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Is there something wrong with my Kickstarter pitch
52

thebookishkiwi · 08/02/2022 22:08

I'm wondering if someone on here would be able to help me with book marketing?

I've written a book - an oral history/biography about a guy who lived through the Blitz in the Midlands, worked with horses in harness up until the 1960s, then emigrated to work on the big NZ stations shepherding and trapping. He also learned te reo Māori, oil painting and read a lot of poetry. (if anyone's interested, it's called Peter Holbrook: a life history - my project page is on Kickstarter). It's turned out fantastically if I say so myself and I'm confident in the writing.

The problem is this. I've done a tonne of Facebook and Reddit posts and lined up some newspaper interviews. But I've only got a few supporters so far and I'm starting to wonder if there's something putting people off.
There might not be, maybe it is just a marketing issue but does the subject matter give the impression that it's a book for men (that's not the case, but does it look that way?) so women aren't drawn to it?
Has anyone got time to take a look and give me your impression as a book buyer? I don't want to make huge changes if it's more of a reaching people problem, but if there's something you'd advise me to change I'm more than willing to listen.

Is there something wrong with my Kickstarter pitch
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bettertocryinamercedes · 08/02/2022 22:12

It sounds so interesting and something that I would love to read. In fact I'd definitely be up for buying it....

But (sorry) the cover looks so old fashioned that I would probably skip past in on a shelf or in a blog/post and think it wasn't my sort of thing at all. It looks like the sort of thing my dad / ancient aunt would read. I am sorry and I hope that's not too offensive.

I don't even know what you could do to make it more attractive. Maybe get an expert on that!

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bettertocryinamercedes · 08/02/2022 22:13

It's the pic and the font that needs changing - also: who is this man, is he someone people will have heard of?

Could you call the book something else and have his name underneath?

Something a bit more catchy?

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Rossnagoose · 09/02/2022 00:07

I agree with the pps. I would automatically skip that cover because it looks so staid and blokey— as if would appeal to the kind of middle-aged man who mostly reads sports biographies. Definitely a better image needed —why is PH himself not on the cover? The image and subtitle make it sound like a horse whisperer-type book. Even the 1961 photo on the project page would be better.

As we don’t know who he is, it’s a waste of space giving his name so much cover space. I think you need a better title, something that encapsulates why you think people might want to read his story. Why is he different to any other British immigrant to NZ? The Kickstarter page also needs to make a much stronger case for why this story is worth telling — as it is, it sounds a bit WW2, a bit horsy, a bit Maori social history..?

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:15

Thanks so much everyone, I'm truly so grateful to you for the ideas!

Yes I had a lot of trouble the cover design process and to be honest I just went with something 'good enough' because I was sick of it. Clearly that was a poor decision and thanks for calling me out on it! I don't love that I'll find myself paying for it again but reading your comments I feel it is the right thing to do.

I love the comment on the imaginary sports biography man! Yes I think that was who WAS in my mind when I was designing the cover! But that person is not a big regular book buyer, so definite mistake of mine there - thank you for pointing that out in particular.

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Avarua · 09/02/2022 00:19

I'm a new Zealander and I have no idea who Peter Holbrook is. Without instant, widespread name recognition then I think the title and cover page give his name way too much prominence.

Can you call it
Tales of the Deep South
or
Arse End of the World

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ClariceQuiff · 09/02/2022 00:21

I think you need more of a hook. You need to focus on one of the challenges/dilemmas faced by Peter Holbrook (from what you've said in your brief bio there must be several to choose from).

Why did he emigrate - it must have been a gamble - who and what did Peter leave behind; what was he hoping to gain?

What's the single most interesting/unusual/downright baffling thing about Peter?

You need to create that 'clickbait' factor - something that will make your readers feel they have to know the answer to.

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Avarua · 09/02/2022 00:22

As a woman, I'm put off by the protagonist being a man (sorry) so would only venture into the book if I felt there were some interesting characters that were female.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:24

Ok, I've taken your advice on board and deleted the old cover image (until I come up with a new one) and replaced it with a photo of Peter - I think it really shows his character.
Does that make it more appealing do you think?

The new title and making a better case for the book require a little more thought unfortunately although I am taking that on too.

@Rossnagoose great points thank you. Why is he different to other British immigrants is that almost no Pākehā in his time took an interest in the language and culture at all, but he was really engaged. His father had been the same in terms of being really pro-Welsh language despite his English birth.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:26

@Avarua no offense taken - yes more than enough books in the world about blokes! Like your point about clickbait - thanks, food for thought.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:28

Actually - he is very well known in the King Country so what I will do is keep his name in big letters on the local editions (they're the ones on Kickstarter with no postage) and then the other editions can look different.

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Louisianagumbo · 09/02/2022 00:38

Who do you envision your audience to be? I love history but your original picture was horses which wouldn't grab me at all. If I were going to read it, I'd want a defining moment that would grab my attention not a potted history of his life. Something like he was there for change from using horses to engines in the UK, or comparing working horses in the UK to NZ. For me learning Maori would be part of his life but its not a grabber unless he was living with the Maoris or something along those lines. Learning a language is just not that exciting.
I think you need more of a big attention catcher rather than a few smaller meh details. Hope that doesn't sound rude. 😔
Good luck.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:45

@Louisianagumbo no that doesn't sound rude at all and thanks for your thoughts.

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givethatbabyaname · 09/02/2022 00:47

I think you need to go wider still: of all the books I could read, why do I want to read this one? I appreciate you’ve devoted a lot of time to this man, but the appeal to an unknowing audience isn’t this random man. It’s more than that: his struggle; his experiences; NZ life as a Brit; his relationship with horses during a turbulent and stressful life. Pick one thing that it is, and sell the book as that.

Of course the book is about more than just that, but only you know that. We don’t. We need to know why we should care about this man who happens to be called Peter Holbrook, what relevance his life has to us.

People become appealing and interesting (and maybe known, eventually) for the commonalities they share with us, but at which they excelled when we didn’t. Define that in Peter Holbrook, and you’ll find your readership.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 00:51

@givethatbabyaname love it! When I go back and re-write the blurb and press release etc I'll definitely be thinking along those lines.

When you talk about the thing in common - I would say it's Peter's adventurousness. How often do we all think we'd love to change our life and move overseas and meet fascinating people - then actually do it?

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Luredbyapomegranate · 09/02/2022 00:57

Cover and title are wrong as pps say

You also need a much better blurb. First Q is who is your target audience? And what part of the story is most important to them - you don’t want it to fail btwn multiple genres.

Once you have your audience in mind then in one line what’s the USP of this character and this life? And then building out from that what do we in the 21st century take from him (the best history speaks to the present), and then what are 2 or 3 grabby pub facts about this story that will appeal to core readers?

Answering these questions will give you a back cover seller, and that will help you brainstorm a short list of titles. Think about a grabby strap line also. And from there you can sort the cover.

If anyone well known is a fan of his get a quote from them.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 01:04

@Luredbyapomegranate agreed and am going to put my big girl panties on and sort.
Would you say Ken Loach is still well known enough to be a candidate?

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DropYourSword · 09/02/2022 01:08

The saying isn't true - we absolutely do judge a book by its cover. What you've described isn't adequately conveyed in that book cover or title at all.
I think it you can it would definitely be worth revisiting this. I saw you went for "good enough" but in this instance I don't think it is!
Good luck.

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EmmaH2022 · 09/02/2022 01:13

OP did you write the Kickstarter pitch or did the editor write it?

Would you consider doing that differently - yes I have suggestions - and is there a targeted list of people receiving the kickstarter alert?

I'm off to bed btw so not ignoring your replies. Looks like a really interesting guy!

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 01:34

@DropYourSword absolutely I'm revisiting the cover, title and Kickstarter blurb. I've already taken down the crappy old cover and replaced it with a fantastic photo of Peter as a gorgeous young guy. I'm working on my blurb which might take a few days– and also perhaps a longer press release thing – and when I have them ready I'll share them on here for all you insightful and honest ladies to look at. I'll also hold off on the newspaper interview I was going to do on Friday until these issues are fixed.

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thebookishkiwi · 09/02/2022 01:36

@EmmaH2022 sadly I wrote it. My editor would surely have been far more elegant. I would love to learn about your suggestions, and thanks.

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EmmaH2022 · 09/02/2022 02:02

OP don't hold off on the interview
The blurb can be sorted quite quickly

How do people get the first three chapters to read?

I really am going to bed now 😂

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Luredbyapomegranate · 09/02/2022 06:51

As a quote? Yes. Basically the biggest name you can muster for your target audience.

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bettertocryinamercedes · 09/02/2022 19:46

Can't wait to see the new cover, and to read the book!

Well done OP for taking it all on board so graciously

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Zilla1 · 09/02/2022 22:03

HNRTT but what would be the value of the Kickstarter offer, OP, over someone just buying a self-published book on Amazon? Do you need the Kickstarter funding to pay for printing or is there a deliverable beyond the book? I know Kickstarter have lots of campaigns for funding authors and illustrators to write the book but if you have written it, why do you need the Kickstarter campaign and why should anyone support it? If you have good answers then is the value clear in the campaign?

Good luck.

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Wreath21 · 09/02/2022 22:08

@Zilla1

HNRTT but what would be the value of the Kickstarter offer, OP, over someone just buying a self-published book on Amazon? Do you need the Kickstarter funding to pay for printing or is there a deliverable beyond the book? I know Kickstarter have lots of campaigns for funding authors and illustrators to write the book but if you have written it, why do you need the Kickstarter campaign and why should anyone support it? If you have good answers then is the value clear in the campaign?

Good luck.

This is an excellent point and one OP should definitely consider. Print-on-demand services are perfectly adequate for a book like this (ie it is mostly text and doesn't need high-end printing such as something with loads of pictures might). Kickstarter really isn't the best approach for books because most people know that it's now possible to self-publish with very few upfront costs.
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