Thanks to the support of so many backers, we are have reached and exceeded our preliminary goal on RocketHub of $13,900 to edit, design, index, print, copyright and market End the Job Hunt. For a successful campaign, we needed not only support and funding but also a community willing to give us ideas and spread the word. Crowdfunding seemed like the perfect vehicle to do that because it provides both an opportunity to ask for help in the form of ideas and funding, as well as an organic way to spread the word about the project.
To our surprise and delight the response from our supporters has been overwhelmingly positive. From young people the response is almost always, “When will the book be finished? I need to read it now!” It is encouraging that we are writing something that’s relevant and useful. Responses from established professionals have supported our willingness to take a risk and put our ideas out there; to try to make navigating the process of career development a more structured organized, and hopeful process. We felt some anxiety that people would discourage us from taking this risk or say that the book wasn’t needed. We are pleased to report that our experience has been quite the opposite.
The advice we would give to crowdfunders first is: “Do it! Go for the crowdfunding.” It is a great way to force you to sharpen your thinking and give your project real definition and life. Second, I’d say that if you’re having trouble moving your project forward, creating a crowdfunding campaign gives you accountability so that you will complete the project. Even when it becomes overwhelming and you want to drop it, you have to finish because you have hundreds of people to whom you have committed. Creating this kind of support and accountability is extremely valuable for any entrepreneurial venture especially one as challenging as writing a book.
Drilling down to specifics, I would say there are two things that we learned in our research about crowdfunding that I would encourage anyone doing it to take seriously. The first is to take the time and spend the money to produce a good video. Our society seems to be shifting increasingly towards high stimulation, short-form data transfer (videos/audio) and away from long-form written text. Having a video that’s fun, funny, engaging and has a high production value is clutch for spreading the word, especially if your target audience is younger people.
The other piece of advice we found, which I can’t emphasize enough, is the importance of doing a good bit of reach-out before you launch the campaign so that the day of the launch you have funders who already know what the project is and are ready to pull out there credit cards to support you immediately. Doing this creates momentum for the rest of the project. Like restaurants that are empty, projects with no backers are ones people will likely avoid because it appears there must be a good reason for the lack of interest.