As you recall, I’ve been writing off and on about my experience crowdfunding a kids’ book. I’ve run the campaign for 45 days and there are now less than two days left. I raised a lot of money. I’m very happy. But now what?
Now I’m honestly scared. I’ve begun a solid developmental edit with a skilled editor with experience in children’s books. She’s going through it with a fine-tooth comb, bringing out phrasing that might be a little too complex for the intended audience. She’s also doing some of the stuff I should have been doing earlier, like figuring out tabs and curly quotes. It doesn’t seem like a big deal when writing, but the little things add up.
Before the campaign closes I wanted to look at some of the numbers I saw and what sorts of correlations I was able to draw. I would note that these stats are current but their value can be limited in terms of finding one-to-one correlations between actions I took and the reactions on the site. First, let’s look at traffic sources.
As you can see here, email works. I sent out lots of email. I hated myself for it. But it works. If you don’t have a large list and a solid mailing-list provider, you’re probably sunk. That said, we need to remember that I wrote a kids’ book. I’m not working on a pocket drone or body tracking smartwatch. The email list consisted of people I know and who submitted their email to my Mailchimp account or other email gathering systems I’ve had over the years. These leads, as they say, are gold.
The third and fourth most valuable generators were Facebook and then Twitter. But look at those contributions numbers: 46 for Facebook and half that for Twitter. It’s embarrassing. I even “boosted” my posts on Facebook for a bit more visibility but the best I got out of social media was more social media mentions. It’s a spiral that is surprisingly frustrating. Social media encourages people to click, not buy. Again, your results may vary but I would discount social media as a sales driver and instead treat it as a way to generate buzz or goodwill.
This stat is far less interesting, but obviously, English-speakers tended to like my campaign more than anyone else. Turkey is an outlier because someone there bought a dinner with me which was one of the perks. I don’t know how we’re going to meet, but that’s what I promised.
Next up is visits over time. This was an interesting graph because it correlated almost directly to my mass mailing efforts. Other spikes came when Indiegogo put my campaign in their newsletter and on their front page, which was surprising. Indiegogo itself drove quite a bit of traffic although not a lot of it actively converted. I was pleased to see it, though, and it shows the platform cares about the projects. Now for the money:
As you can see, there is a vague correlation between traffic and cash accrued. In short I made $1.50 a visit, give or take, which is pretty good. This was skewed by some large pledges that blew me past some of the marks but it’s still an interesting statistic.
Finally we have this massive mentions graphic that you can click to embiggen. It sort of says it all about how silly the dependence on social media is at this point for these sorts of projects. While I won’t say that I’m the biggest thing on Twitter, even some wonderful tweets from wonderful friends were like fireworks in the dark – a huge blast of interest that petered out quickly. Again, this is not to say that social media is a poor way to fundraise, but it can’t be the only way.
What else did I do to drive traffic? I fiddled with the pricing, knocking e-copies down to $3 for 24 hours. I also tried to update with a final video and regular messages to backers. One piece of advice I got was to hit up previous backers for more money, something I couldn’t bring myself to do. I could, however, definitely see them being put into my mailing list for the next two books.
Will I crowdfund again? Probably. I love the experience and I love contacting people I’ve been out of touch with and, for lack of a better word, hitting them up for money. However, in the interim I’ve reconnected with old friends, met some amazing readers, and will get to have dinner with Kerem Ozkan and Nick Saltarelli, two of the folks who were kindest to the project. I’m going to talk about finding printers and editors in the next installment of the The Mytro Project and until then I want to thank you for keeping up with the project. I know it’s a little self-serving to talk up my own project on TC, but I hope that some of the data is helpful to others working on similar projects down the line.