The Downs and Ups of my 1st Indiegogo

Some things that worked and others that didn't for my indiegogo campaign.

The Downs and Ups of my 1st Indiegogo
Angst Trade Paperback and Audiobook on iPhone

Over the last few months, I’ve been promoting my Indiegogo for the upcoming Angst audiobook. I’m pleased with the results, it was a learning experience. I’m hoping that others wanting to do the same can gleam something from my time and improve on what I’ve done. For my readers, some of this may be boring, but it also may give you a glimpse on the effort that goes into marketing.

My short term goal was to pre-sell enough copies of the audiobook to hire an incredible voice actor. I’ve been asked for years when an audiobook for Angst would be released. (I’ve been asked the same about a movie, I wish it were that easy.) With the series wrapping up soon, I thought the timing was perfect. I was actually planning to do this last year, but after announcing that I had Parkinson’s I didn’t want friends or family feeling obliged to support me.

My long term goal actually has to do with my Parkinson’s. I have a great job that is incredibly understanding about my craptacular sleep habits and fatigue that my make me late for work or skip the occasional meeting. Unfortunately, this is going to get worse as time progresses. I’d eventually like to write full time, which would mean I’m working two jobs and not three. (Day job, writing, and marketing what I write.) Audiobooks are a crucial medium for authors, and I needed this to happen.

So, in reverse order, I’m sharing the ugly, the bad, and the good. Not only do I want to end on a positive note, but there is a lot more good that came from this than anything else.

Let’s get the ugly out of the way first. As a popularity contest, my Indiegogo was a bust.

  • Despite thousands of readers, newsletter subscribers, and Facebook and Twitter followers – 17 people contributed.
  • I’ve read that the majority of contributions come from those closest to you. For my campaign this only accounted for 8%.
  • I’m only aware of a few friends who have had crowdfunding campaigns, and I supported them. Only 1 returned the favor.
  • With all of this in mind, if you are planning an Indiegogo or Kickstarter, set realistic expectations. It’s important to realize who you can and cannot count on.

The bad was more circumstantial than anything. From what I’ve learned, successful crowdfunding takes a lot of time and effort to plan, market, and properly execute. I did a mediocre job at this.

  • I didn’t plan enough, but I’ll admit that it was tough to find good examples. There are a LOT of failed audiobook kickstarter and indiegogo campaigns. Because of this, paid-for marketing services that help you target investors don’t have an audiobook category.
  • As soon as I hit the go button, my day job became demanding. It happens, but better planning could have made it easier to balance everything I was trying to accomplish.
  • I promoted quite a bit, but that helped book sales more than my Indiegogo campaign. Not a loss by any means, but maybe I could have promoted differently.
  • I quietly recruited a small handful of ambassadors to help me promote the campaign. They did an incredible job but I should have recruited more.
  • People are more likely to contribute to successful campaigns. My funding goal was incredibly high, so it appeared I was underfunded – even if I’m going to make up the difference. Audiobooks can be made cheaper, but that’s not what I wanted.

The good was really good. There were wins, and they were fantastic!

  • I hit 42% of my lofty $4,000 goal in the first week.
  • Most of those contributions were from people who read my books. I couldn’t be more grateful.
  • Two of my readers even contributed $500 to die in the fifth Angst book. They get a lot of stuff in addition to their untimely demise, but their support and commitment means so much more. There is even a special story from this that I hope I’m able to share one day.
  • There was another, unexpected benefit. I sold more books on Amazon in August and September than I sold throughout all of 2017. That was a huge win, and those sales almost covered the difference between contribution and goal.
  • A big win is my narrator, Michael Troughton. This wasn’t due to my Indiegogo campaign so much as timing, but I’ll still mark it down as a win. Within 24 hours of posting an excerpt of Angst I had received quite a few auditions. Some were really good, but one stood out. He nailed it. I totally lose a nerd point for not putting together who he was. When I looked him up on IMDB, there was a ‘whoa’ moment. Not only is he a renown British actor, but the son of the 2nd Doctor Who. Michael Troughton narrating Angst is like Victor Garber joining the cast of The Flash. Michael’s acting experience ads a certain gravitas to Angst, and future audiobooks. We’ve been emailing, and he really seems to be a cool guy. I’m excited, seriously, I can’t wait. His performance is going to bring a whole new dimension to the story.

The end result is that this was a win. The goal was an audiobook, and it’s going to be amazing! Even better, we’re not stopping with just Angst. Mr. Troughton is willing to do the entire series, and that’s icing on this cake, and everyone knows how much I love cake.

What next? Over the next few months I’ll be working on Angst 5, creating the perk items that don’t exist (like hardcover copies of the Angst books) and ordering perks. Mr. Troughton will start recording the Angst audiobook in mid-October. The goal is to get everything shipped in December. If anything is running late, I’ll let you know!

I have a lot of people to thank, but that will be more formally done in another post. Until then, I just want to say that I appreciate everyone who has been a part of this. Thank you for making it happen.