The Kickstarter campaign is over, and I’m attempting to head back to a normal blogging routine. I’m posting this wrap-up blog, and then I plan to stop talking about Kickstarter. Really.
The final total listed on the project page for West Texas Interlude is 115% of the goal, or $9,260. But that total should have an asterisk by it. Long story. Basically, some dude made a nutso pledge at the last minute that messed up my numbers, along with the numbers of 32 other projects. His credit card failed, and he’ll be dropped as a backer after 7 days. Kickstarter is calling it “malicious activity” on his part. The real total should be $8,510, 106%. I like the looks of that.
I jotted down a few notes over the 31 days of the campaign about the good and bad aspects of this experience. In saying that, I don’t want anyone to think that I had a bad experience — but there were a few things that weren’t the best, not the least of which was the aforementioned malicious activity. We’ll look at the other negatives now, so that I can end on a positive note.
* I’m afraid that this campaign might lead to warped expectations for me in the future, that all it takes is 31 days to “success.” I don’t want to lose my ability to persevere. To work at something for a long period of time, not knowing what the outcome will be. Maybe 31 days is all it takes on Kickstarter, but in the rest of life, success (whatever that is) takes a bit longer. Like 45 days.
* I’m concerned that all the good that came from my social media fast earlier in the summer was undone by having to spend hours and hours online during September — marketing to news outlets in Texas, tweeting to people I don’t know, putting together updates, obsessively checking to see if the percentage had changed. I found myself counting the days and hours to the end of the campaign not just because I wanted to know if we would make the goal, but because I just wanted a break from needing to be online.
* I found myself tempted to compare my project and percentage to other projects and their percentages, as well as to question why the Kickstarter staff chose to feature certain projects on the landing page but not mine. I was featured as “New and Noteworthy” for the first couple of days of the campaign, but after that I slipped into oblivion on the “Writing and Publishing: Nonfiction” page. Which is pretty much at the bottom of the list of categories. (Seriously. The only categories lower than that are “Periodical” and “Poetry.” I know it’s alphabetical and all, but it’s a fitting reflection of art and media in 2011, yes?) But then, after a couple of days of hurt feelings over not being featured, I decided that it’s their website, after all — it’s dumb of me to fault them with who they want to feature on their own site that, to that point, they were letting me use for free. In the end, I’m just thankful to have been approved for a campaign in the first place and thankful for the support of backers in the Kickstarter community.
Now let’s move on to a few more positive points about my campaign experience…
* I convinced a newspaper to give me my first author interview. That was fun!
* I have a list of people who need postcards from West Texas. I love sending postcards, so this is a great excuse to shop for fun ones.
* I now get to spend the next 9 months working on a book project again. I loved focusing full-time on From the Tea Village and honestly miss working on that manuscript each day. Freelancing is also writing, and I enjoy certain aspects of it, but overall I much prefer longer book-length projects. I thought writing the first book was a dream come true — I am dumbfounded that I get to have a second dream take shape before my eyes.
* Through the campaign I got exposure to and feedback from readers who 1) aren’t related to me, 2) don’t go to my past or current church, and 3) would never have heard of me if it weren’t for this Kickstarter project. That’s a big part of every writer’s desire as they progress in their work — to build an audience.
* Lastly, and most importantly, I had it confirmed for me that new readers are good, but the loyal readers (family, church family, old friends, etc) are the ones who love you enough to buy your book on faith. Nay, fund your book on faith.