Back in January, I invited blog readers to follow along with the pre-launch of my upcoming book TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer. Last time, I shared a bit about my February progress as I designed a book jacket, finished a Kickstarter video, created rewards, and sought to secure press for the book. I also included details about how I was building my platform through Facebook ads, a “giveaways” campaign, and a newly developed website at ShareTriumph.com.
Well, today I’m back to share more! In this post, I’ll discuss my progress during the month of March and April. Specifically, I’ll tell you about:
1.) How I’m gathering feedback for my Kickstarter
2.) How and Why I planned a Kickstarter Party
3.) How I partnered with a nonprofit to promote the book’s Kickstarter
4.) What it was like to give a TEDx talk about my experience and inspiration for the book at Columbia University
Ready to go? Let’s do it!
1.) Requesting feedback for the Kickstarter.
As I’ve mentioned before, Kickstarter is an awesome platform for self-published authors. Whether you’re seeking to finance the publication of your book or hoping to build pre-launch momentum, Kickstarter is a super useful tool. In January and February, I wrote story/copy for my Kickstarter. What was my goal? I wanted to show potential backers that I’m serious, prepared, and capable of doing a great job with my book.
However, one challenge of preparing a Kickstarter is gathering meaningful feedback. What works? What does/doesn’t look good? With my May 1st Kickstarter launch just around the corner, I wanted to find select people who would be willing to take a first look at the Kickstarter (especially the rewards) and offer some observations before the project page goes live. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter rewards, they’re essentially gifts supporters receive when they back a project. My rewards ranged from copies of my book in different formats (print, PDF, etc.), to swag, to workshops and speaking engagements.
To gather feedback, I crafted a concise 300-word email to potential backers. In my subject line and opening paragraph, I shared an overview of my Kickstarter, why I’d written my book, and what kind of feedback I was hoping to receive before the Kickstarter‘s launch. In the email body, I also included preview links to the Kickstarter and two specific questions to organize feedback. I asked:
- Are the Backer Reward levels clear?
- Did you notice the individual Reward graphic images toward the bottom?
Each day, I sent the email to 40 people from my list. And, slowly, over the month of March and April, the feedback started to arrive in my inbox. Some readers simply voiced their support of me and my project. Others had specific input to strengthen and tighten up content and format of the book’s Kickstarter. And still, others offered opinions on the pricing of my rewards.
One fantastic suggestion was to create a sharable graphic and send it to people on May 1st after the project is Live on Kickstarter. Awesome idea! Below is the graphic I plan to send to my non-profit contacts (which I have cultivated over two years) and friends + family so they can share to their networks — Hope this works!
I was so grateful to get this feedback! Getting data from real readers who don’t have advance knowledge about your project is huge! It improved the quality of my Kickstarter. It built deeper engagement. And it’s creating pre-launch buzz and getting the word out about my project!
2. Planning a Kickstarter Party
You don’t have to be a professional party planner to plan a cool party in support of your book. Although, you do need great music, cool people, awesome snacks and drinks! In my feedback email, I invited everyone on my list to join me and attend my Kickstarter party [in Brooklyn on May 25th! Come on out!]. At the party, backers will hear stories from the book, enjoy light snacks and drinks, and hang out at Automatic Studios, an art gallery and event space. To get the word out about the party, I threw up a sharable Eventbrite RSVP link on my email and all my recent communications.
Could there be more good news? There is! Due to the nature of my book (cancer survival), I knew it would be sweet to partner with likeminded nonprofits in support of the Kickstarter. So, In March, I reached out to The Tutu Project, an amazing New York-based nonprofit who provides support to breast cancer patients and survivors whose expenses are not covered by insurance. We had a great chat over the phone about our shared values and goals, my project, and what a loose promotional partnership might look like. The result? The Tutu Project agreed to be a part of my Share Triumph Virtual Conference that will go Live August 5th! They also offered to help redistribute content via social media and encourage people to be a part of my book launch events!
Wow. I’m so grateful for the support! As you plan your own project: what nonprofits or organizations could you connect and collaborate with? Reach out. Make those connections. It’s totally worth it!
Last but not least, on March 2nd, I shared my story at TEDx Colombia University. For anyone who’s done a public speaking event, you know just how exciting, stressful, fun, and what an honor it is to present! I titled my talk “The Unexpected Life Line”. And I used the TEDx platform to get the message out about my upcoming book, build brand awareness and credibility as an author!
YES! I caught some MASSIVE AIR!