Success & What I’ve Learned

Success

I haven’t been doing a great job of keeping this thing quite as updated as I originally planned. So I’m going to break what I have to say up into two posts. One about SUCCESS and one about the current state of SONGSMITHING. Here’s the skinny:

For one, we totally got funded. Yes, yes, and YES. And we’re especially stoked about it. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of friends, family, and whimsical strangers, this project is going to be able to happen.

The total that the Kickstarter project earned was $2,037, and after the fees taken by Kickstarter and Amazon Payments, the total is $1,863.38, which is sitting in our account until we master and press the album in March-April.

We did sign up with Kick It Forward!, the honor-based idea/method/website of agreeing to donate 5% of any money you make over your goal to another Kickstater project. For us, this equals less than $2, so we’re rounding it to $2. We pledged it to one project that, sadly, was not successful, so we’ll back another, and when we choose the project, we’ll let you know.

Quite frankly, it was a lot of fun to run the Kickstarter, and I want to do it again. We’re still waiting ona few stragglers who haven’t sent us the song titles, but we’ve gotten most of them.

What I’ve Learned

1. It never hurts to ask. We asked tons of people to check out our project and to consider donating. Tons. And the majority of them never even wrote me back, despite the fact that I’d say something to the effect of, “Hey, if you don’t wanna donate, that’s totally, totally cool. Just let me know. I’d rather be told to eff off than be ignored.” You’d be surprised how many folks still won’t send you anything. And I’m talking good people too. People who are nice and charitable. But I think some folks are just uncomfortable discussing money among friends regardless. The silliest thing I did for a buck was I wrote a song to a rather popular music blog and her a video of me doing it. She had something on her about page about how if you want her to review an album, flowers are always appreciated. So I wrote “Flowers Are Always Appreciated.” It is, undoubtedly, my greatest work, and I literally spent endless minutes forging the lyrics from the fires of my being. It got me no response, but it was worth a shot. Also, most of the time, in my emails, I’d usually only mention a $1 donation. Nothing more. And often, those folks would give us between $5 and $50. Seriously. Last thing, reach out individually. Status posts are cool, but folks will block it out. Same with mass emails. If you’re not comfortable approroaching folks for money in person (like myself), then do the personal email. I was uneasy about that as well, but I got over it. If you can’t get over it, Kickstarter isn’t for you.

2. Give to get. Yogi Berra has a famous quote that goes something like, “If you want folks to attend your funeral, you have to attend theirs.” And that’s pretty much the case. I’ve donated to several Kickstarters and was supportive of other friends’ projects for some time now, and while it wasn’t equally reciprocated across the board (because that’s not how friendship works) it DEFINITELY helped us. For instance, I struck up an acquaintanceship with Team Ridiculo.us affter their 99 Shades of Grey Kickstarter project, and they used some funds to help us out, and even gave up some tips on how to be more productive. Obviously, I’m not saying to fake it, I’m just saying it pays to be nice. If you’re not naturally a nice person, um, work on that shit.

3. I wish I had prepped better. Now, I did erach out to a few folks prior to the launch. I secured some backers way ahead of time, people I could trust to come through when they said they would. But I still could have done more, like spreadsheets of blogs, more research into other similar Kickstrters, or even thought of a loftier, conceptual pitch video. our video was fine. Really, I mean, it looked professional. But it wasn’t, maybe as exciting as I’d’ve liked. Then again, a video isn’t everything. After the success of 99 Shades of Grey on Kickstarter which had a rather simple, lo-fi video but a strong concept, I swore that the titling aspect of Titled would’ve caught on like gangbusters. but it didn’t. Kickstarter didn’t ever feature it or anything. I only had one blog run anything on it. Team Ridiculo.us, to bring them up again, was able to drum up tons of support for their new project and were featured in blogs almost immediately. I’m impressed by them greatly and I’ll have to figure out their secrets in the future.

That’s the short of it. If I think of something else, I’ll edit the post. Thanks again to everyone who helped us. We think you’re gonna like what we do.

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