Tag Archives: kickstarter

Going, Going, Gone!

Well, what a month it’s been, launching our first book, Motivate Man! It was worth the wait and by the end of this month we will have distributed over 350 copies AROUND THE WORLD! The feedback we have had has been superb for a few reasons, which I will list later on.

First, though, if you haven’t had a chance to look yet, we have updated our website and you can now order your copy directly from us! Just click on the ORDER BOOK link HERE or in the menu later on. We love the book and everyone who has read it thinks it’s great too. That’s important for Andy (who illustrated it) and I – since it reinforces that what we thought (and hoped) would work actually turned out well!

Did you know … ?

Did you know that we have hidden an EASTER EGG in the book? Now, I’d better explain, as we did have some customers at the school book fair looking for a real Easter egg! An EASTER EGG is a term used by filmmakers, often animated films, and also game designers, to describe an object that they have inserted into the film or game. It’s usually an in-joke or an item that doesn’t belong or has relevance outside of the film. So we have one and it’s very hard to find. In fact, maybe we should run a competition to see who can spot it!

We realised that we hadn’t named our Siamese cat in the book. The cat appears on nearly every page, which was an idea we added in later, since it (I have to stop myself saying her name!) does love people and is always talking (when not sleeping). So we have her talking and sleeping throughout. That’s another investigation the kids can have (the answer is out there in social media!)

We have plans to create a newsletter and perhaps a Motivate Man Fan Club as well, so watch this space! It’s all designed to engage kids around the world with Elijah and also to encourage reading and develop skills and ways of thinking which can help them.

So what has the feedback been like?

Amazement – Elijah’s friends get quite a surprise when they see that he has his own book. Elijah IS ‘Motivate Man’ so they think that’s cool. With that his social standing gets a lift … not that he needs it as they are so supportive anyway, but it all helps.

Well done‘ – we pulled it off and created a decent book. The cover, the title, the theme and concept, the pictures and the rhyming storyline – it all came together really nicely to create a book which people are saying, “I love it!” about. The question always comes up in an author’s and illustrator’s mind, “Will readers like it?” and there is that fear of failure which we have to battle against. With it being considered good, we gain credibility with libraries and schools, so the book will reach more people around the world and have more of an impact.

Appreciation – those who have experience of writing, illustrating or publishing a book (either self-publishing like we did or going through a publisher) know what it takes. They appreciate the hard work and late nights, stress and obstacles which have to be overcome. It’s amazing to meet so many people who have already walked this path and the connections are continuing to be made.

Interest – in addition to the above, we are engaging with people who would like to produce their own book. They say it’s really motivating to see that WE DID IT! So we offer our advice and experiences or knowledge about how it was for us and encourage them to give it a go. It seems to be on a lot of bucket lists, so if we can help others to tick it off, that will be awesome.

Unspoken – we know we are making an impression, so we know that we don’t even need to hear feedback to know that we are making a difference. It’s the way someone says ‘Thank you’ to Elijah when he has written their name in the book they have just bought since they can see how he makes such an effort to write those letters. It’s the smile they give when they see Elijah showing his friends how Crumpet works. It’s the way something is said, like ‘Oh, you’ve got business cards too?!!‘ or ‘Can I have a sticker?‘ These are all moments which lend weight to what we are trying to achieve – recognition of the ability for Elijah and all people with Down syndrome to live a valued, successful and happy life when we surround them with the right love and support.

Supportive – everyone we talk to is so supportive. Supportive of the book (by buying a copy for themselves, or even 10, as some people have, to distribute themselves as gifts) and also supportive of Elijah and what it means for him. That support means a lot – Thank You!

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

The Power of Being Positive

If you are not listening to Podcasts, I recommend that you have a listen! I only jumped on to learn about writing a book, self-publishing and crowdfunding. I am amazed at how much I have listened to and how much I have learned. I feel like I am at university again, or learning my role at work – it’s a good feeling to be filling up a new part of my brain and learning some new skills!

Crumpet knows how to listen!

I listen on my hour-long trip to work and either listen at 1.5x speed or 2x speed, since most people on podcasts take their time. It means I cover twice as much ground 🙂 I also recommend skipping the first 3 mins usually as they are just introductions. So I found some very good channels and I have listened to about 100 hours now, condensed into 50 hours.

There’s a lot of experience out there and the interviews with successful crowdfunders all talk about preparation. They also talk about ‘going for it’ rather than waiting until you are sure that the project will be successful. You learn as you go and you sometimes have to just try it out. You may fail, but if you don’t try, you will never know and you will never learn. You have to be positive.

I tested the site with the Art project, but there was little interest. Rather than seeing this as a failure, I learned a lot. The nervousness about what will happen when I press the launch button – it’s no longer an issue! I know that I will be bombarded with people offering me all types of services which I don’t need, so I am prepared for that too. I know that you have to have a product that people really want, so I hope that our book, Motivate Man, will be attractive to many.

Friends and family, and supporters, are great – they give words of support as they are meant to! But unless that converts into orders from people not connected to me, the project will end up being much smaller than it otherwise could be. So I am working hard on growing a community who are interested in backing this and future projects. Kickstarter is not just about raising money – the project helps create interest in the cause, which is to raise awareness for Down syndrome and disability. So if we end up with a larger community, it will be a success.

I have started late on this, so the focus is to be creative and find ways to generate interest. Giveaway competitions, media leads, word of mouth, engaging on Facebook – these are all helping, but there’s not a lot of time left, as you can see from the countdown timer on the left! But it’s going to be fun and I am up for the challenge. With your support we can do this. That’s the power of positivity!

Please join our News-e-Letter for tips and additional info about the book – all those who are in the email group (which is kept private and confidential) when the Kickstarter launches will receive a link to our first (unpublished) book: Elijah and Crumpet – World Famous YouTubers, read by Elijah!

https://elijahandcrumpet.wordpress.com/contact/

Have a great week, all the best, Rob

Finally on Facebook!

Well, we did it! We jumped through the burning virtual hoops and worked out how to get a page for Elijah and Crumpet on Facebook. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/ElijahandCrumpetBooks

Now I am burning up time checking out groups on there, but it’s an amazing platform, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in that space.

The history of why we were not already on Facebook is quite simple – when I first tried to open an account with Elijah, he was too young. Then I had two faces in the picture (one being Crumpet), so it was blocked as it went against the guidelines. So the name Elijah and Crumpet was taken … by me! But blocked!!

Last weekend I researched what I needed to do. I finally worked out that I had to open an account with my name, then make a page for Elijah and Crumpet, then I could create a closed group. So that is all now complete and we have 10 likes and a few members. Yay!

So please come on over if you are on Facebook – you get a free entry into the book draw if you join the group! I have already connected with people from all around the world on there and it’s very satisfying to be able to add an encouraging comment for someone in need.

Short one today as it’s late and I have to get on with the edit for our Kickstarter video. 16 days to go until we launch (don’t you love the countdown clock I added on the left! It’s a good motivator for me!)

Have a great day/night! 🙂 Rob

21 Paintings Around The World

Welcome back! Today’s blog is a very quick one, as I have been away with work and we have a big project underway.

Firstly, welcome to our new visitors and also if you have clicked FOLLOW, make sure you sign up to our New-e-Letter as well. This email is specifically for information about our Kickstarter Crowdfunding book launch on 28th October (link at top of page for more information).

Our original YouTube video for the project

Last night I was returning home from being away with my day job and I remembered the art project that Elijah and Crumpet had started last summer. #NoSmallArtist was created to focus on the ability of people to create art, even as a beginner. For Elijah this was another opportunity to develop and learn a new skill. Being an artist is also socially valued, so in the spirit of SRV (Social Role Valorisation) (we attended a course by Darcy Elks when Elijah was very young) this creates an impact.

One of our projects working with acrylic paint on canvas was ’21 Paintings Around The World’. We started, made some YouTube videos, then it rained, we got busier and the usual winter colds got in the way. Now it is warming up, though, we can get it going again. Plus, my thought was that I would make it a Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign to get backers who already like this kind of thing.

Now that I have learned a lot about Kickstarter, I felt confident giving it a go before we launch our main book campaign. The reason for this is similar to my experience with YouTube – you have to start, even if you don’t know what you are doing. You then learn so much through the process, refine things and you often get a result. That’s the entrepeneurial spirit which get things done … quickly! I know that I will learn things from it which will stand me in good stead for our book launch. Considering the book launch will have media attention (if all goes to plan), it is crucial that I make any mistakes before this.

So last night I re-edited the video and tonight I will sort out the reward levels and write the text, insert some photos and have the campaign ready to go in a record 1 day. Then Kickstarter will take several days to review and we will launch asap. Watch this space! All the best, Rob

An example of Elijah’s #NoSmallArtist artwork

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