Fellow Kickstarters

The very first people I thanked in the acknowledgements page of A Horse With Wings were fellow Kickstarter project creators Cory Silverberg, Jordan Stratford, Ross Williams, and Peter Friedrich. Not only do these guys know how much hard work campaigning can be, but they helped me out so much, even spreading the word about KinderBard among their own backers.

Also, you may know that our KinderBard campaign signed up for Kicking It Forward, where successful project creators pledge to put 5% of their finished product profits back into other projects. And although it’s a long way until I’m likely to see any profits from this venture, I haven’t stopped pledging funds to other worthy projects I’ve discovered.

So I just wanted to quickly tell you about the two most recent projects I backed, both of whose project creators I have since been in personal touch with.

Romeo & Juliet: A Puppet Music Video not only has one of the most entertaining introductory videos you’ll ever see, but its creator, Dan Ring (Harvard grad, composer and musician) aims to create original music and videos featuring puppets to introduce kids to Shakespeare’s work, and he’s going to make these works available for free! I haven’t told Dan this yet, but I’m secretly hoping that we might be able to team up with him and his puppeting talent for some of KinderBard volume 2!

To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure is a chooseable-path adventure version of Hamlet, with truly amazing art and artists (I’m wondering if Sohyun may be asked to contribute?) where you can choose your character and decide your own fate! It’s all so self-empowering, and personally, I can’t wait to receive my Kickstarter-exclusive prequel mini-adventure called Poor Yorick!

We have the proof!

We’re so sorry about the delay!  We know the estimated delivery for your rewards was October, but we’ve had a few small hiccups (superstorm Sandy caused our publisher to be without power for several days…!) and we just wanted to tell you that our book (and music) will go on sale in just a couple more weeks now!

We just received the proof copy, and a few minor changes will be implemented after the weekend, after which it’s off to the printer!

I’ll be sending most of our backers a Kickstarter mail very shortly, requesting information (which ebook format you prefer, for example, or your physical address if applicable) so please watch out for that and send your replies back to us so that you can all receive your well-deserved rewards as soon as they are ready!

Oh, and one last thing. After much discussion with others and amongst ourselves, we have decided to delay the release of the app until next year. There’s already been a lot of buzz surrounding the release of our book and music, and we have promotional events and marketing opportunities scheduled, and we wanted to build up awareness of our product and brand before unleashing the power of our flagship app. We assure you though that it’s coming, it will be so full of features and really fun to play with, and those of you who are in line to receive it will be the first to get it…!

More news to come in the lead up to our products’ release… Thank you all so much again!

Los Angeles

We’re back.

Yes, it was a sudden decision, but one to which we gave a lot of careful thought, and one we made with a heavy heart.  We have moved back to LA.

Our KinderBard products will begin to be released very soon, and with such events comes the responsibility to market – we plan to attend the annual convention of theNational Council of Teachers of English in Las Vegas in November, the American Library Association conference in Seattle in January, and more, and for that we have had to give up our Parisian dream.

We arrived last Friday, 3 days ago, and my iMac arrived just now via DHL, so here I am, writing this in the late autumn heat.  Can’t wait to catch up with all our family and friends here.  Meanwhile, here’s to continuing exciting developments on the business front, and thanks again for all your love and support.

Watch this space for more news!

Marketing Shakespeare on Social Media

As some of you may know, I did not even have a Facebook account until two months ago. And now I have a fully functioning fanpage, a decent number of followers both on that page and on Twitter, and I’ve been known to dabble in a bit of Tumbling, Klouting, and even Pinteresting…

I have learned so much in such a short time about the power of social media – so much so, in fact, that I’m thinking of making posts about social media a part of my repertoire here on my own blog! It’s also partly because I’ve noticed that, for example, people on Twitter like to be linked to articles about how to Tweet (!). Just like movies about making movies, or sonnets about sonnets, then… (“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”)

Most pertinently, I’ve learned about the power of blogging networks, and how a collective (of mommy bloggers, for example – many of whom have been so kind about our KinderBard project and have written and tweeted about it, and even put their money where their mouth is) can create an unbelievable momentum which can be crucial in marketing. And although I’ve known about Twitter parties and even taken part in some (great ones hosted by the wonderful Kat Meyer at O’Reilly Media), I had never before really considered co-hosting one, which would be an amazing way to reach out to people about how this project started, how my daughter became my creative partner, and how Shakespeare enriched our lives even before enriching others’.

So I’ve taken one very small step. I’ve decided to also put my money where my mouth is, and to put aside part of my budget (whether the Kickstarter campaign succeeds or fails – although if it fails, it will just take longer to save up from our personal income to afford the services of a great host) for some of the amazing women out there who do great work in harnessing groups with similar interests and similar life goals and creating a symbiotic relationship between business and consumer, between dreamer and parent.

My Least Favourite Tweets

A very sad thing happened to me. With only 5 days left of my precious campaign to bring my children’s songs into the world, I reached out to Amy Lupold Bair, an amazing woman, a former English teacher and mother who runs The Global Influence Network which connects bloggers, and has nearly 40,000 Twitter followers. I wrote her a letter, asking her to consider promoting my campaign a little among her network. Later in the day, I saw this tweet:

So I thought if she just took a moment to see my beautiful daughter singing a song, she might have a change of heart.


But then I was dismayed to discover a retweet by Cindy Dyer, a homeschooling mother, a Christian, and a blogger:

And so I couldn’t help myself (and this part is totally my fault, I admit)…


Which is true. You can check my LinkedIn profile. I really did study Shakespeare. If either of these influential women had done a little research, this might not have had to become ugly, and public. Ugly and public is the last thing I wanted, so I just left it at that. But finally I received this:

BREAKING NEWS. As I was writing this post, I saw this:

MORE BREAKING NEWS. Soon after this, my Twitter account was suspended, just when I need it most, to continue my sorry campaign…

How Shakespeare Helped my 4-Year-Old Daughter to Acclimatize to Life in Paris

So happy to have our story featured on the Royal Shakespeare Company‘s myShakespeare space, a place that shares thoughts and ideas about what Shakespeare means to us today. Please click on the image or this link to read more! And please share!

Our Favourite Tweets So Far

Retweet your favourite(s)!

  • O'Reilly Media
  • Curated Pages

Shakespeare Curated by O’Reilly Media on Kickstarter

Just in case you missed it, a great honour for us and our project: KinderBard can now be found in O’Reilly Media‘s curated page, among their exclusive list of innovative projects!

It’s strange to see Shakespeare featured among geiger counters and engineering toys, but I’ll be the first to admit that our idea of bringing Shakespeare to young children using the highest quality music and the most widely used advanced platform (the iPad) does have innovation as part of its essence. This concept of having children fall in love with our songs and then interact with Shakespeare characters to hear actual quotations spoken to them could not have been dreamed of without technology.

This is an especial honour because O’Reilly Media is one of only ten organizations (including Time Magazine and TED Talks) to have a curated page on Kickstarter! Thank you O’Reilly Media, and especially Kat Meyer and Brady Forrest for making this happen! 

Special Offer June 2 & 3 Only: $8

To celebrate all the amazing publicity we’ve received, we have a very special offer for this weekend only! If you pledge $8 towards our Kickstarter Campaign you will not only become part of a wonderful group of fellow supporters of this worthwhile project, but you will also receive the iPad app (or any other digital product of your choice: eBook or digital music album). Hurry! Offer ends on June 3!

Also, people have been asking exactly what our product is, so we’ve made this short and informative presentation to reveal the contents – there’s also a sneak preview of a new song sung by Sherman:

Oh, in case you were wondering what all this great publicity is, we got a mention on’s GeekMom blog, an article in the leading Korean American journal KoreAm, and a lovely mention in the Everyday Shakespeare blog.  We’ve also had tweets from celebrity backer Cory Silverberg and the Folger Shakespeare Library!

The Most Generous Place on Earth

I hear a lot about the generosity of backers, ordinary folks like you and me, who help to fund artistic projects on Kickstarter. There are more than 2 million of us, who have taken part in successfully funding 23,000 of these things, and I have to admit, it’s an addictive pastime: you find a project that wows you, you become literally invested in its progress, you root for its success, more often than not sharing in an exhilarating final few hours as you watch it surge across the finish line, and dreams become reality.

What I don’t often hear about is the generosity of the project creators themselves, but it only makes sense that like would beget like on such a platform. It’s no accident that some of the most storied projects are the ones that are all about ‘giving.’ Jordan Stratford‘s steampunk children’s book is for and about girls, and it encourages an interest in math, science, history, and literature. Cory Silverberg‘s What Makes a Baby aims to include all children in its story of where babies come from, regardless of how many people were involved, what the orientation, gender identity, or other make-up of the family is. And as Amanda Palmer wrote on her blog, even if her Kickstarter project hits one million dollars in pledges by the campaign’s end, it doesn’t mean she’ll suddenly “be loaded” – it means that she’ll be able to create even more valuable products for her backers and for the general public – and “we’ll all win.”

The generosity of these artists manifests itself on a very personal level too. Having myself been inspired to try my hand at a Kickstarter project, I was suddenly hit with the pre-launch jitters with just 24 hours to go. So, in desperation, I cold-called four creators of past projects (completely going against Jane Friedman’s advice), including both of the children’s writers mentioned above. I received a personal response from all four, with encouragement and pointers. They expressed approval of my project and offered to give it a shoutout to their own backers (I did only contact creators with whom I shared a large target demographic). Ross Williams of the Shakespeare Sonnet Project gave details of strategies he used during the entire duration of his successful campaign. Peter Friedrich of Shakespeare Iraq told me that the majority of his backer support came through Oregon Shakespeare Festival subscribers, and put me in touch with one of their producers.

And that is how I learned to crawl out of my shell, stop worrying and love the community. Having been living and working in isolation for so long, I finally found a place where I could forge real relationships with artists who have this is common: they are all trying to create something of value outside of the system, and they are all generous with their dreams and resources. And isn’t this exactly what we want, and expect, of our artists?

So if you haven’t yet, go ahead and find a project to back. Let this be the beginning of a connection with the creative world for everyone, the beginning of a change in the way things are done, with backers and artists being very much one, a part of the same movement. And in time, maybe you’ll launch a small (or ambitious!) project of your own. You all have one inside you. And we’ll be here waiting, in case you need us.