Kickstarter Debrief

This past Thursday morning, our Kickstarter campaign to fund Madelyn of the Sky ended. How did it go?

Really, really well. I’m honestly blown away. It was a risk to take this route. We might not have been funded at all. We were fairly certain we could get that much, of course, but whether or not we would was a completely different story.

We weren’t just funded. Every single stretch goal was unlocked. We made almost 200% of our goal.

So, what are some brief takeaways, in no particular order?

  • We chose Kickstarter as a way to reach a new-to-us audience. It worked. A large chunk of our backers are people that we don’t know.
  • We have fans who want to see us succeed. A number of people backed at a higher level than they needed to, giving us bonus backing. Those same people often shared what was going on with the campaign, meaning even more people saw Madelyn of the Sky.
  • The stretch goals we set were items we covered with little overhead cost. The idea was to be able to get enough funding to pay off the covers (which the our basic Kickstarter campaign didn’t cover). For that reason, almost all the stretch goals were things we could do “in-house” such as more writing from me. That worked. We’re now able to pay off almost half of what we paid in before the Kickstarter even started.
  • Our cover art probably did a lot of our selling for us. Ian, the artist, nailed the attitude we were looking for. We were able to use his covers and sketches to convince people to back us.
  • We were able to change up the Kickstarter page. We started with a lot of text. When we replaced much of the text with images, we got a lot of backers. So: more images, less text!
  • I’m very, very glad I wrote all the novels before we ran the Kickstarter. I’ve backed a number of books. One book I backed before covid hit has yet to be written. I didn’t want this campaign to go that way! We know that as far as it depends on us, we’ll be able to ship on time.
  • That said, because of the stretch goals, I still have a lot of work to do. I need to write essentially an entire novel’s-length worth of extras. I know I can do it, but it means there’s more to get done!
  • A few people mentioned wanting to get pins. We responded. Yes! A number of our backers added pins to their orders. Listening to the backers matters!
  • We tried to learn a lot from how other publishing Kickstarters go. A common extra is an art print of the cover. We tried that as a stretch goal. Only one person (so far) has taken advantage of that. So yes, paying attention to other Kickstarters is good, but we need to learn from this. Our audience apparently wasn’t overly interested in art prints!
  • Maybe biggest of all, there are people who believe in me, in my writing, and it’s not just people trying to be nice to me. That blows me away so much. I have a hard time believing in my own writing. This is tangible evidence that yes, my writing is good enough people are willing to pay for it.
  • Now, it’s my turn. I want to make sure that these people who believe in me aren’t disappointed. I want to deliver the best possible books to them.

And those are some takeaways! Thank you for putting up with me talking so much about Madelyn of the Sky the last few months! The series will still be a major part of my life for the next year or so, but there are other projects coming, too! And if you backed, one more time: Thank you!

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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