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