‘Kickstarter for the Independent Creator:’ Book Review

I’ve seen a lot of Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve contributed to a fair few of them, and even helped to promote one or two. I’ve seen some that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and I’ve seen others that didn’t even come close to reaching their goal. Through it all, my goal has been to crowdfund a project of my own; however, if I’ve learned one thing through all the campaigns I’ve observed, it’s that it’s much easier to fail at Kickstarter than to succeed, especially if you go in without knowing what you’re doing.

That’s why I was eager to read and review this book. Author M. Holly-Rosing has managed a number of Kickstarter campaigns for her comic, Boston Metaphysical Society, and endured both success and failure. She knows the ropes of crowdfunding. And, in Kickstarter for the Independent Creator, she breaks down, step by step, what it takes to hack it on Kickstarter.

A lot of the advice, particularly with regards to promoting your project, is standard online marketing advice that’s helpful no matter what you’re promoting. She talks about networking, compiling an e-mail list, building a social media presence, and more. Between my “real job” and my own creative endeavors, I do a lot of marketing work, so I recognized much of this advice—and can attest that it’s all pretty important. Particularly when she talks about how helpful Barbra Dillon and Fanboy Comics were in supporting her. I can say from experience that, whatever your creative project is, it’s very helpful and rather comforting to have Fanboy Comics in your corner.

There’s also plenty of advice that’s specific to Kickstarter. That was what I found the most helpful. She takes you through the entire campaign process, from before you even get started to long after you’ve been successfully funded. She talks about setting and fulfilling reward tiers, making your campaign video, how much to promote on social media (and when), and a lot more. There’s a 3-page section of the book that’s all about postage. When I saw it listed in the table of contents, I wondered, “What on earth could you possibly say about postage for 3 pages?” The fact that I didn’t know is what makes the section so essential.

That’s how it is for most of the book. There are a lot of aspects to handling your campaign that you’d never even think of. And, that ignorance can end up shooting you in the foot even if you DO reach your goal. Fortunately, the author has been through it all, or seen others that have, and can tell you not just what to do, but why it’s so important—complete with anecdotes from a number of campaigns, both her own and others.

She doesn’t pull any punches, either. She’s very upfront about how much hard work goes into it—and about the fact that you might not reach your goal. But, she also has helpful advice for what to do if you don’t go all the way, and how to take your failure and turn it into success the next time.

I was very glad I read this book. When I finally do my own Kickstarter campaign, it’s going to be at my side constantly. In addition to a helpful tutorial, it’s also a great reference, with lists of people and publications that can help you in promoting your project, worksheets to help you figure out project costs and reward tiers, and much more. If you’re even considering doing a crowdfunding campaign yourself, for any kind of creative project, the best thing you can do is to start by reading this book. You may or may not succeed in your endeavor, but at the very least, you’ll go in prepared.

Last modified on Friday, 28 December 2018 18:29

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