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Our Kickstarter Adventure June 12, 2012

Posted by heidi skarie in Uncategorized, Writing.
Tags: , , , , ,

Today I’m posting a guest blog by Anna Skarie on her experience with Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a great website for funding creative projects. Anna and her mother, Joy Dey, have written a wonderful, unique dragon book that allows children to chose what they want to do. Here is their description of the book:

“In a DoU Adventure, your child is the hero, making choices on every page that lead through over 75 possible pathways, out of the frying pan into the fire, until they get back home safely. Whew! Each choice has an icon that matches a tab. Kids use the tabs to navigate their customized adventures.”

As many authors know, finding a publisher is hard work, and self-publishing is hard work WITH a large cash outlay. We decided to go the hardest of these and start our own publishing company, because what is life without the adventure? “Just Another Monday” (the book that started all of this) is an interactive children’s picture book. In short, the hero chooses their own adventure by following tabs along the right edge of the book. If you check out our Kickstarter video or go to our website, there is a longer explanation with pictures.
We’re here to tell you the things we’ve learned so far on our search for the funding portion of this. If you have any questions after reading, please don’t hesitate to contact us (info@swakpublishing.com). In return, we’d like you to consider passing the word along via backing, facebook likes, following, pins, blogging, or whatever your preferred method is.


The basics…
First, if you already know what Kickstarter is all about, you can skip this paragraph. Kickstarter is basically a seed funding website. If you have a project (or a book), and you need money to get that project started (or publish your book), I highly recommend this approach, even though we’re only three quarters of the way through our journey so far. You can make an account to back other projects and/or upload your own. The idea is that each project has a monetary goal and “backers” try to help you reach your goal. They may do this out of the goodness of their hearts, or for the rewards. Reward tiers are decided by the project creator (you), and usually offer something extra (eg, signing or creativity). This last bit is important though: if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get any money. That’s the basics, and hopefully the following will fill in the gaps.

Our start…
Our journey began long ago (in May), surrounded by some brilliant minds, on my living room sofa. Every Tuesday, we have a “mastermind” meeting of brainstorming any projects we’re working on, and my sister-in-law, came to this meeting with this “Kickstarter” thing none of us had heard of. I have since learned that kickstarter is currently responsible for 10% of the venture capital funding in the United States. We had been racking our brains for how to come up with the $20,000 required to print a larger run of Just Another Monday. The larger run is required because the tabs need to be die-cut (ie, have their shape stamped out of the paper) and the heavy dies cost money up front. The larger the run, the more that cost is spread out over the books. Cue kickstarter!

Why kickstarter…
– little or no monetary risk (depending on how you market yourself)
– you will likely get “Kickstarters” who back you and are not part of your network
– succeed or not, it gets your name out and gives you contacts who are interested in your project
– it’s up to you to get the word out
– projects with previous followings generally have an easier time of it (maybe not a con depending on your project)
– you MIGHT be rejected (although you can resubmit easily and well thought-out book projects seem to have a high acceptance rate)

1. Your network – it really matters how much time/effort/interest/money you can drum up yourself. Kickstarter funders, although generous, won’t fund a project completely on their own, and you probably shouldn’t even count on “mostly”. Friends, current followers, family, friends of friends, anyone who can help you pass the word on (even if they don’t back you) is an important part of your network.

2. Social media is also important. If you don’t use facebook, twitter, pinterest, reddit, stumbleupon…you get the idea…you should find a helper who does. Getting higher on Kickstarter’s “popular” pages (and thus viewed more often) seems to be some combination of your backers, comments, % of goal, and such on Kickstarter; your links, facebook likes, and other buzz on the web; and the place your project is at (you get a boost at the beginning and end of your project)

3. It is a lot of work to keep buzz going through the life of the project. Be ready to have to flog for the length you set (30 days is usually the most successful), and have some fun doing it 🙂

What it has been like for us…
Some of this sounds so ominous, but really kickstarter is an amazing resource for anyone looking to fund a dream project (Like us!). We’ve fleshed out our idea the more we’ve blogged, facebooked, commented, and talked to people about it. One thing that really worked for us is a card with how to get to the kickstarter page on it. Since our project is a printed book, it made sense for us to try a few approaches for people who are less likely to use the internet. It also makes great “small” talk. We’ve had a lot of fun hearing people’s takes and opinions. It’s a great feeling whenever someone puts their belief in you. We really appreciate people doing whatever they can. Every time a friend or acquaintance wrote something like this we were very touched:

“One of my girlfriends and her mother made a children’s book. I have actually seen a copy of it and it is awesome. They are trying to get this book published with the publishing company that they created and need help. If you like the book and can pledge money towards it that’s great but she also understands that money can be tight. Even if you could just keep passing this along to others it would be a great help. The following links are to their Facebook page and to a kickstarter page (it is where you can propose ideas and get the word out to get funding).


All in all, it’s been a wonderful adventure. We haven’t succeeded yet, but here’s hoping and I still completely recommend the kickstarter journey. If you plan it, prepare it, and push push push it, they will come 🙂

Cheers, and happy adventuring!

~ Anna Skarie

co-founder of S.W.A.K. Publishing

(sit with a kid!)



We’re happy to answer questions. To contact us or lend us some support, here are the links…
our email: info@swakpublishing.com
our project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1541772125/just-another-monday-2

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SWAKpublishing
twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SWAKpublishing
pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sitwithakid
our blog: http://sitwithakid.wordpress.com



1. sitwithakid - June 13, 2012

Reblogged this on S.W.A.K. and commented:
We posted a guest blog on Heidi Skarie’s site. She wrote a wonderful book about a Shoshoni medicine woman, and is blogging about writing and spirituality. If you have any more questions about kickstarter, don’t hesitate to ask. Cheers!

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