The phases of a crowdfunding campaign: launching

I am running a crowdfunding campaign to finance the writing of my book: Web Application Development in Perl 6

In this article I'll try to follow what's going on in the campaign and in my mind.

Before launching the campaign I spent about two month agonizing over the question whether I should do it or not. Will there be enough people interested or is this just a waste of my time an energy. Can a book about Web development in Perl 6 generate enough interest to bring me the support? Are there going to be enough people who will want to buy the book up-front?

But also: Will there be people who publicly criticize me? Trying to undermine my self-confidence? That's a real danger every time I write publicly, but much more so when I try to promote it a lot.

Anyway I put in quite some energy formalizing the actual campaign, but I am still missing two important things. (At least two.) One is a good book cover with a number of other images needed both for the actual book and for the campaign where Indiegogo asked me to supply 4 images with 4 totally different aspect ratio. The other missing thing is the video. I need to shoot a short video explaining why people should support the book.

I also sent e-mail to a number of my friends asking them for feedback. A few have already answered, but many dud not have the time yet.

I am impatient and I wanted to launch the campaign.

2017.05.21 Sun Right before launching: Enthusiastic. Really want it to get started. I don't want to wait. Will this work?

Immediately after the launch:

Work hard e-mailing more people to support the campaign. Create lists where else can I promote the campaign? 1 hour later: still no one supported. Oh shit. What if this won't work? What if no one will contribute? Depression. What should I have done for this to work? Launch at a different time? Sunday morning in Israel and Europe is really the worst time. Effectively no one, except the Israelis, are working. (Our work week is Sunday-Thursday.)

I already got two unsolicited offers to "help with the campaign", I guess in exchange of some money, but still no one supporting it. Maybe I should have spent more time talking to people before the campaign. Asking them about it. Preparing them to it. Then again, I have 32 days. So I should treat this period as a warm-up period. The reason I did not want to talk about the project in public was that I thought people might want to contribute to it immediately and then I should allow them. I was also afraid of people trying to convince me it is not worth the effort. So now I should treat this period the same way. I should keep asking people for feedback along with the request for contribution. And hope that it will work.

I also had this plan to write articles related to Perl 6 and use that opportunity to mention the book again and again. Another idea was to start writing the book a week after the opening of the crowd funding to publish the first chapter. Probably I should allocate a few hours to campaign promotion and then work on something else. Unrelated to the campaign and to Perl 6. Otherwise this will just drive me crazy.

2 hours later, while I was busy trying to fix a corrupted hard-disk, I got the endorsement from Damian Conway, which is golden, and I saw he has also bought the e-book. Another person I e-mailed bought the e-book. I would really feel great now if I did not have those corrupted hard-disks...

A few hours later, and after sending out a lot more e-mails I have now 5 supporters. That's encouraging. Several people have also gave detailed feedback. I'll have to go over that later. The hard disk has also "repaired itself". I have no idea what happened, but it works now. I only executed sudo fdisk -l a few times. Does that have magic healing power? Anyway, I feel much better now!

2017.05.22 Mon The morning after: Still only 5 supporters and no additional feedback. That's not very encouraging. I hoped for a few more. In any case, I've included an announcement in the Perl Weekly at the bottom. Maybe it is too early to go to such a large audience, but I am impatient.

Started to digest the responses I got so far and made some changes to the "story" on the crowdfunding page. (That's the main body of text in the terms of Indiegogo.) Also started experimenting a bit more with LeanPub and writing the book. A few hours later (still the morning of the second day) I have sent a request for support to the subscribers of my Perl 6 newsletter. It has 360 members. Some of them might be ready to help.

By the evening there were 20 supporters covering 2% of the goal. A good start, but still a long way to go.

2017.05.23 Tue The 3rd day I went to work at a client. I saw a few contributions arriving, which gave me a strange feeling. Will this crowdfunding leave me in that bad spot when you got enough money that it would be hard to give that up, but not enough to actually do the work and to make it even marginally worth it. Then again, this is only the 3rd day of a 32-days long campaign and I have more plans to encourage people to contribute. The fact that I was at a client did not help as I felt a bit restless wanting to work on the campaign and on the book. But hey, at least that pays the bills ... It also made me think again that even if the campaign is successful, the actual money I make will be much less than what I'd make if I just spent more time at my clients.

Anyway, I really would like to have the opportunity to write the whole book.

Sent a request for support to Israeli Perl Mongers with 230 members.

Only in the evening could spend some time on the project. In the meantime contributions passed $1,000. I sent e-mails to the new contributors. Updated the book with their names and added some code snippets as well.

The syntax highlighting is still incorrect as I think it is using the rules of Perl 5. I'll have to look into that later on. Maybe ask Moritz Lenz. After all he started his Perl 6 book on LeanPub.

I've reported a few missing features in Bailador and set up a Slack channel that might be used for Bailador developers.

2017.05.24 Wed Morning of the 4th day. $1,171.00 33 contributors. The number is slowly (probably too slowly), but growing. That $1 donation is strange though. I got a request with it to fill some form, from an e-mail address that is bouncing. I reported it to the support of Indiegogo and will wait for their answer before responding.

In the meantime I've started a conversation with the core developers on the progress of Bailador.

Now I am off to another client. In the meantime, please support the Perl 6 book campaign! so I can spend enough time writing it and also improving Bailador itself.

Published on 2017-05-24 by Gabor Szabo