I am breaking down what I have done that contributed to my fully-funded Kickstarter campaign. Take a look at http://www.masterthehorde.com.
Useful: Research- I detailed exactly how much money I needed to pay the self publishing costs for all of the various methods I was going to use, to the cent. I made sure how much money/time each reward would cost me to provide to the backer.
I then added in the cost if everyone chose to get a copy of the book (shipping + cost of book being the largest costs associated with providing the rewards). This was the version of getting fully funded that would have the highest cost eating into the donations.
I totaled this and rounded to a nice straightforward number so my final goal covered printing and shipping 26 copies- just enough to being funded by only the print version
Useful: Promoting via a social network I have experience with– a number of my early donators were friends of mine who learned about the campaign through Facebook, which I’ve been on for five years.
Twitter, on which I’ve been active for about four months, seemed to have a comparative impact based on my level of activity within the community. Given more time on Twitter, I suspect it would have been much more useful.
Useful: Brainstorming- I spent at least two weeks brainstorming ideas and ways to add value to the backer rewards including having a song produced based on the Horde as well as using higher rank donors as characters in the sequel to the Horde.
I also added in an option involving signatures and more important, haiku or limericks in case someone wanted something really special that in all likelihood will only be available through this Kickstarter campaign.
The important part was not the specific things I did but that they were fun, could be conversation starters, and in some cases were enough to turn a $15 donation to a $25 donation through the personalization of the reward.
Useful: off the wall bizarre rewards- By no means did the music and kill-you-in-the-sequel-and-bring-you-back-as-a-zombie sell in large quantities but they were conversation pieces that other people brought up at a couple of parties I went to and then they wanted me to explain it.
When someone asked me about the music or zombie options, we’d chat about it and have fun. This was more fun and less pathetic than being the guy at the party is trying to get everyone finance his project. I just noted who seemed interested and got their emails so I could link them to my silly video. Much more fun this way.
Useful: Taking time on the video- I worked with at least two people who had previous experience supporting Kickstarter programs and they were able to explain what they hated and liked about Kickstarter videos. Key points such as “get to the point by the 20 second month” were excellent advice.
I then had those same people watch the video and give feedback till their nitpickiest nitpicks (such as video skips and sound quirks) were removed. Some stuff that seemed unimportant to me was and some stuff that seemed important really could be skipped.
Useful: Personal email- I used Twitter and Facebook and Google+ to share info as the campaign progressed, however the single largest return I saw was when I personally and individually emailed people who had expressed interest in supporting my work in the past.
I did NOT ask them for money, I didn’t feel right doing that. Instead I asked them to view the video and if they have friends who they think might be interested, to share the link.
I don’t know how many shared the link but I do know that once I started sending these notes, within a week I jumped from 60% funded to 100% funded and hopefully without the Cutco curse of pushing unwanted goods on people you know. Some chipped in a lot, some chipped in a little, all of them will be receiving “special upgrades” since many of them are people I don’t have to ship to, thus saving me money.
Useful: Read lots of articles on how to Kickstarter- There are some great “say this do this” lists that provide a good starting point for campaigns. However there is no need to follow them to the letter. The 20 second mark rule I referred to earlier didn’t stop me from having the opening part of my video nonsensically dedicated to lobster and really being a personalized “me style” project.
I may be writing soul sucking mind numbing horror but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun as I work on it. Keeping it light, fun, and collaborative rather than pushy seems to have made all the difference.
Mine isn’t a perfect Kickstarter campaign by any means but it is a successful one. The campaign ends in eight days and I’m still holding out hope to get enough extra donations to cover better cover art and a professional editor. You can check it out at http://www.masterthehorde.com.
Either way, I hope you found this helpful. I’m curious to hear your opinions on these or other sites with ways to find success on Kickstarter. What do you think?