• The last Hovenweep post for 2014

    After being in the 4 Corners region for a few weeks now, I think it’s safe to say that the last two days spent in Hovenweep will be it for a while.  We’ve gotten all the information and photography we can from the spot.  And it’s time to turn our attention to other matters.  Hovenweep and the Canyon of the Ancients National Monuments are a “wrap.”

    For quite a while now I’ve wanted to photograph the Milky Way spiral above the Airstream.  And the last two nights I was able to do it over and over again.  It’s a lot of fun to do.  Thanks to Dale O’Dell for the inspiration!

    Below is a small collection of images from the past two days at Hovenweep.  The images are also for sale through the site in case you didn’t know.  Just click on the image and you’ll find a shopping button on the lower left side of the viewing area!

    Now, off to the next project!

  • Want to see a few full screen lizard photos?

    As we continue working on the “Living In Tin” website concept I continue toying with the site layout, subscription functionality, and how to best utilize the site.  So today after following a collared lizard around the campground I selected a few really fun photos to put up full screen on the new site.

    Noted the other day, but still worth repeating, don’t sign up over at Livingintin.com yet.  We’re still working out pricing, articles, etc.  Tonight’s post will be one of the free articles.  It’s a quickie that is more about the photography.  The full length posts will be the premium ones.  And with only a few items up today we’re not quite ready yet.

    For everyone who has already contacted me about the new site and new concept, thanks for getting in touch and for you input on the site.  For anyone else passing through, take a look and let me know what you think!

    September 18, 2014 • Notes from Rich • Views: 112

  • 2 Nights at Hovenweep

    For days I’ve been waiting to move the Airstream over to Hovenweep.  I’ve been waiting, not because the park is full, but because the moon was too full.  Tuesday would have been a good day to move too, but there were a lot of clouds in the sky for the evening, and I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted.

    You are here

    You are here

    Last night was the first at Hovenweep.  And 1.5 hours after sunset we headed outside to try an experiment.  Photographing the Milky Way.  Never done it before, but I’ve always wanted to.  Several months ago Dale O’Dell posted a great Milky Way shot, and his made me want to create my own….complete with an Airstream.

    We’ll be doing more tonight.  And I’ll be building a gallery of images from this two day camping trip at Hovenweep.  Fun fun!


    September 18, 2014 • Adventure, Airstream, Colorado, National Monuments of the Southwest, Travel, Utah • Views: 101

  • Validation comes in strange ways – The Attention Web

    Yesterday I posted an update about my new site idea, Living In Tin.  Taking a swing at a subscription based site with both premium articles and free articles.  And while I’m working on that I’ll still be posting here.  Extra work, but you never know.

    After posting I was reading around the net and somehow stumbled across an unexpected article from Time of all places.  The title, “What you think you know about the web is wrong.”  The title caught my attention, the content kept my attention.  The author Tony Haile is the CEO of Chartbeat, and his company provides businesses like Time with real time data to understand their readership.

    Tony’s article really hit home with me as I read and thought about what we’ve been trying to do.  A key point to Tony’s article is the fact that gauging readership and site value just based on the amount of click through traffic really doesn’t tell us as much as we think it does.  He starts out the article saying,

    If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read.

    Isn’t that the truth.  While I’ve always watched my numbers and seen the amount of people coming to this site, and the daily number of page views, I’ve wondered how much they really read.  Using Google Analytics, my own WordPress Stats, and an additional stat tracker in my site build I have a picture of who rolls through here every day.  But a 15 – 20 second read doesn’t relay anything more then an equivalent Twitter tweet.  So I’ve always gone to see the average time on pages, and bounce rate as being more important to me.

    Bounce Rate is the number of folks who come to the site and look at only one page.  My bounce rate is 38%.  That means 62% of folks go on to another article.  And time on site tells me whether or not they’re reading my posts.

    The article goes on to say that click throughs aren’t the end all and are very misleading.  And the author goes on to say that we now want your time and attention on websites,

    It’s no longer just your clicks they want, it’s your time and attention. Welcome to the Attention Web.

    At the core of the Attention Web are powerful new methods of capturing data that can give media sites and advertisers a second-by-second, pixel-by-pixel view of user behavior. If the click is the turnstile outside a stadium, these new methods are the TV control room with access to a thousand different angles. The data these methods capture provide a new window into behavior on the web and suggests that much of the facts we’ve taken for granted just ain’t true.

    The author really caught me with his concept of “The Attention Web.”  I’ve had the concept in my mind for a while, but never had a term for it.  So there you go, the Attention Web!  I like it.

    The article goes on to discuss the different methods of advertising on sites today and what’s not working with them.  He’s talking big companies, not small sites like mine, but it’s applicable all the same.

    • A click doesn’t mean they read the article
    • If the article got read, there’s a good chance the whole article wasn’t read.
    • Where advertising is placed today doesn’t lead to a long time looking at the ad.
    • In depth articles actually get more attention, flashy articles that are pretty meaningless and don’t keep readers.
    • Just because someone shares your links doesn’t mean they’re getting read.

    There’s more, but you should read the article yourself.  It’s a good read worth your time.  What really caught me was the “Attention Web,” concept.  After weeks of a social media campaign I was pretty darned tired of short messages and trying to fit content into them.  I’m one of those rare people on the net who reads a whole article.  I don’t just read titles and move on.  And I think that a place for in depth articles, guides, etc, is the right way to go.

    In my case with the new site I have a few basic ideas.  There will be no Ads like Google or Amazon.  I’ve used them for years and in total earned less than $200 for my click throughs, while they have cluttered up the website’s style (not worth it).  Articles and guides on the new site that are 8 minutes long or longer will be classified Premium.  That’s in line with magazine articles to be sure, or a chapter of a book.  Also articles with longer videos will be premium (it takes a while to make the videos to be sure).  Links will be provided to outside sources, but not because they’re advertisers, it’s because they’re relevant.  And finally, articles that hit the new site are designed to keep readers on the page the whole way through, and for them to return again for reference material if they’re following a guide.  We want your attention while you’re on the site, and we’ll be striving to provide the type of content to keep you coming back.


    September 17, 2014 • Notes from Rich • Views: 108

  • Dreams never die, sometimes they just evolve

    Have you ever really had a dream die?  I’m going to go ahead and say that I doubt you have.  Sure we don’t always do what we want, and sometimes we have to readjust.  But to just let a dream die?  Nah, I don’t buy it.

    Over the past month here on this site you’ve probably read way too much about our “RV’ers Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest,” project.  Much too much about it!  And sorry folks, but you know we really wanted to bring the project to life.  And you can be sure, this dream is most certainly not dead.  It might take a different form, and it might take a little longer, but yeah…..not dead at all.

    For about two weeks now I’ve been toying around with an idea.  The idea won’t get us funded to get out and document 44 National Monuments in 6 months.  But it might help us document them over time.  So toying with the idea is good.  It helps to keep a dream alive.

    As we’ve all seen since the Internet has become part of our daily lives, content and intellectual property is kind of dead on the net.  Free news (with advertisers paying), free tutorials, free photography for your magazine.  At some point content providers are going to close up their doors.  Why?  Because free content and lots of “Likes” can’t pay their staff, can’t cover their insurance, and can’t buy them a new BMW or Jeep (different vehicles for different people).  So I’ve wondered for a while now, are we going to see that point?  The point where folks realize there’s value in the information they’re consuming?

    As an aside, a little over a week ago a friend on Facebook wrote a quick post about the poor quality writing on blogs today.  I almost answered her, but then decided not to.  Here’s the deal on this site.  This is 100% stream of consciousness.  It is.  I write off the cuff, I type at 80 words a minute, and this isn’t my Master’s Thesis.  It’s a blog (aka weblog).  Here’s my question…..  Do you think that folks out there blogging are paying strict attention to the rules of the English language while they’re doing something they’re not getting paid for?  Nah.  It’s a BLOG!  Oh, and secondly, with all the shorthand we’ve learned in order to use Twitter and Short Messaging Service (SMS) we’re lucky that folks are still writing coherent thoughts in more than 140 characters!

    With all of the thoughts running around in my head I kept coming back to something I’ve been considering for years.  A “Premium Content Webiste.”  What does that mean?  A site where you pay a subscription to receive good content, informative content, content that has value, and content that was cared for by its creators when they were creating it.

    As I kept thinking about The National Monuments Project I kept coming back to the E-Book as the way to go.  And if not an e-book, how about a website with subscribers.  I believe there are still newspapers who charge for their content, and even a few magazines even if they’re unwilling to pay photographers.  So as we continued spamming Twitter, promoted the project, and felt like social media refugees for the last few weeks I researched and researched.  And in the end I came up with something…….

    Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.37.47 PM


    Living In Tin.  It’s a website address I purchased quite some time ago.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve spent a good deal of time looking into subscription platforms for websites.  I’ve looked into a more unique layout.  A more “story like” format.  A platform that is all about the article and the images.  Most important to me?  That it was “readable.”  And I finally settled on it yesterday and went forward with all of my thinking.

    Now this new site won’t take over for the Airstream Chronicles.  I’m still going to type way too fast, ignore spelling errors, and go completely hog wild with inappropriate punctuation and grammar.  I promise we will never replace this site.  It is what it is.  But the new site offers both my readers and myself something new.  Articles that we proof, images that we mull over, and content that really delivers something you won’t get anywhere else.  And heck, I might even bring the photography and Photoshop tutorials back (I stopped doing them years ago because spending 8 hours on something I wasn’t getting paid for seemed….well, stupid….even if readers complained I had stopped giving them free tutorials).

    So what’s the bottom line?  Living In Tin is a premium website.  It will have free content to be sure.  But it will also have articles that are guides, tutorials, travel stories and more.  And these will be full stories, not quick little blurbs.  And you’ll know if it’s premium or free just by looking at how long the article is.  Pretty simple.

    It’s not complete yet.  So here’s what I ask.  Pay a visit to it.  Take a look around.  Find articles that you’re not allowed to read because your not a subscriber yet.  Get frustrated, embrace your anger Luke.  And when you’re done poking around…..do not subscribe yet.  I’m still working on several more premium articles.  Oh, and if you happen to find typos on the premium site?  Yeah, I’m not finished yet.  I just wanted to start developing the content and subscription services, and I needed some articles to work with.

    And yeah, if you’re asking yourself, “Will a subscription site really fly?” I’m with you.  I don’t know if it will.  What I do know is that I’m going to give it a whirl.  Why?  Because I’m adapting and changing to work within the framework of where I am today.  This website generates no revenues, rare sales (once or twice a year if I’m lucky), and isn’t going to fund the next trip report.  If we want to continue living a life that’s different from the norm we’ve got to try new ideas out!  It’s that simple.  And if you still enjoy following along then it’s in your interest to see us succeed as well.

  • 2 hours past the deadline

    This morning I was up way too early.  4 a.m.  And once I was up, I was UP!  Too much on my mind to be sure.

    After realizing that I wasn’t getting back to sleep any time soon I decided to boot up the computer, check e-mail, and send out an update to all of those folks who backed our Kickstarter Project.  And while I was typing the final update the project expired.  Literally I was about to hit the publish button when an e-mail hit my inbox that notified me we did not reach our target.  Ah well, it was an educational effort to say the least.

    I’ve already received a few private e-mails from backers asking what the next step is.  And I’m asking myself the same question.  One thing is for certain though…..I’m not tweeting, tumbling, instagramming, or anything else today.  Over the past few weeks I’ve spent so much time at the computer doing updates and posts, and I’m glad to finally have a rest from it all!

    What next, what next?

    Over the weekend there’s been a lot of brain storming in my mind.  The book idea is still valid, and I know it would be of great use to RV’ers traveling the Southwest.  How do I know this?  Well, the folks parked next to us in Cortez said so.  And the folks before them, and every RV’er we’ve talked to.  With our most recent neighbors, visiting from Minnesota, they had no idea about Hovenweep, Canyon of the Ancients, or Natural Bridges.  They’d stopped into Cortez to visit Mesa Verde, and then they were moving on.  After chatting for a bit about the other things to see in the area they decided to stay a few extra days and visit the National Monuments in the area as well.  This morning they pulled out, heading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  And I got a big “Thank you,” for telling them about the other things they could visit on their month long trip.

    So, how do you find 6 months to visit and document all of the National Monuments in the Southwest?  Well, if you’re drawing a pension you could do it.  But if you’re still in the working age category you’re going to need funds for something like that.  Currently I’m thinking the 6 month deal isn’t going to happen.  But what can happen?

    We have covered Hovenweep, Canyon of the Ancients, The Grand Staircase, The Vermillion Cliffs, Wupatki, & Sunset Crater pretty well over the years.  And I already have chapters on Hovenweep, Canyon of the Ancients, and The Vermillion Cliffs just about set to roll.  There’s also a whole intro chapter ready to go too.  So, what else can you do?

    One thought is a “premium” site.  That would be a subscription based website where posts with larger content and more information would go.  This type of site has been on my mind for years, ever since I was in the gallery.  Often I’d post great Lightroom and Photoshop Tutorials, and they’d get a lot of attention.  Actually, one regular reader complained years ago when I stopped putting the free tutorials up.  But when it takes hours and hours of your time to make one simple demo video, you can’t just give them away for free.  Just look at Scott Kelby’s empire.  You do not get free videos from his training site, you pay a yearly fee to be a member and have access to the content he provides.

    If we did something like this it wouldn’t affect this blog.  Things would continue as they have for years.  The only change would be pointing folks to the new “premium content” site for the bigger articles, the how to’s, and the where to go’s.

    Short term thinking

    For the moment I’m going to focus on the next few days ahead of me.  Tomorrow the Airstream sets out to Hovenweep National Monument.  I have a photo idea and I need to stay at their campground overnight to make it happen.  And it will happen!

    After Hovenweep, back to Cortez for a few more days.  I need steady internet connection for a side project a friend asked me to look into, and it’s not too expensive to stay here.  Of course we need to find our next client soon, the coffers are a closing in on empty at the moment.  So travel won’t be far and wide until the next client site is found.


    September 15, 2014 • Notes from Rich • Views: 141

  • Kickstarter, Social Media, and lessons learned

    45 days ago I went ahead and did something very different.  I sat down and created a Kickstarter project, and started on a journey to “Crowdfund” a book I’ve always wanted to put together.  Since my first trip to the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument a guidebook kept coming to mind, but there was never enough time or funds to do it.  With the advent of crowdfunding, awareness at an all time high, I figured, “Why the heck not?”

    Being new to crowdfunding I can say for a fact that mistakes were made.  How our project was initially presented wasn’t clear, but in time we fixed that.  My lack of knowledge about reaching people on social media was an impediment for the first two weeks, but then I really started learning.  And in the end, I probably should have posted the project after we returned to the west, and with only a 30 day timer, not 45.  Finally, I shouldn’t have offered a print version of the guidebook or the photo book, that forced me to up our goal a lot, and if I had stuck with E-Book we could have posted a much less intimidating goal.

    In the end, I’ve learned a good deal about crowdfunding, the different services out there, and how this whole phenomena works.  I’m no expert, but I could claim to be.  And I’ll explain that in depth later.

    I've been looking at the Kickstarter Homepage Management area for over a month now.....

    I’ve been looking at the Kickstarter Homepage Management area for over a month now…..

    Our Project – The RV’ers Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest

    Unlike the National Parks which are so very well known to anyone visiting the Southwest, the National Monuments often don’t come up as a blip on any visitor’s radar screen.  It’s not just tourists who pass these amazing places by.  National Geographic’s Guide to the National Parks lists some, but not all of the National Monuments.  Many are given a pass.  Looking through National Geographic’s 2014 guide I could not find the Vermillion Cliffs, The Grand Staircase, Agua Fria, Grand Canyon Parashant, and many more.  And even if I had found them, the write ups don’t address things many travelers might be interested in.  Like where to stay.

    After doing a ton of research over this past summer I decided that I should attempt to put something together.  So I researched even further.  I started investigating crowdfunding, the platforms that are available, and what I should do to get our own crowdfunding going.  Many things I covered in my own research are often overlooked by folks starting a campaign, and several things slipped through the cracks.

    What pushed me to act too quickly was the “Potato Salad” phenomena this summer ($55,000 raised for a $10 joke).  I should have paced myself a little more, and waited just a little longer to discover a few things I didn’t know.  But after seeing that a joke on Kickstarter turned into a huge deal I thought to myself, “Well, we have a serious project here, so we should have no trouble.”

    Picking the right partner

    There are so many crowdfunding platforms out there now.  And while they perform the same final function (getting funding for projects) they do it in different ways.

    • Kickstarter:  They’re the platform I chose.  Kickstarter has been around for a while now, and they’ve hosted many successful campaigns.  They’re model is “all or nothing.”  Set your goal, and if you don’t reach the goal you get nothing and your donors are charged nothing.  So the risk to donors is only if you have a successful campaign.  That was actually a selling point to me at the beginning.
    • Indiegogo:  Similar to Kickstarter, many people start their campaigns here.  Unlike Kickstarter though you can do partial funding on this site.  That means if you set your goal at $20,000 and you raise $5,000 you get the $5,000.  While that looks good on the surface, if you set up backer rewards the wrong way you could be in a heap of trouble.
    • Gofundme:  Where Kickstarter and Indiegogo have users setup incentives and benefits for backers, Gofundme is a platform where you don’t need to offer any incentives.  You can just put a request for funds out there and let the cards fall where they may.  This site is the home of many fundraisers for people with cancer, folks who just lost a spouse / child / parent / pet, and folks who just want you to send money along for a new car or an RV Repair.

    There are many more crowdfunding sites, so you can be sure that this isn’t a flash in the pan.  It’s an industry.  And used the right way many really cool products are being brought to market.  That’s cool!  If you’d like to see the top 10 Crowdfunding sites just click this link.

    So who do you go with?  Out of all the crowdfunding sites I decided to go with Kickstarter, and here’s why.  Kickstarter required me to have some goals and an actual project where I create something.  It’s not a “personal fundraising site,” instead it’s a site where people go to get funding for projects, inventions, business startups, etc.  There’s a level of accountability with it, especially if you choose to offer incentives to would be investors.  I like all of that, and in the case of our project we do have goals and are looking to bring something new to market.  Sure the potato salad gag got by them, but overall they’re a very legitimate website for those looking to bring new products to market.

    As I learned later, Indiegogo does not do the all or nothing approach.  Folks raising funds there can actually collect the percentage they raised even if they don’t meet their goal.  I found that interesting last week, but as I think about it more it could cause a project creator problems which I’ll talk about a little later.

    Of all the Crowdfunding sites, GoFundme made me the most uncomfortable.  Going to their main page and seeing the most popular fundraisers made me feel like I was in an ER watching tragedy after tragedy roll by.  After one quick read through today I can summarize it as the “I’ve got brain cancer, lung cancer, lost my mom, lost my dad, lost my spouse, lost my child, lost my dog, give me money site.  Back in 2006 when I was extremely ill I think I could have done very well on that site.  One thing with the site, you can’t really verify that funds are going to what folks say they’re going toward.  Backers have to have faith and nothing more that the cause they’re backing is in fact legitimate.  And yes, horrible things happen every day, so hopefully the site is used right.

    Blog your brains out if you're going to do this!

    Blog your brains out if you’re going to do this!

    Planning your project offering – Incentives can destroy you

    As our project launch was researched I paid attention to how other folks had planned their incentives to backers (or investors if you like).  The incentives on Kickstarter and Indiegogo give people something tangible to look forward to if the project gets backed.  And many folks running projects forget this, and really mess up when it’s time to deliver.

    Creating our incentives I paid close attention to what it would cost us to produce hard cover & soft cover books for our backers.  What it costs to send out prints (the print cost, shipping and handling, etc).  And finally, how much we needed to make the project work, and provide our backers with the incentives.  In the end I set a goal of $40,000, with $12,000 allocated to the fees associated with Kickstarter and Amazon, and the cost of fulfilling the orders for books that backers got as incentives.  In the end we were really trying to raise $28,000 to do the project, and the rest was product generation and project fees.

    Many project creators start giving away the farm.  By that I mean they start offering their books, products, etc, at their cost.  If your $2 donors get a sticker that costs you $2 to produce and ship you’re going to be in trouble, big trouble.  And I’ve read the stories of many folks who did just that.

    So in the end I put together an Excel spreadsheet, crunched the numbers, and came up with our incentives.  There was a lot of planning behind our initial incentives, but I knew if we did get fully funded we could provide our backers with the products promised and still be able to afford to complete the project.

    Thinking about the Indiegogo flexible funding leads me to worry a little for project creators.  Okay, let’s say you set your goal at $20,000 for some project.  And let’s say you do the “flex funding” and get $10,000.  Do you have enough money to complete the project?  If you set your goal higher I’m thinking no.  Can you now deliver your incentives to your investors?  Once again, I’m feeling a no coming on.

    In our case, had we done flex funding we would have come away with over $7,000.  Several backers signed up for hard cover photo books.  Several for soft cover guide books.  Others for e-books.  But with only $7,000 we couldn’t even complete a 6 month project to bring those books to market.  We’d owe our investors what they were promised, but have no way to complete the project.  Talk about a scary space to be in.

    So, I’d suggest if you’re planning one of these projects be sure to sit down and calculate the true expenses, and true funding received.  Otherwise you might find yourself digging deep into your own pocket to fulfill the obligations you’ve created.

    Notice all the tabs on the top of my bar?  Twitter, the blog, Buffer, HASHOFF, the Kickstarter page, and more...Every day straight for the last 2 weeks.

    Notice all the tabs on the top of my bar? Twitter, the blog, Buffer, HASHOFF, the Kickstarter page, and more…Every day straight for the last 2 weeks.

    Social Media and Crowdfunding

    Just popping up a new Kickstarter or GoFundme project doesn’t mean people are going to flock to your page.  You’ve got to get out there and get the word out.  You’ve got to “go viral” on the net.  And getting in front of tens of thousands of potential backers isn’t as easy as you think it is.

    In our case, this project has finally made me comfortable with Twitter.  The “sound bite” king of the net, Twitter can really help when crowdfunding.  But in the end you might feel like the biggest spammer on the planet.  Don’t though, you’re not alone, that’s how everyone uses twitter.  Because of the number of tweets per hour, you’ve got to keep updating if you want people to see your stuff.  There are apps and websites that will help you get the message out.  Automated posting, using other people’s posts.  Whatever it takes to get in front of 100,000 potential backers in a 30 second window!

    Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and all the rest of the social media outlets are where you try to get the word out.  With apps and websites you can auto post all day long.  Some of the most popular figures on Twitter use auto posting services.  They don’t write their own content, but pull from the latest trends on the web.  In the end, you’re not really following a person who has 100K followers, you’re following a bot that posts for them constantly.  It’s interesting that somehow people actually do get usable information out of the process.

    Write all your posts in the morning and let Buffer send them for you while you're away!

    Write all your posts in the morning and let Buffer send them for you while you’re away!

    Enlisting Social Media and Crowdfunding Experts

    About 2.5 minutes after posting the Kickstarter project I gained several new followers.  The crowdfunding experts.  I received a ton of e-mails from services all over the globe that promised to help get our project in front of more people.  $20, $100, $200, a percentage of our final goal…..they were all over the place.  And all of them claimed to have the secret formula to getting us backed.

    What was super interesting to me about many of these experts?  Many of them have very new Twitter accounts.  A few weeks old, a few months old, etc.  And yet they’re experts, you can tell because they have 14K followers, 100K followers, or more.  How did a new account get so many followers?

    Well, quite simple, you can “buy” followers.  They’re not real, they’re just accounts.  But that sure makes you look like you’re legitimate.

    Be cautious when dealing with the experts.  As crowdfunding has become an industry more and more social media crowdfunding experts are showing up on the playing field, and they know about as much as you do about getting the word out.  Seriously, some of these services bring nothing to the table but thousands of fake followers who can’t back your project because they’re not real people.

    Do your homework.  There are a few groups out there that can really help you.  The rest?  Just more background noise in a sea of background noise.

    What we did right

    While it’s looking pretty bleak for our project at the moment (43 hours remain and we’re only 18% funded), I think a lot of positives were done.

    • Researched how other crowfunding projects were setup.  We didn’t go in totally blind.
    • Realistic incentives were offered so we wouldn’t get into trouble and find ourselves unable to fulfill our obligations.
    • Watched successful campaigns on all the social media outlets.  Learned a great deal from what they did.
    • Kept it positive the whole time.
    • Followed the advice of several successful campaign creators.
    • Learned how to use automatic posting services to keep us visible to potential backers.  We probably should have quadrupled the amount of posts going out…..

    What we did wrong

    Ah yes, several mis-steps to be sure.

    • Launched the campaign too early.  I should have waited until we weren’t traveling cross country.  A few weeks of social media spamming were lost.
    • Set the goal too high due to trying to do too many things.  This should have been an E-Book and only an E-Book.  The additional incentives caused us to set the goal higher.
    • Hesitated on really aggressively using the Social Media early on.  The last 2 weeks we’ve corrected that, but it cost us in visibility to be sure.
    • Failed to reach out to all the people I’ve helped in business in the past.  I have an e-mail address list that goes on all day, and I didn’t send out private e-mails to those folks.
    • Depended too much on our blog readership.  Knowing how many readers we have here per month I thought this would be a slam dunk.  What I forgot to factor was the fact that the readership here likes to follow along, but rarely purchases anything or supports the site.
    This project event sure thinned out the herd on Facebook.

    This project event sure thinned out the herd on Facebook.

    A total learning experience

    They always say you learn more from failure than success.  With that in mind I’m more brilliant then when I started this.

    I’m now extremely savvy in the ways of Twitter.  If I want to grow my core group of followers into the thousands I can do it in a short amount of time.  But I sincerely don’t think that’s in my future.  I need more then sound bites in my life, I’m all about informative content (guess that’s why I wanted to write a guidebook).  Still, if I ever want to try this again I know what I’m doing now.

    Over the course of this project I’ve also met a few folks plugging away at their own projects.  Several of them have great ideas, and I have a firm feeling we’ll all be in touch for some time to come.  So I made a few new friends, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Also, after initially mentioning the project on Facebook I found a bunch of “Friends” dropped off.  They were all people who friended me in order to plug their services and products, and the moment I asked for a little support with my own project they bailed.  Sweet, no more invites to lame bands playing in dive bars!  And no more messages from dive bars.  It’s a Prescott thing, the bars really like to message everyone on Facebook, even if the people they’re messaging don’t go to bars (like me).  But given that Prescott’s social scene focuses heavily on bars…..we all get friended at some point or other.

    Finally, the last learning experience.  I now know how to layout both Fixed Layout EPubs and Flowable EPubs.  I understand how to format for Apple, and for the good folks over at Amazon.  So I’m armed with a whole new skill set in regards to digital publishing.  Gotta love Lynda.com!

    Hopefully this post is helpful

    For anyone else out there trying their hand at a crowdfunding campaign, I hope there are a few little jewels in this post for you.  I’d say do your homework first, really get to know the process, and then put yourself out there.  And remember, you really are PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE.  When you’re doing one of these projects a big part is who is behind it.

    And if you’re reading this before September 15th of 2014…..we’ve still got 42 hours left.  Pop on by our project page and send along a buck or two just for grins!

    You never know, lightening could strike!  And if you can’t tell, that’s my last lesson.  You’ve got to be persistent and believe in what you’re doing no matter what!

    September 13, 2014 • National Monuments of the Southwest, Notes from Rich • Views: 252

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