Kickstarting Novels, part 2
Feb 02, 2015
If you haven’t read the first part of Kickstarting Novels, I recommend you start there.
The focus this time ’round is on videos and descriptions. The similarities here from project to project were incredibly clear and a bit formulaic.
1) PITCHES. Under each video, you have to write a brief pitch about your project. Successful projects came in two varieties:
- THE “WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY” PITCH. These may seem too easy and basic, but they work. Basically start with breaking down your novel like so: “In [where/when], [character name] does [what] to/because [why]”, and revise it from there. Simplicity and getting to the point are key.
- THE INSPIRATION/CALL-OUT PITCH. These sort of pitches focused directly on the types of people who would like their book. They do this in one of two ways. One, they may reference their sources of inspirations or similar popular series (think “[series x] meets [series y] with [original element] in this [genre] novel!”) Alternatively, they focus on the specific genre and major elements in the book that people would be looking for.
Both these sorts of pitches are good.
The purpose of the blurb is to grab readers with immediate expectations, and both these styles give possible backers an understanding of what sort of book it is and if that’s something they like. The latter (what I call the “inspiration” or “call-out” pitch) does this especially well by linking their projects to well-known counterparts. The more popular your inspiration, the faster their brain will connect the dots between those books and your own.
2) VIDEO LENGTH. This varied between 1 ½ minutes to 3 minutes on average. You don’t want it to be too long, but you also want to be thorough in covering everything you must.
3) VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS. Successful videos did all of the following:
- The author introduces his/herself, their background and/or credentials.
- The author explains why they wrote the story.
- The author tells you about the story, often focusing on characters, important elements, what the character learns, and why the story matters.
- The author explains where the funding money goes to and why they need funding.
- Authors clearly knew who this book was for, and either directly said who would like it (see the “inspiration/call-out” blurb) or was evident through video.
4) DON’T…BE TOO IMPERSONAL. When funding on Kickstarter, people are seeking to fund an individual and their story. They want to know who they are funding, and feel like they can trust you before they give you any money. Projects that did well had videos where the author was being his or herself.
5) DO…BE PASSIONATE. Projects that did well had authors who were very clearly passionate about the story. They were easily able to explain why they wrote the story, what they hoped to share or achieve with it, what inspired them, what their motivations were, and what it meant to them. People like to fund someone with a vision, not just “a story.”
6) DO…BE CLEAR. Projects that failed often were unclear in their direction. It wasn’t obvious who the book was for, why the funding was needed, where the money would go, or even why anyone should care.
7) DESCRIPTIONS. These were often similar to the content given from the videos. Some were a transcript of the video verbatim, but most elaborated on different aspects in the description (in particular the story and characters). Graphics or drawings are a nice additional here, as well as links to text samples people may read to preview the book.
8) CREDENTIALS. All projects that were successful had a sampling of the book people could read and get a taste of before they donate, and quite a few were able to reference to previous books they had written that were available for possible backers to check out. After all, backers want to KNOW they’ll like it before they commit!
9) DON’T OVERTHINK IT. Some videos were clearly shot by a poor camera in one place, while others were higher quality with book trailers, teasers, or a large variety of shots…but don’t worry too much about it. Because things may seem so formulaic when it comes to talking about your book, you may be tempted to break away from all of this as much as possible. However, these things work—consistently. Be creative, but don’t stray from the heart of the matter. Focus on the content you provide and how to best explain it.
10) SO, TO SUMMARIZE…Be yourself! Practice explaining what your book is about, why people should be interested, WHO would be interested in it, and how you can associate your project to things the backers can relate to and understand (Important! This can be pre-existing novels, movies, or even concepts and themes). The key is to build a connection to people so they knowwhy you are writing this book and why they should support you. Sway them by showing your book is made for them and that they’ll love it! This might sound easier said than done, but you of all people should know what this book is about (you did write it, after all) and who it’s for (presumably, people like you). The biggest difference between failed projects and successful ones were in how well the author communicated their project and passion.
I hope you’re not feeling ready to start your project because we have a very big topic to look at next. Always save the best for last, right?
NEXT UP: How much money do you really need? Where will it all go? The financial side of setting goals and following through! Yahoo!