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Indievelopment: Crowdfunding Week 4 - Determination

By Jeff Richards

Second to last week of my crowdfunding campaign for Tesla vs Cthulhu. Last week, I talked about how my cat woke me up at 4AM, and I checked my phone for new backers before going to sleep.

She's woken me up at 4AM for the past three mornings too. Well, except for this morning; this morning, she changed it up and opted for 3:20AM. The difference is, new backers or not, now I'm not going back to sleep.

Photo: Petar Miloševi?

Photo: Petar Miloševi?

So, my crowdfunding tip of the week is: Don't own a cat.

My second tip is, be ready, because for most crowdfunds you'll get to this place. It's the part where you've done the easy initial stage, where your friends and family flock to your cause. (Thanks, friends and family!) You've gone through some ups and downs, maybe had slow days, maybe had days when some big backers or some new exposure brought a lot of new funds in. But unless your crowdfund is a huge immediate success, or else a complete crash-and-burn, you will likely see that point where the steam engine is on the uphill slope and is straining. Where making it, crossing the line, making your film, is both in sight and in doubt. Where the backers slow: Those who you could reach who would want to come onboard have done so, and those who want to wait until the end to pledge are, may all the various Gods bless their procrastinating hearts, waiting until the end. You hope they're out there, that last X% who are the ones that will put your campaign over the top are going to come, maybe when your tweets say "FINAL HOURS!", or maybe when Kickstarters 48-hour reminder emails go out. You've reached out to everyone you can think of, because who thinks "Yeah, that would get a HUGE number of eyes on the campaign; I'll wait until the last week to do that."? Nobody. You do it right away. So, barring sudden inspiration, you're probably a bit low in terms of new ideas as you cruise into the last part of your campaign.

What do you do in the meantime?

You listen to a fish.

No, this is not cat-induced sleep deprivation talking. I'm not saying listen to just ANY fish. (If the salmon in the fridge starts talking, see a doctor. Or, you know, throw out the salmon. Talking food is probably past its best-before date.)

No. This is a very particular, very special, very wise fish. You listen to Dory. Remember Dory? Finding Nemo? A wonderful character, filled with great lessons for storytellers, but her greatest lesson isn't a subtle aspect of character creation, or information about casting for a star. No. Her greatest lesson, the one we all need in have painted on our walls in six foot high letters, are these three words.

Just. Keep. Swimming.

Gut it out. This part is tough. You're tired, and if you're anything like me, you are utterly and completely sick of tweeting/FB-posting/etc. I'm not sick of Tesla vs Cthulhu, not even a bit. I LOVE this story, this world! But holy crap, am I sick of crowdfunding. It's the truth; for most creator-types, banging the self-promotion drum is hard (and for Canadians like me, it's practically a national sin). And banging the self-promotion drum AND selling something at the same time... torture. Self-inflicted, multi-week, 24/7 torture. If you can love crowdfunding when you're eyeball deep in it, when you feel like you're dragging that boulder up that hill and you'd sell your soul for a weekend, just a day, when you didn't even have to think of the word "computer"... if you can love it then, bottle that stuff and sell it. And please, send me some. Express, if you could.

"So gut it out? That's your advice?" Not all of it. There's one other one, and this is the most critical aspect of any crowdfund; it's just a bit more important right now.

Treasure your existing backers. First of all, you owe it to them. They are the awesome people, those that believed in you right away. Their reasons are many. Perhaps they're family and friends, and believe in you personally, and would back you if you were funding "Avatar 2" or "Tales of a Tin Can on a Rainy Wednesday: An Epic Silent Film Trilogy." Perhaps they are people who love the concept enough to back it in early days. Whatever the reasons, these are the people who took you from $0 to $1, from $1 to $2... they have made it happen. So keep them updated. Thank them. They believed in you/your project enough to get you to this place, this place where you've got a shot, and they rock.

They are also your very best ambassadors. Retweets and link sharing is great, but nothing beats a personal "Hey, I backed this, so should you." That's the "crowd" part of "crowdfunding," and it doesn't happen if you forget those who brought you to the dance.

Report Card

We're still continuing to reach out, and some things are coming to fruition. We've had audio spots featured on the Caustic Soda podcast (Thanks, Toren!). We'll be featured on The Lovecraft eZine's live chat this Sunday at 6PM Eastern, and we will likely get a write-up on The Fifth Dimension blog as we expand our sci-fi fan reach. It's the big push.

As I write this before sunrise on Wednesday morning , we've got 9 days to go. We'll finish on Friday, October the 11th at 11PM Pacific. So, with 9 days remaining, we've got just under $1,900 to raise. That's 23% of our goal, give or take; we're in pretty good shape. We are absolutely not home and dry, because that's still a serious chunk of cash to raise. We have to raise a little over $200 a day to make it, so if you see this on Friday and check the campaign, if we're not over $7000, I'm probably up. At 4AM. Want to buy a cat?

"Just keep swimming."

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