Posts Tagged ‘viral marketing’

Adam’s Kickstarter Experience: Week 1 Update

This is the first update from my #Kickstarter fund raising experience for my novel #RipplesintheChalice. You can see the project (and donate if you like) at

Week one has gone by in a flash, leaving me both hopeful and nervous. I’m not on a great pace to be funded, but on the up side more funds are coming in quicker.

To summarize:

I held off announcing my Kickstarter publicly for one day just to see how many, if any, strangers would back the project. One stranger backed it at $1.00.

* After that, I reached out to my community through my personal Facebook page, the Facebook page for my first novel, all the writer groups I belong to on Facebook, Twitter, a blog post on my website (which was the link I gave to the writers groups), direct emails to people I know who don’t use social media much, direct emails to friends on Goodreads, Google+, YouTube, direct emails to bloggers and reviewers whom I’ve worked with through my website, I shared the link with my artists and editor, and my personal major writers community, NIWA. I feel like I’m missing something, but I’ve done at least that much I’m certain.

* One week later I have 15 backers donating $411 (putting me at 6% of funding). The average donation is close to $30. A breakdown of donations goes as such: 3 x $1.00, 1 x $5.00, 3 x $10.00, 2 x $20.00, 2 x $30.00, 1 x $50.00, and 1 x 120.00. I could have sworn there was one other $50.00 backer but am not seeing now.

* So far there seems to be an even mix of close friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers contributing. The complete strangers, understandably, have been the lower tier backers. I’m surprised at those close to me who had seemed totally gung-ho to support me have been silent so far. Some have said that they are waiting for their next payday, which makes me wonder if Kickstarter is similar to a Goodreads Book Giveaway where the majority of supporters show up towards the end of the period. I’ve gotten a nice comment from a stranger couple who are supporting me.

* At least ten people have shared my information through various social medias (re-tweets, shares on FB), half of them have had their people re-share. Two of them have blogs of their own with a wider reach.

* Someone on one of my writer groups on FB caused a minor stir when she pointed out that she felt that the amount of money I’m paying for editing seemed way too much. A healthy debate ensued among group members on exactly how much money someone should pay for editing.

The marketing aspect of promoting my Kickstarter has been a learning experience and I’ve received lots of feedback. Which includes:

* I should provide a tangible award for $10 backers. It’s not possible to edit existing award tiers once a project goes live, but you can create a duplicate $10 award tier, but this time with a new award. I decided to do this and offer up another ebook, a novella related to my first book. I pointed this out in my first update to the backers-to-date. KS doesn’t make you write updates to your backers, but it’s just plain common sense that you should communicate with those who gave you money.

* It’s true what they say about posting on Facebook: only a fraction of your community see the post at any give time. Even though I’ve been posting it almost daily (which irks me because it makes feel like a dirty, dirty spammer) not that many people see it or like/comment (however I find it suspicious when I post a cute cat meme about the same time I get plenty of likes/comments. Hmm…). I’ve learned to target certain audiences with a drop down menu item when posting. I can target just people I went to high school with, college, or my hometown. I seem to get better results when I do that.

* I’ve learned that just because people are watching the video and get excited about it, they often don’t understand how to follow up and go to Kickstarter dot com and make a pledge. I have to work on better communicating this in my posts. The video at the end has arrows pointing down and with me saying, “see below for more details,” which works great on KS because the arrows point to the text of the project page. On other sites where the video plays, it is just confusing. Arrows. Bad idea. Probably.

* Other ideas I’ve heard I probably should implement include adding hashtag keywords to my posts and including a a link to my Kickstarter project in my email signature line and in my Facebook page cover image.

* I wish I could afford to print business cards with all the pertinent info on it so I could give to people to walk away with, leaving them with a tangible reminder to back me.

A new opportunity to promote just came up. I’m a Toastmaster (public speaking club) and they have asked me to give a speech at an upcoming meeting on any topic I like. So, you guessed it, I’m going to talk about my book and the Kickstarter campaign promoting it to a captive audience of 50 or so.

My next blog post will be in another week. Thank you for tuning in.


From the Synopsis to The Pitch: Promoting Your Writing

If you write, chances are you do it for one reason: To share your writing with others. Few, if any of us, write something just so that we can stick it in a drawer never to be seen again. We aspire to be story tellers on the grandest of scales. The Holy Grail of story telling is to publish so we can reach a world wide audience. To achieve that goal, we must do many things. From me, to you, to Stephen King we are obligated to jump through many hoops to promote our stories. One of the most common hoops is to simply explain our story to whomever will listen.

For example: You’re at a cocktail party and someone approaches you, saying, “I heard you wrote something. Tell me about it.” You’re being asked for a brief over view. A summary…a synopsis. Which is precisely the same thing a publisher or agent will ask when you approach them for representation. It is also what a bookstore owner or manager will ask when, as a self published author, you inquire if they will sell your book on their shelves. They first need to know what it’s about, and briefly.

If you can’t give them a memorable synopsis, you won’t get very far. It’s also important to realize there are different kinds of summaries to give depending on who you are addressing. A publisher or agent will eventually want to know the entire plot to determine marketability. An individual or bookstore, however, doesn’t want to know the ending, they just want to be intrigued enough to consider purchasing. Regardless of your audience, your summary must start out the same: With an attention grabbing line or phrase somewhere in your introduction that hooks the audience into learning more.

“Hook” is the appropriate literary term for this device. An entire book could be written on the topic of hooks alone. In fact, there is a literary agent who devoted a portion of her blog to hooks and invited readers to participate in a “best hook” competition. She no longer blogs but you can learn much by reading her archive at

For a publisher or agent the hook will figure prominently in your query letter, which is a single page document that introduces yourself and your story while seeking representation. Once you’ve grabbed their attention, the rest of your synopsis should seal the deal and make them take the next step. They will either ask for a full blown synopsis, an outline, sample chapters, or all the above.

As mentioned, an individual or bookstore will not ask for that much information. Their summary will be more succinct as will be their hook which will be more like the tag line you hear during a movie trailer or see on a poster. They should be motivated to buy your book immediately (or at least tell others about it, effectively becoming your viral marketing).  A summary given to this audience is called “The Pitch” (as in sales pitch, because that is essentially what it is). You want it long enough to give all the intriguing details, but short enough that you don’t lose their attention. It is very similar to what job seekers and self-promoters call an “Elevator Speech.” It’s just long enough to sell yourself while you have a potential employer or client trapped with you in an elevator.

If I were trapped with you in an elevator, my pitch might sound like this:

Every fairy tale has a grain of truth to it. If you could go back in time and see the actual event that inspired a fairy tale chances are, because people are as complex as they are, it would be far more interesting than the resulting childhood fantasy. That is what I had in mind when I wrote my novel ‘Echoes of Avalon’—a fairy tale for grown ups. It starts out in Medieval history as Sir Patrick, an Irish knight returns from the First Crusade in the Holy Lands. He’s lost his faith in people and God and is haunted by an apparition that follows him, pointing accusingly. In this state a stranger finds him and offers a new beginning as a knight protector on the fabled Isle of Avalon. Skeptical, but with few options, Patrick takes the offer. From here the story slips into the realm of fantasy as Patrick is introduced to ghost, goblins, and talking wolves on an island harboring a secret academy filled with the youth of the world’s nobility. It is here Patrick is tempted to believe again…and fall in love. That is until the ultimate villain arrives with sinister plans for the island, and the woman in Patrick’s life. Patrick soon learns that before he can battle monsters, he must first defeat his demons.

That clocks in just under a minute. Plenty of time for an elevator and it won’t lose anyone’s attention over coffee or cocktails.

It’s not enough to write a great story. You have to share it by first promoting it. The most fundamental task of promoting is simply giving your listener an intriguing summary. Hone your pitch. Craft your synopsis. It’s worth it.

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