That leads me to the final stage of the project: fulfillment. People told me before that shipping would be more expensive than you think, and they were right. I hadn't planned on getting all the books shipped to me before sending them out, and that ended up costing a lot more than I thought it would.
I read people saying that you should do a test-run where you package a copy of your book and send it to yourself. I thought this seemed like a good idea but of course I didn't actually do it. This meant that I'd expected to be sending my book out as a parcel, but it was actually classified as a First Class Letter. This wasn't necessarily bad for me, but I hadn't planned for it when pricing the Kickstarter.
Packaging, labeling, putting on stamps and filling out customs stickers for 73 books was really time consuming. It almost scares me to think how much work it would have been if the project had been more successful. I live in a small apartment and don't have a car, so there's really a limit on what I can do. I don't think that using the regular postal service would have been viable if it had been any more books either.
Overall, I think The Prophecy Sketchbook was a huge success. In the end, I turned over a profit, but it wasn't actually much money for the amount of work the whole thing required. I knew from the start that I wasn't going to make crazy money from this project. The most important thing for me was to take my first step as an independent creator, and to show people that I can deliver a quality product. I gained a bunch of new followers from doing this, and I feel like I've forged a stronger core audience. Naming a project and putting it out there creates a lot of momentum and people become excited to follow your journey.
Despite reading every article I could about doing a Kickstarter project, I still felt like I was going in totally blind. There's no way you can prepare for everything, you have to just jump in and do it. If there's anyone reading this who is seriously considering trying something similar but is unsure, I'd absolutely recommend it. I learned a great deal and feel much more capable if I were to do it again. That said, a print run would have been much easier to start with, as books carry quite a lot of extra complications.
I don't have a solid plan just yet for my next project, but I'm playing with a bunch of different ideas. There's an idea floating around of a story about a group of knights adventuring, but I'm still waiting to see if it sticks.
I really enjoyed creating the original pen sketches for the Kickstarter; they sparked an interest in creating some illustrations in ink. They will be up for sale here on my website in the future.
I also have a few copies of the The Prophecy Sketchbook remaining from the Kickstarter, that I'll be putting up for sale on my site within the next week. I'll decide whether or not to order more books depending on how well they sell. The Special Edition was a one-time thing for the Kickstarter campaign, and it will no longer be available once the remainders are sold. I'll make an announcement when they become available to buy.
One thing that is certain is that I'll be pushing even more towards making stuff I enjoy and not worrying about what people think. This whole thing has confirmed that I have permission to be myself.