it was for the success of the campaign, and my ultimate goal was to get Kickstarter Project We Love badge.

Here’s the message I sent out to my friends and fmaily:

I’m so excited!!! Love Lottery is now available to order. We would love your support if you are able, and if you would share to help us spread the message of this beautiful book, we would be so grateful! https://bit.ly/lovelotterybook

I sent out this message to every person in my Facebook friends and on my phone (still not done…) And no group texts!!!

People discard group text (and sometimes personal ones too… but I felt like this was the step I wanted to go).

I let everyone know how thankful I was for their support.

I made no mention of stretch goals until I was almost to my first one…

Not even to people who were going to be my early supporters.

I revealed the stretch goals as each one came into view and we zoomed through so many that I had to create additional stretch goals! Not a bad problem to have.

Tip #2: Reach out to everyone you know

Mostly I believe in my book, the purpose, the message, the love it shares.

I have no issue about sharing it… with everyone.

My hairdresser, acupuncturist, (from years ago), my realtor, past neighbors, co-workers…

Pretty much if you have ever been in my life, I’m reaching out to you… ha!

love lottery our story

Tip #3: Don’t be in a rush to build your audience

I’m okay with hearing no, and I have been building my audience for a long time…

This whole book process I’ve referred to as the gift of delay.

Every time I would get a setback (and there were lots, I used it to get better, find resources, learn, let people know what I was working on). 

I just went with the flow, I didn’t want to rush it!

Building a book from the letters up is like building a foundation for the success of your effort.

Tip #4: Perfection is overrated

I spent so much time flip flopping like a pancake worrying about if I was going to launch or not. 

I booked an hour session with Lisa and she gave me the encouragement I needed when I needed it the most.

I showed up first day, without everything figured out…and perfection is overrated anyway…that’s too much pressure.

Tip #5: Overcome discomfort with research and preparation

I had never even heard about crowdfunding until I came across Lisa’s website. 

Lisa gave me so many tools, resources, ideas and lastly motivation to push through my discomfort to crowdfund my book on Kickstarter.

To me, crowdfunding is like testing the water before you commit to a large print run.

It means launching in front of a group of people you know, and many you don’t.

I think anytime you have the opportunity to launch something new… having a crowd is the best platform to have.

It gives you extra motivation and drive to have your best foot forward as you introduce your project to a beautiful crowd of people. (only safer because it’s online).

Lisa’s note: Leigha has been an ideal (!!) crowdfunding author in that she is not afraid to try new things and she really gives every effort 110% energy and enthusiasm.

The path to successfully crowdfunding your book is different for everyone and it’s important to try as many things as possible so you find what works for you.

I hope Leigha’s path to success is an inspiration for you all.

 

Resources Leigha used to help plan her campaign:

Crowdfunding Vault

1:1 Crowdfunding Consulting session

She is a member of the All-In Authors Community

Bio

Leigha Huggins
Photo credit: Leigha Huggins

Leigha Huggins is a mother and children’s book writer.

For Leigha, her hard times turned to gratitude when she looked at these precious gifts of young innocence and celebrated them—her Love Lotteries.

​She is confident you will feel her loving intention and connect to this story, as it is now a piece of all of us to share.

Please visit Leigha’s Kickstarter page now and show your support before her campaign ends on June 11, 2020.

Is crowdfunding the right strategy for you to launch your book?

More resources available on YouTube:

 

Bringing The Fairy Who Sings to Life on Crowdfunder

the fairy who sings reading

While some authors know about Kickstarter and a few have heard of IndieGoGo, there are over 600 crowdfunding platforms for authors to choose to market their books. The options grow every year as more people discover the power of crowdfunding.

I spoke with children’s book author, Cheryl Davies, about her debut picture book The Fairy Who Sings, to get insights on why she decided to crowdfund her book on Crowdfunder instead of Kickstarter.

Crowdfunder is a UK-based crowdfunding site and is popular with UK authors.

Find out if it’s right for you with Cheryl’s interview below.

If you have any experiences with Crowdfunder, please let us know in the comments.

the fairy who sings reading

Can you describe a bit about your vision for The Fairy Who Sings and why you decided to run a crowdfunding campaign?

The Fairy Who Sings is my debut book. I wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Working with children and writing for children were my two dream goals growing up and now I have achieved both.

For almost 20 years I worked with children who had witnessed or experienced domestic abuse. Helping those children to overcome the trauma they had experienced was a tough but rewarding job.

I put off my dream of writing for children, always waiting for the right time, I always said I would write my first book whilst on maternity leave but three children later that never happened as I was too preoccupied with my children and rightly so.

So, over the years I wrote personal poetry for friends and family instead with the odd hobby poem thrown in.

Then one day during a meeting with a deputy head in a school where I was supporting a child, we fell into a conversation about writing. I told him that it had been my lifelong dream that lay unfulfilled.

He encouraged me and said that there was no better time than now and that there would never be the right time and to just go for it.

So here we are!

That was around 14 months ago and it feels like a lot longer in many ways.

Editing the rhyme and meter

I hired a wonderful editor, Lor Bingham, who helped me develop my writing from poetry into stories.

The Fairy Who Sings was born. It was originally developed from a poem I wrote entitled Fairy Unique.

After multiple edits with Lor, I was happy with my story but it still needed a little bit of help.

It was important to me that The Fairy Who Sings was an inclusive story that had a strong female protagonist. 

I wanted to show how important it is to have self-belief and that courage isn’t about not being scared but about how you overcome fear to achieve your goal.

I was advised that my story still needed a little bit of work on my meter and so worked with a wonderful poetry coach–Tamara Rittershaus—for some poetry coaching to help me learn more about meter.

Click here to read why you should always hire an editor…sometimes two!

When I was happy with my manuscript I began working with a fantastic team at Bear with Us Productions who brought my book to life, with the aid of an amazing illustrator Eduardo Paj. 

They helped make the self publishing process a dream, which is exactly what I needed for my first book.

A fund-matching opportunity

It was during the illustration stage of my journey, that I decided to run a crowdfunding campaign. 

I decided after seeing many people unhappy with the low profit margins from KDP and the quality complaints too that I would like to do a print run, with the aim of taking the book as far and as wide as possible. 

I didn’t have the funds to do that and so after seeing many successful authors run crowdfunding campaigns I decided to run my own.

I was originally going to do it through Kickstarter but then one day I saw a campaign called Back Her Business that was offering to support new businesses by match funding their Crowdfunder campaigns, if they were successful in hitting 50% of their target. I thought it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

cheryl davies quote crowdfunding

Can you describe the type of prep work you did before you launched? 

What resources were helpful in planning? 

I tried to grow my followers on Facebook and Instagram. I set up business pages for both. I started a mailing list that people signed up to through my Facebook page.

I began posting about my book and trying to get people interested in various groups across Facebook as well as trying to bring all my friends and family on board. 

I also had bookmarks made with a QR code that linked to my Crowdfunder campaign.

I had to post about my campaign a lot.

I was worried about over posting but it’s just what is necessary. Most people will need to see the Facebook posts many times before they actually act upon it

What types of messages or strategies resonated the most with your audience/backers? Which strategies fell flat?

The more personal the message and post, the more people we’re interested in what I was saying. But I think time and day also played a huge part.

I could put out some posts that no one would like or respond to, then another time, the same post would have a lot of comments and interaction.

What surprised you the most about crowdfunding your book?

My Crowdfunder fell at a bad time as part of the way through it was the Covid-19 outbreak. 

I decided to continue but I didn’t like to push things too much as I knew it was a tough time for many people.

Most of my backers were friends and family and only about 10 percent were strangers. Luckily it was enough to get me to my 50% goal to be able to receive my match funding from the campaign.

What advice would you give an author considering crowdfunding their book given that external circumstances are always beyond our control?

The only thing I would have lost if I was unsuccessful would have been my time, but I would have gained experience and learned what worked and what didn’t ready for next time.

Really, I can’t see that there is anything to lose in trying.

Do you think you’ll ever do another crowdfunding campaign again? 

I will definitely run another crowdfunding campaign. 

I’m not sure when I would do another one, as I’m not sure my friends and family would all back me the same way again, but I’m hoping that through my book The Fairy Who Sings, I will start to gain followers who are interested in reading my next book and may want to back my future campaigns. 

A bit more about crowdfunding before we end…

I found Crowdfunder a great platform to use and the team supporting on the other end were absolutely fantastic.

I also had great support through the Natwest – back her business campaign.

At the beginning, they gave lots tips and advice on reaching as many people as possible.

The only downside to using Crowdfunder is that it is predominantly used and known as a way of raising money for charities or for people asking for money without offering rewards for those pledging support.

Therefore, because of that, I believe it may have lost some peoples’ interest straight away as they may not fully understand the reason behind your campaign no matter how many times it is explained.

At the end of the campaign, it was so easy to send my books to backers and to contact everyone as a whole or individually.

I could download a spreadsheet with all the information I needed including the orders and names and addresses of those who ordered books.

So, there was no need to request the information afterwards from backers, which I believe is necessary with Kickstarter.

It made my job of mailing out the rewards really easy as it was all there ready for me in a spreadsheet which I then transferred to word to print out my labels.

Bio

Cheryl is from a small town right in the middle of the UK. Cheryl has lived in the same town all her life, which is surrounded by a forest of outstanding natural beauty. 

Cheryl finds walks there extremely magical and she feels creatively inspired by it. 

Cheryl’s aim is to empower children with her magical adventures of self-discovery. The Fairy Who Sings is Cheryl’s first book in the Finding the Magic Series. 

It is fully written in rhyme with hidden magic wands throughout that are waiting to be discovered, for that extra little bit of magic.

 

Buy the book today!

 

Go Deeper…

Learn the strategies behind a $9k campaign

With a Cinderella story of her own, learn how Nikki Filippone went from cancelled campaign to $9k in 7 days.  —Read her story here.

 

 

A Tree Could Be—Gina Stevens Raises $9700 in 3 Weeks on Kickstarter

a tree could be mockup

$9700 in 3 weeks on Kickstarter

Gina Stevens knew it would be difficult to crowdfund her book on Kickstarter during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she had already put in too much effort to ever consider quitting.

After 3 weeks, Gina raised $9700 in 3 weeks from 250 backers and totally crushed her original $6000 goal.

Find out how she did it in our interview below. 

What crowdfunding/marketing techniques do you think worked best for you?

9 things worked really well for me:

1—Running a shorter 3-week campaign

As everyone that runs a campaign knows, you have to be “on” 100% of the time that your campaign is running.

I am not a huge fan of social media in the first place but forced myself to be active prior to and while my campaign was running. Running it for 3 weeks was manageable compared to the usual 4-week campaign.

2—Getting the word out ahead of time

I told everyone that I was “illustrating a book” and that was exciting to my peers.

Some even came and visited my studio to see the progress.

I kept a buzz and people were always asking “how is your book coming along?”.

I really didn’t have a launch date until January or February which was just in time for the pandemic to take off.

People were itching for good news and something to make them excited.

It was a tough balance of not ignoring what was happing in the world and really being excited about my work.

3—Facebook was my best platform

I joined many groups that were related to my book “ nature groups, moms, etc.”

Once my campaign launched I went back and personally responded to EVERY SINGLE person that said they were interested in my book with my campaign link.

It ended up in me writing the same style message OVER and OVER but it seemed to really work.

I didn’t feel like I was bothering them if they already expressed interest.

4—Limiting messages to backers

I tried not to message my backers through Kickstarter too much during the campaign. Since they had already pledged, I know people get WAY to many e-mails as is.

They don’t care to see multiple emails about where my campaign is.

I might be excited, but they have their own lives and victories to be celebrating. I tried to be very modest when it came to communicating and not over-communicating.

(Lisa’s interpretation: Basically, try not to annoy your biggest supporters.)

 

5—Sharing my progress and behind-the-scenes work

I did post all of my progress work on my Facebook page during my campaign.

MOST of my backers were friends from Facebook or friends of friends of groups I was in so it gave me a spot to “dump” all of the creative work.

If people were interested, it was a landing place they could choose to look and not have it thrown in their face in an update e-mail.

As an artist, my favorite part of seeing artwork is the process and seeing how images evolve.

Because of that, I chose to use that as my basis of what I was sharing.

Admittedly, my book was successful not because of the storyline but because of the images.

I made sure to not share any of the “full” spreads on social media until I started posting my “artist updates”.

In way, it wasn’t old news for people.

The only people that saw the spreads were friends and family who lived close and came over to see them personally.

6—Planning all of my posts ahead of time

Planning all of my posts and updates ahead of time.

Lisa’s tracker was life saver (and it was only $27!!)!

I did alter and move some things around as things worked better on different days, I stuck pretty close to my initial plans.

I had to keep reminding myself that even it I was excited about wanting to post some more artwork sooner than planned, I had to remind myself of my plan and not get to ahead of myself in overposting.

tree could be expenses
Photo credit: Gina Stevens, Kickstarter page

7—Knowing my expenses

I’ve kept a really accurate list of my expenses and had a mental goal in mind as I reached my set goal of $6,000.

Once I saw that I was moving past my goal, I worked with my printer to increase my print quantity to accommodate the extra money (no, I didn’t just pocket the over).

This way my back stock of books will be covering following my campaign to set me up for future print runs or a a second book.

I made a point to not share my printer or specific costs with my backers because most of my backers are not familiar with self publishing so they don’t understand all of the extra costs associated.

Anyone who asked, I would tell them I will be lucky to break even. Honestly, with my method of increasing the quantity of books as I went, it was the truth. I needed to get the funds in my pocket before I could increase the quantity of the print run.

It was all about finding a balance of what that right number was to maximize the spend and quantity of books.

8—Expressing gratitude

I made sure to comment and thank EVERY single person that commented on my book.

9—Starting the printing process early

Because I hit my goal so early in my campaign (within a few days of launching), I was able to start the printing process early and my printer sent my proofs very quickly.

I was able to share that with my social media and it really got people excited.

Some people commented on the quality of the pages and others were just excited to see it as a whole.

It created a great buzz in the mid-campaign lull. I saw quite a bit of traffic as I shared that post.

What didn’t work as well as you had hoped?

a tree could be mockup
Photo credit: Gina Stevens

1—Printed business cards/promo cards

I made up business card sized “promotion” cards to hand out before my launch just telling people where they could follow my artwork (Instagram) as well as the dates of the campaign.

Obviously, this didn’t work as the cards arrived at my house right as the quarantine began so I wasn’t “out” in the community to hand them out.

Granted it only cost me around $20, but still, it didn’t work.

2—Instagram was a flop

I tried to create more of a following on Instagram the past 6 months prior to my campaign launch, but I don’t feel it drove much of ANY traffic.

First, Instagram (which I didn’t realize) doesn’t let you hyperlink your posts, so pushing people to your pre-launch page didn’t work well.

People don’t copy and paste a URL these days (it take too much work) so if a post isn’t clickable they won’t go to it.

3—Facebook ads also flopped

Though I am not a pro and was new to Facebook ads, I ran about $25 worth of ads over the three weeks.

Facebook said there were a certain amount of links and click-throughs but those days I didn’t see much traffic outside of my network at all.

Granted, even if I got one or two pledges from there it would cover my $25 cost but really wasn’t the best bang for the buck.

(Lisa’s note: you really need to experiment with Facebook ads before you launch so you can see what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard to get it right the first time.)

4—Cross-promotion with other campaigns didn’t work

I had multiple people reach out during my campaign (some I was familiar, most I was not) that wanted to cross promote.

As I mentioned earlier, I was very cautious on spamming my current backers as I know how I would feel receiving those types of messages if I backed a campaign.

Because I reserved my communication with my backers, maybe selfish, but I wasn’t willing to push others campaigns on my backers.

I just didn’t feel it was appropriate. I posted one or two on my Instagram but even then it seems odd with my Instagram being all about my process then throwing in someone else’s pages.

I don’t know, it may work better if it was planned ahead of time to cross-collaborate, but I didn’t have time to entertain the idea after the fact.

5—Processing post-campaign orders

To be honest, I wasn’t planning on taking additional pre-orders after my Kickstarter ended.

I’ve had multiple people reach out post campaign asking where they can get my book since they missed the campaign.

I just now set up my website to take post-Kickstarter orders, but didn’t have a plan before I launched.

6—Backers surveys are a pain

I am a big planner and I don’t want to be tracking down shipping addressed 6-8 months from now.  Although, I don’t want to keep spamming my backers to more things.

Like I mentioned before, they were already generous enough to support my project and everyone is busy and I don’t want to overwhelm them with messages about their address.

I did leave that feedback for Kickstarter that maybe they collect addresses when they pledge.

Many of my backers were first time backers and Kickstarter sends A LOT of emails.

So many lessons learned, Gina, thank you!

What would you like to say in summary?

It really was a fun experience and to be 100% honest, it has gotten me though the quarantine so far.

Having something to look forward to and dive into was a really great distraction as we have been stuck as home.

Timing wise, it really was perfect as we have been stuck inside with not great weather.

Photo credit: Gina Stevens, Kickstarter page

Gina’s Bio

Something is always growing in Gina’s world. Plants in her sprawling garden. Her son. Her own design business, Nine18 Creative.

In the rare moments she gets to herself, you’ll find her barefoot probably trying to grow some exotic plant from a seed. Also, not running.

An artist to the core, she earned a degree in Fine Art – Graphic Design from Western Michigan University, then spent six years in corporate communications at Kellogg Company.

She and her husband share their log home in Michigan with their son, medium-sized dog and cat.

Buy her book on her website and follow Gina on social media.

Website: https://www.nine18creative.com/

Facebook

Instagram

Kickstarter campaign 

You’ll Also Enjoy

Remember that $27 crowdfunding planner Gina said was a lifesaver? 

You can download it for yourself here: https://lisaferlandconsulting.vipmembervault.com/

Should I Run a Kickstarter During a Pandemic?

5 Things Crowdfunding Authors Want You to Know BEFORE You Launch

Should I Run a Kickstarter Campaign During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

should i crowdfund my book coronavirus

Last week, we heard from children’s book author Nikki Filippone about why she canceled her book’s Kickstarter campaign after reaching 50% funding in 13 days.

This week, we’ll learn from children’s book author and wildlife photographer, Dennis Glennon, about why he’s continuing with his all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign for his book, Buddy’s Magic Window.

Below, you’ll find Dennis’ reasoning for why it’s important for writers to not give up on their dreams even in times of economic uncertainty.

Reasons to Continue Marketing Your Books During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Well, there are a lot of reasons. The most important being is that I believe my book is worth fighting for.

I believe it will bring smiles and inspiration to both children and adults. I know it will inspire children to read and want to help animals and the environment.

Despite the current circumstances, I believe that positivity, inspiration, and smiles are needed now more than ever. This book has all of that.

I also believe that when you put enough force and drive behind something that is good, and you work extremely hard to make it happen, it will find the right people to support it.

I also know this will be tough work, and it might fail to reach its funding goal. This is a calculated risk, but I still believe it will get funded.

“Despite the current circumstances, I believe that positivity, inspiration, and smiles are needed now more than ever. This book has all of that.”

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Need to Fight Extra Hard

Another reason I kept the campaign going is that I want more than anything to be a full-time children’s book author. It has been a dream of mine for a long time.

This book has been just about ready for over six years. I had health setbacks, which forced me to put the whole project on the back burner.

Whatever the next few weeks or months forces me to deal with will pale in comparison to what I went through to get healthy.

I also believe that when you own a small business, you must be creative, fight, and be persistent to succeed.

Owning a small business and running it full time is no easy task. By continuing a Kickstarter campaign at this time, I will need to fight and scrape for every dollar.

See it as a Learning Opportunity

I am learning new things every day. This campaign is forcing me way out of my comfort zone. The things I am learning will be invaluable as I go forward on my goal to be a full-time author.

The biggest take away is that you will always need to be thinking creatively to sell and market yourself. There are endless opportunities to market, even under the worst circumstances.

Just imagine, if I succeed in bad times, how much better it will be when the economy gets back to normal.

No certainty when that will be, but I will have books and be ready to go.

In the meantime, I will be building an online store and start branding my book. I am going to offer a whole merchandising line.

I will start offering puzzles later on today because they are in high demand since everyone is stuck at home.

With Amazon currently only delivering necessities, it is the perfect time to drive sales to your website where the profit margins are higher.

buddy dog coffee dennis glennon
Photo credit: Dennis Glennon Photography

The World Needs Artists to Continue Working

On a more philosophical note, we are artists, authors, and creatives. We take the time to pour our lifetime of thoughts into a book.

To me, it is a higher calling that we must get our stories, which we are so passionate about out into the world.

Keep in mind that this is a business, and you need an excellent book, a solid following, and a great plan to make this happen.

Competition is more fierce than ever.

To that end, we must work even harder and smarter to get people to buy our books and fund our creative projects, no easy task at the moment.

Advice if You Plan to Crowdfund Right Now

Here’s my advice if you are going to launch a campaign soon: Get professional help!!!

This is no time to play around and try to figure this out on your own. You need a solid plan and following to make this happen.

I hired Lisa Ferland to help me. Her expertise is priceless.

She will put you in the best position to succeed. She has a ton of knowledge and is super generous in helping her clients succeed.

I could not have done this on my own. An added bonus to having Lisa on your team is that she alleviates a large amount of stress. You’ll know you have proper direction or will be re-directed if things start slipping.

I also talked with and follow children’s book author, Jay Miletsky. His business advice is sound and will put you on a path to profit. His groups are awesome, and there are a lot of resources there to help in your book publishing endeavor.

Keep in mind that running a Kickstarter campaign will be a ton of work and more complicated than you think.

At this point, you might want to consider lowering your original goal (before you launch) a little and aim to go over.

I had no way of knowing this Corona scare would happen, but, in hindsight, I wish I would have gone with my original goal of $6,500 and then gone over to the $9,500 that I really need for the 2,500 copies.

I chose 2,500 copies because there is enough profit margin to be able to get a second print run paid for and sustain an adequate profit margin.

buddys magic window dennis glennon

Keep Asking for the Sale

So then there is another question “How do you ask people for money in this time of economic uncertainty? “

Ultimately, it is a personal decision, and there are no wrong answers. However, my response is, “How do you not?”

Keep in mind that this is an unusual period, and we should be diplomatic, sympathetic, empathetic, and know our audience, as we do not want to alienate anyone.

The economic uncertainty is brutal, and people are understandably stressed and holding onto their money.

Imagine that this is your full-time business. What would you do? Would you just fold up? Or would you fight for survival?

I think we are safe if we politely ask for the sale and support. People either can and will support, or they cannot at this time, and they will not, and either way, it is OK.

But without asking, we will fail.

Artists Can Help Others Heal in Times of Crisis

I will give you an example of what happened to me post 9/11 when I had an Art Show shortly afterward that may shed some light on the current situation.

I live in NJ. When 9/11 happened, I had an art show scheduled in Montclair NJ not far from Manhattan. I knew people who died in this tragedy, including the priest who baptized me, Father Mychal Judge, who was the Fire Chaplin and a family friend.

I struggled with a lot of things, and one of them is, “Do I go do this art show? How can I possibly ask people for money at this time of tragedy? I struggled with it. Not an easy decision, but I went. That is what artists do. We show up and support.

My reasoning ended up being I will set up my booth and just be there for anyone who needs the support. I will provide a pleasant distraction for anyone that was there, figuring if they were out, that is what they needed.

I did not push for any sales for those two days but talked about my work and certainly accepted the sales that came my way. I learned that people really appreciated the artists that showed up.

We help heal in a time of crisis.

Yes..sales were probably horrible, but I did make some money and provided some much-needed relief. So with that in mind, I could not give up on my current campaign.

Crowdfunding is Tough No Matter When You Launch

I truly believe I can be there for people in need of something positive, a welcomed distraction, and my book has value and that people will feel good about the purchase.

Then when July rolls around and the books are delivered, they will be thankful they helped support the campaign.

Will it be tough? Absolutely!! I was funded 50% of my $9,500 goal the first week.

The second week, when the pandemic started to become more of a reality, and people started getting sent home from work, I only gained 7%. SCARY.

I will have to gently push harder and be even more creative to get to the finish line. I realize that not all people will agree with me on this, and I respect that.

But if you gained just one bit of wisdom or insight in this article, then I have provided value, and I wish us all success in our book publishing journeys.

It is a tough journey, better traveled with the support of good friends and fellow authors who understand the difficulty.

Would I recommend launching a campaign right now??? I would consult with Lisa and Jay’s group to get a better pulse.

Ask me in 2 weeks.

Best wishes to all. Keep up the fight. Most of all, be safe.

Stay healthy and be kind to yourself and others. These are tough times. We need to come together and support one another.

Keeping it positive!

dennis glennon photography

Dennis Glennon is a professional dog, wildlife, and nature photographer. He has photographed some of the most beautiful places in North America including most of the U.S. National Parks. His focus has been on photographing landscapes and wildlife, but once he started photographing dogs it took on a life of its own.

Click here to visit and support Buddy’s Magic Window on Kickstarter
Click here to follow Dennis Glennon’s Photography on Facebook

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