On Episode 30, I chat with crowdfunding consultant, Lisa Ferland!
Joining me for the first time? Start at the beginning HERE!
Would you rather listen on the go? Go HERE!
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RESOURCES We talk about
Fall in love with Lisa’s children’s book HERE.
Learn more about Lisa and how she can help you HERE
Find her on Facebook HERE.
Behind the scenes of her campaign work!
Learn how to build a good relationship with your illustrator HERE!
A Bit About Lisa
Lisa Ferland is a crowdfunding consultant for authors and has helped authors and illustrators raise over $100k on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
Laurie: Hello everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Writer’s Way podcast. Here the beautiful, lovely, talented, smart, intelligent, well-known Lisa Ferland. Thank you so much for being here, Lisa.
Lisa Ferland: Thanks so much for having me Laurie, I like it.
Laurie: I think your most well-known in the children’s circle so far for being the crowdfunding expert. But you do have a couple of books already published for adults and you have one coming out for kids which is so exciting. You have lots of projects on the go. So, why don’t you just tell people a little bit about your background and how you came to write and publish in the first place.
More about Lisa
Lisa: Sure, so I would say my background is not originally in writing or publishing as a lot of people understand. But my background is in public health, epidemiology and that was my life before we moved to Sweden and then I had a huge career change, huge life change, transformation, everything. And that really served as the inspiration around me for my first two books which are anthologies focusing on pregnancy and giving birth in a foreign country ’cause that’s exactly what I was goin’ through at that time and that’s what my world was all about. So, I collected stories from other women from around the world and published two anthologies in the Knocked Up Abroad series.
Laurie: Yes, I love that title.
Lisa: Some people love it some people hate it.
Laurie: Oh really? They find it offensive or?
Lisa: Yeah, they’re like: Do you know what that means? And I’m like, yeah that’s kinda the point. But the stories ending up being much more emotional and heartfelt than I anticipated. I really wanted it to be this sort of tongue in cheeky kind of hilarious look at the weird situations we find ourselves in when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t know the language and it just gets kind of like, you know, sketch comedy-ish if you, if you’re not crying in a ball at home you can just laugh at yourself. But, you know, dealing with pregnancy and love and loss and all of that, the stories ended up being much more significant and emotional and so. Yeah, so they’ve taken on a life of their own and yeah they’re out there in the world.
Lisa: And people knew me as the Knocked Up Abroad Lady for a long time and now I’m earning a reputation for crowdfunding, so.
Laurie: And how did that start?
Lisa: Well, it started because I successfully crowdfunded my second book for $10,000 and that was really due to the bulk effort of all the contributors from that book also writing articles, reaching out to their network and really leveraging the networks that we all had together. So, that was really fun and exciting and I learned a lot in that process. And since then I was asked repeatedly, time and time again: Oh, can you help me? Oh, how did you do it? Oh, can you do this? Oh, can you do that?
There wasn’t any help for authors!
Lisa: And I saw that there really wasn’t anyone helping any authors. I mean, there’s lots of resources out there for gamers and for tech stuff and for comic books but nothing for children’s books, definitely nothing for children’s book, nothing for authors in general. So, I really kind of, you know, saw this space in the market if you will for someone who wanted to help authors. And there still isn’t really that many people doing this. So yeah, it’s me really, out there helping independent authors. And so, I really wanna target indie authors, specifically self-publishing authors. And children’s authors tend to have a larger budget and more needs in terms of needing to fund a book and needing to get a bulk of money for the print run for the hardcover, to pay for illustrations and things like that. Generally, if you’re doing an all text, non-fiction book you don’t need to raise that much money, really. So, you can do it on your own. But the people who really need the help are the ones who are trying to raise, you know, eight to $10,000, so.
Explain it like I’m five…
Laurie: Okay, so explain to me like I’m five: What is crowdfunding?
Lisa: Crowdfunding is when a lot a people give you a little bit of money to help you reach your goal.
Laurie: Okay, awesome.
Lisa: So, it’s leveraging a crowd. You have to have a crowd of people. Lot of people, little bit of contributions from everybody.
Laurie: And I had a couple questions. Somebody emailed me and she was like, you need to ask Lisa that. But one of the big ones was about the crowd size, like: How big does my crowd have to be to be successful basically? Like: Do I need a following? Do I need to be an influencer? That kind of stuff.
Do I need to be an influencer?
Lisa: You don’t need to be an influencer, no. But, yes, you do need a following. That is the point of the crowd. And a lot of people get their crowd through different ways. Some people have different networks who will support them because they love them as a person. And other people have networks of readers who want the book, who want the book that they’re putting out, who want the thing that they’re doing. So, everyone comes with a slightly different mix of an audience. But, ideally, we all wanna have readers. I mean, that’s sorta the point of launching it I would think is that we all wanna have more readers than just people who love us and wanna see us succeed. You know, everyone’s gonna have a little blend of both.
Build a readership
Lisa: But the goal is to build a readership and to grow so that the next book you do you can have buyers from that same group buy your next book and buy your next book. And that those are your loyal fan base, that you really build this loyal fan base, of people who’ll be the first to leave the reviews, the first people to give you feedback. And you can kind of cultivate this sort of cult-like fan base, really. But that’s what crowdfunding needs. You need these people who are like, yes, I want what you’re doing and I can’t wait for it to happen.
Laurie: Okay, so lets say you do have a bit of a following, I actually when I did mine I had no following. So, I had friends and family and I think I was just lucky. But so, a common question that I get: Is it possible if you know no one, like, is there any point in trying if all your Facebook friends are your actual friends? It just takes a lot more effort I would think, like.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo
Lisa: Yeah, do you wanna keep those friendships? I mean, I think, I think you really need to, you know, this is a business and you’re building a business and this isn’t a donation. And that’s sort of the difference between, just really quickly, and I cover this in my free course, my free crowdfunding course, the difference between GoFundMe and Kickstarter and Indiegogo and why authors should be using the more business-like platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo because we’re not doing donations based we’re doing a rewards-based system where people are giving money but then they’re getting something in return. So, you’re delivering them a book, you’re delivering them a book, an E-book. Whatever it is that you’re delivering to them is an actual product. So, this is a business. Now you’re in a business, you’re selling products.
Think of your ideal cusotmers
Lisa: And so, you have to think about this as a business and who are your customers and who are your ideal customers. Now, is your ideal customer your aunt Sally? Maybe, if she, like, runs a preschool and that’s who you’re selling to. Maybe she’s your ideal customer but probably not. So, I think we just need to be mindful of who we’re tapping to give us money. And try to do it in a way that is beneficial to both parties and not just self-serving. Like, gimme money, give me money, give me money.
Lisa: And if you do have just friends and family I would keep your goal low so that you can reach it and then also like, you can’t do it again. You can’t ask them again in another year, say, hey by the way. Like, you’re not gonna, it’s not gonna be successful.
Laurie: We need some more money.
Lisa: I know.
Laurie: I really like how you’re talking about that. You have to re-frame how you’re thinking about it and it is a business. And I think a lot of people have to make that switch. And it’s tricky. Somebody else asked: What is the up front investment?
Get ready for the answer…
Lisa: A lot a time, a lot a time. I would say it’s a lot of time if you are not graphically skilled at all. You’re going to need to invest in someone to help you with your graphics because a good campaign page has graphics on it. So, your book cover, I would absolutely invest in a book cover. And then commission two to three page spreads of illustrations. So, that will be out of pocket. And this is for children’s books only. You know, definitely do that. My own video, I did the video myself. So, I didn’t hire that out but if you don’t feel comfortable doing video. Again, your video doesn’t have to be slick it just has to be interesting and short. You can do a short–
Laurie: No 15 minute videos is what you’re saying.
Lisa: Yeah. But everyone’s computers these days has a camera on it. And everyone’s phone has a camera on it. And I’ve seen lots of people just do iPhone videos and then clip it together.
Laurie: Interesting, interesting, okay got it.
Lisa: I think it’s good to also have a prototype in hand. So, that might be, you know, printing your cover on a shell of a book. Just putting blank pages on the inside if you want.
Could the book be done?
Laurie: Oh, okay and you’ve talked about commissioning a few spreads and having the cover but really the book shouldn’t be done yet?
Lisa: It could be done.
Laurie: Could be done?
Lisa Ferland: It could be done. It could be almost done. It could be near complete. I think it is good to have a prototype whether you then revise that as you get funds from the Kickstarter or the Indiegogo campaign. It’s up to you but yeah, it could be mostly done.
Laurie: Mostly done but not actually available for purchase.
Lisa: It cannot be available for purchase, correct. You cannot have, at all. Kickstarter, it goes against Kickstarter and Indiegogo terms and conditions.
Lisa: To crowdfund a product that is already available in the public.
Laurie: Oh, okay so not worth doing that.
Lisa: No, no, no.
Laurie: This isn’t a recoup your costs, this isn’t a recoup your costs once it’s already available.
Lisa: No, you can recoup your costs but just don’t hit publish on Amazon.
Laurie: Okay, okay, thank you for clearing that up. I had another funny question, I think you’ve already answered it but it’s: If you hate crowds can you be successful at crowdfunding?
What if I hate crowds?
Lisa: No, go get a bank loan or something else. I mean, there are ways that you can do crowdfunding like, stuff without doing the crowd if you don’t want to. So, I mean, Kickstarter, Indiegogo it’s time-sensitive, it’s transparent. So, you have to be very clear with what your goal is and then where you are in reaching your goal. A lot a people don’t wanna make that information public.
Lisa: But if you wanted to do it without the platform you could do that. You could just run sales on your website and do pre-orders that way. And say, my book’s available for pre-order, do the little fundraising thermometer, we wanna sell this many copies by this date and then have people work towards that goal. You could do that too.
FREE Crowdfunding Course!
Laurie: Lots of options, depending on your comfort level. So, you mentioned your free course. That sounds like an excellent resource that I think a lot of people would like to get in on. So, if you can share that info and then I’ll also post some links, of course, when this goes out.
Lisa: Absolutely, yes.
Laurie: ‘Kay, just tell us now and then for people who are waiting.
Lisa: So, the free course is all about how, what the different types of crowdfunding are what everything is and then how authors are using it to successfully grow and engage with their audience.
Laurie: Perfect, perfect. That sounds like something I could’ve used a few years ago.
Lisa: I know, I could’ve used it too.
Lisa: I’m trying to create all these resources that didn’t exist when I was crowdfunding. And all the things that I wish someone had told me and I just.
Self-Publishing Children’s Books
Laurie: And so, you had the two Knocked Up Abroad books first.
Laurie: And so, they’re available, published, selling. And then what inspired you to do the children’s book? Oh, we had a little.
Lisa Ferland: Well, I’ve been wanting to do a children’s book, I’ve been wanting to do a children’s book for a long time. And so I’ve just been kind of rolling around ideas in my head and just nothing ever struck. Like, the ideas just stayed in a notebook. And then yeah, just this book just totally came out of a conversation with my son. And we kind of wrote it together in a way. And then I got it edited. And then it just, it just, all the pieces fell into place in a way that just helped it go along. And it was still a seven month process but it was definitely, it, to me it all fell into place rather easily, so.
A Quick Turn-Around!
Laurie: Yeah, well and compared to traditional publishing that’s, that’s a quick turnaround, so. What took the bulk of that seven months?
Lisa: I would say, I would say finding the, I really wanted to research exactly how to do it, how to do it well, finding an illustrator who I could trust and who understood my vision. And yeah, getting the edits down. I think the, because it is rhyming and in meter I really wanted to make sure that I, you know, kept, stayed true to the story but did it in a way that was technically correct. And there was always a balance between being being technically correct and being good. Like, it can be technically correct and still not be good. So, I was, I was dancing on that line for a while and working on other manuscripts at the time. And so, it just, it was just a lack of focus on my part for it taking so long.
Laurie: Oh, okay. A lot of people want to know how to find an illustrator. It’s a big stumbling block for like, the majority I think of children’s writers. So, how did you find yours?
How Lisa’s Illustrator found her!
Lisa: She actually contacted me. So, I know.
Laurie: That’s ideal.
Lisa: I have, I know. Well, it was not, not about the book at all. So, a lot of the work that I do and the collaborations I end up having are based on conversations I have about other things. So, she contacted me ’cause her author was doing a Kickstarter campaign and she was looking for some tips and she wanted some advice and so I kept talking with her via Insta or Facebook Messenger. And we developed a relationship over time. and we’re kind of in the same time zone. She lives in Malaysia and I’m in Sweden. So, our days weren’t that far apart time-wise. And we just kinda developed a relationship over a few months. And my first illustrator relationship with that illustrator fell part ’cause I think it was a scam on Fiverr, so.
Lisa: That got dissolved, yeah. Yeah, it was one of those where you’re like, this doesn’t feel right.
Lisa: Yeah and that’s the hard part is that, you know, you can go through these sort of rounds with people. And you think you’re making progress and then nothing happens and they take your money. But so, I already had this relationship with her. And I was like, you know, why don’t, why don’t we just give this a try? And she’s like, well, I’m new and I don’t know about this. I’m like, let’s just try. Like, I’m new too, this is also my first book. Like, let’s give it a try, so. It was a good learning process for both of us. And I think that, you know, this was my first time working with an illustrator. And now I, now we understand how to work together and when to check in and how to deliver feedback.
Laurie: There could be a whole course on that, right?
New Course Idea…
Lisa: How to deliver feedback to an artist. No, but it’s really good and yeah. So, I would highly recommend trying to develop a relationship. And this might be difficult depending on who the illustrator is and who you are as a person, if you just gel. But I have found that when you gel with the people you work with it’s so much easier to get the work done. And so much more enjoyable for both of you, you know?
Laurie: And then if you’re not, like, you don’t have to be so hyper aware of how you’re delivering feedback or talking if they get you and they know that it’s not coming from a place of, you know, criticism necessarily, it’s coming from a place of I don’t know how better to say this, like, I definitely have issues with that. I have no filter often.
Lisa: Yeah, like, let’s try not. Let’s try tweaking this a little.
Laurie: Let’s try not, yeah.
Lisa: Let’s try something else.
Do you have another book in the works?
Laurie: But do you have another book in the works with this illustrator or…?
Lisa Ferland: Yes, I have two more books in the works. But I need to get my butt in gear because she’s waiting on my manuscript. So, it’s my fault. Yes, again it’s the rhyming and the meter thing, it is tough and I am just dragging my feet because it’s tough.
Laurie: It’s hard.
Lisa: I just need to do it. But yes, Christmas and then another possible non-seasonal book.
Laurie: Okay. So, you haven’t said anything about the first one. So, why don’t you tell people about the first one.
Lisa: The first one is, it’s called: When the Clock Strikes on Halloween. And it’s all about, yes, a Halloween book in May is a weird, weird thing but anyway.
Laurie: But it works.
Lisa: Yes, you have to get the book done before the holiday, so, it takes, takes time. Yes, it was, it’s so much fun. And a really fun book to write. Really cute illustrations. And I think she did a great job between keeping it kinda spooky but not scary which is a tough line. And I didn’t even know ’til we were done with the book that she’s never celebrated a Halloween. So, she had no–
Halloween In Sweden!
Lisa: Frame of reference for this. So, it was just really based on our conversation.
Laurie: That would be, that would be really interesting even processing the concept of–
Lisa: Yes, yes.
Laurie: Dressing up and asking people for candy. And do they do it in Sweden, do the have a Halloween in Sweden?
Lisa: Well, it’s starting to become a big holiday in Sweden. Yes.
Lisa: But it’s still very scary. Like, it’s not, like in yeah no before, I would say it’s maybe like 10 years old or so.
Lisa: As a holiday.
Laurie: Oh, interesting, okay. You’re a little frozen.
Lisa: So, it’s very sort of classic. Okay, am I back?
Laurie: You’re back now.
Lisa Ferland: It’s very sort of, it’s very sort of classic, scary, ghost, witch, pumpkin Halloween. So, girls don’t dress up as princesses, they don’t. Men don’t, boys don’t dress up as Spider-Man. Like, it’s kind of, hasn’t gotten to that phase yet.
Laurie: Oh, interesting. And then is it not a thing in Malaysia?
Lisa: No, I guess not.
Laurie: No, I guess not. Right, why are people doing that? I guess the bottom line, costumes are fun.
Lisa: Yeah, costumes are fun, why not?
Laurie: Costumes are fun. Yeah, fun costume, yeah, cool. In Canada, well, I’m in Canada. And so, I was, you know, when I was a kid it was the snow suit and then the costume, right? I don’t know where you grew up but yeah, good times.
Her next book is a Christmas book
Laurie: Okay, so then after the Halloween book you’re coming out with a Christmas seasonal book? Will that also be about time, or?
Lisa: Yes, it’ll have the same, the same concept of introducing kids to how to tell analog time. And, but I need to, I have to switch up the rhymes because only so many things rhyme with five and six and seven and so I have to switch it up. And change the format a little bit in order to keep it versatile. Otherwise I’m gonna be stuck saying the same line
Laurie: Right, two is easy to rhyme.
Lisa: Yeah, yeah.
Laurie: But this is so important, analog time. I mean, seriously, what has happened?
Lisa: We’re losing it, we’re totally losing analog time.
Connection between reading analog time and time management
Lisa Ferland: And our kids don’t understand it, our kids can’t read analog time at all. And yeah, just the concept. And if your kids can’t read analog time they have a much harder time, harder time processing and understanding time management. And so it’s, it really, like, these are skills that we have. I mean, some adults struggle with time management and they do know how to tell time. But, yeah. But really, I mean, these are essential skills that build on other essential skills that we need to have as adults. So, it is important to teach–
Laurie: That we never think about, really. Because we just have always had it and so we always know. And we know the five minute increments and all that kinda stuff, so yeah. And seeing the time go by. That’s why visual timers are so good for kids who struggle, right?
Laurie: We have one of those in our house.
Laurie: We use it a lot. We have some struggles. So, what’s the timeline for the Christmas book? Is that gonna be Christmas 2019?
Lisa: Yes, yes that’s the goal.
More About Campaigns
Laurie: Okay and will you be crowdfunding that one?
Lisa: No. No.
Laurie: You’re done?
Lisa: I’m done, I’m done. One campaign. Yeah, no the goal for the Halloween one was, again, to generate enough momentum to get me an audience, sort of a seed audience for the next two in the book, in the series, so. Hopefully, hopefully we’ll see, we’ll see how it goes.
Laurie: You’re taking this approach of you’re marketing it before it’s even created and, you know, I would say 99% of people create and write and then: How in the heck am I gonna sell it? So, this is like, brilliant marketing it on the front end as you start all the way through generating all these things. But you really have to know what you’re doing. Like, what do you do with the people? What do you do with, right, the people who supported you? You really have to have a plan in place.
Lisa: Oh, yeah I mean it–
Laurie: Do you help people with that, like, with the, you know, after the Kickstarter? What happens after the Kickstarter?
Life after the Kickstarter
Lisa Ferland: Yes, yeah. So, you have all these people who supported you. And I mean, you have to, you have to have people beforehand and then you have more, hopefully more people after. And so, the whole idea is that you educate them before you launch on exactly what to expect during the campaign, how they can support you, everything, what’s involved, why you’re doing it. And so you have, there’s a ton of education that you have to do with your audience before you launch. And then you launch and then there’s different marketing messages you send during the campaign. And then after the campaign, of course, you need to keep them warm and updated and give them sneak peeks.
Keep your fans updated
Lisa: I think that behind the scenes look is really why they supported your campaign in the first place. It was because they wanna support you and see what’s going on. So, I think all those behind the scenes access like, vote on my next book cover. Or: What do you think of these illustrations? Or, here’s, you know, help me decide my next title. All of that is really good access to give to those backers. And give them something special to stay involved with you. Because they are your first supporters. And they supported you before your book existed. So, it’s, it’s nice to keep that relationship going and keep engaging with them in new and different ways. ‘Cause you have access to their emails. When you sell books on Amazon you have no idea who those people are. They buy your book and they’re just gone. You can’t reach them again. So, you have to do something special with the people who you can touch over and over again.
A Phenomenal Resource!
Laurie: You will be a phenomenal resource for so many people because this is brand new stuff. Like you said, this hasn’t been out there for authors. That’s fantastic.
Lisa: Oh, good.
Laurie: I had a question, now it’s gone. Of course, oh, I know what it was. Do you know, like, kinda percentage-wise, like, how many people you already knew and were in your sort of circle, your social circle maybe versus bloggers, influencers, people that you hadn’t known? Like, do you know how many? Just for people tryin’ to think.
Lisa: Yes, I do. And I’m sure it’s different for every campaign. So, take my numbers with a grain of salt.
Lisa: And it also depends on what your goals are and how you run your campaign. So, if I ran my campaign just paying my friends and family you’re gonna see more friends and family on your list. But I spent more time trying to build my list before launching of people who I maybe didn’t know. And so I went through my backer list. I had 190 people which was great. And I actually counted up how, kind of put a check mark if I recognized their name at all. So, if I saw them in a Facebook group or if I saw them, if I know them personally. But any type of recognition. And I knew 60% and so that meant that 40% were brand, brand, brand-new strangers to me which was pretty good.
Laurie: That’s a lot.
Know where your audence comes from
Lisa: That was, I was happy with that. And then Kickstarter and Indiegogo would tell you where your backers come from. So, they tell you kind of, not exactly where they come from but what platform, kind of, in general. I had 20% come from the Kickstarter platform itself. Now, that could include someone searching the platform. Which is why it’s important to have a title that people can remember and then search ’cause they may be like, oh wait that’s on Kickstarter. What was the name of it? And they’ll search by your name. Or they’ll search by the title. And so, it’s important to SEO, SEO your own book title on the platform. But it’s true and so, I don’t know if those are people who knew me personally or if they came from the Kickstarter platform itself. It’s impossible to know but 20% came from Kickstarter. Which again, it’s nice. But I wouldn’t say it’s a significant number. Like, you can’t rely on Kickstarter traffic to fund your campaign. You have to bring the traffic. So, when you’re asking me about crowd you are bringing the crowd to the platform and then you really have to look at who it, whatever strangers are on the platform as like, the cherry on top, like just sprinkled. Like, it’s not the frosting. Like, you have to do all the work.
Follow Lisa’s Example by Reading Her Article
Laurie: Yeah, well and there’s what like I guess the person who asked that question it depends on what kind of crowd you mean. You know, like a real-life crowd feels a lot different than behind your computer in your bedroom talking to the people you know through your computer, so.
Laurie: It depends on your comfort level, but. That is great information. And you wrote an article sort of breaking down how your campaign went. Is it okay if I share that with people?
Laurie: Went into great details.
Lisa: And that was really more, that was as much for me as for anybody else.
I’ve experienced enough that I know what works and what doesn’t
Lisa: Because I do wanna analyze what worked and what didn’t work. And since I do help so many other authors do this I’ve seen it all work. Like, I’ve seen every possible scenario work. And I’m like, but I’ve also seen other things fail. So, I’m like: Aw what should I do? I had a little bit of analysis paralysis in the beginning planning my own campaign just because I’ve seen so many things work. Should I set a low goal? Should I set a high goal? Should I reach out to influencers? Oh, oh back to the: What was the breakdown of influencers? I only had like 3% of people come from influencer traffic. So, I would not put a lot of stock in influencer traffic.
Laurie: It’s like the influencer’s people have to know you or somehow want to engage with you.
Lisa: It’s still cold traffic, yeah. So, yeah so you really have to either reach a ton of people via influencers like be published in The Atlantic or The Guardian or some really high, like, something that has a huge, huge audience in order to get the 3% cold traffic conversion rate to mean something. Or, just skip it. Like, I kinda didn’t put too much effort into it because I wasn’t seeing the returns so when, when you’re halfway through your campaign you’re looking for more and more people to share. You have to go back to your own audience and really work, work the people who you’ve already warmed up this entire time and connect with them again.
Laurie: That makes sense.
Lisa: That’s what I recommend anyway.
Is there a common thread for success?
Laurie: Is there a common thread that you’ve noticed helping all the people? Is there a common thread that equals success? Like you said, all the different, it’s like different books. Right? All different books can be successful and then some wacky thing will make, you know, it won’t be successful. But is there a commonality that you’ve seen or can put your finger on or?
Lisa: I would say, I think it really helps if your audience knows what Kickstarter is before you launch your Kickstarter.
Lisa: That was like the number one, yeah that was the number one thing all of my authors said to me was that they were shocked at how many emails went ignored by their friends and family. And so, they were like: I sent you five emails on this why, huh? I already answered this question. It’s like people aren’t reading the emails, they’re not opening the emails, they’re not understanding that, whatever it is they’re just not getting it.
Educate your audience on what Kickstarter and Indiegogo are before asking for money
Lisa: And so there’s a ton, you have to do a ton of education before you launch saying what the platform is, how it works. A lot of people don’t understand that it’s all or nothing. A lot of people think you’re begging for money. And you’re like, no, you’re gonna get something out of it. I mean, it’s just like, there’s a lot of misconceptions that you have to overcome in order to to get them to take out their credit card and put it on. Even my own, my own nana, she’s like, I can just get this on Amazon later. I’m like, yeah, no.
Laurie: She can’t use Prime shipping.
Lisa: I know, it’s like okay nana, it’s fine. But it just goes to show you like, like, if you have an older audience who doesn’t already have a Kickstarter account they’re not gonna create another account to buy your book.
Laurie: Yeah and if they’re savvy enough to know about Amazon and fast, free shipping then they’re, they might not wanna wait six months or however many months.
Lisa: Yeah, she’s like, I’ll just wait a few months.
Do you have to work 80 hours a week on your campaign?
Laurie: That’s so funny. I’ve noticed because I’m friends with quite a few authors and so lots it seems like lately have been running campaigns and there’s some that seem to be working at like, a full time job, full time and a half. And you know, putting in a lot of hours every day. So, does that, that must factor into the success. The time and effort and energy. No? Really?
Lisa: You could put in 80 hours a week and still not see the needle move. I mean, it’s really tough, like, unfortunately there’s really no rhyme or reason. Like, I did a ton of work before. A ton, ton, ton. And it was as soon as my campaign hit a hundred percent it dead, dropped. Like, I could not convince people to keep pledging. And I was like, this is the best deal, I’m giving you four things for $15, like come on. And they just weren’t motivated, you know, they just weren’t motivated to do it. They’re like, well, you have your goal it’s fine. And to be honest I didn’t feel right pushing it because it was, I did reach my goal.
It’s about Sowing seeds
Lisa: So it, again, it’s one of those things that it’s really hard to know and there were days when I put in tons of work and I reached out to 20 people, 20 new people I reached out. Okay, I’m sowing all these seeds, I’m planting all these seeds. And then there were days when I did nothing and I would get five backers. So it’s just like, I don’t know. Like, some days you work super hard and you see no result. And other days you do nothing and you get a ton of backers. So, it’s just kind of who’s paying attention that day. You never know what people are seeing. And you never know when they finally open your email so just keep, you just, you can’t ever stop. You can’t ever sit on it. You can’t ever not work it because the seeds you plant on Tuesday may flower on Friday when you’re sleeping. And you just may never know. And I was also working with a time zone difference where almost all my backers were in the U.S. And I’m in Sweden, so I worked from 6:00 a.m. to noon. I was working for six hours before anyone even woke up. You know, so it’s like no one’s responding to my emails, no one’s checking their phones and I’m like, well I just put in a full day of work almost. And have seen zero traffic to the campaign. So, it can get a little disheartening with how much work you do put into it if you’re not seeing the results.
Laurie: Yeah, it sounds like it.
Does your personality type matter?
Laurie: Do you feel like personality type? Like, I’ve seen a couple a different personality types from really outgoing and extroverted to not so much. Does that make a difference?
Lisa: It might because if you’re not, I mean, you could be doing a lot behind the scenes that people just don’t see. So, a lot of campaigns I’ve seen authors succeed they did everything via email, via personal messaging, via emails, all that. So, they didn’t have a social media presence really at all.
Laurie: Oh, okay. That’ll make people feel better, right?
Lisa: Yeah, you can totally do it. You don’t have to be this outgoing, super, you just have to have people, you just have to educate those people via email, follow up, make phone calls, make those personal connections, be personal and–
Laurie: One on one, one at a time.
Lisa: Exactly, I did so many one on one emails.
Laurie: Good for you. And now you get a break, I hope. So, you have these courses and then you have two more books in the works. Like, do you find that your courses teaching people about crowdfunding is taking over the writing and the books?
The Writing Process
Lisa: Well, that was why I had to, I had to pause taking on clients because it’s, my course is fine, it’s the one on one client work that takes all my time. And so, working one on one with people is awesome, love it but then I have no time to work on my creative work, myself. And I’m, you know the struggle as well. And so I actually had to book myself. I had to write myself into my calendar and say, I am hiring myself to do my book. Yeah, yeah.
Laurie: That’s a good way to do it though, like, write it down, put it in a schedule.
Lisa: Yeah, write it down, block yourself off. Say, I can’t take anymore clients. For the next month I have to focus on my book for the next month and do that because I don’t have, I’m a team of one. I know you have VAs and helpers. I’m not at that stage yet. But I think that is the next stage for scalability in terms of really being able to serve more people because yeah, there’s always a balance between your creative work and your service providing work.
Laurie: Oh yeah, it’s a really hard balance, so hard. I have one assistant. And it’s like, I need a team. But that’s a, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation. Are you familiar with the book Deep Work?
Laurie: The author is but he’s. So, I’ve been pondering, I’ve been reading it slowly because it’s deep. But he talks about a really successful professor as an example, he has a few examples. But this professor takes one semester and only teaches and puts all of his attention into the teaching. And then the next semester all into research and writing, writing papers and things like that. And so he’s been super successful because he’s going really deep on one thing at a time. You know, like for three months at a time. And so, I struggle with like, being scattered. So, you might as well. It sounds like you maybe are a little bit more organized than I am. But so, I’ve been thinking about that because even to get a book out I have to drag my attention and then I feel like I’m really surface with it. And so I’ve been considering like, writing all the books at once, right? And doing all the resources at once and doing all the illustrations and all that kinda stuff. And I feel like as authors, especially indie authors we wear so many hats and that it might be a way to go. And so I’ve kind of been turning my thinking a little bit to: How can I make that happen?
Lisa: That’s really great.
The difficulty of balancing clients and writing
Laurie: It’s hard because when people wanna work with you one on one. You can’t, well, I can work with you September to December or I don’t know if that would work, right? Like, I don’t think that would work.
Lisa: I know and that’s what, ’cause I did turn, I didn’t turn people away, I turned people to a wait list and I said, you know I’m not taking one on one clients right now. Like, sign up on a wait list and I’ll get back to you when I’m available. And everyone was still available. So, you just, you never know. Yeah, like I was afraid, oh taking time out for a month I would lose people. But I think if people really wanna work with you they’ll make the time to work with you. Just as long as you’re not saying, I’ll get back to you next year, I mean.
Laurie: I have some time in 2020, mid 2020 I have some time.
Lisa: Yeah but that’s good. I think batching your work is a really smart way to do it so that you just open. And then when you’re in the zone you can just keep staying in the zone.
Laurie: Yeah, exactly, that’s exactly it, batching. Have to get better at, yep. Okay, so can you leave us with one piece of advice for children’s writers and then maybe one piece of advice for people interested in crowdfunding?
Lisa: Oh, for children’s writers, oh geez. Well, I’m new to it myself.
What have you learned along the way?
Laurie: Like, what have you learned along the way? Like, I guess you’re so, like, multi-passionate you have so many talents. But just about books, is there anything for authors specifically?
Lisa: I would say, to get as much feedback on your story as possible. Before finishing it.
Laurie: Yes and then–
Lisa: Before you get published.
Laurie: Be willing to accept it.
Lisa: Yeah because I think before we hold it so close to our, to the vest and we don’t show anyone. And we’re like, no, no I don’t want you to steal it. And really, like, the feedback I’ve gotten has been amazing and it’s made it better. And it’s made it so much stronger. And so, I think that go to your readers. Share it with kids if you’re a children’s book author. I mean, really read it to them, get their feedback and their view because their insights and their interpretation of what you’re writing even if you’re super close to the source, I mean, if you have kids in your home. Like, different kids interpret things differently. And so, it’s really just good to get as much feedback as possible. And then they get excited about it and then they feel invested in your book. And you’ve just, you know, you have this loyal fan base from the ground up. And you’re inspiring them to write. I mean, it’s just, it’s so rewarding to share your story with kids before you publish it. I mean, it’s just like, it’s such a win, win, win. It feels like stealing ’cause they’re doing so much work for you by giving you a bunch of feedback.
Laurie: I do that. I’m like, okay, slow down, slow down.
Lisa: What was that, what was that again?
Laurie: Just pretend I’m not here but slow down. I should do it more high tech and just video them. It’s my own kids, it’s not weird videoing other people’s kids. It’s so true though, I’m working with somebody right now and he was a little bit down because he said, I had kids read it and they didn’t like it. They walked away and they, you know. But that’s the best kind of feedback because it’s not ready.
You need to know if the story will work before you spend the money!
Lisa: And children’s books are so expensive to produce. Don’t you wanna know before you invest seven to $10,000? Don’t you wanna know that this isn’t gonna work, that the story doesn’t work? Because so many bad stories hide behind really good illustrations.
Lisa: And the best books have both. You need to have a good story and good illustrations. Like, the illustrations can’t do all the heavy lifting for you. We’re the writers, we’re supposed to be writing good stories. We’re not supposed to just write a mediocre story and let the illustrations keep their attention. Like, that’s my.
Research, research, research
Laurie: That’s your two cents. Okay a big parting piece of advice for crowdfunders or people wanting to do crowdfunding. Talk to you, that’s my advice. Take Lisa’s course, get to know her.
Lisa: Sure, yes, happy, happy to answer questions. I would say research, research, research, research, research, research, research. And you could never be prepared enough for what’s gonna happen. So, I think at some point, you know, back campaigns at a dollar level. If you went just whatever, just invest a little bit of money in other campaigns to see the process, to experience the psychology of what it is to be a backer of a campaign, to follow along someone else’s project because that’s what you’re gonna be asking people to do for you.
Laurie: So smart.
Lisa: So, you have to research. Do your market research. Understand what’s going on and be a backer yourself so you can say, okay I would spend money on this. Or, I definitely would not spend money on this. And why. Because that’s gonna inform how you’re gonna set up your reward levels and how you interact with people on your campaign. So, it’s really important to do that work. And to, it’s just a small investment. I probably spent $30 backing other people’s projects before launching my own. Since then I’ve spent thousands of dollars but.
Lisa: That’s another story.
Laurie: That way you can buy all the books, yeah.
Where Lisa Can Be Found
Laurie: That is so smart. Thank you so much. Where can people find you?
Lisa: My website, lisaferland.com.
Laurie: Perfect, thank you. And I’ll have the links and I’ll include the links to your course. And thank you so much for coming and sharing your system with everybody. With all of my, all of my audience. All 10 of them.
Lisa: No, no, no.
Laurie: Thousands. Thank you.
Lisa: Thanks, Laurie.
Laurie: Your welcome, bye Lisa
Thank you for reading! Lisa talked about a calculator when we chatted, you might recall.
The audience size calculator, campaign calendar, and email templates are available for purchase in the Crowdfunding Vault.
Buuut… the Vault is included in the price of the Crowdfunding for Authors course and Lisa really recommends people purchase the course+vault rather than the vault separately. Have a look at the Vault HERE!
Crowdfunding is by no mean any easy effort. We put in more than 5 months prep work. While the campaign is still live we have been reaching out to various groups etc. It is a very difficult process. We are still working marketing everyday and reaching out to journalist.
We are trying .
Glad to hear you’re persevering! It is certainly not an easy task.