We did it! We raised over $9000 on our successful Kickstarter campaign! Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting and believing in our book.
We are almost finished with the layout now and will spend most of August proofing the book and meeting with printing companies.
I purchased an ISBN code today, this is the unique barcode that you see on the back of every published book. Seeing the barcode, it looks like a real book now. :-)
If your friends are interested in the book and didn’t make the fundraising campaign, they can pre-order at this link: https://square.link/u/VGZAKMjf
I liked using Kickstarter for the fundraising campaign. They use an all-or-nothing model, which means that a project does not get any funding until it meets the funding goal. I thought this was a good idea for this project, because I didn't want to be in a position where the book was partially funded; then you're committed to delivering the product to backers, without receiving enough money to actually produce it.
Kickstarter offered lots of good suggestions up front; how long to run campaign; how important it is to promote the project to your potential supporters before it launches, in order to get some starting momentum; how important it is to make a video; things to discuss in your supporter updates, etc.
Once it launched, I was able to keep track of the campaign status using the Kickstarter iPhone app, but I was unable to edit the project on the phone - I had to use the desktop website.
As soon as the campaign launched, I started receiving emails from people looking to help promote the project. At first I thought these were coming from Kickstarter itself, but it was soon obvious that these are the same scammers that promise to put your website on the front page of Google. I received all these messages, yet I didn't get notified about the one thing I wanted to be know about: when someone backed the project.
I also received many complaints about the Japanese localization of the Kickstarter website. Very few Japanese friends were able to actually back the project; I got several emails that committed support but could not successfully navigate the Kickstarter site in Japanese. One or two from American friends as well, so I guess they need to improve their User Experience...
Would I do it again like this? Yes! There's incredible validation from all the people that came out of nowhere to support the project. The Kickstarter website itself sent quite a few visitors to my project, who ended up backing it.
I also ran ads on Facebook/Instagram. Not too expensive, about $25/day, mostly on the weekends. For that expenditure I reached almost 10,000 people each day. As much as I dislike Mark Zuckerberg, this seemed pretty cost effective.
I also made one or two posts to each social network each week. Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and Twitter🤧. Some of my friends posted information on their fb/ig pages as well. Thank you!!!
Now the campaign is over, let's see how easily Kickstarter actually hands over the money that was pledged.
Basic updates will be posted to the Kickstarter backer mailing list. Additionally, I am planning to make less frequent, but more detailed project updates here on my Empty Kyoto newsletter.
Once again, thank you all for your generous support. Onward!