Road to Kickstarter

Road to Kickstarter: Getting Started

Road to Kickstarter
Copyright 2017 Claire Jennings

Okay, it is time. It is time for me to put it out there, to put myself out there, and see if there is any real interest in it, in a part of me I can’t let go. If you can’t let go of something, you should embrace it, right?

So this is the summer I will try to Kickstart my binary counting picture book, or really our binary counting picture book, as my daughter Samantha and I made it together.

I have this summer before school starts to get through a Kickstarter, My master classes start on September 27th, so that is my deadline to have the Kickstarter finished. I know it is important to do pre-work before a Kickstarter, or else it will fail. I plan on having the Kickstarter live from August 24th through September 26th, with a delivery date in the beginning of next year, so I can do all the shipping over winter break. But, I start on the preparation for it today and I will give myself one week to lock the dates.

Getting from There to Here

You see, one of the biggest mistakes people make with Kickstarter projects is to not plan it well enough, either the rewards and reward points, or the shipping, or the dates, or even making sure they have a good idea and can actually make it. I have been afraid of making that mistake, so I have been dragging my feet for two years. Time for me to square up, and to deliver. Time for me to get this out of my head, my computer, and into people’s hands.

As nerve-racking as it is, I will share my journey with you. Every Thursday, I will publish a new post on how the last week went.

To get the ball rolling, I will share with you what I have done over the last two years, starting with the spring of 2015. I had always known that I wanted to make a book for my children, even when I didn’t know when my children would come. Spring of 2015 was the last quarter of my business degree, and my daughter was turning four during the quarter. So when I needed to fill in my degree requirements with two classes, and it didn’t matter what the classes were, I decided to do two independent studies. The quarter before, I had taken an art class and developed some art that merged technology and the children’s story The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf.  So for the first of my independent studies, I decided to create a book that merged the two, growing from my original work. If I created a book, it seemed that I should try to get it in kids’ sticky hands, so I did the second independent study as a Kickstarter business research study.

Grant to Get Potential Customer Feedback

Fast forward two years, and I have returned to school, this time a Masters in Cyber Security, have written drafts of three picture books with ideas for a dozen others in my head, and managed to get a grant to talk with potential customers about these books that I can’t seem to stop writing. Not only that, each and every book has been made not just by me, but illustrated through a combination of Samantha and me. So I got some money to send the drafts to random people and hear what they had to say about the ideas I had.

I received a wide range of responses. One thing was always true though: everyone loved a book called 15 Robots Launch a Rocket Ship, 1111 Robots, a Binary Counting Book. This book was the book Samantha was most involved in, the book that she sat with me and started learning about illustrator. It was the book that was hers in her mind as much as it was mine. Additionally, people seemed to want me to bring it to Kickstarter. Alright then, Kickstarter here I come.

Requirements of a Good Kickstarter

First, a good Kickstarter needs a good idea well executed. You don’t go to Kickstarter to fund pie in the sky if you want to succeed. You put in some time and effort making sure you can produce a cool item for people. You spend two years working on it because the idea will not leave you alone, and every time you put it to the side, it comes back to you. You research how to make what it is, and the different options you have.

Second, a good Kickstarter needs a good plan to get to delivered rewards. Do you know how the project items are going to be made? How will they be delivered, and what timeline is needed? What work still needs to be done to have a good final project? These are all questions that need to be clearly answered before launching a Kickstarter, or it may never be delivered.

Third, a good Kickstarter needs solid financials. Can the goal level cover the costs needed to get the rewards out the door? How much money are you willing to sink in this yourself if needed? Are there any hidden costs that need to be uncovered? The answer to these questions will tell you if you will end up spending more money than you can afford to get your project out, or worst, if you will be unable deliver on your promises.

Fourth, and finally, a good Kickstarter needs a good outreach and marketing plan behind it. Without this, no one will know about your Kickstarter, and you have wasted your time. For the most part, you should be talking to media at least a month beforehand if you hope to get coverage, and you should be building a list of people interested in the Kickstarter before you launch, and so on and so forth.

The production and distribution, financials, and marketing may not be the fun part of a Kickstarter, but if you are going to treat your backers right, they are what you should be putting your effort before asking for their money. The outreach is fun, but it still pulls you away from the part you love, the project you want to give people. But the only way to fully reach your project goals, you need to spend time on this kind of thing.

Next Steps

This week, I plan on getting my ducks lined in a row. I will be updating my book website, creating social media pages for it. I will be getting a good quality microphone so I can make at least one good video for YouTube. I will be reviewing my financials, my production, and my distribution plans, refining them, and putting together a Kickstarter plan. I will be reaching out to media people who seem to be in line with my project to see if any are interested in working with me.

Because of the tight timeline around this task, next week’s post will cover media outreach, as well as how to determine if Kickstarter is even a valid option.

Until next week,

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2 thoughts on “Road to Kickstarter: Getting Started

  1. Sounds exciting! I’m excited to hear how it goes! Good luck!
    (Stumbled upon this when googling kickstarter news)

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Welcome to GeekMom. Thanks for the good thoughts. It is exciting, and a bit nerve racking, to think about. But I figured I could share and help others along the way.

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