My First Kickstarter – Part 1 – Concept, Preparation, and Promotion

I’m excited to announce that I launched my first Kickstarter project this week!  Rather than just shamelessly plug it here, I thought I’d talk about my journey through the conception, promotion, and closure of this campaign.

I’m an absolute newbie at this, so I’m bound to learn a lot and hope other artists considering Kickstarter might learn something from my experience too!

Check out my project here!

Why Kickstarter?

I’ll be honest, I would never have thought of using Kickstarter for funding paintings, at first.  The site was originally founded to ‘kickstart’ projects that would not otherwise get off the ground.  I’ll still be able to make these paintings.

What finally encouraged me to pursue this series via Kickstarter was the fact that having an extra infusion of income would actually help me be able to worry less about pursuing other freelance work so that I can create these paintings faster while also aiding me in maximizing the potential quality of this series (ie. afford models to have more variety than my own visage, afford updating old supplies, etc.).

Kickstarter also reaches a potential worldwide audience I didn’t have access to before.  This project also represents a chance for me to not just maximize the series’ potential, but also provide an opportunity to offer very unique limited items to my collectors, which is mutually beneficial to us both.

I also saw other artists using the Kickstarter format to similar effect with their own series of paintings which really motivated me to give it a try at least once.  Echo Chernik used Kickstarter to fund her Winged Women series so that she might be able to have more time off from her packed schedule to invest in this Kickstarter-only personal project.  Sam Flegal also used Kickstarter as a boost for his Norse Mythology series of paintings for similar reasons.

The low risk nature of Kickstarter is also appealing.  If the project is not funded, I’m not stuck with a closet full of prints no one wants gathering dust in my apartment.
In the end, embarking on this project is also a mad scientist experiment for me as an Arts Admin grad.  My main hopes are to educate myself on how I can best use Kickstarter for both myself and my fans, whether I succeed with this first project or not.  All mistakes and triumphs will inform future ventures!

Preparing for the Project

It took a lot of research and reassurance for me to finally launch this project.  I did the following before even considering making it a reality:
  • Researched similar Kickstarter projects to mine.
  • Took the Succeeding on Kickstarter class on Skillshare, which was exceedingly detailed about the process and best practices for Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
  • Had many friends, colleagues, and family review my project via the preview link before launching.
  • Planned a cross-promotion with my Patreon patrons so that I could be sure that they still receive the special treatment they deserve for supporting me directly.  Patrons receive a pack of postcards for free for backing the Kicstarter at any level.

Promoting the Projects

Currently I have done the following to promote my project:-  Posted on Reddit in /r/artnouveau, /r/crowdfundingprojects, /r/kickstarter, /r/artstore, and /r/art (still researching other relevant subreddits).

–  Contacted Art Nouveau themed tumblr blogs in hopes of utilizing tumblr’s amazing organic reach (still awaiting a reply).  Also posted a video post on my own Tumblr (please give it a re-blog, if you like this project!).-  Contacted several Art Nouveau dedicated Pages on Facebook (still awaiting response).

–  Paid $40 for boosting my Kickstarter’s video post on my Facebook Page over the next few days.  My Facebook Page also feeds automatically to my Twitter.
–  Paid $100 for promoted Tweets on Twitter.  Hurray for $100 credit for trying it out for the first time!  I am essentially getting free advertising.  Never used this before. We’ll see how it works!
–  Contacted several Art Nouveau themed Groups on DeviantART as well as a couple of Kickstarter themed Groups to ask for promotion.  I’ve heard back from at least one Group with 2,595 Members and 3,450 Watchers thus far.  This group has featured my Kickstarter deviation on their front page and has agreed to do a journal feature soon.
–  Posted the project’s video to YouTube.
–  Posted the project to Prefundia with their free package.
–  Emailed the Art Career Project about featuring my Kickstarter, if they still do that (still awaiting a reply).
–  Posted on my Instagram.-  EDIT:  Added a promo image on my website’s main page and this blog.

–  EDIT:  Added a promo Cover photo to my Facebook Page.

–  EDIT:  Submitted a press release to http://www.crowdfundingpr.org‘s free submission area and to TheMarySue, a site dedicated to female geek news where I have seen other female artists get some promotion, if they found the project relevant to their readers (which I hope they do!).

–  EDIT:  Asked friends and family to get on the promo boat, if they can.  Many have already shared via Facebook and Twitter.

– EDIT:  Sent out e-mail updates about my Kickstarter to my mailing list.

I’ll share results of which places seemed the most effective for me once the project has ended!If you can help me spread the word too with a share on your favorite social network, that’d be fabulous as well!

Next up: What on earth do I do while the campaign is running??

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