38: Crowdfunding and Self-Publishing Your Book with Writing Coach Mariëlle Smith

38: Crowdfunding and Self-Publishing Your Book with Writing Coach Mariëlle Smith

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

In this conversation, Chain Assembly and Marielle discuss various aspects of running Kickstarter campaigns. They talk about cross-promotion, Kickstarter exclusives, stretch goals, add-ons, bulk printing, and selling leftover products. They also explore the benefits of the Kickstarter platform, including the joy of backer communication. Overall, the conversation provides insights into the strategies and considerations involved in running successful Kickstarter campaigns. In this part of the conversation, Mariëlle and Chain Assembly discuss the use of BackerKit and Pledge Manager for crowdfunding campaigns. They also explore the benefits of BackerKit Launch and the challenges of generating foot traffic on BackerKit Crowdfunding. They touch on the competition between BackerKit and Kickstarter, as well as the need for improvements in Kickstarter's backend. Mariëlle shares her promotion strategies, including newsletters, Instagram, and referral links. They also discuss the importance of educating potential backers about Kickstarter. Finally, they talk about managing multiple platforms, such as YouTube, blogs, and podcasts. In this conversation, Mariëlle and Chain Assembly discuss advertising on podcasts, using domains for advertising, choosing social media platforms, consolidating marketing efforts, neglecting newsletters, experimenting with social media platforms, creating multiple products, judging one-product creators, constantly creating, and the Listen to Your Heart Tarot Challenge.


You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

A Conversation with Mariëlle Smith:

Chain Assembly (00:01.788)

So when it comes down to it, it's sumac that really makes the dish pop. So today on the podcast, I'm lucky enough to have Marielle Smith, an amazing writer, publisher, podcaster, reading through what you do. It's been a long list of stuff that you've got your hands in. And you're joining me from the beautiful island of Cyprus, is that right?


Mariëlle (00:18.34)

Yeah.


I am, yes. Well, it's getting cloudy now, but I feel like we've skipped winter. Like, it's everybody... Yeah, it's been really nice, yeah.


Chain Assembly (00:27.548)

Well, so I'm in Florida, Southeast United States, and it has been an unseasonably cold winter, which has made everybody very happy. Like, as Floridians were obsessively buying coats that we never get to wear. And so like, so like, I'll go to the farmers market, it's like maybe 60 degrees, everyone's got on their pea coats, because it's like, we get to wear these now. So it's been a lot of fun.


It's been a fun season for us here.


Mariëlle (00:58.502)

I weave it the other way. I think I've worn my coat, my proper winter coat for maybe two times. And because we, so in Cyprus, winter just means rain and the houses are not insulated at all. The new ones are because, you know, they understand that, oh, the climate is changing, but the older ones, so it gets really cold and clammy in the house. So it's really miserable. But this year I'm just like.


It's been so blue and so sunny and I'm like, where's all the gloom? But yeah, I mean, it's been great for my winter depression.


Chain Assembly (01:37.596)

Well, you're from the Netherlands, right? Originally? Okay, so I've only spent, I haven't spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean. I went to Southern Spain last year and it took a while getting used to not having climate control, everything. Because I guess that's, you know, just something that happens in the United States, but like...


Mariëlle (01:40.774)

Yeah, originally, yes. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (02:00.54)

I'm not used to sleeping in a sweaty room with the window open and it's Spain so everyone's partying 10pm at night. That was a hard adaptation.


Mariëlle (02:09.146)

I didn't... So here I mean I have an AC right just outside of the screen. So I have AC in every room and I do try to do the whole window open at night for as long as I can but at one point it's just so the AC goes on. So yeah everything here is very much climate control. So houses are not insulated. Almost nobody has central heating but...


Chain Assembly (02:15.356)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (02:39.014)

When a house comes up for rent that doesn't have AC, that means that the rent is going to be really cheap. Because it's really not pleasant in the summer.


Chain Assembly (02:52.156)

So, all right, so we can talk about that for hours, but let's actually get to some stuff that might be useful to the listeners. So I first met you because you reached out to me, because I had a campaign on Kickstarter in the Tarot space. And you asked about us sharing each other's projects to our respective email lists or backers to help promote each other.


Mariëlle (03:06.884)

Yes.


Chain Assembly (03:17.052)

And that's something I have done in a lot of previous projects. So I was definitely open to that. And so with that in mind, tell me a bit about the project you have on Kickstarter now and how you got to there.


Mariëlle (03:30.598)

Hi, Gata. So this is my fourth Kickstarter. I started with Kickstarter in 2022, I think. So I'm a... Well, I am a lot of things, as you already mentioned. But one of the things I am is a writer. And I think... I've known Kickstarter for a long time and some of my tarot decks and oracle decks come from Kickstarter. So long before I realized that people were using Kickstarter to publish their books,


I was already familiar with the platform, but over the past one and a half years, two years, it has really grown. There's a lot of authors on there now. It's really, it's like evolving every month. It's really, I think it's beautiful to be part of that journey. So I was really, I'm really glad that even though it was a bit scary, first Kickstarter, I think every Kickstarter is a bit scary, every campaign, but the first one was really, really kept me up at night.


But so that's how I got this. Like I saw that authors was doing it as well. I was just like, let's just try. Let's just see what happens. So my current Kickstarter is for one of my Tarot challenges. I do Tarot challenges and I host them on Instagram. So they're freely accessible. But then I think a long time ago, somebody said, why don't you turn it into like a nice little book that people can just buy? And I thought that's that, but it's freely accessible. Nobody's going to want it.


And they said, well, you know, you don't have to do it. But then, of course, you know, the seed was planted. So I created the first one. So my first book under my own name, I have some novels out under a pen name. My first book of my own name was a Tarot Challenge book. And it did so well as did all the other Tarot challenges I did after. So I was really glad that person sort of like, you know, planted that seed.


But what I'm doing now for the first time, this particular Kickstarter, is that I'm doing a limited edition. So there is a version of the book that people can only get through Kickstarter. And that's just me. What I love about Kickstarter is that you get to experiment. You get to see, oh, you know, what works, what doesn't work. And a lot of people I know in the, in the author space have been really successful with, okay, so you can get all the editions on Kickstarter, but there's this one edition.


Mariëlle (05:53.272)

that's going to be exclusive. So the other ones, they will come out, you know, once the Kickstarter is finished and the book's finished, you know, it goes to all the platforms, but this is one edition. And if you don't get it now, you're not going to get it ever because I'm only going to print a limit. So I'm trying this for the first time and I'm quite excited about that.


Chain Assembly (06:11.772)

So, related to that is, you've probably seen this too, but Kickstarter often tries to promote this thing that they call Make 100 at the start of each year. Yeah, so have, in any of your projects, I guess you probably didn't mess with that since this is the first time you're doing something exclusive like that.


Mariëlle (06:22.982)

Yes.


Mariëlle (06:32.358)

I haven't, but I am looking, because I am in the author space. I'm on the, for anybody who's listening, who's an author, who wants to do Kickstarter, there are Facebook groups, like Kickstarter for authors, for example, and there's even a dedicated swap group. So this is where you get to, because the whole swapping idea that I contacted you is because it's such a common thing in the author space to do it. I've had people, because I always, because I do tarot books a lot,


Chain Assembly (06:52.636)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.


Mariëlle (07:01.83)

I always just randomly email them like, Oh, that looks like a really cool tarot deck. I'm just going to contact them. And some of them have been really like, what are you talking about? I'm not going to promote your stuff. And then, so I'm really glad that you said, Oh no, like I've been doing this with others. I was like, okay, so it's not that uncommon. It's not just me just getting into this other area and this other field and be like, yo, let's swap each other's like, let's cross promote. So, so in these groups, a lot of people are now playing.


Chain Assembly (07:17.956)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (07:29.798)

with because I think it's since Kickstarter for authors has become a thing or it's becoming a bigger thing. We've had two Januaries. So I now see people. So every year people are doing more interesting things. I think for me, I haven't done it because I haven't had the idea that, OK, what can I do with that? But it can be it can be as simple. I mean, my brain likes to complicate things, but it can be as simple as, you know, I have this book.


Chain Assembly (07:49.148)

Mm.


Mariëlle (07:59.526)

And you can get the e -book, you can get the normal paperback, but this particular version, are they gonna get a hundred copies? That's the only rule they have. So it doesn't have to be complicated, but in my head it becomes really, really complicated. So I'm like, okay, what cool thing can I do that I only have a hundred of? So I haven't had the idea yet.


Chain Assembly (08:18.268)

So, with me, I came into Kickstarter originally from the board game space as someone who consumes a lot of board games. And one thing that happens a lot in the board game space is Kickstarter exclusives. And years ago, that used to be the main reason why people would pledge on Kickstarter was just to get those exclusives. And...


Mariëlle (08:25.86)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (08:43.996)

I never really cared about the exclusives. I mean, I'm much more interested in playing the game than all the unnecessary bells and whistles. But that being said, because that does become a draw, I did it on my, I did similar thing on two tarot decks ago, which was the second printing of my erotic tarot deck, Eros Tarot. As stretch goals, I made additional major arcana cards and...


Mariëlle (09:09.798)

Oh, that's cool.


Chain Assembly (09:10.556)

So I had the manufacturer print those and just package them up separately. Ended up being five cards. I got unlocked and those were based on ideas that I had from my Oracle deck previously. And so I told the backers that they would be they would not be sold online and they would just be exclusive to the Kickstarter people. But I had a lot left over. So I made sure that in the fine print or whatever, it still allowed me to sell them in person and.


Mariëlle (09:35.27)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (09:38.588)

because nobody was buying them on their own, it ended up just being a free gift to somebody bought the deck from me at a market or something like that, but they're not available on my website. So I still had that outlet to get rid of the extras, which wasn't a lot. There was like maybe 25 or so left over, but that definitely, I feel it allowed me to get people to want to pledge that they get extra cards because.


Mariëlle (09:46.63)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (10:05.852)

I've noticed that in the tarot space, I mean, it's hard enough to make 78 cards, but throwing some extras in there gets people excited. So.


Mariëlle (10:14.662)

Yeah. And it's, but I have a lot of people ask me like, so when are you going to do your own tarot deck? And I'm like, that is not like, I don't see that anywhere on my journey ahead. I think that is because I'm not graphically inclined as in I don't draw, I don't. And so I would have to meet someone who's like, yeah, I can do like, I can do the actual imagery and then I could maybe write the rest, right? That would be a great collaboration.


But by myself, I'm not like, oh, let's just actually spend all this time creating a tarot deck. But also because I'm like, there's so many out there already. Yeah. But I know exactly like this one, my favorite Oracle deck I got two years ago on Kickstarter. And it started out as this 27 card deck. And I was like, this was just like, I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I was like...


This was actually one of the person that I wanted to do like a cross promotion with. And I said, okay, so I'm first going to back your deck and then I'll come back and I'll finish this message about cross promoting with you. But one of his stretch goals was doubling the deck. So that was, so of course, like I was really excited, but I think that really helped with people promoting it because you have 27 gorgeous cards and now you can get literally 54.


and the price wouldn't change for us. We already pledged for the complete deck. So that was really, that was, I thought that was, I think that's one of the most intense stretch goals I've ever seen. Like just completely doubling. Yeah, but I think it really helped because everybody was going crazy for it. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (11:50.044)

Yeah, that's yeah


Chain Assembly (11:56.316)

That sounds to me like a recipe for financial ruin, to have something like that in your... I don't know. I mean, I -


Mariëlle (12:03.878)

I have not discussed with this, I have never asked this person like okay what's the profit after? Because I think people do underestimate that yes you can do a lot of bells and whistles but please keep in mind that if you're thinking oh yeah this will pay off if I get 200 backers for this particular reward tier I wouldn't...


Chain Assembly (12:28.06)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (12:29.904)

Depending on your audience, you can maybe count on that. I can definitely not count on them. So I have to be very smart about the bells and whistles that I offer in my campaigns. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (12:41.404)

So, I mean, the way I do it, and I think probably most people do, is you get your price quote for the absolute best version of the product. And based on that price quote, you start stripping things away and you turn those into stretch goals. So that in your mind, the actual funding goal you need, the money that you're really trying to raise, is gonna involve those stretch goals already. If they don't get unlocked, then that means your actual production cost is a little bit cheaper than you had in mind.


That's not to say that the funding goal you're trying to hit on Kickstarter actually equals that, because that's always a completely separate number than what you're actually trying to make. At least that's the way I approach things.


Mariëlle (13:22.342)

Yeah. Yeah. And I think, so this, I think is different for me as somebody who publishes books with the help of Kickstarter is I tend to, this is actually the first campaign that I'm working with a printer. So I'm very used to just printing on demand, which makes a book always a bit more expensive. So for me, it actually doesn't really matter if somebody, if I have a hundred backers for the same book, because I...


Chain Assembly (13:36.924)

Mm -hmm.


Oh, okay.


Mariëlle (13:51.91)

based the price of my tier on print on demand prices, which is the same for one. So this is the first I'm actually working with a printer. So I did have to go, like I made this whole list. Okay. So if I, I think they did like zero to 10 and then 11 to 25. So I did like, you know, okay, so what are my margins? And I just told myself, you have to base your tier price on what if you only,


Chain Assembly (14:17.276)

Ahem.


Mariëlle (14:21.84)

get 10 backers for this book. Just to be safe because I'm like I'm not gonna... The good thing is of course because I'm a printer if I had done this particular book through something like KDP or Amazon which I use a lot for print on demand I think the printing price would have been at least triple.


than what it will be through this printer. So that really helps me as well. But that's another reason why I'm sort of excited for this particular campaign, because I'm like, oh, let's see what that does if I actually... Because yeah, I've never done a, okay, I need 22 copies or 2200 copies, and I'm just going to order them like in one batch. I've never done that before. But that's definitely something that you have to keep in mind. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (14:46.78)

Right.


Chain Assembly (15:11.356)

So, when I'm doing consulting for people who are trying to get their tarot decks out there, one thing I always say is you need to have a plan after the campaign ends and you've delivered everything on how you're going to sell the leftover stuff. Because if you're just going to do, if the project only exists for the Kickstarter campaign and you don't have any plan to sell what's left over, you're really preventing yourself from making money on the product long term.


you're preventing yourself from being able to get those bulk pricing, bulk prices, which are so dramatic, it makes the whole thing profitable. So like, I mean, doing the KDP route and that on demand route definitely works. But I don't know, it's worked so well for me that I do have all these markets and I do have a website where I can sell things throughout the life of that product. And once that thing sells out,


Mariëlle (15:40.516)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (16:08.476)

That helps build up demand for what would eventually be a second printing. So I always like to try to advise people that, you know, go in bulk to get that better pricing is worth it if you want to put in the legwork to keep doing that sale. Yeah, so.


Mariëlle (16:16.42)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (16:21.222)

I did do that. Two of my campaign, two of the two of my, so like I said, I do books, but two of the books I had a Kickstarter campaign on, I had like a companion Oracle deck. So that was with, with that particular one, I actually did use just, you know, for my own sanity and my own, like to keep my finances in check. I did pick a printer that would print me one for an acceptable price. And then like.


Chain Assembly (16:31.356)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (16:46.78)

Right. Oh yeah, and there's some good options out there, yeah.


Mariëlle (16:50.054)

Yeah, so the good thing is what you said, like there is the funding amount you have on the Kickstarter and then there's the amount in your head. You're like, if I can get that, that will be really sweet. And I always, because I do a lot of print on the mount and because like, it's really easy for me to have like, I just put an amount I know is gonna get funded, right? Because I don't necessarily need 3000 euros to...


Chain Assembly (17:09.82)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (17:14.78)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (17:16.326)

So what I did, I got really lucky with those two campaigns is because I eventually, I think one funded 600%. So that actually gave me the funds to do a bulk buy of the Oracle Deck that was part of the campaign. And what I do now is with every, every new book I have on Kickstarter, some of the add -ons are Oracle Deck one, Oracle Deck two. And this is actually the first time.


I'm doing a, if you buy the two Oracle decks together, you get a bit of a discount. So this is one of the, I also sell them on my website and on Etsy actually. You were talking about the long -term, like where are you going to sell the rest? So I definitely, like for me, it's like every new campaign, I sell more of those Oracle decks. And actually with this, I sent a couple of weeks ago, I sent this email to my previous backers.


Chain Assembly (17:50.076)

Right, yeah.


Chain Assembly (17:57.062)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (18:14.342)

my previous campaign, my previous Tarot book campaign. So that's two campaigns ago. And I wasn't actually, I was chilling out on the add -ons because I have so many books that I was like, it's just, you know, it can get a bit, okay, okay, there's more. I don't want it to get overwhelming, but somebody actually commented and saying, will that book of the two campaigns ago, will that book be available as an add -on?


Chain Assembly (18:25.948)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (18:42.406)

And I was like, I was sort of like, of course I said yes. So I went into, you know, I went in and I changed it, but I was really surprised because this was someone who had already backed the book. So I'm like, oh, that is interesting. So somebody who already backed the book then once more, or is going to point people towards where they can either because that book is actually, is actually available online.


Chain Assembly (18:48.476)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (18:56.54)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (19:11.782)

Like you can get the paper back, you can go to Barnes and Nobles and get the paper back. And also, like if you go to Barnes and Nobles online, you can get the ebook. But that was just sort of like, because I was like, you know what, I'm just not going to do it. I'm just not going to do it this time. And here I was finding myself, OK, putting all the adults, putting all my books and adults. I was like, OK, let's just do it, because it is true. And I think I think for me, it was just. I feel so repetitive, so I get lazy about it.


But it is true that a lot of the money comes in from selling backlist. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (19:43.804)

Yeah, and it's, I'm glad you brought that up. That also happened to me recently too. Someone was like, hey, are you going to be selling that role playing game as an add -on on this Tarot project? I'm like, well, they're very different. So I didn't really expect the audiences to mesh. And then it just like you said, like, well, they could go to my website and buy that now. But there's audiences who only follow you on one platform. So you really need to meet them halfway. And...


Mariëlle (20:04.774)

for some reason.


Chain Assembly (20:12.796)

But I also know what you're saying. Like, I want my Kickstarter project to look simple, concise, and to the point. And I feel like by adding all those add -ons, it becomes tedious for them. But maybe it really doesn't. I don't think anyone's not going to pledge because the list is too long.


Mariëlle (20:29.734)

Yeah, and I think I do think now kickstart is sort of evolving itself as a platform, like being able to put actual images on it. I think that helps a lot as well. Yeah, which is like, that was


Chain Assembly (20:39.292)

Oh yeah, yeah, for sure. It's more work for us as the creators, but it is nice.


Mariëlle (20:45.158)

I was, I wasn't, I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't, I wasn't, I wasn't going to do it. I was like, I just don't, I just don't want to do it. Cause for me, like my next, so I have this campaign, my next campaign is already in pre -launch. And for me in my head, that's a bigger campaign. This feels like a small in -between campaign. So I'm like, I just want to chill. So in what, in the kick, in, in the Kickstarter for all this group, what you can do is ask people for advice. So you're allowed to share your campaign once.


Chain Assembly (21:02.97)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (21:15.352)

And then people will look and they will tell you, oh, there's a spelling error there to you miss this. Or I would change this up or, oh, you don't have enough pictures in there. So I actually got the comment from a few people. So you didn't put in the add -on graphics.


So I put in the add -on crap. But I do it do like I think it looks a bit messy but it is for people because you know the visual helps so much and I do like want to show some of my add -ons are just our Oracle decks. So yeah, it's like I hope that will draw people's attention. But I love what you said because and now I'm thinking because with this with this person who commented I was like you already have the book and you can literally get it everywhere. So now like


Chain Assembly (21:52.06)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (22:07.654)

No, I'm just, no, no, no, I'm working on getting all my paperbacks on my own website as well, but I'm not entirely there yet. But generally you could just go online and order it somewhere. So now I'm wondering, I wonder what you think about this. Do you think that sometimes people are just, they love the Kickstarter platform, they love the community and if they can get it, if they want another copy or another, like you have your game, like I just want another copy of the game or I want to gift it to somebody.


Do you think they would just rather go direct with us through Kickstarter than, you know, knowing that, okay, if ordered through Amazon or Bonds & Noble, like some of the money is going to stick to the platform. Do you think it's just like a principal thing maybe?


Chain Assembly (22:51.708)

Um, that's a good question. I think if it was me, it's kind of hard to separate myself from that. But if I'm trying to put myself in the mind of that consumer, I'm assuming that consumer doesn't know that Kickstarter gets 10 % or up to 10%, you know, the 5 % plus credit card fee. Because I would make more money if they bought it from my website.


Mariëlle (23:10.598)

Hmm. Yeah.


Mariëlle (23:19.494)

Yeah, so really direct. Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (23:21.18)

Yeah, really direct. And then, but that being said, I think they like the idea and I know I like the idea of getting a box of crap in it. Just one order with a bunch of different stuff. So they're like, okay, I can make this decision now and then be excited six months later when I get all these things in the mail. And I mean, that's kind of the joy of Kickstarter is it's a joy that is


Mariëlle (23:34.342)

Yeah, that's true.


Chain Assembly (23:46.972)

The complete opposite of like Amazon where you get everything in two days. It's a joy of like everything feels like a surprise you didn't expect because you paid for it so long ago. And I think maybe that kind of rolls into it. Or they're like, hey, I'm really impressed with what this creator has. I want to put all these things as add -ons to help that stretch goal get hit. That's maybe giving them too much, but I'm hoping that's the case.


Mariëlle (23:57.914)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (24:10.598)

Yeah. I was, as you were talking, I was thinking, or it's just for them thinking I might not necessarily want your current product, but I know I want another copy of that book because I want to give it to someone. So if I can help in any way to help you get your funding or your stretch goals. I don't know if that's giving them too much. I mean, the thing is, I think why I stuck with Kickstarter, because it is a lot of work. It's getting easier.


Chain Assembly (24:15.462)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (24:28.092)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (24:31.836)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (24:36.282)

Yes.


Mariëlle (24:37.798)

And now I've done it a couple of times, but it is a lot of work. I think I stuck with it because it is no longer, you know, you have, you're actually in communication with people. Not with all of them, of course, but some are really sort of proactive about it. They want to tell you like, oh, this is awesome. And really, this is so cool. And so cool to be part of this. Well, of course, if you sell your stuff,


Chain Assembly (24:59.356)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (25:03.984)

Even if I sell my stuff through my own website, there is not necessarily communication. But you know, so I'm wondering whether it's like this, I think for me, this is why I stick with it, because it's just, and it's, I think for me, a kick is seeing the same people come back. Like you see the same names and then I think that is one of the reasons why, why it's a bit addictive, I think as well. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (25:08.38)

Right, yeah, yeah, very good point.


Chain Assembly (25:29.628)

Well, I want to quickly go back to something that that we just touched on. This is something that like I didn't even realize internally until my current project, which is weird because this has always been the case, but I didn't realize it until now that the add ons add to your funding. And so in that regard, it's better to have a ton of options because even if someone just adds a ten dollar envelope with some random junk in it,


Mariëlle (25:49.638)

Yes.


Chain Assembly (25:58.652)

that raises their pledge by $10. And it's something you already had, something you were able to make, but it's also going to be profit that is then directed towards this new campaign. So it's like that'll, it's again, that's also kind of another way to look at another issue with Kickstarter is if you are charging shipping in your pledge, then that also raises your funding goal. And I feel like that shouldn't raise your funding goal.


Mariëlle (26:24.388)

Yeah.


No, I think they need to work on that because that really bothers me. Yeah, because I do. Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (26:28.348)

Or, yeah. So with that in mind, do you have any experience using BackerKit or Pledge Manager or Launch for your projects?


Mariëlle (26:41.99)

Actually, so a lot of people in the author space use BeckerKit. And they do say it's not intuitive. It's quite a, it's a bit of a pain to set it up. But I was like, you know what, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right. But I actually got, and so I set it up and then BeckerKit emailed me saying, so this was during my first campaign. They said, okay, well, we're really glad you signed up for us, but...


Chain Assembly (27:03.516)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (27:10.086)

you have a relatively small campaign for us so we're not sure it's worth the hassle for you. That is really interesting that they reach out to you and say we're really cool like we're cool that you want to try and use this but it might not be as viable for you financially because they also take a cut. So I was like you know what you're right like I don't have like I'm this is one of the things that I love about


Chain Assembly (27:29.212)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (27:38.566)

the what people do in the author space. We have, yeah, we have some people who make crazy amounts of money on there, but most of us make a couple thousand dollars each campaign. But we can do, I'm sure you know this, I'm familiar with this. If you have good credit with Kickstarter, you've run a couple of campaigns. They don't care if you do campaigns back to back. So I'm like, this is only my fourth campaign. I'm already there.


Because I always fulfill before I said I was going to fulfill, people are always very happy. So they're very generous. So for me, it's like, if I can, I don't need one big campaign every two, three years. I'm like, if I can do two or three per year and just have smaller campaigns, that's completely fine. But I think that's why if I ever get this campaign and I'm like, or I get so many, like if my audience grows to an extent that I'm like, okay, this is, because now I just copy paste everything into an Excel sheet.


And at one point I get to this sort of like, there are too many people, I just can't wrap my head around it. That's when I will move back to back and get a plushie. Do you use them? Because I'm assuming that like, especially with, it's much more profitable to have that shop, quote unquote, shop open longer for people who are not in time to see your campaign.


Chain Assembly (28:59.068)

So my relationship with BackerKit has been dramatic, let's say. So I will always use, until Kickstarter comes up with their own version of this, I will always use BackerKit Launch. So if you haven't used Launch, I highly recommend it. It is free. It doesn't cost anything. It's basically just a landing page, like Kickstarter will give you after the project gets approved, where you put a graphic, a description of the project.


You can put a lot more text there. You can put tons of graphics. You can put lots of links and it's got a place where they type in their email address to join the mailing list and then it'll send them off to your Kickstarter page or whatever. What's good about that is you can see, so say you're not going to be launching until May, you can have that launch page set up in the next 20 minutes and it's going to be publicly listed on BackerKit's impending project. So you'll see people just naturally.


Mariëlle (29:41.574)

Oh, I did not know that.


Chain Assembly (29:56.828)

find it and hit that button based on the description you have there and based on the graphic. So it'll just slowly start growing your email list without you even trying. But if you do try, it'll also show you all the referrers that brought people to that landing page. So therefore, you can run ads leading up to the Kickstarter project to get leads. And then you can see the successfulness of those ads, which is pretty useful. So BackerKit Launch, highly recommend it. Absolutely.


Mariëlle (30:12.102)

you


Chain Assembly (30:24.54)

If you have just the slightest idea of a project created on Kickstarter, even if you put nothing in there other than the project title and then create the launch. Well, this is being recorded too. So, but yeah, so like.


Mariëlle (30:32.742)

I'm gonna write this down.


Mariëlle (30:37.222)

Yeah, but you know what I'm gonna do after we're done recording, right?


Chain Assembly (30:40.476)

Yeah. So, um, like for example, I have a board game, uh, that I've been working on with my wife about propagating houseplants and it's not going to launch probably until quarter four of this year, but I've created the project on Kickstarter and all I put in there is a title. There's nothing else, but because I created it, I can now create a backer kit launch page that links to it. And I can just focus on setting up that launch page, which again is just one landing page and a place for people to type in their email address.


Mariëlle (30:52.326)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (31:08.412)

And that'll slowly start generating leads on its own just from existing. But I can also put another link on my website that goes to that launch page. And then once that's kind of got its own, I guess, life, its own breathing, then I can start focusing on the Kickstarter page.


Mariëlle (31:24.998)

So you can use BackupKit launch without using BackupKit.


Chain Assembly (31:30.012)

Correct, yes. Yeah, without using the Bacchicid Pledge Manager.


Mariëlle (31:33.83)

So you can use the BakaKit platform without actually...


Chain Assembly (31:37.532)

Mm -hmm.


Yep. Yeah. Launch is free to use. It used to be like a hundred dollars and then you'd reach out to them and say, this is too expensive. They'd say, all right, here it is for free. And now I think it's free for everyone. Yeah.


Mariëlle (31:43.654)

Hmm.


Mariëlle (31:50.278)

Oh wow, I think it's smart of them. Yeah. Oh, because I have like my next campaign is my next, so my campaign for like in May already has 119 followers. So I can, I can, if I do this, might get some more. Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (31:57.564)

Mm -hmm.


Nice! That's good. Another good thing about Launch is it has a bunch of email templates that help you send emails to that email list you've been collecting. You can also import your own email list too and send emails through that, which is nice.


Mariëlle (32:19.238)

I'll have a look into that. That could be cool for my next one. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (32:20.444)

Yeah, yeah. So I used Bacurkid crowdfunding recently for the first iteration of Women's Wheel, which is one of the projects that's ending tomorrow actually on Kickstarter. And it's a project I worked on another creator with. It was her philosophy of like women as modern archetypes transitioning through a seasonal wheel.


Emotionally organically beautiful project and she just needed me to do the illustration graphic design and help organize the crowdfunding. So we tried using backer kit crowdfunding for that first and it failed pretty badly. We only raised like 3000 out of the 7000 that we needed. Um, but it was wonderful working with backer kit crowdfunding, but the issue with it is you don't get any foot traffic.


You really have to convince people to move to a new platform. They have to create an account on that platform. While Kickstarter does a gorgeous job of suggesting projects to people based on their browsing history. And you have tons of people just browsing Kickstarter for stuff to see. They get emails suggesting new products. If they pledge to one product project, they will see other projects. And so the organic growth, and you've probably seen this too, when you're on Kickstarter, you can see your refers.


like where people are coming from, and almost all of them are people coming from within the Kickstarter environment. It's very rare, like very few of them come from ads or from your own email list. But if you do use Baccacate, you will see a lot of people coming in from Baccacate, which is pretty nice. So crowdfunding was a wonderful tool, but unfortunately there's not enough audience to warrant a project to exist on it.


Mariëlle (33:45.19)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (33:49.028)

Yep.


Mariëlle (34:08.806)

So are they trying to become like another sort of platform like Kickstarter?


Chain Assembly (34:14.172)

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, they're trying to compete with Kickstarter. Absolutely. And so is Game Found, which is a platform specifically for board games. And the biggest board game publisher in the United States just signed an exclusivity contract with Game Found. It's a company in Poland that runs that platform. But that started as a board game manufacturer that didn't like using BaccarKit.


Mariëlle (34:26.086)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (34:42.108)

for the pledge manager, so they built their own pledge manager, and then they started allowing other board game manufacturers using their pledge manager, and then they eventually created their own launching platform. So it's funny how both BackerKit and GameFound, who are now the biggest competitors to Kickstarter, all started because Kickstarter just wouldn't innovate. They just, yeah.


Mariëlle (34:52.518)

you.


Mariëlle (35:03.174)

And this, yeah, if the thing, they are now, like they are like, I feel like every time I do a campaign, I have to sort of like, where is everything? Oh, it looks completely different. So if they could just improve the backend, the backend survey, if they could just improve, I think it's already better that now they want you to actually, this was very helpful for me during my last couple of campaigns, that now you get a list.


Chain Assembly (35:07.28)

Finally!


Chain Assembly (35:12.668)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (35:19.964)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (35:31.664)

of because you really list, I really list things out now. So every item is on there. So in the end you'll get a list. Okay. So a hundred of these 68. And I'm like, that was, and I really missed that during my first campaign because I was double checking. Like I said, I have my own, my own Excel sheet. Um, so that just going like, okay, so how many of these books do I actually need to order instead of going through the names? So that was really helpful. I'm like, that is already such a big plus, but I'm like, if.


Chain Assembly (35:36.572)

Yes. Yeah, that little fulfillment section is good.


Chain Assembly (35:54.906)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (36:00.55)

BackerKit can come up with something that actually functions. I mean, I'm pretty sure Kickstarter doesn't lack the funds to invest in this. And then people will just stay with them.


Chain Assembly (36:11.868)

So for my last role playing game project, the one I mentioned before, it made more than I've ever done on Kickstarter. And I had a fulfillment company, World of Game Design, that specializes in role playing games that helped me with the marketing of it as well as the fulfillment side. They set it all up in BackerKit pledge manager for me. So I didn't have to mess with that. But once it is set up in BackerKit, it's shocking the amount of additional sales I got out of that. Like it...


Mariëlle (36:28.326)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (36:33.062)

Oh, that's beautiful.


Chain Assembly (36:42.492)

I probably collected maybe, I think it was like maybe $7 ,000 from Backer Kit and maybe 3000 of that was just actual costs for the shipping. So it was like an additional $4 ,000 in sales and it wasn't just my products. They put some of their own products on there, which I'm totally okay with, but it was just, it was amazing to see. Like, so what I had done and what I still like doing is when it comes to fulfillment,


I give everyone a coupon code for my website that reduces the cost of the item to zero dollars. So they just go to my website, they check out, put in that code. So all they do is pay for shipping. And that way I have full control over which products I put in front of their face again on my website. I have full control over like I bringing them to my website so that they can browse other things. And then they're responsible for putting their address in accurately rather than me having them.


fill out like a survey in Kickstarter and then try and ship everything based on that survey. Yeah.


Mariëlle (37:41.67)

Okay, that's an interesting approach. Yeah, like, oh wow, that's another way you can do it. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (37:48.26)

It has worked incredibly well for me. I don't think you could do that with Etsy. I don't think you can give people like coupon codes for Etsy and then you'd still be out Etsy fees. Oh, okay.


Mariëlle (37:55.238)

You can. You can. Yeah. And also like I don't have them when I say I sell them through my own website, I use Payhip, which also has, which also has fees. Yeah. And, but it is an interesting approach. But like I said, for me, like I am very used to doing quite a few small campaigns throughout the year. So for me, this is working now and I really don't mind, but yeah, I can completely see if I, if I do grow, like if my audience grows that it's...


Chain Assembly (38:04.282)

Mm.


Mariëlle (38:25.446)

I will have to figure out something. But maybe, you know, yes, but maybe I'm hoping that by that time Kickstarter finally, you know, realizes that they need to step up there because they will lose. And I feel like it's a relatively easy fix for them. I think it should be.


Chain Assembly (38:27.548)

Yeah, automation becomes key.


Chain Assembly (38:45.756)

So let's talk a bit about advertising. How do you go about promoting your projects currently other than the exchange on how we met?


Mariëlle (38:55.238)

I am really... You were talking about paid advertising? Nope, I don't do that at all.


Chain Assembly (39:00.196)

Not even just paid, but like, do you go into forums? You mentioned the Facebook group. Do you have an email list? What are your go -tos?


Mariëlle (39:06.15)

I have a newsletter which I've had for a long time. I have two Instagram accounts and what I love about Kickstarter is that I can make referral links. So by the end of a campaign I can see exactly, okay, did you come from Kickstarter? Did you come from Kickstarter promos? So for example, the link I gave you is one that I share with


Chain Assembly (39:23.484)

Mm.


Mariëlle (39:34.566)

The one I gave to you is the one I share only with people that I found myself on Kickstarter who are doing tarot decks. And then people from the Kickstarter group where we do swaps as well, like we have all spreadsheets and everything, it's really organized. They get another referral link. So I know, okay, these people come from the group. And then I have my Instagrams and then I have my own newsletter. I have my Facebook page. Yeah, so that's, I actually have just, because I'm a bit late with this particular...


What I feel that this normally we say that January has like 16 ,037 days, but I feel like it's going really fast this year. So suddenly, suddenly it was March and I was like, oh, my campaign. So I've actually just today, because we record this before my, as this comes out, my campaign is live, but we are recording this a couple of days before my campaign goes live. I only now did the images that I'm going to share on Instagram.


But I have done, I do, so for example, I got the proof copy of the book and that, like I make a little video, I do like an unboxing thing and that goes on Instagram, of course, as well. But that's how I, so that's, so I'm very much about the organic audience still. I mean, I've tried Facebook ads and stuff, I just, it's been years and I still don't have that, not getting the hang of it. But yeah, so that I'm really relying still on my own audience and Kickstarter platform.


Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (40:58.236)

Yeah, I mean, just I've noticed with the Facebook ads, I get a lot of clicks, but that doesn't translate to a lot of pledges. And I think it's because people, they see the ad, they're excited about the project, they click on it, and then they're like, what is Kickstarter? So I try to make it target people who also like Kickstarter. But it's. I think if it was a product for sale on a website, ads would be a lot more valuable. I haven't tried doing that. I really should, because I have the website.


Mariëlle (41:07.462)

That's what I had.


Chain Assembly (41:27.836)

I've just never tried it just feels weird to spend money on ads if I if I'm not trying to crowdfund


Mariëlle (41:28.036)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.


Mariëlle (41:33.894)

It's the things that all my Facebook ads are crowdfunding projects. The one I see as I scroll through them, like, okay, they really know I love, they really know, they understand that I love Kickstarter. Yeah. Cause everything I see is like, it's Tarot decks, it's not that many books actually, because even though I'm in this space, I mostly buy Tarot and Oracle decks. That's like my main thing that I buy on Kickstarter. So I'm like, some board games. So I'm like, okay.


Chain Assembly (41:40.092)

Yeah, yeah.


Chain Assembly (41:57.148)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (42:03.398)

Yeah, that's just my... So people do... It's great because am I willing to pledge on Kickstarter? Absolutely. What I've did... I haven't done it this time. Maybe I should. What I did with my last campaign is actually made like a graphic with like six steps of, okay, so you want to join me on this journey, but you are like, what is Kickstarter? And quite a big chunk of my audience is not US based, which makes sense because I'm in Europe.


And I think that Kickstarter is much bigger in the US. So I did that. Like I had this graphic. I really probably should make one quickly for this particular campaign. And it just had these sort of, okay, so what do you do? Right? So you just, you make an account. And also I think for a lot of people, they find it really difficult. Like I remember having friends with my first Kickstarter. They looked at my tears, right? That's the one I want.


And then they went, they didn't, so they literally went to the first thing, like what's it called? Pletch because you like it has like, yeah, yeah, that one. So they just put the amount in there.


Chain Assembly (43:08.506)

Mm -hmm believe in this campaign. Yeah


Mariëlle (43:16.646)

So I had to sort of like, I had to open, like go to WhatsApp and go like, hey, thank you. But I think you actually want one of these things. Yeah, I want this. I said, okay, maybe change your pledge. Because now it's not gonna, I will give it to you, but it's not like on the back end, it's not gonna tell me that this person ordered this thing or back this particular thing. And I think that is a lot of, I think that's very confusing for people. The idea that you, and also that's what I,


made really clear in the sort of a four page I made, like, okay, how do we do this thing? If the campaign isn't successful, you get your money back. It's not like, like if you do go fund me, that's not the same thing. Right? If you do go fund me, you lose the money, no matter whether they, they're just going to get the money. So I think that is for people. It's like, oh, but what if they don't? Like, where's my money going to go? Well, it's not going to get, you know, you're not paying until the moment that, you know, the campaign is funded and finishes.


Chain Assembly (43:57.788)

Mm -hmm. Right.


Chain Assembly (44:15.676)

Hmm. That's interesting. Yeah. I have seen that on a few projects. I've never done it because I always just assume my audience knows what Kickstarter is because my email. Well, my email list is almost all people who have pledged to my Kickstarter projects or have bought from my online store. So I guess there's a good chunk who have found my store, but maybe never found my Kickstarter. So.


Mariëlle (44:15.942)

So that's what I've been doing. Yeah.


Mariëlle (44:25.926)

Well, by now they might.


Mariëlle (44:33.862)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (44:41.852)

I probably should have some type of graphic like that. But then the question is where on your project story do you put that graphic? Because the top of it is very important real estate.


Mariëlle (44:52.71)

But I don't put it there. It is the graphic I send in my newsletter before the campaign goes live. And it's the graphic that I put in my Instagram stories. So I don't actually include it in my campaigns. I make it look like my campaign. Right? So I give it like the same color background, the same color. So it feels like this is part of my campaign, but I send it to the people. So yeah, it's true that the more kickstarters I do,


Chain Assembly (44:58.66)

Ah.


Chain Assembly (45:03.452)

Okay, beautiful. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (45:08.636)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (45:18.118)

the more my email list exists of those people. And I think this is something that I didn't do with my first campaign. And this really, you should do this wherever you go for your, for your backup server, whether you have backup, get a platch manager or just Kickstarter itself, ask people if they want to be included in your newsletter, because I always have more than half say yes, I do lose a lot of them again over like the next couple of emails that I sent, but some stick around.


Chain Assembly (45:42.64)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (45:48.004)

And then I was like, I didn't do that during my first one. And I really am like, oh, I should have done that. So yeah, my list is growing with people who know me through Kickstarter. So they are not a problem. But of course there are people that are already on there. And I'm like, if I can just get them as well. But yeah, I use it, I share it like in Instagram stories and stuff.


Chain Assembly (46:09.286)

Beautiful. That's a good idea. I wanted to ask you also, so on your website, you had the newsletter. You also have a blog and you have a YouTube page. How do you do all that? That's a lot to.


Mariëlle (46:20.174)

I am.


badly. I do it badly. Well, okay, so YouTube, I don't really, I have a huge backlist on YouTube, but I don't really use it. I currently use, it's really bad, I currently use YouTube to put like videos of like, like for example, I did like an unboxing video for the next book, which is, I mean, not just, this is the Kickstarter book. It has edges, I'm really glad. Like I has like, see it has like colored edges.


Chain Assembly (46:44.54)

Beautiful. Beautiful.


Chain Assembly (46:49.21)

Huh?


Mariëlle (46:52.812)

I'm really excited about that. So that's what I use YouTube for because then I can use the YouTube link on Kickstarter. So I'm not active, active on YouTube. I haven't been for a long time. The blog on my website also is... I've just switched to Substack.


because you see... Okay, well, it's another organic platform where you just... people will just see you and people can recommend you. Because I was writing so much for my blog and I didn't get the sense that anybody was reading it. And now I've been on Substack since the 1st of January and I already have more engagement that I've ever had on my blog, which has been out there since 2014. So I'm like, okay, that's...


Chain Assembly (47:11.324)

I've heard of it, I know nothing about it.


Mariëlle (47:38.5)

But yeah, I do do a lot of stuff, like I have a podcast.


Chain Assembly (47:42.928)

Yeah, I was curious about that one too. Doing diversity in writing? Is that it?


Mariëlle (47:46.47)

That's actually an older podcast. That's one that we did for a while. So that feels like that's just out there in this space and everybody who wants to bring more diversity into their fiction, they can just listen to it. That was very much a research base. So it took us every episode, took so many hours to prepare. So that was a project I did with a friend of mine. And at one point we were just like, we cannot do this anymore with our other stuff.


Chain Assembly (47:48.284)

Okay.


Mariëlle (48:16.39)

So we were like, OK, did we hit the main topics that we wanted to hit? We're just going to round it off because it took so much effort to do it. But I'm really glad it's out there and people can listen to it because it's still out there on Spotify, on Google Podcasts, wherever you go. The one is still running is diving into writing. That's the one that I cannot remember when I started that. But that's the one. It's a bi -weekly one.


Chain Assembly (48:44.508)

Is that just you or do you have a co -host?


Mariëlle (48:46.694)

No, I'm actually, it was started by two other people. And then during the pandemic, one had to sort of step back. And that's when I was invited in. I was once interviewed on that podcast. And so then the host who was still there was like, I really love that. Like, I really love that conversation. So I'm just gonna, I didn't really know her. She was just like, I'm just gonna email her and see if she wants to be co -host with me now my other co -host is leaving.


Chain Assembly (48:59.9)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (49:16.07)

So, and we're still doing it, yeah.


Chain Assembly (49:18.492)

Awesome. Do you do any advertising on your podcasts for your own projects?


Mariëlle (49:25.958)

I do mention, yeah, if I have anything, I definitely... So for the last couple of episodes, there's definitely a link to the Kickstarter, but also if I mention any... Because diving into writing is very much about the struggles we have as writers. We call it like a therapy session. It's like we psychoanalyse each other while we're on air. And I work as a coach for writers and other creative people. So...


Chain Assembly (49:27.964)

Okay, cool.


Mariëlle (49:53.158)

That's usually where our conversations go to. Like, okay, we hit this sort of thing. Like, we hit this obstacle. What do we do? But yeah, if I mention anything from one of my books, I've definitely put a link in the show notes. Yeah. Very consistently, yeah.


Chain Assembly (50:07.42)

I've been doing that too. I recorded audio ads for my projects and then I'll play them on this podcast before it or at the end leading up to the project. And I don't have any way to track where those go because there's only so much information you can give out during an audio ad. So one thing I always do to keep things simple is I'll buy a domain for a project I'm doing.


Mariëlle (50:18.918)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (50:29.478)

Mm.


Chain Assembly (50:35.196)

as a crowdfunding project, or I'll just create a sub domain. So like giallo .chainassembly .com is going to go to the BackerKit launch page before the campaign goes live. Once it goes live, I then redirect it to the Kickstarter page. Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, I just leave it to the dedicated page on my website. Or if I had it on BackerKit, again, for the pledge manager, I'll put it on the pre -order page. So I get to like,


always just say giallo .kickstarter .com and that's eat or sorry giallo .chainassembly .com and that's a lot easier to relay in a business card or QR code or some type of short announcement. But I don't know how successful it's been. I mean, my podcast is still pretty new. Like I said, you're going to be episode 39, I think. And oh, I am going to be releasing it next week. So we'll get a little more lead time for your project.


Mariëlle (51:06.854)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (51:31.686)

That's perfect. Now, but I do this, this is something I really started developing for myself is that so now I have the sub stack and I don't like it because I mean, who likes to advertise themselves? I mean, it's not my favorite, but I force myself. So before I started the sub stack, so that's, it's like, it's like, it's just a place for people to have their blogs basically. And a lot of people use it for their newsletters now, but it's an open platform and people can subscribe and you can also have paid subscribers.


Chain Assembly (51:41.882)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.


Mariëlle (51:57.604)

So what I did before I started that, I was like, okay, I forced myself to sit down, look at all my products. So that comes from books too. I also do Reiki sessions. I do Akashic Records readers with creative people. So I do a lot of things. And I wrote little marketing blurbs for each of these things. And then I made like a spreadsheet saying, okay, let's see. Okay, well, if I mentioned something already in the post, I'm not going to put it at the bottom as an ad.


So I'll pick something else. And I'm just, I'm trying not to think of it because this is why I did it on beforehand. Because if I have to think about what am I going to advertise this week, I'm going to get stuck in my head. Because I'm so reluctant to advertising myself. So I really did. I have all the information already. I'm just going to, you know, okay, what haven't I used yet? Okay, I'll take this book. I'll make a graphic and I put it on the bottom of my post. And I've recently started making audio recordings of these posts, which is now...


It's now on Spotify, so it's not really a podcast. It's a combination of guided meditations and me just audio recordings of my posts. And yes, I force myself to do the audio ad. And it's not like there is so much reluctance, like it's really strong, but I do it. It's and I don't know. I haven't seen, I cannot really, like you said, like it's really difficult to tell whether it works.


But you do have to do it. There are so many avenues to just say to people. I think it's very easy for us to go. I feel like I'm everywhere. And it's like, people should know that. But you don't want to know how few people actually know. I have a relatively new Instagram account. And then somebody who I've been friends with for a very long time.


only recently learned that I have another Instagram account and that is like ages old. Like how did you miss? Like how do people miss that? So I'm very, I'm becoming much more conscious that you have to repeat to people this is where you can find me, this is where you can find this book, this is where you can find this surface. And yeah I also have like I have a URL for everything and on the URL at the bottom is like you can buy this here, you can buy this here, you can buy this here.


Mariëlle (54:19.494)

So instead of sending them to Amazon or Barnes and Nobles or Etsy, it's just you go to my website and there you will find these are the different options for buying you have to keep it all. I didn't always do that. That's a quite recent development because I'm trying to be not so all over the place. But I think getting that, like sort of getting that, like having that run smoothly, I think really helps because you have fewer people have to, you know,


Chain Assembly (54:38.364)

Right.


Mariëlle (54:48.198)

It's easier for people to just go to one place. And then they have exactly, this is how I want it. So this is where I click. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (54:52.162)

Yep.


Chain Assembly (54:56.06)

I forgot where I heard this, but somewhere I heard someone saying that you should pick no more than two social media platforms and then be all in on those. I don't remember where I got that, but I. I don't I'm not really in on anything. The most effort I put social media wise is tick tock, and that's just like because Riverside, the platform we're on.


Mariëlle (55:06.566)

Yeah, I hear that too, yeah.


Chain Assembly (55:21.508)

automatically uses AI to generate like the most exciting clips from this thing, formats them into vertical videos with text on top, and then I post those on TikTok. And I know a lot of podcasters, they blew up when they started adding a video component and putting clips on TikTok. So ultimately, that's kind of why I do that. But Instagram, as a consumer, I don't find myself scrolling Instagram. So I don't...


Mariëlle (55:26.694)

are gorgeous.


Mariëlle (55:41.926)

Hmm.


Mariëlle (55:46.182)

I do, yeah.


Chain Assembly (55:48.328)

Maybe it's just because my algorithm's given up on me. All I see are ads and hashtags that I follow. I never see what my friends are up to. So that's kind of why I've fallen off of Instagram there.


Mariëlle (55:59.366)

Oh, that's why I have to. I actually did, I did this experiment the last four months of 2023. I did this experiment because I was like a little bit fed up with myself and my lack of visibility. And more I think with my sort of the obstacles that I have towards visibility, like sort of trying to hide away. So what I did was like, okay, what social media platforms do I have? What if I for four months go all in and keep track of what it's doing?


Chain Assembly (56:11.356)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (56:30.566)

So I did like I was on TikTok almost every day at least Monday to Friday I was there with actual content. So not funny clips, actual content, right? And so I did my Instagrams, I did one of my Facebook pages. I was more... Because I'm a bit flaky with newsletters, I was more okay, you know, let's do that as well, like properly, like every so many weeks, stuff like that.


And I just kept track and I realized after four months TikTok is not my place. It doesn't do anything for me. I maybe in those four months, I maybe gathered 11 more followers. And that's after having been on there almost every day. But one of my Instagrams exploded. When I was consistently present like every day.


sound like, okay, that is great. My other Instagram is a mix of my friends and coaching people. And the other one is very much for the tarot. So this is where I share tarot spreads from my books, stuff like that. So the one is just like, that's always been my Instagram. So that's just also my, that's what I see what my friends are doing. So the other one feels more like, okay, this goes towards the tarot books that I do. So those are the things I do now. I'm like, TikTok is gone for me. Like...


I have the account, but I haven't logged in in ages, right? But I really needed for myself to do the experiment and see, okay, I can have ideas. Cause people were telling me you have to be in TikTok. Like, okay, well, let's see what happens if I'm on TikTok. Nothing. Okay. So now I don't feel guilty that I'm not on TikTok because it's clearly not my platform. So now I focus on Instagram again. Yeah. And I feel completely fine. I don't feel bad about that anymore.


Chain Assembly (58:25.244)

So I know one avenue that I severely neglect is newsletters. My website's built on Shopify. Yeah, my website's built on Shopify. And so like, I don't want to send a newsletter if I don't have something new that I'm working on. And because I always try to make my brand seem like a team of designers instead of just me, I don't want to be very like,


Mariëlle (58:31.878)

The heart.


Chain Assembly (58:51.108)

Personal with it. I guess I want it to be like this is what we are fulfilling. This is what is coming up next These are the newest things which is probably a detriment because I know like my day job is market research so I know like for success you want to picture a specific type of person that you're marketing to and then have a direct conversation with that person I really need to try and do that more but since I started the podcast I feel like all of my


Mariëlle (58:57.51)

Mm.


Mariëlle (59:10.052)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (59:19.868)

emotional doorway is like maybe that's not the right term but the amount of of vulnerability I'm able to give up is all coming out through the podcast so I can't really open up in any other avenues which is strange but maybe it's also just the amount of time I have to do it I don't know.


Mariëlle (59:38.086)

Yeah.


Mariëlle (59:43.876)

Mm.


I do understand it because what I now do on Substack is the type of post that I occasionally wrote for my newsletter. So this is for me. So my newsletter, the person I talk to is people, so creative people who are struggling. Because all my non -fiction books are for creative people who are struggling. Except this, my Kickstarter that's doing now, that's the first Tarot challenge I do that's not specifically dedicated to creative people.


Chain Assembly (59:55.932)

Okay.


Mariëlle (01:00:17.51)

So I've had people do it on Instagram who are like struggling with addiction and they feel like with the Tarot challenge, they really got this sort of new start because they've done a lot of this. So that was really beautiful to hear by the way, that people halfway through the challenge telling you, oh my God, I'm struggling with this so much and this gives me so much air. Like I can breathe. I feel like I'm ready to do this now. I'm like, oh wow, that was like, that's what you want, right? I'm like, a product for me is successful if one person...


really got something out of it, then I'm happy. So I have a different audience. So I don't do the posts anymore. So these days, yes, it is a lot of, you might have missed these podcast episodes. Oh, I do another Kickstarter. Oh, I have discounts here, like on Etsy or Payhip or Barnes and Noble, wherever I have a discount running. So that is...


I kind of now feel that because like you said, I pour my heart out on Substack, which is now my new blog, right? And those posts, they were never meant to be as personal as they are, but I somehow, somehow really give myself away there. So yeah, I feel like I don't want to repeat that. So I'd rather use my newsletter to say, if you've missed my last posts, go here. And this is what I'm... So that's what I've been doing. So I'm not...


Chain Assembly (01:01:23.74)

you


Mariëlle (01:01:43.59)

But yeah, initially I was like, oh, my newsletter, I want to have that personal touch, but somehow it never, I think the difference is also, I only had like a few people who would consistently email me back and it's always the same people. And I think feeling that you're not reaching people or you do not get the feedback or how it's received. I don't think that helps. Right. Like on, on now I'm putting all the, all these thoughts.


Chain Assembly (01:02:09.082)

Right.


Mariëlle (01:02:13.03)

about the creative process on Substack, I get lots more feedback. So I'm like, OK, so people are it's resonating, right? So that's great. So I can do. But when I put that stuff on my newsletter, I'm like, is it resonating? I don't know. So for me now, the newsletter is this is what I've been up to. I hope you guys are all OK. This is what I've been up to. If you've missed anything, here's like the full because I know I'm everywhere. So now in the news that I'm like, OK, so here are all the things that I've been doing.


Chain Assembly (01:02:17.884)

Mm.


Mariëlle (01:02:41.766)

And as you said, I'm not always aware, but I do a lot of different things. I'm not always as conscious of that. So that's how I use it now. But I know people who are very successful with newsletters. But I haven't found the sort of the golden ticket yet for what works. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:02:46.46)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:02:56.092)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:03:02.268)

Well, I mean, we I guess you and I are similar in that we don't want to do one thing. We want to do many things. And like so I do a lot of art markets, craft fairs, things like that, where I sell my tarot decks and my art. And you'll always see someone who has one thing. It's like, oh, I wrote this book when I was a 10 year old and I'm still selling this one book. And it's like how I. I shouldn't, but I judge them.


Mariëlle (01:03:11.302)

Yes. Yeah.


Mariëlle (01:03:29.446)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:03:31.036)

I'm like, how are you satisfied with having made one thing 20 years ago and you're still selling that one thing? Do you not have any creative drive? Do you not have any reason to create, like, do you not picture the future? And it's just different ways brains work, I guess.


Mariëlle (01:03:36.646)

You're still happy.


Mariëlle (01:03:43.782)

You know what that makes me feel like when you're at some concert, right? And then the band is playing this song that was really popular like 10 years ago and I always go like, yes, I really love this song but I always feel a bit like, like empathically like, guys, how are you feeling that you have to sing this bloody song again?


which was like really great, like we just, you know, came out 10 years ago and you're still and, and this is when your audience goes crazy. Like you're here to promote your new bloody album. And I'm like, how? So yeah, I, so I understand that you're like, you judge that because. But then again, like as this is the, so the coach in me is like, but for some people, that's what it is. They have this one thing that they need to create. You and I, we have a shit ton of things we need to create.


Chain Assembly (01:04:38.204)

Yes. Yes.


Mariëlle (01:04:38.694)

And we do. And I also, and this is probably just from having been so long at the independent publishing scene. Like there, it's very common knowledge that you won't start selling until you have some sort of a backlist. Right? So backlist is very important. And I see it even now on Kickstarter and it goes the same for you, right? Like, are you going to sell this thing again? Oh, wait, I can actually use my backlist to create more...


Chain Assembly (01:04:56.38)

Mm.


Mariëlle (01:05:07.846)

So I bought both my Oracle decks in bulk. I'm not going to just wait till people get on Etsy and buy it. No, I'm like, oh, new Kickstarter. Oh, it's a tarot book. It's related. And every Kickstarter campaign, I sell a couple. But I'm already in my head. I'm like, this thing is finished. What's next? Yeah, that's exactly. And it's somehow like people.


Chain Assembly (01:05:21.372)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:05:29.02)

Yes, yes.


Mariëlle (01:05:34.502)

I think quite a few people know this already about me. But one of the reasons I, when people say, why do you move to Cyprus? It's because the first time I was in Cyprus, I couldn't stop writing. Like I hadn't felt that inspired in my life. So it's on the back of my book always like, you know, I live in Cyprus where I'm inspired 24 seven and it's both a blessing and sometimes it's a curse because it's like, there's no breathing space between one project, one project finishing and then the other announcing itself. Like, oh yeah, let's do this now. You have time again.


Chain Assembly (01:05:43.738)

Hmm.


Mariëlle (01:06:04.87)

which it would be nice sometimes to have a little bit of a break. But yeah, I think that's a very creative. Yeah, it's just, I don't know, it's a creative flow or something.


Chain Assembly (01:06:09.596)

So, yeah, it is. So tell me more about this specific project that you have coming up. Listen to your heart, 31 Day Tarot Challenge. So the primary item you're funding is a book, right? But you have all these add -ons, so can you tell me a bit about what people can expect in the book? And I guess another question, when it comes to doing a book on Kickstarter, how much do you have finalized by the time you launch?


Mariëlle (01:06:25.35)

Yes. Yes.


Okay.


Mariëlle (01:06:36.71)

Okay, that depends on... So this is the book and to this particular, the campaign is particular for this version. This is the special edition. It's going to be signed and everything. Like it has a space at the start of the book. So every book will first come to me, to Cyprus, and then I don't care where you are in the world, I will then send it to you and it will be signed by me by hand. That's like also one of the first times I'm doing that. So this is the main sort of, you know, this is the main thing, although...


Chain Assembly (01:06:38.62)

You


Chain Assembly (01:06:44.092)

Mm.


Mariëlle (01:07:06.086)

every format will be available. I always sell PDFs of my books, which is really interesting. A lot of people like printing them and then just writing as they do the tarot draws. They like to, you know, just write it down on the page, right? So on Etsy, I sell a lot of PDFs of my tarot challenges and also my other tarot books, actually. People really love to be able to print it and just scroll all over it.


So this is the main thing in terms of add. Like I have...


I always try, like I do a lot of, I have a lot of services for creative people. So I do, like I said, I do Akashic Records readings and I do a lot of Reiki with creative people. Like my coaching is a combination of like life coaching, cartomancy, Akashic Records and Reiki. So that's sort of like, I use all these modalities in my coaching work. So I always sneak those into my campaigns as well. So one tier for example, is you get this version of the book, the special edition.


plus an Akashic Records reading, right? So then they get a bit of a discount on that. But yeah, in terms of add -ons, I always do my previous tarot books and I always do those because that is always my most profitable add -on. And I say most profitable add -on because I mostly sell the whole sort of the bundle of PDFs and eBooks. People get the eBooks and the PDF.


often when I do an add -on, like a bundle, and it's the most profitable add -on because it doesn't cost me a thing. So it's pure profit, right? There's no printing involved. I own the e -books. I own the PDFs.


Chain Assembly (01:08:48.316)

Yeah. Yeah, I love selling those. It's so fun. Yeah.


Mariëlle (01:08:55.652)

I'm just like, so that's the one that surprisingly, even when I have a campaign that has nothing to do with the tarot, I still, that's the one I sell the most. And the Oracle decks are the second big seller. And also again, doesn't really matter what campaign I'm doing. Right? It's like, oh, people want that. Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:09:15.1)

Yeah. So can you give me an idea of what a Tarot challenge would be like in this 31 Day Tarot challenge book?


Mariëlle (01:09:23.782)

Yes, so it's basically, and I love, because I get the question a lot, like, is this just for beginners or is this for everybody? It is really for everybody. But if you are a beginner, this is a really great way to start because it's very, you start really, I always start with sort of, my challenge is always start with, okay, let's sort of diagnose the situation, what's going on, right? So this one is about the heart, so the heart chakra, right? So we really start where, okay, where's my heart at today? Like,


Chain Assembly (01:09:47.068)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (01:09:51.622)

And how am I connecting to my heart? And how is my heart connected to my mind, to my body, and to my soul? What's the relationship? Where can I improve on? And then, so that's like a question. It's just a question per day. So you can literally see in the book, and people are not going to see that, who are listening to themselves. But it's literally, there's just day one. I love doing like a little breathing exercise before you draw the card. So I always have a different breathing exercise.


Chain Assembly (01:10:11.612)

Mm -hmm.


Mariëlle (01:10:20.87)

which I find connects. This is the box breath. So it's four breaths in, four breaths out. And that's because the heart chakra is the four chakra. So in my head, that makes a lot of sense. Maybe not to other people, but for me, that's perfect. Right? So it's just literally every day, there's just another question. But like I said, my challenges are always like, okay, so what's going on? Like, where can we improve? What's the issue here? And then we slowly move on to, it's almost like past, present, future.


Chain Assembly (01:10:31.74)

All right.


Mariëlle (01:10:50.054)

Like, what's happened? And how have I been doing? OK, what do I want to be doing? OK, how can I then get there? What do I need to do now to let go of these things so that I can start doing this next thing? That's kind of how it's built up. But yeah, in the end, one of the perks of the, actually one of the add -ons, it's a perk in my special bundles for the Kickstarter. I created this poster where you can write down all your draws because I think,


It's one thing to just go through the challenge. I think it's so fruitful to then go, okay, what were my answers? How many cards showed up a lot? Like what were my doubles? What were the questions that this card kept showing up? What does that mean? Right? Because there are so many layers to this. Like it's not just, okay, it's a daily draw, but if you actually go back and then look, okay, what kind of patterns can I see when I look at it again? So this is actually the first time I created one of those posters.


And I think it looks beautifully. And this is the thing, I love playing with these things. I love making these graphics and stuff like that. So that's one of the things that are specific to this Kickstarter, so people cannot get it anywhere else. So you go through the challenge, you draw a card every day. If you feel like you need to draw more cards, that's what you can do. Some questions are double. So it's like, can I show? I mean, you're familiar with the tarot.


Can I, oh yeah, so for example, day six has the question. This question is about the relationship between your heart and your head, right? So body, mind and heart. So the question is, how did they get there? Which is card one. And what can I do to further improve this relationship or further is between brackets. So what can I do to improve this relationship card two? So some days ask you to pull two cards, but it's very sort of make clear in the challenge.


And I always end my, not always, but my last challenges. I end on the last day is like, okay, you know, you, you, this is the question you have in your head. You draw one or two cards and based on that, you create a mantra that reflects on what you've learned about yourself during the challenge. Then you write it down and you put it somewhere where you can see it.


Mariëlle (01:13:12.23)

So I think for me that the terror challenges are about empowerment, right? You learn a lot about yourself during the process, but I want people that by the end, like if they reflect back, they're like, okay, this is what I've learned. This is how I can empower myself. Now I know this, I can do this. I think so, yeah. Yeah, yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:13:29.244)

Very cool.


Yeah, that's awesome. So, I know we could probably talk for another two hours, but I think it's been wonderful speaking with you. And for all the listeners who want to find more about your work, your website is mswordsmith .nl. Right. And what is your Instagram?


Mariëlle (01:13:38.564)

Yes.


Mariëlle (01:13:51.462)

Yes, yes.


Oh, so one is Mariela S. Smith. That's how you pronounce my name in Dutch, my first name. And then the other one is Tero for Creatives. So if you're here for the Tero, that's why I share like every week I share like a new Tero spread. That's where you, but the other one is like my coaching. So I have like my coaching Instagram and I have my Tero Instagram. Yeah. But yeah, that's where you can find me.


Chain Assembly (01:14:02.044)

Sorry.


Mariëlle (01:14:25.574)

Most of the time. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:14:27.836)

Beautiful. Well, it's been wonderful speaking with you. Thank you so much for your time. I'm going to make sure to include all your links. Thank you for being a wonderful person to speak to. I'm always worried when I invite someone on and I haven't talked to them before.


Mariëlle (01:14:32.23)

Thank you for inviting me.


Mariëlle (01:14:43.814)

Well, for me, this was like very random and quick. Like, you want to be on my podcast? Sure. Okay, let's do it. And now we're here. And it's like, oh, yeah. So, because sometimes it's like, you want to be on my podcast? And three months later, it's when it's recorded, right? And this was a bit faster. It's like, okay, yeah, let's just do it. Yeah. Yes. Thank you.


Chain Assembly (01:14:47.164)

Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:14:55.868)

Yeah. Yeah. Well, it worked out well. So and you were wonderful to speak to. So again, thank you so much, Mariela, and good luck with your project. And I'll definitely be sharing it more than just the one time that I've already shared it. So thank you so much.


Mariëlle (01:15:12.678)

Same for you, I'm gonna share yours as well because I really love the whole vibe it has.


Chain Assembly (01:15:18.044)

Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thanks.


Outro

Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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