Archive for the ‘Crowdfunding’ Category


Yes, it’s true. You can actually pre-order GHOST HOLD: BOOK TWO OF THE PSS CHRONICLES in both e-book and paperback formats now, three months before its September 2013 release.  But don’t delay, because this offer only lasts this month JUNE 1ST-JULY 1ST 2013.

How is this possible, when Amazon doesn’t let Indie Authors create a pre-order feature through them?

Thanks to the magic of KICKSTARTER, an extremely reliable crowdfunding site which allows me to put GHOST HOLD up for pre-order and simultaneously raise the funds to produce the book at the highest quality level possible.


Not sure about crowdfunding? Well, if you’ve read and loved GHOST HAND, that is exactly how the book was funded and produced. And every backer got the book they’d hoped for AND the satisfaction of knowing they’d helped make it a reality.

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the SECOND BOOK IN THE PSS CHRONICLES, I encourage you to consider backing the GHOST HOLD Kickstarter Project today. Backing is very simple and only involves signing up with Kickstarter and having an active Amazon account (or creating one).


Backers were the first to see the new Ghost Hold Cover at its release on June 15th.

Backers of the project will also receive a sneak peek of chapter 1 (already released), chapter 2 (at $2000 mark) and chapter 3 (final goal $2,500) of Ghost Hold.


Well, it’s possible, but not probable. Last year, GHOST HAND obtained 110% of its funding, and GHOST HOLD is already ahead of the game in that regard. In only the first six days, GHOST HOLD is already 39% funded. Projects which are this funded this early, are 93% likely to make their goal.

But, if everyone assumes it will make it, or that other people will pledge so they don’t need to, it could fail.

If that happens, the publication of GHOST HOLD might be severely delayed as I seek out other ways to acquire the funds to do it right.

So, if you want GHOST HOLD as soon as possible, please back the project, even if only for a little, because every dollar counts.

Thank you so much for all your amazing support.

Ripley Patton



Ghost Hand is Funded!


The publication of Ghost Hand as been successfully funded on Kickstarter.

Thank you so much for your support. Thank you for backing the project 112%. It was an amazing experience for me to see the money rolling in from family, friends, fans, and even people I didn’t know.


Over the course of the project, not only did you fund the money I needed to make Ghost Hand a real book, many of you offered to donate your skills and talents as well.

I now have someone copy editing Ghost Hand for free, someone preparing the the print lay-out for free and someone converted all the e-book files for free. These are all tasks I was originally going to have to pay for, which means even more of my Kickstarter funds can go toward promotion and print production of Ghost Hand, as well as research for book two. And yes, that means I will be able to afford that trip to Indianapolis for setting research, even though we didn’t make that final stretch goal.

A special thank you goes out to those who have offered to help make Ghost Hand a reality in such a hands-on way.


First, it takes about two weeks for the Kickstarter pledges to be processed and finalized to my account, so I won’t see the funds until early September. While I’m waiting, I will be going over Ghost Hand one last time, polishing it to a gleaming shine before sending it out for a professional edit.

A professional edit can take up to four weeks, so that puts us into early October before I get it back to make corrections and changes to the manuscript.

Meanwhile, I will be ordering ISBNs for the print and e-book versions, and the good news is they come in batches of 10 for $250, which means I will have covered my ISBN needs for four future books as well.

Once the edit is done and changes have been made, Ghost Hand will be formatted for e-book and paperback and will go to print. This will take about two weeks, which puts us to mid-October.

I will also be making plans for a special Ghost Hand Launch in November, just in time to buy it for the holidays for all your YA-loving kin.

Thank you for making the reality of Ghost Hand possible.


The GeekGirlCon Kickstarter Panel: Even More Things You Didn’t Know About Kickstarter

At the recent GeekGirlCon in Seattle, I attended a panel on Kickstarter. The panelists were Tristan J. Tarwater and Caytlin Vilbrant. Tristan has done several Kickstarters for her fantasy novel series, and Caytlin is a comic artist who has also done multiple Kickstarters.


The first thing the panelists discussed was the difference between Indiegogo and Kickstarter. While Indiegogo is open to international projects, for Kickstarter you must be located in the US to run a project. Internationals can back a KS project, they just can’t create one. Indiegogo also does not use the “all of nothing” backing method that Kickstarter does. With Indiegogo, you get whatever funds you raise regardless of your initial goal. Indiegogo allows charity or “fund your life” projects, whereas Kickstarter only allows projects that result in a creative outcome or product. However, Indiegogo does take a larger cut of the funds raised (7% plus 3-5% Amazon charges) whereas Kickstarter only charges 5% plus the 3-5% Amazon charges. In the end, both panelists chose Kickstarter based on its lower fees and its popularity as it is currently the number one crowdfunding website in the world with approximately 6 million hits a day. Less cost and more exposure is hard to argue with.


In order to run a successful Kickstarter project, it is crucial to have an existing audience or clientele for your creative project. Unless you are already a well-known artist, your first project will primarily be backed by friends, family, and people who are already aware of your art. It is a good idea to sit down BEFORE you create your project and make a list of your potential backers. Include family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, Facebook friends, and anyone who has shown a previous interest in your work. This list will guide you as you promote your project before and once it starts. Be aware that only about 10-20% of those on your list will actually fund you.


With Kickstarter, setting a realistic funding goal is important because if you don’t make your goal, you don’t get anything. It is better to set a lower goal and overfund, than a higher goal and get nothing. However, it is best to look at your project and estimate the costs involved to make it. Don’t forget to calculate in the fees mentioned above, production and shipping of any rewards, and taxes on your Kickstarter income.


Suggestions the panelists offered about creating your project.

1)      Make sure you have a video.

2)      Break up your text with visuals. Include mock-ups of the product and rewards, art work, and heading borders.

3)      Don’t have too many reward tiers, but make sure you hit the most popular level- $25, and have a variety, including $5 for those who just want to test the KS waters.

4)      Involve other creative friends and artists in your project. This gives you more options for rewards, broadens your backer base, and helps support your fellow artists by including their work and links to it.

5)      It is good to create a short press release with a blurb and visuals and send it out to appropriate blogs, websites and media outlets before you start your project.

6)      Be sure to use the update feature to keep the project current and your backers excited.


In many cases, Kickstarter projects overfund, meaning they meet their goal and then go beyond it. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is good, because it means you have more money to make your project better. It is a curse because it puts pressure on you to offer bigger and better stretch goal and rewards.  The more backers give, the more you can produce, but creating extra rewards takes time and effort and may delay your original delivery estimate. Be careful when choosing stretch rewards. Both Tristan and Caytlin suggested making your stretch rewards digital (perhaps an e-version or an mp3) so they are much easier to produce and cost no extra shipping.


One thing the panelists talked about briefly is the fact that Kickstarter processes all its pledges through Amazon, and only Amazon. Your pledge is linked to your Amazon account (or one you create, if you don’t have one yet), and a hold is put on your credit card, but you are not actually charged until the project makes its goal. If it doesn’t make it, you are never charged.

During my Kickstarter project some people have asked about this and wondered why Kickstarter doesn’t use PayPal or other forms of payment. The reason Kickstarter doesn’t use PayPal is because PayPal requires the delivery of goods within 30 days or the purchaser can demand a full refund. Obviously, this doesn’t work for a Kickstarter where the project often is not finished in 30 days, and one would not suddenly want to see one’s funding pulled from the project 30 days into the process.


As the creator, after your Kickstarter ends you will be exhausted. Running a KS project is similar to running a marathon, and after you cross the finish line you may wonder what possessed you to do it in the first place. And you may be sure you will never do it again. The good news is, just like marathon running, there is something addictive about Kickstarter. You will probably find yourself, sometime in the future, contemplating running another project. And then the question arises,”Are your backers weary?” Have they been tapped out or have you burst the giving bubble. The answer might surprise you.

Caytlin Vilbrandt actually pollled her previous backers to see if they were tired of her asking for money through Kickstarter, or if they would rather she fund her project some other way. They almost unanimously responded, “Do another Kickstarter.” You see, Kickstarter is not just addictive to those who create projects. It is also addictive to those who back them.

Another surprising statistic that both Caytlin and Tristan shared was that on their first KS, their backers were primarily people they knew or who already knew them. The figure they gave was over 50%. But on their second and subsequent projects, the people they knew comprised only about 5% of their backing. The rest came from people they didn’t know. This shows that Kickstarter is a viable promotional tool. It actively broadens your fan base and artistic audience. It also shows that backer fatigue may exist, but it doesn’t really matter. Your second and third project are going to tap into a new demographic of people who haven’t backed you yet. And it also shows that the more you utilize KS, the better you get at it, and the more credibility you build in the KS community. People can see that you’ve had a previous project succeed and you delivered the goods.

Thank you to Tristan and Caytlin for sharing your KS wisdom, and for letting me hand out my Ghost Hand Kickstarter cards.

Like this article?  Show your support by backing my Ghost Hand Kickstarter project HERE, and help send an Indie to Indy. 

Ghost Hand is Funded!

Want to be part of launching the next new Young Adult Paranormal Thriller series by an award-winning author? Get in on the ground floor and pre-order Ghost Hand on my Kickstarter Project. With only four days left, I have already reached my $2500 goal and I am now working toward a stretch goal to fund travel to the location of Ghost Hand book 2, exotic Indianapolis, Indiana.


“As an adult reading GHOST HAND, I was struck by how much I wanted to be Olivia Black. Ripley Patton’s passion for teens and skill at writing is revealed in Olivia’s sassy, smart personality.”  – Angel McCoy, Editor of Wily Writers Audible Fiction and horror writer extraordinaire.

“In Ghost Hand the characters talk like real teens, mainly because I made mom take out words like ‘goomba’, ‘buzz off’ and ‘scared the tar out of me.’ So, yeah, she owes me one.”  – Valerie Patton, fourteen-year-old daughter of Ripley Patton

“I keep telling her it needs more swearing. And more guns.”  – Soren Patton, sixteen-year-old son of Ripley Patton

“She’s done with that thing? Does this mean I get her lap back?” – Jet, the Patton family cat.

“Ripley Patton knows how to deliver a coming-of-age story packed with realistic, rounded characters.”  – Edwina Harvey, Editor of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Freelance editor, and author of the YA science fiction novel, The Whale’s Tale.


There are secrets we keep hidden deep inside of us. Secrets of abuse and abandonment and self-harm. No one can see them. No one can find them. No one can touch us there. 

Until now.

Olivia Black just discovered that her ghost hand, a genetic defect, can do more than light up a room. It can reach into people and pull things out. Things from the darkest depths of the human psyche never meant to exist in this world. 

Olivia can pickpocket the soul. 

But she can’t control her ability, or the strange items it extracts, and the only thing between Olivia and the men bent on taking the power of her hand is a boy she barely knows and doesn’t trust. 

Ghost Hand will have a release date of November 2012,  just in time for the Christmas season. You can listen to the first chapter of Ghost Hand on StarShipSofa, read by Ripley herself.  Then go check it out on Kickstarter and pre-order your copy by backing the project today.

Kickstarter: Welcome to Indie Boot Camp

As an indie or self-pubbed author, you have to promote yourself. You don’t have a publisher, or an editor, or a marketing team working for you. You will be the only one putting yourself forward to the world. And that takes guts.

Now, if you are like me and most of the writers I know, you are an introvert. You don’t like to go to parties or talk to strangers, let alone promote yourself loudly and on a regular basis. You just want to go hide inside your stories. Sadly, I read an article recently that proposed that introverts shouldn’t even bother being indie writers, because we will inevitably fail without all those extrovert traits.

But I don’t believe this is true. I believe that even an introvert can learn the skills needed to promote their writing without forsaking their personality, especially with the handy new tool we have at our disposal known as the internet (also known as “the introvert’s best friend”). The reason I believe this is because I have done it. But it isn’t easy and it takes a bit of practice and conditioning.

When someone joins the military, they condition them at boot camp, breaking them down and building them back up over a concentrated time-period for their new role and environment. Well, I think I recently found the indie equivalent of boot camp- something called Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is the world’s most popular crowdfunding site. It is a way to raise funds for creative projects. For example, I am currently running a Kickstarter to help publish my YA paranormal thriller, Ghost Hand.

If you want a window into what it is going to be like to be your own publicist for life, I encourage you to try running a Kickstarter project. Just setting one up is a good lesson in marketing. What is your book’s selling point? What makes it different than all the other Kickstarter fiction projects? Is your cover appealing enough to snare people who don’t know you or your book? How do you promote your creative vision in a video and on-line presence? What is a reasonable price point? Oh, and don’t forget to include shipping and overhead costs in that price.

But setting up your project is only the beginning of your boot camp experience.

When your project begins, that is really what separates the recruits from the seasoned soldiers. You now have 30 days (or the time-frame you choose) to get in shape, because with Kickstarter you don’t get your funds unless you raise your entire goal. During that crazy 30-day run, you are going to get an idea of what being an indie writer is about. The part where you aren’t writing but are promoting and selling what you have written, a piece that is just as important as the writing because it is what pays the bills so you can keep writing.

What does Kickstarter boot camp include?

 1)      Meta-Data Crunches   Here is where you get to play with various blurbs, excerpts, appeals, content and visuals to see what does or doesn’t sell your book. You can change things on your project daily if you want (except for your goal and time-frame). This is similar to what you can do on an e-book vender page, changing and testing your meta-data to see what draws buyers in and what doesn’t.

2)      Internet Marketing Push-ups  – Helps you discover what marketing tactics work best for you and your fan-base. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, e-mail, blogging, website content, print and paper promotion, personal connection or some combination? What are you best at and what gets the most response?

3)      Marketing Push Drill  – Helps you learn how to do concentrated, time-specific marketing pushes and blog tours, like when preparing for a book launch. If you can keep up the energy and enthusiasm over the course of a Kickstarter project, you will know you can do it again when needed.

4)      Fan Briefings  – Helps you learn to compose regular, positive updates for your friends, family and fans about your work and its progress. Gives you a window into the importance of keeping your fans involved and engaged in your creative process.

5)      Tactical Creative Promotions  – Helps you learn to think outside the box for promotions, using everything from give-aways, rewards, swag, and contests. Challenges you to explore new ways to reach people with your product.

6)      Goal-setting Platoon March  – Gives you a specific goal to shoot for within a specific time frame, a good model to follow when coming up with future marketing plans and projects.

7)      Bravery Training  – Helps you learn to be bold about telling those around you what you do. During my Kickstarter, I have been carrying around project post cards that I give to people when the topic comes up. I do not hard sell my project, but I did sneak around my apartment complex slipping post cards under neighbor’s doors with a note that one of their neighbors had written a book. This is something that is way outside of my comfort zone, but I find myself growing in bravery daily.

8)      Fan-base Formations  – Helps you find out who your true fans are, and challenges you to seek new ones. Kickstarter causes you to ask the question, “Where else can I find people who want what I have written?” At some point in your Kickstarter project you may tap out your fan base, and you will have to get creative on how and where to connect with new readers you can carry forward to your next project and beyond.

Think of Kickstarter as your own personal indie boot camp obstacle course. Something you can learn from and train on, and maybe even fail a few times at, but that will ultimately allow you to be a better writer/promoter of your own work when you finally hit those real trenches.

Like this article and want to know EVEN MORE about Kickstarter?  Read my blog post series: Crowdfunding: What it is and Why it Matters, Hands-On Kickstarter: 12 things I learned by building a project,  Twelve things I bet you didn’t know about Kickstarter, Using Story to Drive Your Kickstarter, Keeping the Charity out of Kickstarter, and 8 reasons I didn’t back your Kickstarter. 

Kickstarter or Rollercoaster?

Thought I’d share my First Two Days of Kickstarter Stats:) Got TEN backers in the first 24 hours and 9% of the funding goal. Woot! That had me on a major high, thinking “I’m gonna rock this thing.”

50% of the backers were veterans (have backed other projects), and 50% were newbs (Welcome sweet newbs!).

40% of the backers were from New Zealand (my recent home) and 60% were from the US (my current home).

The average pledge amount for the first day was $23.00, and the most common pledge amount was $10.

And people have been hugely generous, not only with their pledges, but with their willingness to boost the signal through promoting the project via social networking.

Then I hit the second day (today) and I got one pledge. Of course, I am thankful for that one pledge. It put me over the 10% mark for my goal, which puts me at having a 75% chance of success. But wow, it felt like a downer after the activity of yesterday.

I have read that a Kickstarter gets the most activity in the first five days, and the last five days, so I’m hoping tomorrow will pick up again.

Anyone who backs me in that time frame (by July 25th) will be in a draw to win a signed copy of A Foreign Country, an anthology of New Zealand Speculative Fiction, with my contest-winning story, The Future of the Sky, in it.  Plus 21 other amazing short stories by NZ authors including, Juliet Marillier and Paul Haines.

Anyway, thanks to all. And if you haven’t jumped on board with Ghost Hand, what are you waiting for?

Spread the Word. Back It. Share It. Love it.

My Kickstarter is Go: And You Could Win Something

Many of you have been enjoying my crowdfunding and Kickstarter series of posts. Well, it was all leading up to this day when I put my money where my mouth is (and hopefully you do too:) and try the whole thing out for myself.

Yes, I have just launched a Kickstarter Project to fund the publication of my YA novel Ghost Hand.

If you aren’t familiar, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site that uses the power of the internet and word-of-mouth to provide backing for creative projects. Payments are made securely through Amazon, so if you’ve ever bought something from them, you are already set to back me.

Haven’t seen me for a while (or ever?), be sure to check out the project video featuring ME. I’m an introvert, so this is sort of like catching a glimpse of the nocturnal and ever elusive Kiwi.

Throughout the thirty day project I will be running special give-aways for those who back me in addition to the rewards listed on the site.

Anyone who backs me today, my first day out of the chute, will be entered in a draw to win a signed copy of Andromeda SpaceWays Inflight Magazine #42, featuring my YA fantasy novella, Over the Rim (as well as eleven other great stories). The beautiful and surreal cover of the magazine was designed to illustrate my story.

Please go check out my project, back me, and spread the word to friends and family through e-mail and social media, or by clicking the share buttons at the bottom of this page.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Ripley Patton

Crowdfunding: What it is and Why it Matters

Art and artists have always struggled with the issue of funding. 

You can’t create something out of nothing, and the supplies and time needed to create good art don’t come free. When you are an unknown artist, no one will pay much money or attention to your art. But in order to get better, to hone your skills and develop your art to become the fantastic artist you potentially are, you need time and you need financial support. And you need this most when you are first starting out because you are new and unknown and your art isn’t pulling in money yet. Therein lies the “starving artist” conundrum. No one wants to risk the money when the artist most needs it.

But artists are creative. And the world needs art. So, throughout history, this issue has been addressed in various ways.

1. Patronage.

Patronage was generally bestowed by kings or popes or persons of significant political power upon artists to fund their work. In other words, the person-of-power paid the artist’s livelihood and sponsored their art. The positive side of patronage was that an artist backed by such a renowned person was likely to  become well-known and influential in society.  The downside was that their art was used as a medium to promote their patron and his ideals, not their own. They got funding, but often at the cost of artistic freedom.

Artistic patronage is still alive and well today, though on a much smaller scale. For example, my husband has been my artistic parton for the last seven years. He has held the job to support us both, while I have honed my art. And I am thankful to add that he hasn’t made me write what he wants, he’s let me write what I want.

2. Artistic Grants, Awards and Residencies.

Thanks to organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and many other smaller organizations, there is “free” money out there available to artists and writers.

The downside of this is that most artistic grants or awards require you to prove some level of accomplishment before they will grant you money. It is often a case of “You have to have won a grant to get a grant,” which tends to perpetuate the same artists winning multiple awards. There are not many out there for the artist just starting out. And, in my experience, grants tend to be very specific and VERY competitive. There are a whole lot of hungry artists waiting at that table, and your chances of getting anything for your plate are pretty slim.

Even with an award under my belt and over 20 publications, I have yet to land a grant that I’ve applied for.

3. Holding Down Another Job. 

This is probably the most common way that struggling artists support themselves. They get a full-time or part-time job to pay for their livelihood and squeeze their artistic pursuits into the remaining time. Sadly, this is difficult for many artists to maintain. Time spent on that job is time lost honing their skills and craft. The artist may risk health or injury on that job, risks that could impede their ability to produce art in the future. And often, the art gives way to the more practical needs of putting food on the table or providing for a family.

4. Crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is relatively new to the scene of artistic funding, propelled primarily by the engine of the internet. Crowfunding is the collective cooperation of a network of people (usually people in the artist’s realm of influence) who pool their resources to support an artist or specific artist work. This is much like patronage, but it is a patronage by the masses, by the common man, if you will, rather than the royal family.

Artists have been using the idea of Crowdfunding for quite a while, employing their individual websites as venues, but recently large crowdfunding sites have been popping up all over the internet, the largest being Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding is personal.

Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter co-founder, says he doesn’t really like the term “Crowfunding.” To him it sounds too impersonal, like a mob of faceless, nameless people are going to support you. In reality, crowdfunding taps into the network an artist or creator already has. It asks the people who already believe in the artist to back him, and to spread the word to people they know to back him, allowing word-of-mouth to form a network of personally connected  and invested patrons.

Crowdfunding isn’t only for the rich.

For a long time art and artistic pursuit were relegated to the realm of the rich or famous. One of the beauties of crowdfunding is that is allows people with very little money to join in, either as an artist or patron (or often as both). Art can be expensive to make and buy, but by getting in on the ground floor or an artist’s career, many people can fund and buy early original art for less.

Crowdfunding is satisfying. 

Crowdfunding comes with the satisfaction of knowing you have just helped an artist who might not have otherwise gotten on their feet or developed further as an artist without our help. You have made a difference in the artistic world.

Crowdfunded art isn’t a part of the artistic status quo.

Traditionally, art has been vetted through an existing artistic machine– the foundations, publishing houses, university art programs, and funding venues that have, for so long, dictated what was good art, and what was not. With Crowfunding, the people decide what art the people want. If people want to see it made enough to back it, it gets made. If they don’t, it doesn’t. But no one from on-high is saying it won’t sell because it hasn’t been seen or done before. This allows for more innovation, more thinking outside the artistic box, and maybe chucking the box altogether.

Crowdfunding is a participatory act. 

And finally, an element of crowdfunding is often a personal invitation by the artist into their creative process. A patron of crowdfunding isn’t just someone who pays the bill. They are also a participant. They may get to have input into what is created. Or receive updates on the process. They may get invited to read the book first, or come to a dress rehearsal of the performance, or visit back stage. They have become an insider to the creation of an art form they themselves do not practice. They have been inducted into the world and ways of the artist themselves.

And who knows. That just might ignite the sleeping artist inside themselves.


Hands-On Kickstarter: 12 Things I Learned by Building a Project

Many of you have been following my Indie Pub series and my Kickstarter series, so you’ve probably put two and two together by now.

Yes, I am running a Kickstarter Project for the publication of my YA novel Ghost Hand.

Don’t worry. You haven’t missed anything. The project isn’t live yet. I am currently waiting on the Great Machine known as Amazon (the venue Kickstarter uses to process payments) to approve my bank account. And apparently, there is some snaffoo with my home address. Amazon doesn’t like it.  It wants me to live somewhere else. But I don’t, and I don’t really want to lie about it just to make them happy. So, we’re having a little “discussion” about that at the moment. Even after I get Amazon’s approval, my project must be reviewed by Kickstarter itself (which takes a day or two), so yeah, everything is ready and now its just a waiting game.

So, while I’m waiting, I thought I’d pass on a little hands-on Kickstarter wisdom I’ve picked up since this whole process started.

1. Start Your Project Early.

Originally, I wanted to start my project on July 4th, but I couldn’t get my video done by then. My second goal was July 15th, and I did actually have the input for the project done by then (just barely). But then there was the whole Amazon hoop to jump through, and the Kickstarter approval. So, if you have a specific start date in mind, I’d start inputting your project info at least two weeks before that.

2. Back A Few Projects Before You Start One.  

Backing a project and watching it run as a backer can really give you some insight into how the whole thing works. What attracted you most to the project you backed? Remember to incorporate that into your project, if you can. What repelled you from certain projects and kept you from backing them? Stay away from that in your own.

Also, when you start a project, your profile as a project owner shows your backing history. I know for me, if I see someone running a project who has never backed one, I’m much less likely to back them. Their asking me to do something (give a stranger money for a creative project) that they aren’t even willing to do. I like to see that someone is invested in the idea of Kickstarter, not just their own interests.

Worried about how much it will cost to back projects? I mean, you need money, right? You can’t afford to spend it. The good news is you can back projects for as little as a dollar. Doing that five or six times isn’t going to cost you much, and it will still give you a feel for what it is like to be a backer. And your backing history doesn’t show how much you backed things for, just that you backed them, so don’t worry about looking cheap.

3. Involve Other Creatives In Your Project.

The likelihood is, if you are a creative person, you have friends who are into the arts as well. Maybe you are an artist and you have a writer friend. Maybe you are a writer and you have a musician friend. Maybe you are a musician and you have a friend who is a dancer or a film maker. Don’t hoard your project. Share it. Invite your creative friends to be a part of your project. Ask them if they’d like to contribute to the project in some way- maybe create a reward that compliments your project (like a sketch or short film).  The more people invested in your project, the better it will be. The more people invested in your project, the more backing you will get because you are not only tapping into your field of influence, you are tapping into the fields of multiple artists and mediums. Collaboration is rich and rewarding.

4. Don’t Sweat the Video.

The important thing about the video is that you have one. The second most important thing is that you are in it- that you show your face and tell your story. Now, as an extreme introvert, this one was hard for me. I really don’t like to be filmed or put myself all over the internet. I lost several nights sleep before we “filmed” filled with anxiety over the video piece. But I can tell you from experience that I don’t back projects where the person doesn’t show themselves. A book trailer isn’t good enough. Even a voice-over doesn’t do it for me. I want to SEE who I’m backing. I want that personal connection.

The second thing about a video is the technical side. You can make your video with your laptop’s little build in webcam. Just make sure you can be seen and heard. In my case, I am lucky enough to have a son who does YouTube videos, so he already had a nice webcam and sound system. Even so, we had some technical difficulties and it took us several days to get a decent take. I would also advise you not to get angry or overly frustrated with your IT guy, especially when he is sixteen, your son, and is doing a damn good job. Some things we have to learn the hard way.

5. Come Up with Decent Rewards. 

Your heartfelt thanks is not a reward. It is a common courtesy. Karma is not a reward (at least not from you- the Universe gives that). You should come up with a tangible, physical reward for your lowest Reward level, even if it is as simple as a signed postcard featuring your project or art. Use Vista print for this. They’re cheap. You can download your own logo or visual. 100 large post cards will cost you next to nothing.

Another good idea is to target your rewards toward your audience or backers. I have a lot of writer friends, so several of my rewards are geared toward writers. My book is YA, so I am going to incorporate some rewards that teens might specifically enjoy. But since not everyone reads YA, and most younger teens don’t have their own credit card, I’ve put in a reminder that people can give their rewards as gifts to someone else.

It is also a good idea to hold some rewards back and use them as incentives as the project builds. I have several rewards that I’m not going to offer until part way through the project. This gives current backers a reason to go have another look, as well as drumming up more interest from new backers who see something “new” is happening.

6. Break Up Your Text with Visuals. 

The eye gets bored with a huge chunk of text. So, for your text piece of the project – the story part- be sure to include some visuals to break the text into bite-sized chunks. Include some large images as the top and bottom, like book ends. For my own project, I’ve included a teaser picture of my book cover at the top, and a visual of the title at the bottom. I also divided my text into topics and marked the end of each with a visual divider strip that matched the theme of my book cover. All this is pleasing to the eye and gives it a sense of moving from one thing to another, rather than just reading in place forever.

7. Be Sure To Have Someone Preview Your Project. 

Kickstarter has this great feature called Preview. When you have everything entered into your project, and you think it is polished and perfect, it gives you the option to share a preview link with a few select friends. They can go look at it just as a backer will see it (and so can you). Be sure to use this feature. I sent my preview link to three friends. One who is an editor and caught two typos I hadn’t. One who is a Kickstarter connoisseur and had some great insight into making my project better. And one friend who had never seen a Kickstarter project in her life. Each one of them gave me good feedback.

I don’t know how many projects (especially writing projects) I HAVEN’T backed because the person didn’t even have someone check their content for copy-editing errors. Why would I back a book from someone who doesn’t even take the time to check their work?

9. Have a Sense of Humor. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Use your natural sense of humor in your video, in your text and in your rewards. Most people approach art with a sense of wonder and whimsy. It isn’t life or death, it is a celebration of the beauty of humanity.

However, be careful with humor. Don’t come off as cocky by bad-mouthing others work or effort (even vaguely). Maybe you don’t like Twilight or War and Peace or you despise romance novels, but it is likely that someone who might back you likes them all.  By making that joke about how bad they are, you have just alienated someone who might have given you money.

And don’t come off as too self-deprecating. Sure sometimes this can be funny, but do I really want to back someone who goes on and on about how bad they are at what they do, or how little they deserve the money. In order for me to believe in you, I’d like to see that you believe in yourself. Otherwise, I seriously doubt you’ll get your project done.

10. Use the Update Feature, But Use it Wisely.

The update feature on Kickstarter allows you to keep your backers in the loop about how the project is going and any new developments.

Recently, I backed two Kickstarter projects, both who misused this feature in very different ways.

The first project bombarded me with updates (one every other day) that mostly consisted of asking me to promote the project or give more to the project. They weren’t so much updates as they were nagging. And the frustrating thing is that I had already backed the project with everything I could give. By the end I felt annoyed by the updates and didn’t even look at them.

If you are going to update people who have already backed you, give them some good news. Tell them how much you’ve raised, or about a new reward, or offer some tidbit about the project that isn’t on the project page. Give them a reason to feel thankful they backed you, not regret it.

The second project’s first update informed me that the project had just ended and it hadn’t made its goal. That was the first update. They hadn’t sent out a single update DURING the project. And it was this really cool amazing project, that I might have been able to give more to if I’d had any idea what was going on.

So, yeah, use the update feature, but don’t abuse it.

11. Don’t forget to Promote Yourself.

No one knows you have a Kickstarter project unless you tell them. Most Kickstarter backing comes form people you know- friends, family, coworkers, friends of your friends. Sure, sometimes someone will stumble on your project and back it, but most of your money will come from people who already know you in some way. But you have to tell them it exists, and e-mail is the best way. A blog works too. Guest posting on as many blogs as you can is even better. Twitter is good. And Facebook. But don’t hold back, and don’t be annoying. Just let people know what you are doing and invite them to help.

12. Don’t Forget to Ask Others to Promote You. 

Sometimes people can’t back you. They just don’t have the funds. But they probably have the internet. They’re probably on Facebook and Twitter, or they have an e-mail account. And that means they can promote you. Be sure to have a note at the bottom of your Kickstarter or at the end of your video, asking people who can’t give to promote your project. It doesn’t cost them anything but a few minutes to Tweet about your work.

And be sure to ask your backers to promote you. After all, they believed enough in the project to back it themselves. They could probably recommend it to a couple of friends, and there is nothing like word-of-mouth for making a project build. But don’t nag them. Ask them when they first back you, and remind them when the project is nearing it’s end.

So, that’s what I’ve learned so far, and I’m sure I’ll learn even more when my Project goes live.

Don’t worry. I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.

Happy Kickstarting, and if you would like to read the rest of my Kickstarter series they can be found here: Twelve Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Kickstarter, Using Story to Drive Your Kickstarter Keeping the Charity Out of Kickstarter, 8 Reasons I Didn’t Back Your Kickstarter.


Twelve Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Kickstarter

1. Kickstarter was founded by a music journalist and a waiter. The waiter, Perry Chen, had the idea, and he bounced it off one of his regulars, journalist Yancy Strickler. Once they got the internet savvy Charles Adler in involved, the rest was history

2. Over six million people visit the Kickstarter website every month.

3. Film is the largest category funded.

4. in 2011 Kickstarter was the third largest publisher of comic books in the US.

5. At what point is the backing process almost a guaranteed success? When a project reaches 30% of its funding, it succeeds 90% of the time. When a project reaches 10% of its funding, it succeeds 75% of the time.

6. 44% of all projects made their goal in 2011.

7. Successful projects on average make 125% of their funding goal.

8. 90 day projects have the lowest success rate, compared to other time-frames.

9. Most funding activity occurs in the first five days and the last five days, due to the excitement when the project is new, and the urgency when it is about to go away.

10. 20% of Kickstarter funding comes from outside the US.

11. Detroit Needs a Robocop was a successful 2011 Kickstarter project to erect a life-size statue of Robocop in Detroit. It raised $67, 436 dollars and Detroit’s Robocop is now in production.

12. In 2011, founder Yancey Strickler had backed 400 Kickstarter projects. Only two other people in the world have backed more projects than he has.

Want to know more about Kickstarter? See my series of posts including, Using Story to Drive Your Kickstarter, Keeping the Charity Out of Kickstarter, and 8 Reasons I Didn’t Back Your Kickstarter.


Ripley Patton lives in a 22-foot camper in the woods of Southern Illinois with a cat named Lemmy. Her two young adult children, a daughter and a son, are her favorite people. When Ripley's not out exploring nature and getting her hands dirty, she's usually reading or writing a book.

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