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May 3, 2013

Kickstarter Feedback and Progress

Lots of folks are giving feedback on the Kickstarter for Getting Happy.

Wondering what Kickstarter is? I did too until a friend turned me onto it. Then I asked David at Morgan James Publishing about the site. He likes it, and some MJP have had success with Kickstarter.

It’s a crowd-funding site. You put your project up – in this case, it’s Getting Happy – and ask people to back the project. I decided to go this route partly to raise the funds for publishing. Mostly I want to get an idea of how many people think there’s a need for the message in Getting Happy.

I think I mentioned before that Getting Happy is a book series. The first one is about dealing with depression, the bad crap that happens in life, and thoughts (and actions) of suicide. It’s my story so it’s tough to write, but there are a lot of people with stories about facing challenges who still find a way for getting happy.

That’s one of the great parts of the feedback I’ve been getting. Obviously people getting a look at the Kickstarter are getting a bit of a sneak peek. Everyone is giving me lots of great feedback and suggestions – plus they’re all giving me a lot of encouragement. A few have written back to me with some of their own story.

One person wrote about what it has been like to deal with a psychiatrist and therapist. Some of it good, and some has been a struggle. We’ve shared a few messages back and forth. Like any service, you have to be careful about who you choose to work with.

Mental health professionals wield a lot of power, and everything they do is subjective. There’s no test that proves a mental illness exists. So you want to be careful that the person you’re working with isn’t screwy all on their own.

Another person wrote about a relationship issue. Yep, it was easy for me to identify with that sort of challenge. And we’ve swapped a few messages, too.

The response to this Kickstarter preview has been great. I mean, it lets me know that people actually do see value in the story. That makes me feel good. After all, it’s scary to put myself “out there” like this. So I’m glad for all the encouragement.

And the folks at Morgan James are helping me with the Kickstarter, too. Actually, quite a few people are. What I mean is that when the Kickstarter goes live, they’re going to tell their friends, associates and family about it.

The psychiatrist and therapist who are contributing are helping me connect with their networks. Folks from PADS are helping me connect with similar organisations. You know, as I sit here typing, it occurs to me that there are almost two dozen people who are going to help promote the Kickstarter when it goes live. Wow! That just feels good!

Will you think I’m crazy if I share my goals? I hope not – and in another couple of paragraphs it’ll be too late anyway! 🙂

The base goal is to have 1,500 books pledged. That translates to $28,000. It’s a lot, but I think 1,500 books pledged is fairly easy to do. Here’s why…

The second goal is to duplicate the success of another author from last November. His name is Ryan, and he did a Kickstarter for an illustrated, interactive version of Hamlet. Yes, Shakespeare’s play. Ryan’s success was fantastic, and I don’t mean to take anything away from him or his supporters by thinking that Getting Happy can be as popular with people as an interactive version of Hamlet.

The link above and this one take you to Ryan’s Kickstarter page. He raised $580K in 30 days.

Then there’s the third goal. It’s huge. It’s my “shoot for the stars” goal. I’m dreaming to have 1.5 million books pledged.

That’s because 750,000 people attempt suicide every year in the U.S. So if we can get twice that many books into people’s hands, then that’s a great start to making that number go down, right?

And with that number of books pledged, the folks at Morgan James and I have some big plans for the e-book version of Getting Happy. Instead of just being the text in a PDF file, that level of support means we can turn it into a real prevention tool. We can connect videos and audio, show people’s stories, hook up to resources, and make it useful as an interactive textbook for getting happy. (Is it just crazy writer like me who get excited over this stuff?)

Anyway, right now, the Kickstarter is going well. I’m getting lots of suggestions and encouragement. It’s great, and I’m looking forward to having it go live.

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