‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’ takes Kickstarter by storm—again
It only took a few hours for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Vol. 2 to smash the Kickstarter record for the fastest-funded publishing project in the crowdfunding platform’s history.
Even the campaign’s creators, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, were surprised at how quickly supporters met their $100,000 goal to produce a second illustrated book filled with 100 stories about brave, powerful women, in addition to a related podcast. By press time, the campaign had raised more than $229,000 from 4,365 backers.
“We didn’t expect the campaign to take off so fast, so quick,” Cavallo says.
Cavallo and Favilli, cofounders of Timbuktu Labs, Inc., actually broke a previous Kickstarter record for the most-funded children’s book with their first volume of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. That campaign launched in May 2016 with a goal of $40,000 and went on to raise $675,614. With 29 days left to go, the second volume is positioned to outpace that record as well.
Though Cavallo and Favilli were amazed by the runaway success of their latest campaign, Kickstarter’s director of publishing, Margot Atwell, wasn’t as shocked.
“I was not surprised to see the massive outpouring of support for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2,” Atwell said in an email. “Francesca, Elena, and the Timbuktu team created a beautiful book in Good Night Stories, but they also created an enthusiastic community of people all over the world who are hungry for stories of women doing great things.”
The first volume has sold nearly 600,000 copies in 30 languages, according to Cavallo. She says Timbuktu regularly receives emails, letters, and messages from parents thanking the book’s creators for helping to create “profound” moments with their children.
That’s partly why Cavllo and Favilli decided to publish a second volume, but they’d also received 500 suggestions from readers who wanted to see more women featured in a future book. Some of the women in the new edition are obvious choices: the environmentalist Rachel Carson, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and Beyoncé.
Others are lesser-known or unsung heroes, like Irena Sendlerowa, a Polish woman who secretly saved 2,500 Jewish children from Nazi forces during World War II, and Lella Lombardi, the only woman to score in a Formula One competition.
The success of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls proved to Cavallo that consumers are eager for stories that put women at the center of the action, a trend that’s also turned films like Wonder Woman and Hidden Figures into blockbusters.
“In storytelling or Hollywood movies, the feeling is more or less we know all the stories … and that is simply not true,” Cavallo says. “By changing the lens and the people who create the stories behind and in front of the camera, and giving the opportunity to more female writers, we are discovering new stories.”
Those new stories are certainly fueling Cavallo and Favilli’s latest Kickstarter campaign. Now that they’ve exceeded their original $100,000 ask, they plan to announce stretch goals starting Wednesday. Their aim is to involve backers as much as possible.
“We have a very close relationship with our backers and readers of the book,” Cavallo says. “They have an intimate and emotional relationship with the book.”
Consider that — and an admirable mission — the secret to Kickstarter success.