I’m still trying to catch my breath and get back to life as normal (aka working way too much). I did get a little paint on a canvas today, which is a step in the right direction.
I know my Kickstarter project would not have been successfully funded without the help of my many friends and supporters, some of whom have been collecting my work over the years, and some, for whom this will be the first of my work in their collection. I am grateful to you all.
Here are some things that I have learned in the process, what worked, what could have worked better if I had thought it through completely in advance:
1. Because I have been showing my art work oh these many years, I have a pretty good mailing list for snail mail, not so much for email, as I have only recently embraced (um…that may be too strong a word) the technology. So did I have a postcard prepared to send out to 400 or so people? No. Big oops. Next time, I will definitely either get my email list up to snuff in advance, or send actual postcards to those of whom that is my only contact information.
2. Have a regular schedule for sending out emails. Did I do this? Well no. I was a little concerned that I would over do the emails, causing people to automatically delete everything from me. I think that once a week for the first two weeks would be fine, and then step it up a little for the last two weeks, only going into hyper drive at the last few days. Keeping it fun and respectful, of course. I forgot that even when something is of interest to me, if I don’t keep that email somewhere I will see it, I lose. them.
3. Because this was a fine art project, rather than a “Panda Project,” I did not ask the panda’s help until almost the last week. Then of course, the panda kindergarten went way too far, with regrettable results. Mehitabel is now fine, thanks for asking. I have way more panda fans here in internet land (mostly because I put more effort into that blog than my fine art one…go figure.) and I wasn’t sure they would be interested in this fine art project. The lesson here? You never know till you ask. Turns out more than a few of my friends in pandyland think my fine art is worth supporting too. Thank you all!
4. Kickstarter is a funny little universe. For your project to get a lot of help and extra notice from the KS staff, it has to grab the fancy of the staff, whom I’m sure are all amazingly brilliant, insightful, and astute observers of cultural trends. ( a little sucking up for next time never hurts) Otherwise, it’s really up to you to make sure your support base knows about your project. I got a few supporters directly from Kickstarter, but most of my support came from people I actually know, either in person, with a strong showing from my panda fan base on facebook.
5. Unless your project is one of those that leaps into the +100% support in the first 2 days, you should plan on monitoring it regularly, at least daily in the beginning, and then more often as the time period progresses. For the last 24 hours, I was on there almost constantly, and doing a lot of electronic jumping up and down on facebook to make sure I didn’t run out of time before being funded. You also shouldn’t obsessively watch to see if anyone is signing up. That will definitely make you crazy, and you won’t get any work done.
6. Remember to thank everyone. Yup, I did that. But, just in case you missed it, thank you again. I’m working on my thank you notes, even as I speak!
Would I recommend that you use Kickstarter to get a project you have been working on off the ground? Absolutely! I’ve applied for many grants through arts and governmental commission competitions, and have gotten very few of them. The cool thing about Kickstarter is that your funding comes from real people who want to make a difference for you, and maybe don’t have a couple thousand dollars to buy a painting. But, for $25 or $50 or more, they can contribute in a way that, if a lot of people do it, is really beneficial and meaningful. Your stake isn’t determined by a very small group of people who may (and probably do) have their own agenda. Will I do another Kickstarter project? Well, yes, but I have a lot of work to do on this one, and even though I have started the thinking and planning process, it will be a while, since I have this one to complete. (Oh yeah, and go to Italy as well. Look at the time!) I will tell you this: my next project will involve pandas.
So stay tuned!