Thursday, February 27, 2014

KICK OFF!

I’ve created a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise money to bring Nobody to print. It’ll be starting in just a couple days and run for 30 days.
The goal is to raise $6,000 to print as many copies of Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody as I can. I’m hoping I can raise more money than that, but I had to make sure I had a realistic goal set so I can actually get this project going.
I have received a many requests for autographed copies, a few requests or opportunities arising for book signings, and the market numbers for books show there is still strong demand for print books. Admittedly, it isn’t a huge demand at the moment, but there is need to have physical copies of Nobody.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a fund raising site. It’s a poor man’s venture capital resource. There are other sites that compete with Kickstarter, but Kickstarter has had a lot of success raising money for people trying to self-publish.

How It Works…

A creator sets up a campaign to raise capital of $X as the goal. The campaign has several different contribution levels that contributors can choose. Each level offers a different reward for the contributor.
Contributors interested in the project pledge donations toward the project, choosing a reward tier they would like.
IF the campaign reaches the goal of $X, then everyone who pledged gets charged the amount they pledged, the money is tallied up and (after 10% is taken out for fees and credit card processing) the raised monies are deposited in the account of the campaign creator.
Then the campaign creator can use the money to push the project through and then send out all the rewards to the contributors.
If the campaign does NOT reach the goal of $X, then the campaign is cancelled. No one is charged anything, and the contributor has to go back to the drawing board.
It is a fairly safe bet for contributors. If a campaign doesn’t work, then you don’t pay anything.

My Project

As stated above, my project is geared to raising the money necessary to print books.
What I’m offering as rewards for donations are:

  • $1 – Thanks!
  • $10 – Copy of the ebook
  • $25 – Autographed copy of the hardcover book
  • $50 – Autographed and serial numbered copy of the hardcover book
  • $500 – Two autographed and low serial numbered copies of the hardcover book plus dinner in Boston. (How the contributor gets to Boston is their concern.)
  • $5,000 – Two autographed and low serial numbered copies of the hardcover book plus I travel to the contributors location to do a private book signing for the venue of their choice. (School, library, book club, etc.)
Now, for those of you looking at this and quickly jumping onto your keyboards to send me messages that I must be completely nuts and naive asking for those last two items, I have this to say: “Aim for the stars, shoot for the moon.”
I am neither aiming for, nor expecting to get donations as huge as those last two. I’m aiming for the two middle items: $25 and $50. Those last two items are merely "shoot for the moon" tiers. I am always fond of saying, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” Well, the corollary to that is, “If you don’t ask for it, you’ll never receive it.”

“How Can I Help?”

Spread the word!
I only need 120 people to sign up for the $50 tier of the kickstarter campaign to hit my goal. That’s all!
All you have to do is say, “A friend of mine wrote and self-published a book and is trying to raise money to bring it to print. Help him out!,” and include a link to the Kickstarter campaign.
How likely am I to get that many people looking at my fund raising campaign?
I have 282 friends on Facebook.
All of those friends combined make up one degree of separation. The second degree of separation is the group composed of the friends of my Facebook friends. And that number? It took me 10 minutes to go through my friend list and punch the numbers into a calculator: almost 102,000 people! The average number of friends people seem to have is around 360 people.
That means the third degree of separation is in excess of 35 million people. That’s almost 10% of the population of the United States.
Ever wonder why so many businesses want you to share them on Facebook? That’s why!
If all my friends of Facebook share—and I mean share, not just like— the link about my Kickstarter campaign, then 102,000 people will see that link. Of that number, if only 1% goes to visit, then over 1,000 people will look at my campaign and consider helping out. Of that, I need only 120 people to actually make the donation. (For those of you who are truly OCD about statistics, I am already aware that many of those friends are interconnected, so the outreach is actually probably about 10%–20% smaller. I’m trying to keep it simple.)
Just .1% needs to help out. It seems like such a small number, but that’s what I need.
The difference between “Sharing” and “Liking” something on Facebook is significant in how your friends react to something depending on whether you shared or liked it.
Sharing carries a lot more weight to it, and your friends are much more likely to read and pay attention to something you share. When you simply like something, people look at it and then pass on by without taking anything else into account about it.
But more importantly, you have to make a comment about why you shared the link. This significantly raises the likelihood that people will pause and look at why you shared the link. And this will increase my chances of success.

Why Am I Doing This?

Why raise the money to print the books with a printer instead of using a Print On Demand (POD) service?
Price.
And my own insistence on high quality. I want books that in fifty years from now will still be in good condition when pulled off the book shelf. POD books in general are paperback books. Paperbacks don’t hold up well over the years.
But the price is a big driver behind my decision.
If I put my book into a POD service, in order for me to get copies to sign and hand out to people at events means I have to pay the full retail price for each book. That means the price I would have to set to sell books at book stores would be prohibitively expensive. The same for selling books at a book signing; I have to make enough money at least to pay at least for my travel expenses. But what about living and food expenses at home?
Going directly to a printer and not through a middleman service, I can print the books at the manufacturing price. This leaves me much more room to set wholesale, list, and retail pricing. Not only do I have to raise money to print books, but I have to pay utilities, put food on the table, get the car repaired, buy gas. Also, bookstores have employees they have to pay and so on.
The Kickstarter campaign serves another purpose: promotion.
In order to make a career as a self-published writer, you need at least 10,000 people who will buy the books you write, each year. In order to find those 10,000 people (.003% the population of the United States), you have to make a lot of noise to be noticed.

So– HELP!
Let people know I need support to pull this off. Share it on Facebook and suggest your friends share it too to reach more people.
It’ll all be over by the end of March, so spread the word and let’s hope I get enough interested people sign on.