I ran my first Kickstarter campaign 30 Apr-21 May in 2014 to raise funds to print a book of my erotica.
This was the first time I've marketed anything. I decided to document my experience. My campaign was successfully funded.
- prepare campaign page on Prefundia
- cultivate followers on Twitter
- contact people I know
- contact people I don't know
- blog about my Kickstarter experience
- get book and story reviews
Plan on Prefundia
I planned my campaign page on Prefundia. Knowing that my campaign was under the public gaze focussed me. My campaign text went through MANY iterations before it felt right.
If someone likes a project they see on Prefundia, they can sign up to be notified when the campaign is launched.
I posted the Prefundia page to Facebook to get feedback and to introduce my project to my contacts.
Ask people for a £1 pledge
In the week before the launch of my campaign, I contacted most of my friends, family and acquaintances for support.
I contacted everyone with a personal message using the medium I usually used to communicate with them.
I asked for a £1 pledge only, explaining that a campaign that had backers would look popular and attract more attention.
- Facebook (125 people)
- LinkedIn (98)
- Twitter (85)
- e-mail (23)
I included a link to my Prefundia page. I created a step-by-step guide to making a pledge for those who had never used Kickstarter before.
I kept a note of people who expressed an interest or who said they weren't interested. I also kept a note of who retweeted me.
I also posted campaign-related photos on Instagram during my campaign (I have a lot of toy photography followers).
I personalised tweets to people I knew in the salutation so that they would know they were getting a personal message.
I cultivated followers - people who might be interested in my book - on Twitter on my second account. These were sex writers and reviewers, and sex toy bloggers.
I found them by searching for certain words (erotica, porn) and followed them. After a few days, I unfollowed anyone who hadn't followed back using ManageFlitter. I had read about this technique in one of the crowdfunding posts I'd read.
I tweeted 309 people who followed me but that with whom I had had no prior contact. @SexInWords was one of these followers. He tweeted about my campaign for the three weeks it ran.
After launching the campaign on Kickstarter I contacted everyone I'd contacted before who had expressed an interest in the campaign or who hadn't replied.
I gave them a link to my campaign page, again asking for a £1 pledge. For my Twitter contacts, I made a page on my blog with my my request for support and a link to the how-to guide.
I acknowledged every reply in the medium I'd contacted people. I also profusely thanked anyone who expressed an interest in my project or who said they would back my campaign.
A week into the campaign, I contacted those people who said they would pledge but who hadn't yet.
I researched and contacted about 50 related bloggers (erotica, sex shop, masturbation or feminist porn) and contacted them by Twitter or e-mail.
I found this very hard - contacting people out of the blue. My message must not have been compelling because my activities only resulted in two retweets and no backers.
Two of the people following me on Twitter had blogs - one to review erotica and other to review sex toys and books. I asked both for a review. They both did it at short notice while the campaign was running.
The reviews provided me with material I could post in an update and, later, in my back cover text.
During the campaign, I was contacted by two people - one via Twitter and one via a Kickstarter blog post - offering to edit my book.
I eventually had four potential editors. I chose two editors based on their work on my shortest short story after the campaign was funded.
New to marketing, I tried different paid promotion services.
Fiverr.com - I paid for tweets by sex-related accounts with thousands of followers. I wrote the tweet to include a bitly link to my Prefundia page. Bitly gives some useful stats. I got some retweets and link views but no backers this way.
I also used Fiverr to get a review of my stories and to write headlines. The headlines were especially good value for money and resulted in "Smart erotica with women and men as sexual collaborators." I used the reviews and headlines in my campaign page.
Backercamp - (originally gofounder.com) I paid $9.99+ for tweets during my campaign. I sent them a graphic to use and headlines. They sent out some well-composed tweets.
Kicktraq - for the last 4 days of my campaign, I paid for a banner ad on Kicktraq.
They also linked to the book review on Christina Harding's review blog. I don't think I got any backers with either of these.
CoPromote - with the several hundred followers I'd cultivated on Twitter, I used that account to get tweets send by other people using CoPromote. I found out about this service via WordPress.
It's a system where people send out tweets for each other. You get credits for each tweet you share by other people. You can then use these credits to ask for your own tweets to be promoted by other people.
The stats for one of my CoPromote campaigns is below.
The CoPromote campaign was seen by a lot of Twitter accounts but it's likely that many of these weren't real people. I checked the followers of some of the people who shared my tweets and saw that they were automated accounts.
What was effective?
Contacting people I know was the most effective. This is part of the advice I read in crowdfunding campaigns. I found it hard to ask people for help. However, it was made easier by only asking for £1.
Even though I only asked for £1 pledge, many of my contacts pledged more and asked for the book in rewards. Three of my contacts felt so strongly about the principle of my book that they backed at the £125 level (rename a character). A backer I didn't know also pledged at this level. He had found out about the campaign when one of my contacts posted about the project on Facebook. This was a source of other backers I didn't know.
Number of pledges by discovery method
The percentage of pledges by how people heard about the campaign.
Facebook message - 42%
Twitter – prior engagement - 16%
via contact’s FB wall post - 11%
via Kickstarter - 10%
e-mailed - 8%
LinkedIn - 5%
unknown - 5%
via my blog post - 1%
via Instagram - 1%
via retweet - 1%
Twitter – no prior engagement - 0%
Success rate by promotion activity
e-mailed - 30.4%
Facebook message - 29.6%
Twitter – prior engagement - 16%
LinkedIn - 4%
via Instagram - 0%
Twitter – no prior engagement - 0%
Percentage funding by promotion activity
LinkedIn - 38%
e-mailed - 18%
via my blog post - 16%
via Instagram - 12%
via Kickstarter - 9%
via contact’s FB wall post - 4%
via retweet - 2%
Facebook message - 2%
unknown - 2%
Twitter – no prior engagement - 0.3%
Twitter – prior engagement - 0.1%
Some people backed my campaign after finding out about in on Kickstarter:
- Newly Listed campaigns
- what a friend has backed
- London campaigns
- Fiction campaigns
- I backed their campaign
After the campaign
After a campaign has ended the campaign page can't be edited. I prepared the changes in advance by copying over the text to a word processor, recording changes.
An hour before the campaign ended, I changed the Kickstarter page to its permanent post-campaign version. I referred to the document I had prepared, using the Show Changes feature so that I could make the same edits to the campaign page itself.
I created a replacement graphic to use when the campaign had reached its funding goal. This appears at the top of my campaign page. This main campaign image is also used as the campaign thumbnail in Kickstarter search results.
I added a new linked "click here" graphic at the top of the campaign page. I'd seen what Commodity Goods had done on their ended campaign page. I saved their image to a scrapbook and made a similar image near the end my campaign.
This image clicks through to a page on my web site which is a Launchrock form. It will later be an order form for the book.
I created a Launchrock sign-up form.
Launchrock is a service for people who are about to launch their site or product. It creates a widget to embed on a customised sign-up form your own web site.
Launchrock provides some stats on page views and maintains the list of people who sign up.
I've had a few sign-ups through Launchrock. It's definitely worth doing again.
What I will do different next time
I won't contact followers I don't know on LinkedIn and Twitter. It is very time-consuming with zero success.
I will use Thunderclap (to promote my tweets).
I will get reviews before the campaign launches.
I will figure out how to approach relevant bloggers.
|6 Feb||any suggestions of campaign rewards for a book of erotica?||
||waiting for approval for my Prefundia page||Likes &
|1 Mar||link to a live Kickstarter for an erotica book - I attempted to start a discussion of erotica vs. porn.|
|3 Mar||Prefundia pre-campaign page is approved and goes live|
||any feedback on my Prefundia page?||Likes
|6 Mar||5 tweets documenting preparing my campaign #pkick|
|7 Mar||Kickstarter has been approved my campaign after one day #pkick|
|8 Mar||started researching blogs to approach to promote my book #pkick||Favourites|
|9 Mar||how not to do a Kickstarter campaign - link #pkick||Favourites & Retweets|
|11 Mar||beginning to record my stories for my campaign video #pkick||Favourites|
|11 Mar||sad having to create images of text - image #pkick||Favourites|
|12 Mar||I made my first ever video, a campaign video #pkick|
|12 Mar||I made my first ever video, a campaign video||Likes|
|12 Mar||I love the first and last 10 secs of my campaign video #pkick|
|17 Mar||contacting guys who sent me feedback on my erotica 20 years ago #pkick|
|25 Mar||asking @TristanTaomino whether her show would like to use a story in voices|
|27 Mar||struggling to write my campaign page, I wrote about my feminist porn|
|27 Mar||My feminist porn blog post||Likes|
|27 Mar||followup to @emilydubberly of Cliterati|
|28 Mar||my feminist porn essay got me two Prefundia followers|
|28 Mar||improvements - before & after pre-campaign page|
|1 Apr||170 views that day to my Prefundia page|
|2 Apr||4 CoPromoters tweet links to my blog post about feminist porn||Retweets|
|2 Apr||headlines from ralphie2 on fiverr.com - any faves?||Likes & Comments|
|2 Apr||I ask @EllenPage for a retweet|
|3 Apr||two paid tweets by someone from fiverr.com with LGBT followers||Favourites|
|6 Apr||"My feminist porn," an essay by @paolability exploring the use of written erotica as a tool - link||Favourites|
|8 Apr||1 CoPromoted tweet to my feminist porn blog post|
|Apr||excited in the run-up to my first crowdfunding campaign, to publish erotica|
|26 Apr||would you only want to pledge £1 if you could do it anonymously?||Likes & Comments|
|26-27 Apr||I ask 190 of @paolability's followers to back my campaign at £1 when my it launches - Prefundia bitly link||Favourites & Retweets|
|27 Apr||I ask 64 of @PootDibou's followers to back my campaign at £1 when my it launches - Prefundia bitly link||Favourites & Retweets|
|27 Apr||I tweet @SexInWords a retweetable tweet with link to my feminist porn post||Favourites & Retweet|
|27 Apr||I've contacted loads of Twitter followers, with some success||Likes|
|27 Apr||What I have learned so far blog post||Likes & Comments|
|29 Apr||Why Kickstarter? blog post||Likes & Comments|
|29 Apr||I tweet @CrowdCrux a link to my pre-campaign blog post|
|29 Apr||link to blog post about why I chose Kickstarter over Indiegogo|
|30 Apr||Kickstarter campaign launches @ 5pm BST|
|30 Apr||link to the fingers & tongues live Kickstarter page||Likes & Shares
|30 Apr||I follow-up with 25 contacts, new followers and anyone else who expressed an interest previously + 12 Kickstarter accounts - campaign link||Favourites & Retweets|
|1 May||link to blog post about choosing Kickstarter to @crowdfundbacker|
|2 May||do you have any feedback on these new pledge levels?||Comments|
|2 May||I follow-up with 47 @PootDibou followers and 2 Kickstarter accounts - campaign link||Favourites & Retweets|
||Likes & Comments|
||Likes & Comments|
|2 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #1 - 35% funded within 24hrs||Likes|
|2 May||link to campaign update #1||Likes & Shares|
|3 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #2 - on book design||Likes|
|4 May||link to campaign update #2||Likes & Shares|
|4 Apr||I engage with 2 people who recently tweeted fingers and tongues|
|7 May||link to Kickstarter campaign page||Likes & Shares|
|7 May||"My mum asked me what my book was about..."||Likes & Comments|
|7 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #3 - 57% funded at end of week 1|
|7 May||link to campaign update #3||Likes & Comments|
|9 May||link to BBC news story in feminist porn||Likes|
|9 May||link to a college essay on feminist porn|
|9 May||link to my guide to Indiegogo - for people who want to back anonymously||Likes|
|9 May||about the next backer being #69||Likes|
|10 May||about a radical feminist I met when discussing feminist porn on Twitter||Likes|
|11 May||link to my Kickstarter campaign page||Likes|
|11 May||link to my Storify about feminist porn||Likes|
|13 May||mentioned my campaign in a status update||Likes|
|13 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #4 - 70% at the end of two weeks||Likes|
|14 May||link to Kickstarter campaign page|
|16 May||the money raised so far can cover reward fulfilment||Likes & Comments|
|16 May||asking for suggestions of wording for Kicktraq banner||Comments|
|17 May||link to my Kickstarter page|
|18 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #5 - 91% funded|
|18 May||link to campaign update #5||Likes|
|19 May||link to Kickstarter campaign page||Likes, Shares & Comments|
|19 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #7 - book review|
|19 May||link to campaign update #7||Likes & Shares|
|20 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #8 - £29 to go, 24hrs left|
|20 May||link to article about a successful Kickstarter|
|20 May||link to Kicktraq sponsors page where I had an ad||Likes|
|20 May||The usability of erotica blog post||Shares & Comments|
|21 May||asking for feedback on my Launchrock page|
|21 May||link to second review|
|21 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #9 - funded, with 21 hours to go||Likes & Comments|
|21 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #10 - second review|
|21 May||Kickstarter campaign ends @ 5pm BST|
|21 May||Kickstarter||campaign update #11 - success!||Likes|
|21 May||successful campaign - thank you!||Likes & Comments|