Kickstarter Journal: Doing it Right

Nine days to go! If you haven’t yet, back 3024AD for great SciFi!

Today I thought it would be fun to take a look at a couple project that have done a good job on Kickstarter. There are some obvious ones, Project Eternity being the most obvious at the moment, that have blown their goals (and some records) out of the water. But if you’re looking to run a campaign, you probably aren’t making a massive video game with an established reputation behind you already,  so I won’t beat that particular dead horse (if you want to read a great analysis, though, my friends over at Caffeine Forge have a great write up).

My friend Devin Michaels just had her Kickstarter for her comic Destiny’s Fate successfully funded at just over double her goal. What helped her succeed? From the lady herself:

“Success is a group effort. I was fortunate to have my creative team and a great bunch of people on Twitter and Facebook who pushed my project. Without them, my project would never have been funded. “

Certainly sage advice. A couple other quick notes: The comic art is front and center, so you get an early feel for it. There is also an excellent overview that outlines the story. I love the reward tiers- I talked about this the other day- but there are lots of opportunities to back, in $5 (or less) increments up to $40. Not every project will be able to do to this, obviously, but it underscores the value of making rewards valuable and accessible.

Next, we turn to my twitter nemesis and punching bag, Brian White (and one of my favorite all-around people on twitter). Brian is on his third issue of the Kickstarter-funded short story magazine Fireside (the first two were already successful), so he certainly knows what he’s about.  Brian also emphasizes the social aspect:

“One big thing that I think is important during a Kickstarter campaign is keeping engaged with your backers throughout the time you’re raising funds. Kickstarters live and die by word of mouth, and the people who’ve already backed you can be the most important in helping spread the word farther. They’ve already voted with their dollars that they like your idea, and they will fight hard to make it happen.”

In a lot of ways, Kickstarter acts like a social network unto itself, and is certainly tied to the big ones. It’s easy to see what people have backed and created, and people who are active backers can exert a huge influence on what others back. One other thing worth noting about Fireside if you are doing anything serial is the ‘catch up’ pledge- where you can get the back issues. If you are Kickstarting the third book in a series (or expansion to your game, or…), make sure people don’t have to go looking for the first two!

Another thing worth pointing out is that there is nothing wrong with seizing opportunity. Like any marketplace, there are things that are popular on Kickstarter. Look no further than The Official Settlers of Catan Gaming Board. At almost 600% of its goal, it’s trending towards almost $600,000. Catan is wildly popular, and certainly among people who frequent sites like Kickstarter. If you have an idea that is built on something popular, why not? Glance through publishing and you’ll see it’s littered with Steam Punk and Lovecraftian horror. It’s popular. It sells. Kickstarter is about selling things, so take advantage of it if you can.

And, of course, if you like to read science fiction, there’s my short story collection for your backing pleasure!

-DESR

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