Category Archives: Kickstarter Book

leap into the new year!

After a longer than expected summer holiday, we are back! Today on this 29th February Leap Year day, it seemed like a good time to upload our first video of the year and say ‘Happy New Year’. We had tried to make an earlier video, but it was night time and too windy, so we decided to try again.

(Click this image and the video should open in a new page)

This summer has been very hot again and everyone around the world has seen the Australian bush fires, which we were luckily not impacted by. The school summer holidays ran until late Jan and it was quite nice having a break from the demands of social media. I only reposted the drawings from Andy Marshall (illustrator for Motivate Man, our upcoming kids book). You can follow him on Instagram @AndyCMarshall

Images from Andy Marshall’s Instagram account

The Kickstarter campaign ended in December with us nearly reaching $3,000 (Australian) which, when you take out printing and posting costs, pays for about half of the project costs, so that’s a big win. We learned a lot and it was fun, so we ticked a big box.

Andy was impacted by the fires and his other work, but he has been taking his time and doing a great job creating wonderful images for the book which I could not have imagined, so while I doubt we will have the book ready for 21st March, which is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, that’s okay. We will end up with great first book.

The other fun thing I did over the break was to take part in my second podcast. I had done my first with Andy Marshall (you can find that interview here at Fork in the Road). Despite being a bit nervous as you feel like you don’t have the control of being able to edit out anything that isn’t perfect, unlike when creating films, it worked really well. I was then approached by Rich Bolus from The Dad Mindset, having been introduced by a mutual friend. I agreed to do a podcast with him and was really happy with the result. You can find that here. He also has a great interview with Maggie Dent, a well-known parenting author and educator, so I feel honoured to be able to contribute and feature alongside her!

(Click this image and the video should open in a new page)

So we haven’t been doing nothing, of course! Who could do nothing when you have work, 2 kids, a garden and house to look after? Elijah has started Year 5, which will be his first full year at his new school. As we mention on the video we have just produced, he has started learning Spanish, so I am learning it as well to help him. I’m quite enthused to be adding another language and to know that Elijah will end up being able to speak many words and phrases in both Spanish and Japanese.

When we did a Social Role Valorisation course with Darcy Elks many years ago, I wrote that I wanted Elijah to become a linguist. While that seemed like a bit of a dream wish at the time, it has become a reality, which couldn’t make me happier. On that note, I hope you have a great week and, as Elijah teaches Crumpet in this week’s video, I’ll say goodbye in Spanish – ‘Adios!’

Please feel free to leave a comment and I’d appreciate if you would pass on the details of this blog to anyone you think might enjoy or benefit from it. Thank you 🙂 All the best, Rob.

MOTIVATE MAN IS Flying

Yes, Elijah is flying! As we reach the halfway mark of our Kickstarter kids book project, ‘Motivate Man’, we have raised nearly $3,000! We now have 36 backers from around the world and 200 books going out.

We may also have a funding opportunity which will help us with our future projects, which is very exciting. Once we see how the sales progress on Amazon, we can then calculate what we might need for the next books in our series.

In other promotional activity, Elijah just answered some questions for an Instagram account, which will be published soon. It’s not a big account, but we all have to start somewhere and these collaborations are what helps us to grow. You have to persevere and keep chipping away at it. Then one day you realise you have grown to thousands of followers!

Did you know that we are now on Pinterest? Someone said that Pinterest was popular – so I am trying it out. Please look us up if you are on there.

Next, we just wrote another story for YOOCAN, which you can find on their website: https://yoocanfind.com/Story/1991/motivate-man-changing-perceptions

Finally, we have announced DOUBLE FREE book draw entries for every dollar you pledge, for the next 10 backers only (from backer #37 to #46). That means if you pledge $100 you will get 200 chances to win 25 FREE BOOKS (Motivate Man) for a school or library of your choice! So hurry on over – the link is at the top – click ‘KICKSTARTER’.

Have a great week! Best wishes, Rob

We Fired The Cannon!

Dear Blog, Sorry for not posting for a while. I’ve been a wee bit busy! When I was explaining to Elijah about the campaign, talking about the launch, he said, “What, you’re going to put it in a cannon and fire it?” and laughed at his own joke – I love how he makes connections with words.

Well, it’s been quite a week, to say the least! After a weekend of preparation for the launch, including finishing off the video and tweaking the Kickstarter story page, we launched on Monday. Everything went as planned – except for only getting 4 hours of sleep. Then after dropping the kids off at school, I hit the ‘Launch Campaign’ button with a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

If you haven’t seen our hilarious (and serious) campaign video yet, click this image!

Before telling you how it went, 2 things: firstly, please follow our blog if you want to receive notifications about when a new blog appears; secondly, please sign up for our Email News-e-Letter at the top (benefits include entry into free book draws, communication tips, ideas, plans, secret stuff, the works!) We keep your email private, but you can always make up a new Gmail email just for this.

The lucky winner of the Launch prize draw was Instagramer @lonleavittbarker – congratulations! After our random draw (which I put on IG stories) we announced ‘lonl’ had won. I received permission to give the account name and it made my day to hear that her son’s school ‘can’t wait to have these books to share with and teach the children.’ Perfect! Well done! We now have a second draw for 25 books to go to a school when we hit $5,000. More about that on our email News-e-Letter.

Friends and family came to the party and soon the backer numbers and the amounts were rising. It was very exciting to see the funding go past 50% and I think we got to just over 60% by bedtime.

The next day saw us reach 100%, with a BIRTHDAY BANANA backer ($300) securing our initial goal of $1000. We had become a successful Kickstarter campaign. A little bit strategic as I set the initial goal low, but a win nonetheless for two reasons:

Firstly, we are now on record as having had a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. That’s newsworthy – a positive news story – which I was quick to share with media organisations and social media. Anyone browsing Kickstarter will see the green funding bar, showing that we are fully funded, so that is like a tick of approval which may lead to more backers getting on board.

Secondly, once you hit your target, the money is secure. Had I put $10,000 on it and we had pledges worth $9,500, we would receive nothing and we would waste all that effort. Doing it this way we have the guarantee of receiving every dollar raised past $1,000. This was always a mission-based campaign, with the funds being used to accelerate the rollout of the planned book series. Otherwise we would just have to wait until we had sufficient online sales to do the next book.

As I write this we are sitting $3 shy of $1,500 – so that’s an average of $500 a day. Cost of books and postage comes to around $1000 for those pledges, so we have $500 contribution towards our illustration costs and stickers. At this stage, that makes me very happy, but I’m not resting on any banana leaf laurels, that’s for sure.

I distributed an A4 flyer with Elijah’s cards to his school, dentist, doctor, occupational therapist and Scouts. I had them printed on quality card, so they look the part. I think I will take it to some local libraries as well.

I am still waiting to hear about TV – staying positive that something will come through! Otherwise, if you know an organisation which could help promote, please let me know. I can email the above flyer (I will add one to the next News-e-Letter) so you can distribute if you wish to.

Well, that’s the blog task ticked off for today! On with the next 30 tasks! Luckily I have taken a week off work to concentrate on this campaign, as there has been such a lot to do. It’s just too hard to do it all in the spare time a normal week gives me at night.

If you think you would like to pledge an amount, either as a donation amount or to receive a reward of some sort (the first book pledge is $20, or 2 for $30, 5 for $50 and 15 for $100) please click here now so you don’t have another thing to remember to do! Have a great day and enjoy the weekend! Best wishes and thanks for your support! Rob

Writer’s blog, not Block!

Having a routine is important, as it helps keep you on track. Take this morning – I realised that it was Thursday, then realised that I had missed uploading my blog yesterday. It woke me up early and so here it is! Certainly no writer’s block here, as we have years of videos and books planned. And here is our most recent bit of excitement … shout out to Andy Marshall our illustrator, who has cracked the code for our logo:

Elijah and Crumpet
Our new logo, sticker and book series cover

I forgive myself for sometimes failing in the discipline or organisation department – it’s not the end of the world. Especially since last night, after putting Elijah to bed, eating and admin, I was busy from 9-1 re-doing the draft Elijah and Crumpet book video. I incorporated all of the feedback received so far into version 2 and decided to start releasing this to influencers and followers around the world.

Now, you might think releasing our material early is not wise – what if someone takes our ideas? Yes, I had exactly the same thought, but once something is released, even as a blog or YouTube video, copyright rules apply. Then what if someone did take our work? Well, the attention from the uproar that would cause once they were found out would actually be quite good! That old saying applies – ‘Bad publicity is still good publicity’ (disclaimer, that might not be the saying, but it’s something like that)! Finally, if they are not Elijah and Crumpet, what would they want with our work??? On the other hand, what about the benefits of sharing early?

Well, doing my research on Kickstarter, for our upcoming campaign, I see the successful campaigns have engaged their audiences. Involving you, our supporters, brings many benefits:

  • You know what you want, so you can provide great feedback.
  • It’s fun for you since you feel special.
  • You are keen to see the project succeed.
  • You are part of a team, building a community.
  • We feel the love and that is appreciated.
  • There is a wide range of experience out there, which we tap into.
  • You have your own network of contacts, so hopefully you will tell all of your friends about us, then they tell their friends, and so on.
  • You may get to win the odd perk – ideas welcome!

By you signing up for emails, I will able to send out things which don’t appear elsewhere, such as the paragraph below in the book which didn’t make it in (it’s not the place to be ruining the Crumpet ‘secret’ for the little ones. It would be like a Christmas book with Santa at the end having Dad pull off the wig saying, “That’s the last year I’m doing that!” … not the best idea!):

And sometimes he tells everyone,
What they're not meant to hear,
That Crumpet's really played by Dad,
That might be true, I fear.

So please, if you haven’t already, sign up for emails. As a reward I will send you the link to the draft book, so just click the ‘OUR NEW BOOK EMAIL’ button at the top. Please click ‘FOLLOW’ and I will see you twice a week, or thereabouts. Please tell me what you would like to be reading about and I will see what I can do. Thanks for your support. Have a great week, Rob

Let’s make a book!

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Is it on your bucket list? Are you not sure how to start, but intend to find out one day? If you answered “Yes” to all of these, then I know how you feel! Since starting Elijah and Crumpet I have been thinking about doing a book, but there was just never enough time and it kept getting put back on the shelf for another day.

When I first started the YouTube channel, I didn’t have a clue about YouTubing, but the advice I learned from watching my first ‘So you want to be a YouTuber’ video was to JUST GET STARTED! I chanced upon a group of video creators with the hashtag #nosmallcreator which had been started by Cody Wanner in the U.S.A. and so I started to network. One of the group was Andy Marshall from South Australia, who was vlogging about a career change. He wanted to become an illustrator and was showing how he created the artwork for his own children’s book project.

I liked the cartoon style and, since collaborations are an important part of growing a channel, I reached out in April and asked if Andy wanted to draw Crumpet. Andy was up for the challenge and I was blown away by what he produced! Here it is:

Now, I have read thousands of kids books over the years and my favourite are the rhyming ones. Dr Seuss are the classics but I like the more modern ones (The Gruffalo, Stickman) even more. Elijah loves to finish off the sentences and so rhyming sentences have been great for developing his memory recall skills. I also like to write songs and I find rhyming quite easy, so I began to get some poems onto paper.

Later on I did an Instagram live chat (as Crumpet) with Andy, for his Creator Chat project. When you engage with someone in this way, you get to know them, or at least you feel like you do. If they are genuine and tell their story, over time the trust builds. One day I was listening to Andy talking about having to mow lawns to get some money coming in. It was the end of August and we were about to appear on national T.V. for the second time. It came to me that we could work as a team on a series of books. I could provide Andy with paid work as an illustrator and he could help us get the book done. I sent an Instagram DM (Direct Message) to Andy and he thought the idea was great. He was in.

Neither of us had any experience in doing this, but we both had the motivation to make it work. We both knew from learning to do YouTube videos and other things that problems are not barriers, just hurdles you have to navigate (jump or, as I used to, push over), so we looked up contracts, figured out some pricing, came up with a plan which also allowed Andy to continue documenting his journey … and we had a deal. Contracts signed.

Finally, I found podcasts. I know, I’m a bit behind in many regards! Take Instagram, for example – I didn’t know how to use it a year ago, but I am very willing to learn and now we have over 4,000 followers and try to post daily! So listening to podcasts on my hour drive to work and back, I learned about self-publishing and then about crowdfunding. More research online followed and I decided that the best way to reach more people would be to run a Kickstarter campaign.

If we had backers, we would not have to settle for the cheaper paperback and we could also engage with these backers, adding in fun bonus perks like stickers, drawings, videos and special offers, like the chance to appear in our books! If we were funded, we could really advocate for disability and inclusion by getting our message out there, with free books to influencers, plus reaching out to schools, libraries and the media. More about self-publishing and crowdfunding in later blogs and emails (please sign up).

And here we are, with our first book underway. Andy has completed Stage 1, which is the style guide. We needed to be happy with the representation of Elijah (Crumpet was easy as it was already done). The brief was to ensure that Elijah was recognisable, but still in cartoon style rather than a true-to-life image. As you can see below from Andy’s Instagram account @andycmarshall, over time it came together.

The text has been completed, so the next stage is to finish off the storyboard, which we have already outlined. Then the final page illustrations will begin. In the meantime, the text for book 2 is also done, but we’ll keep that one under wraps for now!

Thanks for visiting. Please click FOLLOW to receive notifications about the next Blog. I will try to write two a week, but timings may vary. It would be good if you could sign up for email updates (see link at top) – then we can email updates to the Kickstarter campaign directly to your inbox (if you really want to get behind the project, you could then resend to all of your own contacts!)