[Archive] How to Ensure Your Kickstarter Doesn’t Fail Miserably Pt 1

From the archives. Post original written for a previous project of ours, Feel Good Giving Birth (2014)…

We did it. We raised our Kickstarter goal, and brought in a little bit more than we hoped for. We did it. But it wasn’t all glamorous. Here is some of our advice on what you can do to not fail miserably at your Kickstarter project.

Step 1: Make sure you cannot get sued for using a common noun

Yes, you read that correctly. We had our promo material all set and ready, and we started blasting it across the web-esphere. And then I get contacted to stop referencing someone’s organization? WT*^^%? After banging my head against the wall, I explained as politely as I could that I am not referring to their organization in any way, that I just learned that they existed, and that I am simply using a common noun. Of course I can’t say what noun that was, because you’d know what organization it was giving me an annoying time, so let’s just say it was ‘the real food movement’. So, for example, my promo material read that this book is helping support the real food movement. ‘Stop referencing my organization, or I will sue you’ was the next email. Dumbfounded, I contacted my lawyer friend, asking if these people are for real. To prevent this complete-waste-of-time, I changed the wording around, after telling this ‘wonderful’ organization what a piece of baloney this whole ordeal was. We were trying to help women, and contribute to a better and more positive birthing culture. Yet some people just have too much time on their hands, think that their organization is globally-recognized, and that they own a common freakin noun. So, step 1, make sure you can’t get sued for using a common noun.

Step 2: Make sure you have your legal shit in order

Working with women, through their birth story submissions, I really started to like many of them. We asked one mother if she would be interested in being on our book cover. She was thrilled, and sent over large files even before being asked. I sent her the book cover, but mentioned that this might not necessarily be the official cover. She loved it. She was over the moon. Fast forward two months later, we just launched Kickstarter, and sent out promo material to everyone we know, with her picture on the book cover.

And then I get the email. Everyone says I look naked, and I feel so exposed. Dumbfounded once again, I explain to her she’s beautiful and has nothing to be ashamed of. I tell her we already paid for everything, and that this will set us back money- and time-wise. I ask if she would like to contribute and purchase a book, to help offset some costs. And then I get the next email. You never had my legal permission. The book cover you sent me had the sub-title 1mm below, so it’s not the same cover I agreed to. You should be ashamed. You never had my legal permission. How dare you only give us free E-book copies of the book? You should mail us all paperback copies (even if you don’t crowdfund enough). You didn’t have my legal permission. Despite this complete case of bipolar, she was right. I only had her emailed permission, but not her legal permission, with her signature. I didn’t have it. So step 2: make sure you have your legal shit in order. {for the record, our current book cover is gorgeous!}

Step 3: Expect completely different responses from two different people

Part of our promo aspect was sending out emails to bloggers who have previously expressed an interest in promoting similar Kickstarter projects, and asking them for any help in raising awareness. For this step, I will describe the response from two different bloggers, who received one very similar email. Blogger 1: wow, yes, this is so awesome, I think this is so important. Blogger 2: I doubt you have read any of my work, your email sounds spammy, and you should change a, b, c.. z on your project, but good luck! Your head might spin at this time, so be prepared. People will respond differently, and perhaps in two completely different ways. This is not a reflection of you. This is a reflection of them. If they understand that you want to raise awareness, and most likely are sending them a generic email, yet they see the value in your project, and genuinely care to help, they’ll be nice, and encouraging, and might even allow you to guest post (i.e. thanks Lisa from Squishable Baby!). If they are having a bad day, or are angry at the universe, or are just miserable people, they will let you know what they think of your project, even if you never asked to hear their opinion. So be prepared. Step 3: expect people to react the way they want to react.

Step 4: Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone

My promo strategy consisted of: everything. Mass Twitter and Facebook blasts, personalized emails to friends, emails to media experts via LinkedIn, emails to organizations dedicated to childbirth, women’s rights in childbirth, etc. In other words, I spammed my ass off. I was asking the contacts for any help we could get, including interviews, guest posts, and features. The majority ignored me. About 5% responded with some advice on who to contact. One responded telling me they might do an interview if I succeeded in publishing the book. And one responded with an interview opportunity! This was it! I practiced in front of the mirror for 30 minutes, then got on my phone with Lisa from Blackburn, and interviewed as best as I could! Was I completely anxious and nervous? Probably. Did I know this had to be done? Absolutely. This was my first real ‘telephone’ interview for the book, and I was flying high as a kite (as one mother described her birth in True Birth). I loved the rush. So even though I was a bit nervous, and I could have coward-ed out saying I’d prefer a written questionnaire (lame), I held my breath and did that interview. Not only did it feel great, but it gave me some concrete material that I later used for a new Kickstarter video. I loved it. So this step is crucial, because by stepping out of your comfort zone, you are opening yourself up to the beauty and magic of the universe.

Since 4 steps to follow are simply not enough, stay tuned for our future post about the next 4 steps to take to ensure you don’t fail miserably at your Kickstarter.

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