Sunday, September 14, 2014

This Whole Kickstarter Thing... kind of surreal.

**Advisory: what follows is a detailed analysis of first: my more complicated reactions to the whole process of running a kickstarter campaign thus far and second: the math that my brain keeps running through against my will. If you want the quick take away it's this: life is awesome and I can barely believe how fortunate I am. Read on for wayyyyy more details about the ins and outs.**

This experience, one week in, is all over the place.

First of all there's the gratitude. Holy crap. People I know and love (who have already supported me in so many ways) are supporting me again monetarily to make a reality of a lifelong dream? People I've never met pre-ordering copies of the book to do the same? I'm overwhelmed with a feeling of fortune and thankfulness. The fact that we're at 30% funding at the end of week one amazes and humbles me.

Then there's the shame of feeling like I'm asking for money. It's tempered by the fact that the money is actually in exchange for goods and services, but only somewhat.  Part of me cringes, wondering how many people are just backing to be supportive and how many actually want to read the book. All of me is grateful for the support either way. This is, after all, an excellent example of how to support your author friends even if you don't read their genre. Still, this kind of asking is uncomfortable at best.

Then there's the worrying about whether I'm posting too many updates about this kickstarter on social media, or not enough. The fine line between maximizing visibility with people who might actually want to back it, but haven't seen it yet, and spamming the people who aren't interested or have already helped. Yargh...

Then there's the euphoria of watching the first two days of funding skyrocket! And the slow drop to reality (or a slightly more comfortable euphoria) of watching the funding plateau with very small rises.

Then there's the constant numbers game playing in my head. In the first two days we reached 24% funding. If that rate had continued for the entire kickstarter we would reach $16,200 by the end of the 30 day campaign. More realistically, here at the end of week one we are 30% funded. That rate carried out over four weeks takes us to 120% funding or $5,400. Then the pessimistic numbers... If you don't count those first two days, the last five days showed only a 6% increase in funding, and if you take that over the rest of the project you get: $2,610 (and that includes what's already raised).

I hate thinking about it in these terms when I'd rather just think of it in terms of the amazing support I've already gotten, but unfortunately Kickstarter is an all or nothing affair and so my brain can't help but contemplate the chances of failing to reach the $4,500 set goal. (In case you're worried, if I don't meet my goal your money is simply refunded back to you, and it all happens automatically.)

I try not freak out worrying that without another surge of backing the project won't make it to the fully funded mark.

Instead of focusing on those numbers I stick to doing a happy dance every time someone backs the project or likes a post about the kickstarter or +votes Blade's Edge on Jukepop.

And there's a happy benefit or possibly just a coincidence of this project... Blade's Edge has gained a few readers on Jukepop, and some of its previous readers have decided to catch up and plus vote again, so it has been getting a LOT of plus votes this month. It already has as many as it closed the month out with in August, and it is currently riding at #7 for September and #71 overall. That is SO awesome! It is the highest Blade's Edge has ever gotten at the middle of the month, and its held there for a couple of days so far. So, that's really exciting.

It's also really exciting to be getting so close to the end of this draft of Blade's Edge. It's only a few chapters away and will be all wrapped up by the end of September. October will then be dedicated entirely to a full length revision that leads to a proto-final draft (true final draft of course requiring beta readers, copyediting etc.). November will be copyediting and formatting and then we should be ready to print by mid-December.  All of that is extremely exciting.

In summary, the kickstarter is off to a great start, but still has a long way to go. We've raised $1,350 so far but that leaves $3,150 to go. Here's more of the math I find myself doing at random: to fully fund what's left of the kickstarter with just the $25 copy of the book (including the remaining 20 early bird specials that are only $20) I need 130 more people to back the project.

That doesn't seem like an unreasonable number, and with the percentage of people pledging at higher levels so far it may be take way fewer people than that. The whole thing is a guessing game and from everything I've read on various forums, in various articles, and from other people who have done this themselves, it's entirely unpredictable. Remember how I said it feels like I'm in a giant social experiment? Well it's seems quite likely that I am actually in a giant social experiment. Only it's early stages yet and there are many hypotheses as to how it could go.

Crowdfunding is certainly an interesting phenomenon and I am learning TONS through this whole process.

So... I've got more Blade's Edge chapters to write, a kickstarter backer update to get ready, and some of my regular life to lead as well. I should probably say hi to my husband while I'm away from the laptop.

Again, important takeaway? I cannot express easily how fortunate I feel with all of this, and my life in general. I am so very, very, lucky, no matter how this Kickstarter thing turns out. So, hugs all around. And I hope everyone had a great weekend! My mom visited over the weekend and I have some awesome tidbits to share on this site over the next few posts thanks to that. For now, I leave you with this meme I created a few days ago with Artemis' help.

(If this makes no sense to you at all, google 'doge meme' and be mildly amused.)

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