Episode 33: Succeeding on Kickstarter with Madeleine Holly-Rosing

August 17, 2016

This week on the show we have Madeleine Holly-Rosing. Madeleine is the writer and creator of Boston Metaphysical Society and a Kickstarter expert.

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Madeleine solidified her status as a crowdfunding authority with the book Kickstarter for the Independent Creator. Here is a bio from www.bostomemetaphysicalsociety.com:

A TV, feature film and comic book writer, Madeleine is the winner of the Sloan Fellowship for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film.

She also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. In addition, Madeleine teaches a Kickstarter class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and has published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY webcomic is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS.

The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was also nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.

She currently has novelettes, novellas and an anthology (print as well as eBook) based on the BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY universe available at all major online retailers. Her goal is to eventually develop a series of novels based in this world.

Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy and historical military fiction. Madeleine lives with her rocket scientist husband, David, and two rescue dogs: Ripley and Bishop.

Madeleine is a big get for me even though you might not know her name. Ever since I started seriously going to cons about three years ago she has been a staple of all my favorite shows. Back before I exhibited myself and the bright shininess and mystic wore off, Madeleine was a bit of a mythical figure to me. Even back then she was building buzz around her book and people were talking about her.

There are two major ways to build a brand. Well, there are actually three. The third one is You are the brand. In the beginning, you and the brand are always synonymous, so I usually discount that as a given. There are two branches from you being the brand: your product can be the brand or your company can be the brand. For me, the company is the brand. Not one title defines Wannabe Press. Wannabe Press defines the titles we carry. However, you can also flip that and it’s equally strong if not better.

Madeleine has chosen the second path with Boston Metaphysical Society. She has chosen a singular product and built her brand around that brand. Because of that, she is as synonymous with Boston Metaphysical as I am with Wannabe Press. And she’s built the brand well. She’s nurtured it, grown it, and even grown beyond it as an expert in the field of crowdfunding.

But she wasn’t always an expert, and I love that before Madeleine had a strong brand, she started by doing reviews for our good friends Fanbase Press. Fanbase Press allowed her to learn more about comics, make friends with creators, meet influencers, and have her name linked to comic books well before she had a successful comic book of her own.

This is a great strategy and textbook for people that don’t have a strong brand themselves. If you are developing a product, you need to link yourself with other brands that deal with that product. Reviewing products is one of the easiest ways to start building a name in that space. You don’t have to have a finished product and you can already have bylines linking you to the major players. There are dozens of review sites that are looking for reviewers. I can’t recommend this strategy highly enough.

Once Madeleine had enough content, she launched a Kickstarter to produce the entire graphic novel version of her book. However, that book failed because she was looking for $25,000. She ended up raising a respectable $7,000, but with Kickstarter it’s all or nothing.

So she went back to the drawing board, took a look at her assets, and decided instead of trying for 6 issues she could just go back to Kickstarter for print funds just for issue #3 which she already had in the can. She did, and ended up raising $8,000! That was enough to print issue #4 too!

This is a perfect example of rapidly failing, regrouping, taking stock of your assets and then relaunching with the knowledge you learned. Madeleine talked about how the landscape of Kickstarter changed in 2013. It went from people throwing money at Kickstarter in almost ungodly sums to a more careful platform once people got burned one too many times with not receiving their goods.

She realized this, pivoted, and ended up having a massively successful campaign. We can all learn a thing of two from this, especially the idea that one doesn’t have to launch their dream project first. If you don’t have a big enough fan base to warrant a $25,000 campaign, figure out what you can support and make that. You shouldn’t be doing your dream project first anyway b/c it will never come out as well as you hope.

Madeleine proved her mettle dropping tons of knowledge bombs about Kickstarter, building and audience through cons and social media, and developing a successful brand. You could literally write a case study on how Madeleine built her brand. It’s textbook business strategy for somebody that wants to become a consultant. It was a delight to have her on and I hope you guys love it too.

If you like this episode, please click here to subscribe, rate, and review the show. And don’t forget, you can receive our entire Crush it on Kickstarter course, usually $197, for just $7.00 by clicking here!

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7 comments on “Episode 33: Succeeding on Kickstarter with Madeleine Holly-Rosing

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