I get asked about Kickstarter more often than I get asked about anything else apart from the truth behind Era: The Consortium’s mysteries!
So, today, I thought I’d write a little bit about Kickstarter, some of the process and things to watch out for as someone who posts their game there.
I’m going to kick off with a few cold, hard, and less than pleasant facts:
– Kickstarter is a platform which caters to a lot of people. A lot of projects make tens of thousands of dollars. Unless you have an overwhelming army of supporters before you launch or get lucky enough to be a Staff Pick, I’m sorry, but your first project is not likely to. Be aware of this going in and you have a better chance of not being crushed.
– There are a huge number of “services” out there which promise you’ll get Kickstarter success through Twitter or Facebook advertising, claim they have never failed, etc. I’ve not yet met one worth working with or entrusting my money to (and I have spoken to several and worked with one). My advice is to ignore them.
– Which brings me to paid advertising in general. I’ve found it is, mostly, not worth it, but I have a fairly niche product in a Tabletop RPG. I guess some products (travel cases that I keep getting spammed with ads for, for example) might be worth it, but I’d say Tabletop RPG books, it is not.
Okay. So… not nice facts, but facts, from my experience. Kickstarter is not a quick and easy way to get tonnes of money. It’s a lot of work, preparation, and trust-building. You need to be consistently solid and honest, before people will begin to back you in large numbers.
People are becoming more wary of Kickstarter as time goes on and stories of people cheating people out of their money become more common. A staggeringly large number of projects don’t deliver on time (an old article, but I believe it’s still true, as a backer of over 50 Kickstarters myself). So plan. Allow for problems, give yourself an extra window when you’re committing to a date.
Most important, though, is having something to show beyond vague images and a promise you’ll do something. I try not to go to Kickstarter without a “nearly finished” book, and I’ve been criticised heavily for that in the past, but I have not had a single Kickstarter fail since my very first (which is where I learned quite a lot of this…).
At the end of the day, no matter what you do, people are going to say bad things about your book, claim what you’re doing is pointless/a waste of money/tome/effort. That’s really the primary thing you have to be prepared for when going to Kickstarter, I’m afraid – a lot of people really suck. With any luck, by the time you get to Kickstarter, you have dealt with enough of those people to not have it stop you.
So what can you do to help your Kickstarter do the best it can?
– Have your product as near to finished as possible with the maximum amount to show to potential backers.
– Have rewards that genuinely thank your backers for what they have done to help you – they are giving you the money you need to start. Value that and show you value them, because without them, your product would not exist.
– Get reviews, preferably before you start the Kickstarter but definitely before you finish. Most reviewers only ask for a review copy of the book (they can’t be paid, it makes them look biased), and it really does make a difference.
That’s all I have time for today… I have to go launch a Kickstarter! 😀