What am I doing wrong?
July 17, 2012 9:14 PM   Subscribe

I've just launched a Indiegogo campaign, but after six days, nobody has shown interest.

I'm creating some lists to contact civic and philanthropy groups. I've already contacted all of my friends, family and other contacts (as they suggest). I've opened a Twitter account, and linked all of my other sites to the campaign. So far, I've done everything that was suggested by Indiegogo; video, short and long description, gallery. A couple editors and a publisher willing to work with me say it is a project that needs to be done and they're interested. But what am I doing wrong?
posted by CollectiveMind to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: Link to campaign removed; it's fine if you want to ask for advice on general strategy, but pointing to an active fundraising campaign is too close to de facto self-promotion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Make sure your costs are up high in the page and broken down well.

Approach blogs and groups that may be interested in the concept (e.g could be slow food movement groups etc).

If you can, give a completed first chapter or something useful that other blogs and online media can link to.

Be upfront about your call to action, what this book will accomplish: who will get it, how they will get it, and why they will get it, and what they will do with it, and what it will do for society.

In addition to being open and transparent, you're also selling a vision.
posted by smoke at 9:31 PM on July 17, 2012

I suspect this will be flagged, because it kinda looks like you're linking directly to your Indiegogo campaign, which kind of makes this into a donation request. Putting up the information on a different page would look like less of a conflict of interest.

One answer: TL;DR
Too Long, Didn't Read.
Your post is 5,315 words long.

The summary didn't explain why I wouldn't just look at the existing, free resources for Starting a Community Kitchen, or restaurant, and then use a NOTAFLOF, sliding scale, donation, fair pay model.

Partly, I think you might have to go back, and get... a book on marketing?

Look at your potential audience. The way you've presented it, only be a handful of people per city, who would be wanting to set up a community kitchen from scratch, then you have to consider whether they'd even want to buy a book on this, or would be looking at other resources.

How can you expand your audience?
The traditional way in this avenue, would be to produce a cookbook, of 'Recipes from the community kitchen', for people to make in their homes, with a chapter on sourcing your food etc, organic philosophy etc, as part of the prep work initial chapter, then, after the recipes, a final chapter, extremely summarised, on starting a community kitchen and the history of community kitchens, in the hope that some of your audience will be interested.
posted by Elysum at 9:34 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

What Elysum said.

Additionally, are you producing this book to make money? It looks that way as you have RRP for the dead tree version, the ebook and the audio book - if you've covered the costs through the IGG process, isn't this something that could be given away? Somewhat in keeping with the subject matter of the book? Or at least, couldn't the ebook be free?

I imagine it could be a fundraising venture for this "One World" organisation, but that entire piece is somewhat confusing and clutters the book concept.
posted by Suspicious Ninja at 9:53 PM on July 17, 2012

Are you anyone in particular in this world you're trying to get into? Or is anyone that's kind of a name involved?

What I mean is, the crowdfunding campaigns I back are all by people I know or people with a long enough work record I trust it. Like I got linked to one that was in one of my favorite niches of fiction. The writer was unknown, but the editor is someone I've funded before and he's been excellent in that project, and I'm a big fan of his other work, so I figure if he's working on it, at the very least, he'll be communicative and it'll be pretty good if he agreed to work on it.

It could be that you're not doing a very good job selling yourself as the person to do this project because you don't seem to have credentials, you don't present them well, or it doesn't look like a project that'll be completed successfully even if I fund it. Or maybe you don't have credentials, I can't say for sure since I didn't see the link before it was removed, and need to work on building up a reputation and following before you ask for money.

It could also be that your funding number seems ridiculously high. For example, I got hit up for one project by a company that wanted $500,000. In looking into their background, they'd never actually launched a successful product. The idea was intriguing, but 500 grand to a bunch of guys who've never made something good?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:58 PM on July 17, 2012

The entire thing seems kinda... doomed.
Even if you do the above, raising $5,000 or less, would be a more reasonable goal.

Here is (closed) campaign for a self-published book, for a small, but still far larger audience, by a published author, who is a active blogger, with a website and coaching business, and articles, podcasts etc. She is really working it, and yet?
These campaigns are hard.
Closed Indie Gogo Campaign
posted by Elysum at 10:09 PM on July 17, 2012

I got here after the link was removed so my advice will be a bit generic and reading between the lines from upthread posts.

Most successful crowdfunding projects already have the crowd, it just gives them a chance to put their money where their likes, loves, passions, and conscience are. In short it's showing exactly how good your marketing is. You essentially haven't marketed at all and you don't appear to have a pre-established audience. You just have a (I will assume from upthread) good idea.

This doesn't bode well. Ideally you need to have a track record of doing things like this and an audience of people who want more from you and want to support you and/or your idea. You say you've just created a Twitter account. Well that's too late. You should have done that a year ago, along with a blog where you post knowledgeably (and regularly) on the subject, essentially feeling out chapters and sections of your book. You become known as an expert and you get people behind you. Then you launch your crowdfunding campaign.

But all may not be lost. Here are what I want to see in crowdfunding projects I support:

- Tell me exactly where my money is going. If there are going to be printing costs, editing costs, design costs, research them and post exactly what they are.

- Tell me why you're doing this project. Why is it special, unique and worth my money and your time. Why does it need to be done. If anyone has done something similar, explain why your project is different.

- Tell me why I should trust you. Credentials, track record, testimonials, whatever.

- Keep it short. If you can't keep it short then put the most important stuff clearly at the top and the details at the bottom. By the time most people are 3 sentences in they've already decided to contribute.

- Give me a professional presentation. Professional looking video, beautiful photos. A mockup of the cover. (It's a book, right?) Mockups of rewards. Show me you're already invested in it.

- Make your rewards appropriate and visionary. They should all reate to your project. There should be a $10 or less reward. (It can be a token reward. Thanks on the web site or send a custom designed postcard) And tiers of rewards up to thousands of dollars for some kind of personal consultation, appearance, work, etc. Make the rewards match your audience. Is it something that someone's going to want to use in a class or sell in a boutique? Offer a pack of a dozen for a special price. (etc, etc.)

Now that you've got it all slick, find the contact info on every single blog, person, and organization of note who you think would be interested in your project and send them a nice, short (and not beggy!) message telling them about the project. If you're knowledgeable you should know who these blogs, people, and organizations are. On the off chance you don't, one way to find them is to google the title of a smilar book and see who and where it's mentioned.

But honestly I would reconsider and try to do it a year from now after you've established your crowd. Get the crowd and the money will follow. Asking for money rarely draws a crowd.
posted by Ookseer at 11:07 PM on July 17, 2012

The successful campaigns on Indiegogo and Kickstarter that I have supported have been very well-planned. The fundraisers not only created a thoughtful campaign that showed planning and focus, but also mobilized their funding bases before they launched. Most all of the potential supporters had already been networked and contacted and were expecting the announcement. Contacting wider civic groups and philanthropies at this point is probably too late to result in a lot of new funders. That sort of thing is better done before launch.

The other thing I've responded to repeatedly is the chance to pre-buy something that I'd be buying anyway.
posted by quince at 11:15 PM on July 17, 2012

So the product is basically:

I'm writing a book on how to start and run a fair pay community kitchen. These kitchens can be for profit or not for profit, but they aren't soup kitchens. Their claim to fame is letting people eat for what they can afford.

Sorry but I honestly just think there is no market for your product whatsoever.
I would guess that most people think "pay what you want" commercial endeavours are a novelty that are ultimately doomed to failure.

secondly the kind of people who look at indiegogo and kickstarter are mostly either:
1. pure consumers looking for cool gadgets they would want. (ie not restauranteurs)
2. Other Entrepreneurs looking for interesting marketing angles for their own products. (who don't actually fund any projects)

Your market is actually restaurant entrepreneurs with a high appetite for risk (as its a pretty risky endeavour - PayWhatyouwant). I think they are too busy doing stuff to be surfing Indiegogo.
posted by mary8nne at 2:47 AM on July 18, 2012

Oh and I see you are using a Flexible Funding:

Flexible Funding: What if I don’t reach my funding goal?
If your campaign is set up as Flexible Funding, you will be able to keep the funds you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal. If your campaign is set up as Fixed Funding, all contributions will be returned to your funders if you do not meet your goal. Flexible Funding campaigns that meet their goal are only charged 4% as our platform fee, whereas campaigns that do not meet their goal are charged 9%.

I think people are much more reluctant to support "Flexible Funding" campaigns cause they feel kinda dodgy. ie if you only get $100. then in your case the project is pretty much dead in the water. - but you still get $100. thats feels like a scam to me. These only work when its all or nothing.

I think if you id it as a Fixed Funding campaign then you might get more support initially.
posted by mary8nne at 2:57 AM on July 18, 2012

Response by poster: Whew ...
posted by CollectiveMind at 11:27 AM on July 18, 2012

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