Well, it's pretty much done and dusted now! Only a couple of outstanding books to post (fill in your surveys kids!!) and all of my Kickstarter pledges have been fulfilled. I started thinking about whether I'd consider doing this again and I think I probably would. Here's what I've learnt...
1. You MUST have a good idea. OK, so I flew by the seat of my pants and made a fairly impulsive decision to launch the Kickstarter, but only because I realised it was the only way I'd get the book printed. I could've invested in the printing myself and then tried to sell the books but not only did the Kickstarter campaign test the market, it also provided a certain amount of urgency which wouldn't have been there otherwise. So that leads me nicely to...
2. Treat it as a market research exercise. A soon as I got my head around this it ensured that the whole process of getting funded was a lot less stressful. If people didn't pledge it meant there wasn't a market for the book. All I'd loose would be time (as I'd had the sample book made for myself anyway).
3. Don't be greedy. Think about how much you really need and do try to make a profit if you can but really the purpose of the exercise is to get your thing out there. I really wanted a pile of my own books - I wanted to see them going out to their new homes - the fact that I made a (very small) profit was just a nice to have rather than an essential (and remember that I do still have copies left to sell - so I'm left with an asset).
4. It's not always necessary to have stretch goals - and do keep the rewards simple! Mine wasn't that complicated really, but when it came to dispatch there were still many variations - signed copy or not, with or without postcards, 2 copies, shipping destination. This part took a lot longer than I'd anticipated.
5. Manage people's expectations. I said May for dispatch (and allowed myself the whole month) - postcards actually went out in late April and the books went at the end of the first week in May. This allowed for unforseen delays (and in fact the printing of the books was delayed by a week) but meant that the backers all received their rewards when they expected to.
6. Don't leave it too late to plan packaging etc. I planned what I needed before the Kickstarter ended and had everything lined up ready to order as soon as the funds were released (bear in mind that this is 14 days after the end of the campaign).
7. Allow for people to drop out. I was pleasantly surprised as none of my backers pulled out before the end, however one person's credit card was declined so I lost that backer. Make sure you'll still have enough cash to satisfy the pledges in the event that this happens.
8. Celebrate but not too much. It's not over until it's over! In my case the fulfillment was a lot more time consuming than the funding stage. I know this isn't always the case.
Would I do it again? Yes I think I would. I believe it's important to leave a good gap between campaigns and to wait until you really do have that amazing product (rather than looking around for something to do a Kickstarter for - it should be the other way around). Also, take a look at who your backers were - I rarely sell my work to friends and family but a lot of familiar names were in my backer report! Think of it a little like getting sponsorship for that half marathon you're doing and remember that people get bored of being asked for cash for these things too often - even if they are getting something out of it!
A little reminder that I do have a few copies of my Kickstarter book available here. I'll also be signing copies at 133a Stanley Park Road, Carshalton as part of Carshalton Artists Open Studios on 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July (more details here).