CrowdView: Interviewing Tracy Osborn
Behind every crowdfunding campaign is a person with a story. Ultimately, we connect to these people and their projects on a crowdfunding platform but before they go live, a lot of behind the scenes work takes place. CrowdView, a new series, where we will interview epic crowdfunders and tell their stories. With the goal of providing insight and tips to fellow crowdfunders.
This episode we interview Tracy Osborn who has crowdfunded on three occasions. Tracy is always up to helping others and it’s an honor to interview her and learn her story but also get some helpful tips future crowdfunders could utilize. You can pick up her most recent successful project at http://hellowebdesignbook.com/.
Let’s get into it:
For those who may not know you, who are you and what have your crowdfunded?
My name is Tracy Osborn and I live in Toronto, Canada — just moved up here less than a year ago from California. I’m the author of Hello Web App, a set of two books teaching web app development using Python and Django aimed at designers and non-programmers. Both books were successfully Kickstarted in two separate campaigns. I also just finished up my third Kickstarter campaign for my third book, Hello Web Design.
Why did you decide to do crowdfunding instead of other methods?
I decided to self-publish, so I didn’t have the backing of a major publishing company to help me market and sell my books. A Kickstarter campaign seemed like the best way to judge interest in my original book, as well as giving me an “advance” like a traditional publisher would give. Of course, by doing it this way, I also keep 100% of the royalties from selling my book, as compared to 5–15% if I went with a publisher.
How was your experience with crowdfunding?
Great! As you can see, my successful experience with my first campaign made it a no-brainer to do it again with my second and third books — not to mention, each additional campaign has made more money than the last. I’ve learned so much from the process. Even though I jokingly call it “3 days of hell” because it’s so stressful, it’s been such a great experience overall.
If you could give one tip for someone just getting into crowdfunding, what would you tell them?
Clear your schedule during the campaign. First off, Kickstarter backer emails are so addicting and exciting and distracting — it’s impossible for me to get another other work done during the campaign because my brain can’t stop thinking and looking at the campaign. Also be aware the campaigns always slow down during the middle of the campaign, which can be depressing, but it’s totally normal.
Do you have any tools you found that helped you while crowdfunding?
Not quite a tool, but I like to schedule campaigns during major events in my field. My two programming books were fundraising during major conferences in that language, which meant I can find people and ask them directly to back and/or promote the campaign. It’s a lot harder for someone to ignore me or say no when I ask in person!
For someone struggling to hit their goal, do you have any advice on how they could increase backers?
For my last campaign, I started experimenting with paying for advertising. This could be dangerous because you could potentially lose more money than you gain. I advertised in smaller online websites (specific Reddit subreddits, on a few programming blogs) which led to a boost in my backers in the final weeks. Definitely, something that could be investigated with caution!
Did you have any struggles while funding? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
The mental aspect is the hardest part for me! No matter how well a campaign is doing, I always wish it was doing even better. I also get frustrated when I ask folks to back the campaign (especially if they backed my last campaigns) and then they don’t — while I know it can be due to a number of reasons, I can take it personally. Hindsight, this seems so silly, but after three campaigns now, I just have to expect that my brain will do wonky things! So with that in mind, I scheduled a tropical vacation for the week after the campaign ended to get my brain back on track.
Lastly, what do you love about crowdfunding and why should people use it?
It’s such a great way to get the word out about your product, not to mention get some upfront money for your work. I will always use crowdfunding when I launch my books, it just makes sense!
That’s it for this CrowdView, we’d love to get your thoughts on the series as well as Tracy’s adventures in crowdfunding within our community hub. Have you read one of her books? We’d love to know! You can also reach to her on Twitter @limedaring, also check out her website at http://limedaring.com/.