Influencing Björk

björk: road to crystalline from Björk on Vimeo.

My latest Iceland Review online column is an update on the Kickstarter project, and how Björk followed suit.

As I mentioned in an earlier column, I launched my Kickstarter project back in December. The aim was to raise funds to allow my book about Iceland to be published. To my huge surprise, it was extremely successful. The final total was 122 backers pledging 179 percent of funding. It was an intense 30 days; I’m not sure that when I pressed the ‘launch’ button back in December that I realized it was going to be so much work, or that it would be quite so successful.

The extra, unexpected funding won’t be wasted or squandered, don’t worry. It will be used in producing a higher quality product, and for marketing my book to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience. I want every traveler (or armchair traveler?) to Iceland to have a copy on the top of their rucksack.

Iceland exerted her influence throughout the whole process. Iceland is a naturally creative place; inspiration for the book was everywhere, and Icelanders themselves have a ‘can do’ attitude that is unrivalled. Some of it must have rubbed off on me.

Friends and family have been unbelievably generous and supportive. Not just in allowing me to frequently disappear to Iceland in the vague name of research either but supplying the bulk of the pledges, and really rallying around to get the word out there. I’ve had advice from some friends that are Social Media or Journalist professionals, which really paid off.

Some lovely and sometimes surprising comments were made on Facebook, people wouldn’t stop talking about it at work and my Icelandic friends went all out and even managed to get me in the Icelandic media, which despite an awful photo, resulted in a massive influx of people visiting my Kickstarter page.

I have had some support from well-known Icelanders too. Pascal Pinon (who kindly let me use their music), LayLow, Hildur from Lily & Fox/Rökkurró, Eliza Newman and even the Major of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr, got involved. Closer to home, Crime writer/next big thing Quentin Bates has been a constant source of encouragement. Then there was Iceland Review.

Thanks also to the complete strangers that have recognized my book as something worth backing on its own merits. People from places such as the U.S., Brazil, Scandinavia, France and Australia as well as Iceland and the U.K. have been getting involved, not because of me, but because of the book. Which is really, well, nice.

What happens now then? Well, Kickstarter has just released the funds to me. This means I can get on with having the book professionally edited, before the wheels of publishing start to turn.

Launch parties in the U.K. and Iceland will be held in the summer; details to follow. I’ve also been asked to do a radio interview about the book, including playing Icelandic music I love, which should be fun.

But maybe, just maybe, I had a bigger influence than I thought. After all, Björk might not have visibly supported my campaign, but earlier this week she launched her very own Kickstarter campaign. You can’t say this is a complete coincidence, can you?