What I’m Learning from Being on Kickstarter

“Build it and they will come.”   (not.)

As a musician, I’ve been living in my own little field of dreams.  I tell myself  “Just do good work.  They’ll find you.”      (not.)

When what I really need to do more of is promote promote promote.

Promotion has never been my thing.  I hate advertising in general.  Especially running around tooting my own horn.

Many of my peers in this industry are aggressive promoters.   I, on the other hand, have been going along so far with a small group of wonderful and devoted fans who have discovered me and my music mainly through my performances.  My attitude has generally been to lay back and don’t annoy anyone.  Better to grow quietly but beloved.

Enter Kickstarter.

To begin with, even before I initiated my Kickstarter campaign, my manager said to me, “You should have at least 3000 people on your e-mail list to make this work.”

I told her I had less than 500 on mine.  And another 96 Facebook fans.

She said, “Well, good luck then!”

I rationalized, since my fans are generally a little older and have always been so wonderful and supportive, maybe there’s a chance.  And Hallelujah!  The first week on Kickstarter I raised over 20%, with the average pledge around $160!  Yes!!! My fans are great!

But then, two weeks into the campaign, things began slowing down and I found myself sending out updates more frequently than I would’ve like, and I really began to appreciate how many more fans and Facebook Likes I should’ve had, going into this.

Most musicians I know have many more Facebook fans than I do.  It doesn’t necessarily correlate with how good they are or aren’t.  One amazing performer I know has almost no one:(  Then there are a few I know who would be lucky if their mother could sit through an entire set), and you wonder “HOW THE HECK DID THEY GET SO MANY LIKES!!!!!”

Note to self: Promotion, idiot.

I said to a friend the other day, “I want to be Jimi Hendrix.  Just stand there and play.  Be one with the music and then they’ll all come to me.”

But then I wonder, if Jimi Hendrix were around today, would he be plastering his stuff all over Facebook and Myspace too?

So as of yesterday:

  1. I signed up for a click-thru ad campaign on Facebook
  2. I went back to Twitter. (where I have 47 followers and post once a year. This week I will double that.)
  3. I am now also posting regular updates on Reddit, Reverbnation, MySpace, my Facebook Fanpage and Kickstarter, and Linkedin.  Tomorrow – the music blogs!

The biggest lesson I’m really getting through my head this time is that my shy little “oh-I-don’t-like-to-promote-myself” attitude has to go away now if I want to move forward in this business.

I shared my epiphany with a musician friend of mine who is also a shy, non-promoting type.  He said, “Well, I’m sure you’re not being a pest.  You couldn’t possibly be.”

I smiled, “Thank you, that’s very sweet, but you don’t know the new me:)”

I sincerely don’t want to become a “pest”.  But what I’m also realizing is that the biggest pest prevention thing I can do is to grow my fan base, through regular, consistent promotion. The larger your fan base, the less of a pest you have to be when you really do need that fan support.

I have less than 2 weeks to go in my Kickstarter campaign, which is now over 26% funded (Yay!). Kickstarter says if you pass the 25% mark, there’s a strong chance it will go all the way.  So, I remain cautiously optimistic.

To all my fans who have already pledged their support, THANK YOU!

My personal pledge is that the next time I do anything like this again, whether it be a fundraising campaign, a big gig, new CD promotion, anything!), I’m going to have that 3000+ fanbase, which I’m going to begin building now.  This past week alone, through sheer panic and 20/20 hindsight advice from well-meaning friends, I’ve discovered so many new tools, websites and techniques that will help me get there.

You live, you learn.

Meantime, please help make the remaining 13 days of my Kickstarter campaign THE MOST AWESOME IN THE WORLD! at:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1782129896/passage-a-new-cd-inspired-by-life-and-changes

And while you’re at it, LIKE me on Facebook!

2 responses to “What I’m Learning from Being on Kickstarter

  1. Hello Annie, I’m so with you and hear every word you say! Even though I have just successfully finished a campaign, the whole experience left me a little dazzled and exhausted. I applaud you for taking a step forward in social media promotion. I know how hard and confusing this can be but as an independent artist you have no other choice. You will succeed Annie! I believe in you and I know a lot of your fans and supporters do also:) Keep your smile going!

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