Creator Q&A: April Smith

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Last night, one of our most popular projects for quite a while now came to a close: April Smith’s quest to make a new record. Led by an excellent pitch video that several projects have imitated, the project racked up over $13,000 during its run.

April was very creative with her project. She set several mini-goals: help me hit this threshold by Friday and everyone gets a free song, that kind of thing. And it always worked for her. Perhaps most inventively, recently April tweeted that the next three pledges would automatically get bumped up a reward tier: even if you only dropped $50, the $100 tier would be yours. Smart.

While her Kickstarter project was ongoing, April had an incredible run of big shows and attention. She played Lollapallooza this year (and Rolling Stone loved it). Billboard did a video interview with her. She’s played some big headlining shows in New York. The timing of Kickstarter’s launch and April’s ascendancy couldn’t have been synchronized better.

We sent April a few questions last night about her project. We’d like to congratulate her on her success

Please tell us about your project and background.

My Kickstarter project was a fundraiser to make my next album. Basically, I wanted to make a really great album without a label. I knew I’d have to pay for the production, studios and musicians myself. So I figured out a reasonable goal that would help me make the album I wanted to, the way I wanted to. I set my goal at $10K, and then I launched. When my project was over, I raised $13,100! So I guess 13 is my new lucky number.

Did you have a strategy with your project?

I handed out flyers at every show we played, tweeted about my Kickstarter project a bunch and I posted updates on Kickstarter too. I would blog on my website and always mention my project on radio and in interviews. I just tried to get the word out to as many people possible. My fans and friends were really instrumental too. I’d tweet about it and then they’d all retweet… I could never have done it on my own.

What was your most popular reward?

The $50 level was my most popular. My fans get a signed physical copy of the album a week before it’s released, an April Smith T-shirt, a digital copy of the album before it comes out, their name and link on my website, a free download of “Terrible Things,” and exclusive video updates from the studio.

Did anything surprise you?

Even though I know, and have always known, how wonderful my fans and supporters are, I was overwhelmed by their generosity. They were always retweeting about my project, telling their friends and spreading the word any way they could. Giving their time and helping me promote was just as valuable as a pledge.

What advice would you give a new project creator?

Use all of your social networking tools! Twitter, Facebook and Myspace were great for me. Send emails to your fans and keep them updated.

Any closing thoughts?

Kickstarter was truly a blast… I realized that I have the best fans I could hope for! I’m definitely going to donate to other Kickstarter projects too. I promised my invites to some other talented people so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with their projects.

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