Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Kicking Things Off With Kickstarter

Written By: Tracy - Feb• 21•12

My guest post today comes from author MeiLin Miranda, author of the serialized series An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom. To raise money for the print version of the second novel, Son In Sorrow, MeiLin launched a kickstarter project. Her project succeed beyond all expectations by raising 350% of her funding goal. I asked MeiLin to tell us a little bit about her project, and about Kickstarter.

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I just ended a Kickstarter fundraiser to collect the last $1,500 I needed to produce the second novel in my series, “An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom.” To my surprise, I raised 350% of what I asked for: $5,250 from 102 backers. $1,000 of it was from people who’d never heard of me before they saw me on Kickstarter.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been asked–a lot–how I did it. Simple: I followed Kickstarter’s own guidelines, I made a plan, and I stuck to it.

First, I figured out the bare bones of what I’d need to finish the book’s production, including buying and shipping out copies. I didn’t factor my own time into it at all. The budget came to $1,500. I forgot to figure in Kickstarter’s fees and taxes, so I really should have asked more like $1,700.

Then I wrote up a description of the project. I made sure people could find the free serialization of the first novel on my website so that if they didn’t know my work they could read it. I gave a “too long; didn’t read” synopsis at the top of the description, and a longer version beneath it. I made sure the short “blurb” that would appear next to my project’s picture all over the site was simple and to-the-point.

I made a video using iMovie, our family videocam, and a bunch of character studies I’ve commissioned over the last few years. I used royalty-free music I’d already bought for an audiobook project. I wrote a script, threw it out, and recorded the voice track with a handheld microphone in a quiet room.

I emphasized my own story as well as the novel’s story. You see, I started writing fiction after a near-death experience in 2006 after a lifetime of wanting to write but being afraid to write. My line was, “I’m MeiLin Miranda, and I came back from the dead to write books.” Which is actually true!

I came up with backer reward packages I figured people would want. I made sure I treated it not as a donation reward but as a pre-sale; I offered value. A $5 backer got a $4.95 ebook, for example–of book one. A $10 backer got both book one and book two ebooks, and so on.

As the total rose higher and higher, I was generous with my backers. The extra money meant I was going to be able to do things I couldn’t do before, like finish the audiobook and send the world map out to a cartographer for finishing. Then I added the audiobook and map to some of the packages–in fact, everyone’s getting a copy of the high-res digital map file.

I reminded people on all my social media streams at least once a day. Since I also talk about a whole lot of other stuff during the day it didn’t come off too salesman-y. I hope. No one complained, anyway!

Kickstarter has been a terrific experience. It introduced my work to a lot of new people, gave me capital to finish some auxiliary projects, and even gave me some money for myself once all was said and done. Set your goals modestly and give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is that it won’t fund.

MeiLin Miranda
http://www.meilinmiranda.com/
My Kickstarter’s URL–even though the project is over, it’s a good example to work from: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meilinmiranda/son-in-sorrow

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