Last month I told you about the pre-launch progress I was making on my upcoming book TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer. Last time, I shared a bit about what I was doing during the months of April and May as I gathered feedback for my Kickstarter, planned a Kickstarter Party, partnered with a nonprofit to promote the book’s Kickstarter, and gave a TEDx talk about my experience and inspiration for the book.
So, it’s already June! Aaah! And I have some super exciting news to share. On May 1st the campaign went live, and in only 5 short hours we hit our initial $10,000 goal! By the time the campaign ended on May 30th, we had hit $20,953! WOWZA!
In this post, I’ll share about the final steps I took to take the Kickstarter live. Additionally, I’ll also discuss:
1.) Helpful launch tools
2.) How I cross-promoted the campaign with sharable graphics
3.) Pre-writing launch emails and responses to backers
4.) The Official Kickstarter launch and results
5.) Kickstarter NYC Launch Party
6.) Next steps I’m planning for my fully funded book!
Wow! I’ve so much to tell you. Here we go!
1. Helpful Launch Tools
If you’re planning a Kickstarter to support a self-published book and official book launch, there’s lots to balance and manage. When pledges begin rolling in, your first response is excitement. Then, you remember that you owe your backers communication and rewards. Suffice to say, it can be a lot to juggle.
That’s why I chose to integrate my Kickstarter campaign with BackerKit. What is it? BackerKit is a tool for crowdfunding creators that helps you manage your crowdfunding campaign. They have a variety of services and integrations that’ll help gather information about your project backers, including surveys, shipping help, pledge level upgrades, and automation to process rewards.
How did BackerKit help? For me, I wanted to simplify and automate email responses to my project supporters. To do so, I imported my book-merch giveaway into BackerKit (I gave away items related to the book, but not the book) and linked it to my email list, including people who replied to my month-long awareness & feedback campaign and the 40 Survivors/Thrivers that are in the book. And, because there were a little over 3,000 people who receive the launch email, BackerKit was a huge help.
2. How I Cross Promoted the Campaign with Shareable Graphics
Community is key to a successful Kickstarter. Sure, you want to get backers who’ll donate to your campaign. That’s basic. But, importantly, you also have an opportunity to convert book launch backers into recruiters. To do so, you’ll need to give your Backers tools they can use to spread the word about your project to friends, family, coworkers, and the like.
For me, this meant creating a set of shareable graphics that I could include in my emails with supporters. You can do this yourself or you hire a graphic designer to do it for you. A couple of tips: create some graphics with Instagram in mind (1080×1080); and format others for Facebook (1200×628), Twitter (1200×670), and Snapchat Story (1080×1920). Here’s a sample of the shareable graphics I included in emails with backers.
3. Pre-Writing Launch Emails and Responses to Backers
As I mentioned above, it can be overwhelming when pledges start rolling in. In anticipation of a large response from backers, I decided to pre-write my response emails, then use BackerKit to distribute them.
I prepared four emails in total. The first was a simple launch announcement for the moment the campaign went live, including helpful links, basic information, and an invitation to participate in the funding of the book. The second was a “welcome to the campaign” message that backers would receive upon initially donating. Essentially, the body of the email said THANK YOU and encouraged backers to pass along shareable links to friends who might like the project. Then, the third and final emails I prepared had to do with campaign updates and messages to build momentum as we moved through the Kickstarter’s first week. Here’s a screenshot of my launch announcement email:
What’s the takeaway for you? Plan, prepare, and pre-write as much content as you can ahead of your Kickstarter launch. Then, utilize whatever tools are available to elevate and automate the process of responding to backers. You’ll thank yourself later!
4. The Official Kickstarter Launch and Results
The TOUGH Kickstarter campaign went live on May 1. Almost immediately, pledges started rolling in. How fast? In just 5 hours the book was fully funded at our initial $10,000 goal! I felt so thankful for everyone’s support. Then, as the moment passed, I quickly realized all the work I still had ahead. So, I began making sure my stretch goals were in place. I also began checking in on my pre-planned email communication with backers. Then, on May 6, I received an exciting email from Kickstarter saying that our project was going to be featured as a “Project We Love” on Kickstarter’s main page!
It’s incredible to see a fundraising campaign go live, watch people engage with your material, and support you on your way to your goals. As I mentioned in the opening of this post, our initial goal was $10,000. However, by the time the campaign ended we had hit $20,953! I’m humbled. If you donated to support this book and you’re reading this blog now, THANK YOU!
5. Our NYC Kickstarter Launch Party
This was so exciting! On, Saturday, May 25th from 4-6pm, we had a party to thank those who had funded the campaign. Party planning is a project unto itself, but after working so hard on the Kickstarter and waiting and watching as it was fully funded, drinks and music were a much-needed respite!
If you’re planning to fund your book through a Kickstarter, a party is a great idea. To organize my event, I started by securing a space. Automatic Studios is an airy, open art gallery space that’s hip and kid friendly! The goal was to open up the space for drinks, dancing, and celebrating the book’s completed funding. We had the opportunity for an amazing entertainment addition; my friend Jessica Harris at Oracle Acts performed her Digital Secretaries act where people asked a question about their life and she channeled wisdom to answer. I then used Eventbrite to create a digital invite where people could get all the basic info and RSVP.
At the outset, I wasn’t sure how many people would attend because the party was over Memorial Day Weekend and many of my friends were out of town. However, in the end, I was pleasantly surprised that we sold out the 70 RSVPs. And the event was a huge success! Even though it was a ‘thank you’ party, we raised over $800 that day to help fund publication of the book!
Here’s the kind of info I included in my party invitation:
Automatic Studios, a project space and art gallery in DUMBO
52 Bridge Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Saturday, May 25th
4:00pm – 6:00pm
6. Next Steps for my Fully Funded Book
Today, the book is finished, the Kickstarter has closed, and the book’s publishing costs have been fully covered. So, what now? It’s Kickstarter fulfillment time! Now, because most of my reward levels are digital, I’ll begin by emailing and sending those items I can immediately deliver. That includes audio files for music playlists, meditations, as well as audio excerpts from the book. Each backer will receive a PDF for the book TOUGH, but the content is not ready yet. I’m sending a note to let them know they will receive the book PDF in August.
In addition, I’ve got some book-specific tasks that I’ll need to get-after in June. First, I’ll have the book professionally copyedited. If you’re wondering what this entails, copyediting is a highly tedious process of checking for mistakes, inconsistencies, and repetition in your manuscript. If you’ve got a multi-author work like mine, this polishing process is super important to unifying all the diverse voices in the book. During copyediting, the book’s content will be reviewed–both big picture and small– and finalized for publication.
After copyediting, I’ll share the newly copyedited manuscript with my full list of contributors for review. Then, after proofreading is finished, I’ll send the book off for cover design and a professional layout. This proofing process typically takes at least two people (sometimes more if they’re not professional) so plan for a significant process. When complete, they’ll collate edits into a single file and return that document to the designer for finalizing. This process will produce a final proof that will be uploaded to Amazon and be ready for preorder by August 1st!
Whew! That’s a lot of work, but unfortunately, there’s more! That’s right. In July I’ll be working to complete any remaining Kickstarter fulfillment. At the same time, there will also be the inevitable book-publishing-related tasks that pop up on my radar. Remaining on schedule is vital to my success. Why? Because on July 29 I’m offering the book on pre-launch for my Share Triumph Online Conference.
The Online Conference is a beast unto itself. When it’s all said and done, the event will run August 5-15th as a sort of virtual conference/summit. It’ll also be the official rollout for the book, plus feature 35 speakers (hopefully more) who will discuss cancer-related topics from surviving to thriving. More info on this will be in my next blog post. For now, my work is around promoting the event. Each week in July I’ll be taking targeted action to get the word out to my network, including:
1. July 8th – 12th: Email Blast to my Mailing List + Social Post to announce the Share Triumph Virtual Conference Aug 5th – 15th: https://conference.sharetriumph.com/join
2. July 22nd – 29th: PreLaunch Email Blast to your Mailing List + Social Post to say ‘Sign Up for your Free Sessions’ during Conference Dates Aug 5th – 15thA 3. August 5: LAUNCH We Are Live! Message in Email + Social Conference Dates Aug 5th – 15th
WOW! Thanks for reading and following along with me on this journey. I hope my experience, missteps, and successes will help inform and enrich your own process as you bring your book to life. Expect another post in the coming months that will detail my July-September progress.
In the meantime, let me know what thoughts and questions you have in the comments section below.
Get your free pass to the Share Triumph Virtual Conference: https://conference.sharetriumph.com/join