I am calling on all creatives and kind souls to help us reach and go beyond our goal. If you want me to do the same, message me through my website, and I will back your project too! You would be amazed at what just even a $10 pledge can do. I had one major goal for this campaign (outside of raising the goal amount) and that was to become a Kickstarter “Project We Love”. Here is how I did it.
My name is Deedee Cummings and I am an author, lawyer, therapist, mom, and the Founder of Make A Way Media. In the last five years I have written ten diverse books for children all about hope, compassion, empathy, and therapeutic coping skills. However, my next project, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess was a little different. Most significantly, it is an entire series. I am hoping to engage readers throughout their entire childhood with this line of books. First picture books for the younger age group and then, as they grow, a middle-grade series. This is the type of lineup that helps children fall in love with reading. A crucial skill and an overwhelmingly positive habit they will retain for life.
I knew I needed to enlist help with this ambitious project for many reasons. Creating picture books and publishing is not cheap. Not even a little bit. I considered many avenues, finally selecting Kickstarter as the first road I would go down to help make this venture a reality. When I started my #Kickstarter campaign I had a few goals for the very first week. I did not set a specific amount of pledges in terms of dollars I would like to reach. This seemed too far out of my control. Instead, I set a goal for the number of people who would pledge on the first day. I made a list of all the people I was fairly sure would pledge on Day One. The number was 46. By the end of Day One, 48 people had pledged. Though important, I was not as hung up on the dollar amount, because I really needed PEOPLE who say:
“This work is important.”
“I want to see stories about families who look like yours.”
“No matter what you do, I’m always gonna have your back.”
Did all 46 who I thought would give, give? No, but I set a reasonable goal knowing that a few others would surprise me and show up too. What is a reasonable goal? It will be different for each of us. Making your list long before you launch your campaign will help. This list will also help you evaluate what your goal amount should be.
My next goal was to get as many people as possible to give during the first two days of the campaign. I needed numbers that said to Kickstarter:
“There are a whole lot of us out here who believe in the power of this work.”
While I am not exactly sure what message Kickstarter received, I know they heard us. Thanks to each one of you who gave no matter the amount, because we are now an official KICKSTARTER “PROJECT WE LOVE”.
Just this year, in 2021, The Golden Globe Awards have nominated the first ever Asian woman for Best Director, Chloe’ Zhao. The first ever Asian woman. Think about that. In the seventy-six-year history of these awards. Also this year, Regina King was nominated as only the second Black woman in this same category. Do you think that Black and Asian women just started telling their stories? You and I both laughed out loud at that.
Like award nominations, the nod from Kickstarter is an honor and a privilege, but also, validation that there are good people who want to see diverse stories -and beyond that- Black stories because Black stories matter too. For too many years Black creatives have not had the access, the privilege, nor the right to be in control of our own stories. How life is from our own perspective is vital. It is why the #OwnVoices campaign has been so important. When people are allowed to tell their own stories, the stories are more authentic. This means they are better. Authenticity is very important for everyone, no matter your color or your background, but this is especially important for children who need to grow up in a world where their experiences, their life, their very existence is validated.
My dream is for Black and Brown children everywhere to be able to easily find themselves on and in books, and screens, and stages. Not a special event, but THE WAY IT IS, because this is the reality of our world.
Thank you to each of you who have already backed this project. For everyone else, we are still here during the entire month of February 2021 and we still need you to say that Black Stories Matter.
Let’s make Black history together! Thank you all for believing.
If you would like to help us crush this goal, so the world will hear us too, here is the link to do that now.