Running a successful Kickstarter

Recently I was successful in running a Kickstarter to fund my cookbook, To Deliciousness and Beyond and today I wanted to share with you how I did it! As someone who has never run a Kickstarter campaign before I had to learned a lot as I went. Hopefully my tips and tricks can help you succeed in getting funded as well! Research First off, I did a lot of research prior to even creating an account on Kickstarter. I took time to find similar campaigns like mine and see what their incentives were, what their goals were and what they posted in terms of descriptions, photos and videos. I also used Kickstarter's Creator Handbook to get the creative juices flowing before ever writing a word about my project. You should also make sure you understand the costs involved with your project and running it on the website. I spent a lot of time pricing out the cost of shipping envelopes, book printer fees and shipping, what advertising would cost, and more. Another thing to remember is that Kickstarter is a business. To make money they take a percentage of what you raise. You'll need to do a little math to make sure that you add in enough to cover those fees. Currently they are: 5% of total funds raised (Kickstarter's fee) + 3% (processing fees) + $.20/pledge (processing fees). I think research is a large part of why I was able to succeed.

This is a screenshot of my Kickstarter. I clearly listed exactly what the money would be going to so that I could show I was prepared!

Preparing When you're ready to start filling in the blanks of your campaign It's important that you explain exactly what you're offering. I am a minimalist in a lot of ways and for me I like to be more direct and to the point, so I opened up a Word document and spent quite a bit of time writing out exactly what I was going to say for each section. I wanted to get my product and intent across in the least amount of words possible. Because there are character restrictions for things like the title or the summary, you'll want to keep that in mind when you're writing. And while I prefer to be to the point you also want to get people invested (no pun intended) into what you're doing. I made a short little description of what was in my cookbook, how many pages it was and how many recipes were included. Then I elaborated on how I started the cookbook what inspired me and what the success of this Kickstarter would mean for myself in my family. This way they didn't have to read and dig through the campaign to learn about what they could be funding, but they could learn more detail if they kept reading. I also included personal photos of myself and my family because I think it's important that people relate to you and again are invested in your success. It's also important to take the time and think about the incentives that you're going to be offering. Never underestimate the power of a one for five dollar donation. Not everybody has or can donate $50 or more so a wide variety of incentives that also provide value to the person donating is really important. What I found interesting was that my cheapest incentive got no backers! It was a $5 incentive to receive one recipe from the cookbook. But instead anyone who donated small sums simply did it with no desire for a product or incentive in return. Also, and this shouldn't be an afterthought, great photos or videos are completely necessary. In a time when we don't take as much time to sit and read things through, photos or videos are crucial for reaching people! Make sure your photos are clear and as professional as you can!

Marketing Advertising and marketing your campaign is crucial. For me this was the most difficult part. I am not a seller or pusher of things and I don't have a massive following on Instagram. So how was I going to get the word out?! The first thing I did was created a well thought out e-mail. I explained what my campaign was about, how Kickstarter worked (because not everyone knows what it is!) and how he or she could help me reach my goal. I created a list of people, all family and friends and sent it out the day I started the campaign. I made it perfectly clear that they were by no means obligated to contribute or help in any way. Remember not everyone has the spare cash to fund you! But I did ask that if they knew of anyone who would be interested in my cookbook to please forward the e-mail. Again, I was to the point and I wasn't pushy. I know for me the more pushy someone is about selling the more likely I am to not only not buy, but not keep that relationship. I was blown away by the amount of people that I haven't seen in a decade, don't get to talk to often or are stationed overseas (it's nice knowing people all over the world!) that not only promoted my campaign on their social media but also backed it! They were so willing to help me see this through that it really touched me. Social media was also huge for me. Though I don't have a ton of followers (please go follow me @measureandpour) I could still share with those I did have the delicious photos from my cookbook and direct them to the link in my bio. I also created a giveaway with the help of my cousin who runs a very successful business, Kathryn Korff Designs. She creates among so many other things, beautiful personalized cutting boards; a perfect match for a cookbook giveaway! I fronted the money for the cutting board and would do the same for the cookbook if the campaign didn't fund (remember I did add in advertising into the Kickstarter so if I was funded, that cookbook and cutting board would be covered). The giveaway ran for about a week or two on Instagram and to enter a person had to "like" the photo, follow myself and @KathrynKorffDesigns, then tag at least one person in the comments. For more entries you had to tag more people in separate comments. What this did was bring more people to my page where I could advertise my Kickstarter and eventually the sale of my cookbook. This was one of the best things I did. I gained more followers and connected with so many more people!

Keeping Track of your Growing Funds I noticed that about halfway through my 30 day campaign that a lot of my $25 incentive for a copy of the cookbook were already taken up. So I reworked the numbers, changed the quantity of some of my other incentives and updated everyone one following my Kickstarter and Instagram that more of the $25 incentive were available. And boy am I glad I did that because that was where most of my finds came from! Also keep people updated throughout the campaign to keep a buzz about it going. Share photos or simple requests to share your Kickstarter to keep the funds rising. You Got This One of the things that I thought was funny was maybe 2-3 days into my campaign, Kickstarter emailed me saying something along the lines of, 'hey we think you're only going to get about 50% funded and you need to publicize more.' I did feel discouraged when I got that email. It didn't make me want to push harder. It made me want to give-up and I thought, "oh gosh if they're algorithm is telling me that within the first two days they already know I'm going to fail why keep pushing forward?!" I am very grateful that I did push forward though. I have extremely supportive family and friends and they kept me going. There were days I got no donations and there were days I got a bunch. I just had to stick it out! I've been told that not many cookbook's get funded. I really don't know how true that is but I'm proud to say that I'm one of the ones that did and I can't wait to see where my career takes me.


SHOP THIS POST To Deliciousness and Beyond Cookbook {Available in Hardcover, Softcover and eBook}

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