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.

Why a crypto winter shouldn’t stop you from building in web3

crypto winter meme

Reading time: 2 mins, 26 seconds

Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors and do not offer financial advice. Always do your own research. Consult a professional investment advisor before making any investment decisions. Our content is for entertainment only.

Crypto Winter 2022

Well – this has been a chilly WEEK for the crypto community with talks of a crypto winter.

When we were writing this newsletter last week, the Total Market Cap of crypto was about ~$1,2 trillion. As we write this today, it’s down to ~$0,9 trillion. We aren’t used to working in trillions, but quick math says that $300 billion of value has disappeared in the last seven days.

That’s a lot.

If you follow the crypto space much on Twitter, discord, podcasts, etc., you know that the tone has changed very quickly. Before, web3 newsletters focused on “how to best build community within your DAO.”

Now we are hearing warnings that we are approaching a “crypto winter” where everything freezes, nothing grows, and the community goes into pause mode.

crypto winter meme

We’ve survived a crypto winter before

There have been two previous crypto winters — in 2014, 2018, and potentially, now again in 2022 (Bloomberg 2022: The Crypto Winter is Here). Where traditional markets have “bear” cycles, crypto seems to have four-year cycles of winters.

What’s different about this time versus previous crypto winters was that people worried that the fundamentals of blockchain were flawed. We are already 8-10 years past that worry. 

This winter reflects the general financial issues we are seeing in high-interest rates, inflation, and market hesitation. 

Still, this does not reflect problems with the functionalities of blockchain or crypto itself, implying that the concepts are sound, but the market is tough for everyone, everywhere.

Without a crystal ball, we don’t know what will happen and wouldn’t want to hazard a guess.

Cryptocurrencies are highly variable, and while Bitcoin has crashed to the lowest value seen since July 2021, we’ve also seen it rise just as quickly.

We believe web3 is still relevant, necessary, and revolutionary

This downturn has caused us to think deeply about why we are so interested in the overall crypto space and, even more importantly, why we are interested enough to put out this weekly newsletter.

1) We still believe that web3 enables new ways for authors to get fairly compensated for their work.

2) We still believe that web3 makes it easier for books and authors that mainstream publishers have traditionally overlooked (i.e., due to audience size, not having the right network, etc.) to be published.

3) We still believe that web3 allows new ways for authors and readers to connect and for communities around stories.

4) We still believe that web3 unlocks new ways to write stories- through community engagement, integration with NFTs, and more.

5) We still believe that both authors and readers will value all of the above.

6) We still believe that the billions of dollars that Venture Capital funds have invested in this space improved web3 technologies, tools, and experiences. We all know that these things take time to launch.

7) Overall, we still believe that we are just beginning to see traditional firms (i.e., banks, consumer-facing companies, etc.) put money in the space by launching NFT projects, investing in companies, and making crypto available to the broader public, etc.

Passionate communities will always prevail

So while we have NO IDEA what will happen in the crypto/web3 markets in the future, we feel comfortable with these core beliefs.

We’ve been around long enough to know that anything built by determined, passionate groups of people won’t disappear with a little tumult and hardship. 

The people who continue to explore and build in the space are the ones who will hit the ground running when crypto resurfaces again.

We will keep those beliefs in mind and get inspiration from the amazing project’s building and growing within the web3lit community.

So whenever we get too bummed out about our portfolio value, we’ll look at what we see from Sitka World, SolType, Readl, Jenkins the Valet, Page DAO, StoryPrima, and so many more and realize that we’re in good hands.

Until next week!

Jon and Lisa Ferland

Don’t miss one of our articles!

We highlight web3lit projects and creative pioneers every Friday and send a friendly email to our Gutenb3rg Readers.

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The Secret to Marketing Your Book Without Annoying People

Marketing is cited as the #1 pain in the rump for most writers, which is funny because…

1) marketing and then selling our books is the only way we can continue to write and do what we love,

2) marketing is a great way to creatively express your ideas, and

3) you’re a writer so you are already skilled in the best marketing tool there is—more writing.

But, I totally get it because I often feel the same way. We are selling books, literature, art! We aren’t marketing gadgets or gizmos.

Our stories came from our hearts and it feels wrong to “push” them onto people. We want people to love them just like we do.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. 

If people don’t see your books, they won’t know they are available for purchase.

As writers, writing should be easy, non?

Facebook ads and Amazon ads, etc., are all great but you gain external credibility when another website publishes your personal essays or articles that are tangentially related to your book(s).

Is it slower and more work to market in this way? 

Perhaps, but it should be part of your marketing toolkit and you’d be remiss in not trying it.

Non-annoying strategy #1 – write and publish personal essays

Here’s an example of how to market your book in a personal essay

This personal essay in Conde Naste Traveler “How My Mother’s Travels Shaped My World View” focused on a the writer’s relationship with her mother.

At the end of the personal essay, the author mentions,

“She wanted to travel the globe, and she did. Because of my mom, I decided to work in food media after college, even though I had zero connections in that world and all my peers were going into finance. I wrote a cookbook while working as a full-time journalist.”

The author bio at the bottom linked to the woman’s cookbook and voilá! This author is effectively marketing her book to a very warm audience. 

In fact, she is providing entertainment value and making herself relatable to the audience before inviting them to buy her book.

That’s how you market your book without being annoying.

Do you think readers are more or less likely to share an article about a moving emotional essay about interpersonal relationships than they are an Instagram graphic that says, “Buy my cookbook!”?

Readers are more likely to share writing that speaks to them on an emotional level than they will a clear advertisement. 

You have to wine and dine your readers before you ask them to buy. It’s how it works.

Write essays and publish them everywhere

Once you write a killer personal essay with your audience in mind, start pitching it to external outlets.

The bigger the outlet, the tougher it’ll be, but the sweeter the credibility and ultimate reward (more readers).

Research the tone of the articles featured by the publication and match your personal essay to their audience.

This approach gets your book in front of a lot of people all at once without annoying anyone.

You can (and should) feel proud pushing the article on all of your platforms because it’s not screaming, “BUY MY BOOK!”

The downside is that it’s not easy to (successfully) pitch third-party websites your essays and it requires a lot of lead time.

There is a ton of rejection involved in freelance writing and if you’re not experienced, you’re going to become quickly frustrated.

Alternatives to publishing on third-party websites

Don’t have time to pitch and get rejected over and over again?

Here are some alternatives to third-party exposure:

—Publish your essays on Medium
—Publish your writing on LinkedIn
—Publish your writing on your own website (you should have an author platform, hello!)

—Publish your personal essays directly on Facebook itself. Facebook loves long reads because it keeps readers scrolling and scrolling. End with a strong call to action and link to buy.
—Coordinate with other bloggers who might have smaller-than-Conde-Naste-size audiences and see if they take guest posts

Follow the example above—offer authentic, genuine writing that is attractive to your intended audience and weave in the fact that you’ve written a book toward the end of your essay with a link in your bio.

Non-annoying strategy #2 – Optimize your homepage

If the website doesn’t allow links to books/products, then definitely ask for a link to your homepage and make sure your homepage is optimized to send people to your book.

For my current children’s book Kickstarter campaign, I optimized my homepage to be a landing page. 

My homepage sent people directly to my Kickstarter campaign that way if any third-party website articles take off and link to my homepage, readers will be clearly directed to my book’s campaign.

So, in conclusion, forget the ‘Buy my book!” messaging and write another story. Write a behind-the-scenes story. Write something emotional or transformative.

Write your best work and when readers love your essay, they’ll rush out to buy your book when given the opportunity.

Keep your homepage simple and clean, and when in doubt, add a big button to direct people to your crowdfunding campaign.

Don’t lose that traffic that you worked so hard for!

An optimized homepage is the LEAST annoying thing you can do.

Non-annoying strategy #3 – Automated email sequences

Are you neglecting your email newsletter list?

You remember – the group of people who agreed to give you their contact information, but you never send them emails because you’re afraid of annoying them?

Here’s how to send emails to your newsletter list without fear of annoying anyone at all:

1 – Send an automated welcome email that is human, casual, and simple.

This lets your readers know that A) you received their information, B) they can learn more about you, and C) they can respond to the email and feel reassured that a real human being is behind the computer.

2 – Test out different headlines. 

If someone doesn’t open your email, it means that they didn’t see your message/content OR call-to-action (like ‘Check out my campaign on Kickstarter!”). 

Monitoring your email open rates is really important and super informative on what email headlines are grabbing people’s attention and which ones are being ignored.

When you retarget people with a new headline, send the new email ONLY to those people who never opened your first email.

You’re NOT sending them too many emails because they already aren’t reading them and you KNOW IT.


So many authors have this hang up about unsubscribe rates or “bothering people” — I mean, you don’t want people on your newsletter list to just sit there and collect dust, right?

Isn’t the entire point to generate a conversation? Add value to their lives? Get feedback from beta readers?

How can you do any of that if you aren’t regularly engaging with them?

Let’s look at it this way — if you have ZERO issues putting out content on Instagram and responding to comments there, then you should have ZERO issues sending emails to your subscribers.

It’s the same exact concept. They gave you permission to email them, so be sure to email them! 

If they don’t like your content, they’ll unsubscribe and be on their merry way — no stress, no drama.

So, test out those headlines and stop worrying about emailing “too often” – there’s no such thing as long as you’re sending them quality content that is engaging, educational, or inspirational.

 

Want 25 Creative Ideas to get your book in front of readers? 

Whether you are launching your book on Amazon, your website, or on Kickstarter, you need to put your book in front of readers 7 different times before they’ll take action.

Here are 25 ways to do it!

Click here for instant access (no email required).

I send out helpful marketing emails every Friday. Be sure to join my newsletter list to get these tips and tools!

Do you want to launch your book’s Kickstarter campaign without annoying anyone?

If you’re interested in learning HOW to create a marketing strategy for your book’s Kickstarter campaign that doesn’t annoy your readers, then you are invited to book a 60-minute discovery call.

Serious inquiries only — you must have big goals ($10k or more) and be ready to work hard and invest in your own success.

Let’s dig deeper!

 

What are We Most Excited About for Authors in Web3?

why are we excited for authors on web3

2 min, 8 sec reading time

Last week, we sent out a deep dive focused on StoryPrima DAO. As we mentioned then, we are very impressed with their dual focus areas.

Their first goal is to help authors launch their books using NFTS by educating authors and readers and incubating projects.

Their second goal is to create content to spark discussions within the web3 and literature communities. 

Their new podcast series is a huge part of that, and luckily, they were able to get some pretty good-looking and super smart guests for their 7th episode on Wednesday.

(Hint, it was us!)

We were super excited to talk with the team there and enjoyed the conversation with Devin and Barry. 

We think you will enjoy the entire discussion, but we wanted to give you the highlights below:

Topics we discussed:

1) Differences between Web2 Kickstarter/Patreon vs. Crypto

The main difference between web2 and web3 is that in web2, you’re exchanging money for a product. In web3, you can exchange money for equity and invest in an indie publisher or small press.

Both models can have long-term patronage and co-creation, but it’s only in web3 that facilitates easy investment for equity.

2) What determines an author’s success in the web3 space?

Devin: Lisa, with your experience guiding authors in the self-publishing space to raise money for their projects, what are the things you think might be technical barriers to authors joining web3 today?

Lisa: I think the authors anywhere who are most successful are the ones who are willing to experiment and try new things and persevere. I think those are the core qualities for taking on anything. Of course, you have to have a good story, but if you have no readers, it doesn’t matter. So you have to embrace putting yourself out there, explaining why your story is wonderful, fantastic, transformative, etc., and translate the value to the reader. 

Web3 is no different than web2, and if you try to shortcut or do things out of order, you’re just going to stumble and Bumble and take ten times as long. If you build up your audience and build excitement and buzz, you’ll have a big launch no matter what platform you’re launching on.

3) What are we most excited about for authors in web3?

Suppose self-published authors want to direct their community to web3 for the opportunity to participate in a new kind of equity-based model or invite their readers to invest in them as a writer or creator. In that case, that’s a great way to build an authorship business.

Also, what about read-to-earn? That’s a great idea that incentivizes both authors and readers to join the web3lit space and consume stories in a new way.

We also think dynamic art or dynamic storytelling is possible in web3 in a way that isn’t possible currently. The possibilities are endless.

4) How long will it be until a web3 author gets a Pulitzer or a mainstream award in the future?

Lisa: I think it’s tough because traditional publishing really looks down upon alternate ways of storytelling and is reluctant to make big moves outside the box. I’d rather see web3 authors create their own awards than seek the validation of the traditional literature gatekeepers.

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

We put out new web3lit articles every Friday.

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4 Ways in Which StoryPrima DAO Educates and Accelerates Authors on Web3

4 min, 35 sec reading time

One of the most common phrases you’ll hear if you spend as much time as we do in crypto-Twitter (note – not recommended!) is – “We’re so early!!!”

The phrase is an invitation to everyone who hasn’t been mining bitcoin from their basement since 2014 that they haven’t missed out on all the fun times to come.

It also warns people that the space isn’t fully mature yet, and there are hurdles ahead. Technologies are improving with each innovation, but the road is still unpaved.

If you step away from the space for a month or two, you’ll be blown away by the changes you see when you come back.

Exponential growth and development are especially true with StoryPrima DAO, which launched in March 2022.

Last week, we discussed the potential of DAOs. If you haven’t read that yet, you can here.

It’s important to remember that DAOs are like neighborhoods. The communities will be different, so be sure to do your research to find your people.

What’s great about StoryPrima is that you can get a really good sense of their personalities, mission, and approach to web3lit from their podcast.

Click here to listen: #STORYFIRST Podcast
(We’ll be guests on this podcast in a few days!)

Intro & Background 

StoryPrima DAO started after the founders of “Legends of Cypher” created their story-led NFT project. While doing so, they realized that writers in web3 required more assistance. 

As they write on their site, their DAO was “founded to help make the journey of other individuals and teams seeking to harness NFTs to drive powerful and enduring storytelling easier.” 

Their goal is to give authors “tools, resources, and funding to help them develop rich, story-oriented NFT projects.”

Building a Web3 Publishing House

If you build it, they will come

StoryPrima announced that their first research publication will be a “census and taxonomy of story-oriented NFT projects” published this summer. So we are looking forward to seeing what they eventually publish.  

Their podcast is exciting, and they have released seven episodes so far, all delivering on their promise to “highlight the mavericks who are leveraging the power of NFTs to tell the blockbuster stories of tomorrow.”  

Image Credit: https://storyprima.io

We generally listen to one crypto-related podcast each morning when we walk the dog, and their episodes feature entertaining and thought-provoking conversations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of stories in the NFT world, check out their episode on “How to Build a Blockbuster Franchise.”

Also, their interview about “AI & Community-Powered web3 stories” raised many questions about how AI and web3 technologies can be combined in the future.

Overall, the “getting readers excited” workstreams are off to a promising start, which should create a DEMAND for story-led projects.

For all the Authors in the House

If you’re an author who is interested in web3 for future publishing projects, then you’ll want to head to StoryPrima’s website for more information and contact them if you want to join their DAO.

StoryPrima states that their goal is to educate authors by explaining the “benefits and drawbacks” of web3 technologies and business models. 

StoryPrima can provide authors with a safe place to learn how web3 unlocks new community engagement and storytelling capabilities. 

It can also ensure that authors understand the “chaotic NFT market” demands and don’t expect that simply launching an NFT of their book will make them a million dollars overnight. 

Educating writers about realistic expectations will benefit the whole space and bring much-needed content and readers to the space.  

Attracting Readers to web3

StoryPrima DAO is also focused on building a readership for the writers within their DAO. This is unique as some other DAOs are focused on the more technical aspects of web3lit.

Building a readership is core to every publishing project and if you can have DAO community members help you with that aspect of your publishing journey, that’s a huge value add.

Incubating Selected Publishing Projects

StoryPrima DAO plans on offering an incubation program for projects selected by the DAO members themselves.  

While the application process isn’t yet finalized, the goal is to provide up-front investment to the project in exchange for “royalty or revenue shares.”  

In other words, an advance.  

This is very common in the traditional publishing world, but now the book deal decision-makers aren’t a major publishing house – they are anyone holding a Prima Token.  

Because we care about you, we promise NOT to go into the technical details of how they create and allocate these tokens (i.e., what is known as token economics or, more commonly, tokenomics.) 

Just know that holding these tokens will allow someone to help make strategic decisions in the organization (i.e., which projects to incubate). 

The tokens will be able to be traded for other crypto coins (i.e., Ethereum or Bitcoin), which can be exchanged for actual money. 

(Note – StoryPrima has a lot of details on their site that do go into these details if you want further reading.) 

Is StoryPrima Similar to a Traditional Publisher? Well, not really.

Last week, we showed some examples of how DAOs can be considered the “corporations of web3.” Now let’s see how that works with StoryPrima. 

Traditional publishing houses are corporations that identify books they think should be published. They then (may or may not) help promote and market the books to readers.  

Web3 publishing houses (i.e., StoryPrima DAO) are decentralized and empower the community to identify books they think should be published. 

Using their established podcast, social media, and community members, book promotion will be a DAO-led effort.

One notable difference is that anyone passionate about publishing in web3 can help make decisions for the DAO, while traditional publishing decision-making is top-down.

Hopefully, this can allow amazing new authors to connect with the communities waiting for their stories authentically.  

Summary

We know we’re so early, and StoryPrima DAO launched in early 2022, so there is a lot of potential there. 

It’ll be great to see how they grow in the future.

By focusing their priorities on growing the demand side (i.e., readers) and the supply side (i.e., authors) of web3lit, they are creating the potential for a “virtuous flywheel.”

  • Have a great story
  • Promote Story on Podcast/Media Channels
  • The story reaches passionate readers and is a financial success
  • More authors hear about it and become interested in the web3lit space
  • Incubate more great stories and begin again

Overall, we think this DAO would be great for anyone with publishing industry experience who is disenfranchised, frustrated, or recently quit their publishing job. 

 Also, this DAO is perfect for any author with talent, passion, and a niche audience currently underrepresented by traditional publishing.

Be sure to contact them for more information about what it means to join StoryPrima DAO.

Website: https://storyprima.io/

Podcast: https://storyprima.io/story-first-podcast/

Twitter: @storyprima_dao

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

We put out new web3lit articles every Friday.

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Can DAOs disrupt traditional publishing as we know it today?

2 min, 45 sec reading time

We understand if your eyes immediately glaze over in confusion when you hear the term DAO, but we think this overview is worthwhile. 

Web3Lit DAOs are still very, very new, but we can only imagine what they can offer to authors and readers over the long term. 

In all honesty, we believe DAOs can help web3 disrupt and redefine the publishing industry.

Because this is a bit of an “out-there” topic, we’re going to do a quick intro to the idea of DAOs today with the promise to do a Deep Dive next week.

annakin and padme meme about dao complexity

Background

 

 

There are two high-level views of DAOs right now:

1) They are “group chats with bank accounts”

OR

2) they are an “essential tool in the new set of crypto-economic primitives that will change how humanity coordinates capital and resources.”

DAO vs Company_Aragon
Image Credit: https://aragon.org/

While they differ in scale, both describe the idea of a “web3-native” business.

And based on what is taking place in the crypto-marketspace, that seems to be about right. 

While some of these businesses are smaller – more like collectives or co-ops – a number of them are big businesses that have millions or even billions of dollars in their bank account (treasury).

They work in very different ways than traditional companies as well. Instead of a traditional hierarchy of processes and rules, DAOs are much “looser.” 

DAO members can decide what projects to fund, what decisions to make, and even how much contributors are paid. 

And lastly, DAOs are being found across almost every industry. 

This DAO Landscape graphic shows a bit of the complexity – and it was completed in the summer of 2021 – BEFORE DAOs really became popular.

Image Credit: https://coopahtroopa.mirror.xyz/

Now you can easily find DAOs that:

1) Run Podcasts (we are part of this!) – https://www.rehashweb3.xyz/

2) Launch Wall Street style investment tools – https://indexcoop.com/ https://syndicate.io/

3) Fund big projects that benefit the Open Web – https://gitcoin.co/

4) Are trying to buy a professional sports team https://www.krausehouse.club/ or a country club https://linksdao.io/

5) Fund BioTech Longevity research https://www.vitadao.com/

6) Create a crypto-media network 

7) Literally anything…there is a DAO for basically everything now! 

(We even joined a DAO that tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution so that it could be kept in a museum for everyone to see…that didn’t work out so well.)

Overall, DAOs create a super democratized approach for how people work together to develop businesses within the crypto/web3 space. 

 It can get MUCH more complicated than what we’ve described, but we’ve promised not to go too deep here. 

If you want further reading, feel free to dig into these articles:

 

With all that said, what do DAOs mean for web3lit?

Glad you asked!

Get excited for next week when we dive into StoryPrima DAO and what that could mean for the future of publishing.  

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

We put out new web3lit articles every Friday.

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Our disappointing experience using mirror.xyz – the lights are on but no one’s home

a woman in a red shirt sitting at her laptop with her head in her hands in frustration

3 min, 26 sec reading time

What is mirror.xyz?

Mirror could be a potential onramp for Web2 writers to enter the Web3Lit space. However, at the moment, some of the bugs and issues with Mirror can complicate, frustrate, and discourage new users from using the tool.

If you follow the crypto space at all, you know that mirror.xyz is THE publishing platform for Web3 creators. 

Billing itself as the “essential Web3 toolkit for sharing and funding anything,” it’s been valued at over $100m USD. 

It became extremely popular in 2021 because of the success of its “$Write Race” competition that had authors competing for “articles of the week.”

Since then, the reason it is viewed as the best publishing platform for Web3 is because it allows authors to easily generate value for their work. 

How does Mirror Differ from Medium?

Compared to most publishing platforms (i.e. Medium, etc.), Mirror allows creators to monetize their content with Web3 plugins for crowdfunding, minting their articles as NFTs, and even setting up a crypto-based “tip jar”. 

It also promises easy “splitting” of any funds across multiple authors, so if for instance, you were part of an amazingly-attractive-and-intelligent-husband-and-wife-team writing together, you could easily split any funds received from your work.

Because of this monetization strategy (and cache among the Web3 community), Mirror has become the site where authors publish technical documentation, deep dives on topics that they care about (like Meagan Lloysts “Metaverse 101”), and even crowdfund their novels (like Emily Segal in April 2021). 

Testing Out Mirror Ourselves

So, before we can help more authors figure out how mirror.xyz works in Web3, we had to try it out ourselves and report back. 

In our case, Lisa is an expert in Web2 publishing tools and has extensive experience collaborating using cloud-based platforms with authors worldwide. 

Jonny is not an expert by any means, but has played around with a number of Web3 platforms and has minted a few NFTs in the past.

Together, we make the perfect semi-experienced novices who would seek out publishing on Mirror as the first step into Web3Lit.

With all that said, we have been really disappointed in our Mirror experience and won’t be recommending it to others until some things are fixed.  

Our Experience Publishing on mirror.xyz

Initial Setup

When first going to Mirror, you find a polished background about the site and some promoted articles/projects. Only once you connect your Metamask/crypto wallet do you get to a completely different toolbox site that allows you to start creating.  

screen shot of mirror.xyzs homepage says create and connect your world on web3
jonny stockholm's mirror dashboard with two articles

Off the bat, things were easy. 

We were able to quickly create an entry and the content blocks to embed images, tweets, and URLs were all simple and easy to use. 

So far so good.  

But then we started running into three major issues:

1. Outdated/Confusing Guides

Again, we are not experts in the Web3 space, but we also aren’t brand new.  And we really struggled to get our first publication posted correctly.  

While they have a guide available, a lot of the directions are incorrect.  

For example, the $writerace that mirror.xyz became famous for was discontinued months ago, but that first day we were trying to figure things out and found a page saying that we “need $WRITE tokens in your wallet to compose, publish, or create an account on Mirror.”

This is simply untrue – and we know this because we follow the space closely – but a new entrant in the Web3 space would be really confused. 

The Editor Guide’s instructions were not the most helpful either. 

Definitions and terminology in the Editor guide differed to what was on the site, and so without a helpful Editor Guide to assist us, we headed to Mirror’s Discord server for more help. 

However, once there, we could not view any previously asked questions or get an answer to any question we posted. 

The Discord server sat empty and erased our posted question clean after a few minutes like we were never there. It was an experience that was not only unhelpful but also quite frustrating.

2. Inability to Collaborate

This was a huge disappointment – mirror.xyz does not enable authors to co-create on the platform itself. We had to draft our article in Google Docs, edit using Grammarly, and copy/paste the final version into Mirror. 

To co-create our initial draft, we needed multiple tools in Web2 before dropping in the final version into mirror.xyz that needed to be reformatted.

We wish mirror.xyz enabled authors to share the same drafts and co-write articles prior to publication.

3. Features Not Working Properly

Embeds not working

We used the URL feature to visualize people’s Tweets in our main article. While that feature worked during drafting and preview, they reverted to ugly links upon publication. 

The same happened with the image link display on social media. 

When we shared the published article on Facebook, the assigned main image displayed properly, but it showed up as a blank square on Twitter.

How are Twitter folks going to recognize our genius with a blank square next to our headline?

It looked unprofessional and incomplete. 

Issues Splitting Royalties

One of the huge benefits of publishing in Web3 is the promise of easier royalty management among co-authors.

Despite two wonderful people minting our article, neither of us has any ETH in our wallets from the SPLIT. We’ve tried to “claim” the split, and spent ~$10 worth of ETH in transaction fees, but didn’t actually get any of the value. 

Will we ever be able to access it? We don’t know!

split screen image of a man smiling saying

Actual Site not Loading

After we published our second article, we received a comment from a reader who had tried to access the article using multiple browsers and devices and could never get it to load.

If people can’t even read our content, then Mirror is not doing its most basic job. 

Lisa attempted to create a new entry in Mirror and was met with text that simply said, “Patience” in the center of a blank screen. 

What is going on? Is the site down? Should we come back later? Never?

Patience
Unfortunately, not a joke, this is what Lisa’s screen looked like when she tried to create a new entry in mirror.xyz

Suggestions for Mirror

At the moment, if you decide to publish on Mirror, know that you’re going to experience some challenges. 

Even though Lisa has coded in SAS, R, and designed WordPress websites for years, we were left scratching our heads numerous times during this process. 

We suggest the following:

  • Update the directions on the site and have them user-tested.
  • Conduct a user-experience test with non-Web3 people to find holes in directions.
  • Allow for all articles to appear in all Dashboards that have linked wallets. 
  • Update the Editor Guide
  • Update the website to remove aspects that are no longer relevant ($WRITE token)
  • Explain to users why there is a super ugly URL slug to those who are used to customizing Web2 slugs. I learned recently that the URL is linked to the location in the blockchain, but I had no idea that was what was happening and the URL is usually optimized for SEO.
  • Link to your Mirror blog that explains helpful tips rather than direct people to a vacant Discord server. I found some articles here helpful but again, I had to search for them: https://dev.mirror.xyz/
  • More user support is needed, even if it’s from the community. Mirror could provide Frequently Asked Questions or allow fellow users to help one another on the Discord server. No community Discord server should be radio silent.

When all of these issues are fixed, I think mirror.xyz will be great, but until then, proceed with caution…and patience.

We do not recommend using Mirror for crowdfunding until you are experienced in extracting funds from your crypto wallet.

From now on, we will not be publishing our articles on mirror.xyz, but instead, will house them here and incorporate Web3 tool plugins to our WordPress backend.

What about you? 

Have you published on mirror.xyz?

How was your experience? 

Let’s chat in the comments below.

Click here to subscribe to continue the conversation via email. We’ll send emails no more than once a week related to Web3Lit innovation, projects, and tools.

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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.

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.