Today's featured creator is Cory Silverburg, whose children's book project What Makes a Baby offers a more modern, and more inclusive, answer to that age-old question, "Where do babies come from?" Cory is a certified sex educator, who knows that not every family is built the same way, and hopes his book helps all kinds of families share all the different amazing ways children are brought into the world. Turns out a lot of people agreed with him (he's raised almost 550% of his goal!), so we reached out to Cory with a few questions, and to ask him for advice. Check out his adorable project video below, and some sage advice for project-running below that. Hooray for bookmaking! And baby-making!
1. Was making your project video:
E. OH GOD. I CAN'T WATCH IT. I JUST. NO.
F. ALL OF THE ABOVE
I have got to go with ALL OF THE ABOVE.
I was INTIMIDATED by the talented friends who agreed to volunteer to help me make the video (they are used to working with professionals, and a budget, and someone who knows their lines, or even has lines!)
I was EXHILARATED by the task of honing my message. When you have huge dreams it's easy to keep them huge. Writing the script meant going from a fantasy to envisioning a reality, which was a total trip.
The work was OVERWHELMING. I was co-writer, co-producer, catering, transportation, production assistant, and talent. And then I had to watch myself in the edits, while keeping my eyes open. Ugh.
The kids were HILARIOUS (and there's so much footage we didn't use). So was cramming five of us in a tiny room so the artist could do the whiteboard drawings at the end of a 13 hour day.
Until it went live I couldn't stop thinking OH GOD, I CAN'T WATCH IT.
Care to give a little pep talk for people currently procrastinating making their project videos?
Stop procrastinating. It's true that every part of your Kickstarter project is important, but to my mind the video is the component that is most crucial to getting successfully funded. If people connect with your video they'll read more and they'll consider backing your project. So don't leave it until the end and don't neglect it. If you're stuck, ask for help! Yes you'll need to work on it alone, for a while. But you also need to get it out of your head. Try to perform it for a few friends, or family, or your cat. Don't worry about it being professional or looking fancy or expensive. Just focus on having a clear message and conveying your personality and your passion. I know that's what gets me as a backer.
2. What do you know now that you wish you knew then? (about running a Kickstarter project, or life in general!)
About Kickstarter: That being honest, having integrity, and communicating clearly is actually enough. And that if you sit at your desk for 10 hours without getting up (and you're 41 years old) you will probably hurt yourself.
About Life: That sex isn't nearly as confusing as relationships, or love.
3. Have you been surprised about the amount of support your project has gotten? What do you think people are responding to? Is it something that would work for other projects?
Yes, completely. I really thought I would be hustling to make $9,500 in 30 days. We hit that in 8 hours. I knew the book was needed, and I knew there were people out there who would acknowledge that, but I think where I succeeded (and I didn't do this alone) was in being able to communicate the values and goals of the project in a way that so many different groups could connect with. I took what could be narrowly construed as a "niche" book and managed to show how it's something that anyone who has kids in their life or wants to have kids, could benefit from.
I think that's important for other projects in that whoever you think your audience is, before you launch your project take some time and think harder to make sure there aren't folks out there who you are leaving out. For me that process requires collaboration.
4. If you had to explain baby-making to a 3rd grader in three sentences or less -- what would you say?
If you're good at engaging kids they'll give you way more than three sentences, which is what you need to tell this story right! In my case it's 36 colorful pages and just under 800 words! (ed.: cop-out!)
5. Any words of wisdom for all the would-be project creators out there?
First, definitely do it! It's an amazing experience and if you commit to it you'll learn a lot even if your first project doesn't succeed. The connection to community that Kickstarter engenders is invaluable on every level. I really went back and forth about going with a publisher and there is no doubt in my mind that this project (beyond the book) is going to be better because of Kickstarter.
Second, ask for what you need. From the very beginning, ask friends, family, strangers, Kickstarter support, everyone. It's a hard thing to do - asking for help and asking for what we need - but you'd be surprised at how many people will be willing to help, and it's an amazing piece of personal growth.