Promoting my first Kickstarter

fingers & tongues

Click to see my Kickstarter campaign

Summary

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

You can now buy fingers & tongues as a paperback or e-book.

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.Prefundia - pre-launch

Prefundia - post-launch

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).

Twitter

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.

Launch day

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.

Thank everyone

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.

Contacting bloggers

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.

Reviewers

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.

Editors

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.

Promotion services

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.

Kicktraq ad

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.

CoPromote

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.

Number of pledges by discovery method

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

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

Percentage funding by primotion 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%

For comparison

Combined barcharts

Via Kickstarter

Some people backed my campaign after finding out about in on Kickstarter:

  • browsing
  • 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.

Funded by Kickstarter

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.

The story continues

Launchrock

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.

I will get reviews before the campaign launches.

I will figure out how to approach relevant bloggers.

Promotion timeline

6 Feb Facebook any suggestions of campaign rewards for a book of erotica? No Likes
3 Comments (2p)
28 Feb Facebook
Twitter
waiting for approval for my Prefundia page 2 Likes
6 Comments (3p)
1 Mar Facebook link to a live Kickstarter for an erotica book – I attempted to start a discussion of erotica vs. porn. No Likes
No Comments
3 Mar Prefundia pre-campaign page is approved and goes live
3 Mar Facebook
Twitter
any feedback on my Prefundia page? 1 Like
No Comments
6 Mar Twitter 5 tweets documenting preparing my campaign #pkick No Retweets
No Favourites
7 Mar Twitter Kickstarter has been approved my campaign after one day #pkick No Favourites
No Retweets
8 Mar Twitter started researching blogs to approach to promote my book #pkick 1 Favourite
No Retweets
9 Mar Twitter how not to do a Kickstarter campaign – link #pkick 1 Favourite
1 Retweet
11 Mar Twitter beginning to record my stories for my campaign video #pkick 1 Favourite
No Retweets
11 Mar Twitter sad having to create images of text – image #pkick 1 Favourite
No Retweets
12 Mar Twitter I made my first ever video, a campaign video #pkick No Favourites
No Retweets
12 Mar Facebook I made my first ever video, a campaign video 2 Likes
No Comments
12 Mar Twitter I love the first and last 10 secs of my campaign video #pkick No Favourites
No Retweets
17 Mar Twitter contacting guys who sent me feedback on my erotica 20 years ago #pkick No Favourites
No Retweets
25 Mar Twitter asking @TristanTaomino whether her show would like to use a story in voices No Favourites
No Retweets
27 Mar Twitter struggling to write my campaign page, I wrote about my feminist porn No Favourites
No Retweets
27 Mar Facebook My feminist porn blog post 2 Likes
No Comments
27 Mar Twitter followup to @emilydubberly of Cliterati No Favourites
No Retweets
28 Mar Twitter my feminist porn essay got me two Prefundia followers No Favourites
No Retweets
28 Mar Facebook improvements – before & after pre-campaign page No Likes
No Comments
1 Apr Facebook 170 views that day to my Prefundia page No Likes
No Comments
2 Apr Twitter 4 CoPromoters tweet links to my blog post about feminist porn 2 Retweets
2 Apr Facebook headlines from ralphie2 on fiverr.com – any faves? 1 Like
Comments (4p)
2 Apr Twitter I ask @EllenPage for a retweet No Favourites
No Retweets
3 Apr Twitter two paid tweets by someone from fiverr.com with LGBT followers 1 Favourite
No Retweets
6 Apr Twitter “My feminist porn,” an essay by @paolability exploring the use of written erotica as a tool – link 2 Favourites
8 Apr Twitter 1 CoPromoted tweet to my feminist porn blog post No Retweets
No Favourites
Apr Twitter excited in the run-up to my first crowdfunding campaign, to publish erotica No Favourites
No Retweets
26 Apr Facebook would you only want to pledge £1 if you could do it anonymously? 3 Likes
14 Comments (5p)
26-27 Apr Twitter I ask 190 of @paolability‘s followers to back my campaign at £1 when my it launches – Prefundia bitly link 28 Favourites
3 Retweets
27 Apr Twitter I ask 64 of @PootDibou’s followers to back my campaign at £1 when my it launches – Prefundia bitly link 6 Favourites
4 Retweets
27 Apr Twitter I tweet @SexInWords a retweetable tweet with link to my feminist porn post 2 Favourites
1 Retweet
27 Apr Facebook I’ve contacted loads of Twitter followers, with some success 2 Likes
No Comments
27 Apr Facebook What I have learned so far blog post 4 Likes
2 Comments
29 Apr Facebook Why Kickstarter? blog post 1 Like
8 Comments (3p)
29 Apr Twitter I tweet @CrowdCrux a link to my pre-campaign blog post No Favourites
No Retweets
29 Apr Twitter link to blog post about why I chose Kickstarter over Indiegogo No Favourites
No Retweets
30 Apr Kickstarter campaign launches @ 5pm BST
30 Apr Facebook link to the fingers & tongues live Kickstarter page 1 Likes
1 Share
2 Comments (2p)
30 Apr Twitter I follow-up with 25 contacts, new followers and anyone else who expressed an interest previously + 12 Kickstarter accounts – campaign link 1 Favourite
2 Retweets
1 May Twitter link to blog post about choosing Kickstarter to @crowdfundbacker No Favourites
No Retweets
2 May Facebook do you have any feedback on these new pledge levels? No Likes
5 Comments (3p)
2 May Twitter I follow-up with 47 @PootDibou followers and 2 Kickstarter accounts – campaign link 9 Favourites
6 Retweets
2 May Tumblr
Instagram

Twitter
Instagram #1 15 Likes
4 Comments
2 May Tumblr
Instagram
Instagram #2 15 Likes
2 Comments
2 May Kickstarter campaign update #1 – 35% funded within 24hrs 1 Like
No Comments
2 May Facebook link to campaign update #1 5 Likes
1 Share
No Comments
3 May Tumblr
Instagram

Twitter
10 Likes
No Comments
3 May Kickstarter campaign update #2 – on book design 1 Like
No Comments
4 May Facebook link to campaign update #2 2 Likes
2 Shares
No Comments
4 Apr Twitter I engage with 2 people who recently tweeted fingers and tongues No Favourites
No Retweets
6 May Tumblr
Instagram
12 Likes
No Comments
7 May Facebook link to Kickstarter campaign page 2 Likes
1 Share
No Comments
7 May Facebook my mum asked me what my book was about… 11 Likes
12 Comments (6p)
7 May Kickstarter campaign update #3 – 57% funded at end of week 1 No Likes
No Comments
7 May Facebook link to campaign update #3 6 Likes
5 Comments (2p)
8 May Tumblr
Instagram
15 Likes
No Comments
9 May Facebook link to BBC news story in feminist porn 1 Like
No Comments
9 May Facebook link to a college essay on feminist porn No Likes
No Comments
9 May Facebook link to my guide to Indiegogo – for people who want to back anonymously 1 Like
No Comments
9 May Facebook about the next backer being #69 2 Likes
No Comments
10 May Facebook about a radical feminist I met when discussing feminist porn on Twitter 1 Like
No Comments
11 May Facebook link to my Kickstarter campaign page 1 Like
No Comments
11 May Facebook link to my Storify about feminist porn 1 Like
No Comments
13 May Facebook mentioned my campaign in a status update 2 Likes
No Comments
13 May Kickstarter campaign update #4 – 70% at the end of two weeks 1 Like
No Comments
14 May Facebook link to Kickstarter campaign page No Likes
No Comments
16 May Facebook the money raised so far can cover reward fulfilment 3 Likes
1 Comment
16 May Facebook asking for suggestions of wording for Kicktraq banner No Likes
8 Comments (3p)
17 May Facebook link to my Kickstarter page No Likes
No Comments
18 May Kickstarter campaign update #5 – 91% funded No Likes
No Comments
18 May Facebook link to campaign update #5 4 Likes
No Comments
19 May Facebook link to Kickstarter campaign page 2 Likes
3 Shares
14 Comments (2p)
19 May Kickstarter campaign update #7 – book review No Likes
No Comments
19 May Facebook link to campaign update #7 4 Likes
1 Share
No Comments
20 May Kickstarter campaign update #8 – £29 to go, 24hrs left No Likes
No Comments
20 May Facebook link to article about a successful Kickstarter No Likes
No Comments
20 May Facebook link to Kicktraq sponsors page where I had an ad 1 Like
No Comments
20 May Facebook The usability of erotica blog post No Likes
1 Share
2 Comments (2p)
21 May Facebook asking for feedback on my Launchrock page No Likes
No Comments
21 May Facebook link to second review No Likes
No Comments
21 May Kickstarter campaign update #9 – funded, with 21 hours to go 2 Likes
2 Comments
21 May Kickstarter campaign update #10 – second review No Likes
No Comments
21 May Kickstarter campaign ends @ 5pm BST
21 May Kickstarter campaign update #11 – success! 1 Like
No Comments
21 May Facebook successful campaign – thank you! 21 Likes
7 Comments (3p)

You can now buy fingers & tongues as a paperback or e-book.

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