Happy Kickstarter Launch Eve!

We’ve been busy over here at TTT&T Kickstarter Campaign Headquarters, which has over the course of the last ten days moved from London to Nashville to New York to Providence, RI, and back to New York again.

There are less than twenty-four (!) hours to go before we make our Kickstarter live, and we still have much to do:

  • fine tune our campaign video;

  • copy edit our campaign page;

  • check that all our rewards are visible and in their rightful place;

  • organize the presentation schedule for tomorrow’s live event at KidLit TV;

  • figure out what we’re going to wear;

  • get bitten-down fingernails filed and buffed (no point in applying polish at this point);

  • arrange for delivery of already purchased party food and party libations on an Italian theme to KidLit TV;

  • create an infographic to explain our campaign goal.

So needless to say, this communiqué will be brief. But it is perhaps the most important post of our entire pre-launch process. Because this is where I:

  • announce our campaign goal;

  • explain how we got there; and

  • tell you how to participate to ensure that this gamble results in success!

Bad News, Good News

One thing we’ve learned through the process of mounting this Kickstarter campaign is there’s no secret bullet for ensuring that your goal will be met. Some great projects limp out of the starting gate, never move beyond the initiator’s inner circle, and don’t go on to fund. Others manage to touch hearts and minds, somehow break out of the inner circle to go viral, and go on to accrue two, three, even four times their original ask.

Even without a secret algorithm or special sauce, however, it is possible to be smart and realistic in goal-setting for success. Here’s an insider’s view into the logic we applied to making our final decision.

How much do you minimally need?
That’s right. You really don’t want success for success’s sake. Because your work doesn’t end at the conclusion of a successful campaign. Once the campaign is over, you have to make the thing you promised to make. Then you have to produce it and ship it. You have to fulfill your promise.

So if you need $40k to realize your vision and you only ask for $20K, then you’re really only half way there. And where are you going to come up with another $20K?

This is one reason why we chose all-or-nothing Kickstarter rather than a seemingly less risky platform, like Indiegogo. In my first Kickstarter campaign, I asked for $5K. I was lucky, I managed to raise $6K. But the StoryAppTour I was building then cost me closer to $23K to build. That remaining $17K came not from angel investment, but from my daughter’s college fund! (Fortunately, I still managed to send her to school.)

Suffice to say, you don’t want to be on the hook to build something you cannot afford to build. So start by figuring out what you minimally need, and go on from there to ask…

80% of the projects that make it to 20% of their goal go on to fund at 100%. And those that get to 20% within the first week are most likely to go beyond their goal.

How much can I expect in pledge promises from my wonderful family and friends? That’s right! You don’t have to wait until the campaign goes live to start asking. I started early on planting the seed among the chosen ones. You. Because if there’s any Kickstarter mantra to live by it’s this:

By end of last week, when my team and I had to finally commit to our goal ask and turn our attention to a million other more pressing things, we’d accumulated more than 20% of $50k. So that’s where we started our conversation.

The next thing you want to evaluate is…

How far is your reach?
Is it possible that your campaign will go beyond your immediate friends and followers? On this score, we feel we’re standing on solid ground. For starters, we are already a team of many people. So it’s not just my community we’ll be reaching out to, but all our communities. Already that’s a lot more people than I had access to for my campaign to fund Beware Madame la Guillotine.

Secondly, our friends have just been awesome! Not only with their early pledge promises, but we now have live parties being hosted in New York, Paris, London, and Nice in support of our campaign!

Additionally, we have the endorsement of four pretty major online institutions, serving three strategically different target audiences:

  • Teachers With Apps targets educators, especially techie ones.

  • KidLit TV, a runaway success in its own right, targets the children’s book community of publishers, writers, illustrators, educators, parents, and readers.

  • Italy Magazine targets italiaonphiles and Italian tourism.

  • The Florentine Magazine targets both Florence tourism as well as Anglophone expats living in or around Florence.

Now, if we look only at Italy Magazine, for example, they have 500,000 subscribers. If we say that 1% of their readership goes on to support our campaign at the $25 level, then that’s potentially $125k raised.

With that, plus the early pledge promises from friends, plus the enthusiasm we hope to generate from within the KidLit and educational communities, plus the additional aid we expect to gain from our live events, we feel quite confident that we will hit that tipping point – 20% in the first week – and go on, eventually to fund.

And Now THE News

So given all the above, we’ve decided to shoot for a goal of $40,000. It’s what we minimally need to build a “minimum lovable product” of In the Footsteps of Giants, while also establishing the foundational architecture of our publishing engine. And we don’t want to be on the hook to make something we can’t afford to do well.

So, what can you do? You can support our campaign. There are many ways to do so. You can…

  • Pledge to contribute. No amount is too small. Indeed, numbers of backers are just as important in the Kickstarter universe as numbers of dollars. And even at $1, we’ve got a great reward for you: a Backstage Pass to our funding, development and fulfillment process. So please pledge whatever you can.

  • Make your pledge early. In the first week, if possible. Remember, if we make it to 20% in the first seven days, we will be well on our way. Early momentum helps take the campaign viral where it is sure to capture hearts and minds.

  • Share our story with your family and friends. Post it to your social media. Shout out about it whenever and wherever you can. We’ll make it easy for you with regular updates, including pre-written swipe copy.

Now, because I'm the boss and I can, I’m offering you a Sneak Peek into our campaign.
With this link, you will be the first to witness our campaign video.
We do hope you like it!

Remember, no pledge is too small.
What’s more, you can always change your pledge later on if you wish.

My gratitude, as ever, for your generosity and support!