Hurrah! The crowdfunding is over and we were successful. We reached the goal with minutes to spare, proving my point that people can’t get enough drama. I can. I’m not that keen on drama in my real, actual life, so I can’t say I particularly enjoyed that part of the ride.
But now that it is over and I have had some time to recover and to think about the whole experience, I have a few things I want to share.
1) Crowdfunding is the strangest experience I have ever had.
Full of ups and downs and twists and turns as one day it looks as though you are going to make it and the next that you’re way off your target. Traffic stats mean bugger all. Number of supporters means bugger all. You look at that total and you see the time ticking down and that is all that matters.
2) Crowdfunding is an exercise in popularity.
Throughout this month I have been saying that, should I survive the experience, I would never crowdfund again, but I can imagine that for those to whom it comes easily it must be exciting to see your project running away with popularity. But that sort of excitement is rarely generated by a worthy or even an exciting project – but rather by famous names and already established fan bases. If JK Rowling were to crowdfund there would be no end of people queuing up to get her next book (although possibly questioning why a woman that rich needs to crowdfund at all) while for those of us still growing our fan bases it is a difficult and wearing task. No one knows who you are and no one cares.
3) Crowdfunding makes you question EVERYTHING.
Every morning when I got up I would check my traffic stats, curious to see how many new hits I had in the last 24 hours. Then I would wait to see how many of them would turn into actual pledges. The percentage is small. If you read any stats about crowdfunding it is always small, but you start to wonder if there is something actually wrong with the project. Are people laughing? Are they unconvinced that your project is worth even a single dollar? Have you offended people? And then, when someone does pledge, you question some more. Why did they choose that reward instead of another? Why hasn’t anyone picked this other reward? Are the pledging what they can afford? Or what they think I am worth? And then when it is someone you know it gets even harder, because you can answer some of those questions. See –
4) Crowdfunding makes you judge your friends and your family.
This, I think, was the hardest part of the whole experience for me, and the one that I didn’t expect. When I would receive a pledge from someone I knew I would of course be excited, every pledge was exciting, but when you see that $ amount on the screen you cannot help but set it beside everything you know about that person. How long have you known them? Are they well off? Have they a genuine interest in the project or are they supporting you because, hey, it’s you? Every pledge is a pledge and that is the way you need to think about it, being grateful for each whether they were $1 or $100. But we can’t help human nature. We can’t help but judge, yes JUDGE the people who just helped to support your dream, based on the amount they just typed into their computer.
5) Crowdfunding reminds you about the worth of personal integrity.
Ok, that sounds like a mouthful, but I’m serious. Personal integrity is something everyone should strive to achieve. If you say you are going to do something, do it, don’t make excuses. If you aren’t sure you can, or will, don’t say it. Yes, I had people tell me they were going to pledge, this much, that much, tonight, tomorrow, next week, and here am I, hoping, hanging out to see if we are going to make the target, and by the end – nothing. And you KNOW, they didn’t forget. It’s a terrible thing to realise about people, but we want to look good, so we say what we don’t mean. You want to look good? PERSONAL INTEGRITY. Only say it if you mean it.
In short – crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart. You have to go out and pimp yourself, and there is nothing, NOTHING worse than asking people for money. Some people are naturals at making you want to part with your cash for nothing, but I am not one of them. I would much rather have a book to sell, and even then, I would prefer it sold itself. I’m not pushy, which is why I don’t think it’s an exercise I will ever put myself through again. Of course I might change my mind. If time can make us forget the agony of childbirth, it can make me forget the anguish of crowdfunding too.