As anyone who spent any time here at the Stannex or reading my Facebook or Twitter feed painfully knows, I ran an eventually successful Kickstarter campaign for The Littlest Shoggoth last November/December. While this hardly makes me an expert, it does give me practical experience that leads others to occasionally ask me for advice on running their own Kickstarter fund drives.
That happened again recently, and after I finished writing the reply email, it struck me that maybe I ought to share the advice more broadly. At the very least, by posting the advice here, I’ll have something to point back to rather than try to re-write the advice each time.
So, without any further ado, here is what I say when someone asks me for advice about Kickstarting:
I wrote up some of my thoughts on Kickstarting back in August. All of them proved to be accurate, based on my latest experience in Nov/Dec. The posts are here:
Dont Fear the Reaper Learn from Him!
Thinking about Kickstarting
Beyond that, if you’re inclined to spend a few dollars, I think that the advice that Monte Cook & Shanna Germain put into their ebook Kicking It! is all solid. (But that, for no small part, is that Monte and I agree on just about all of the points.)
I think the Top 3 pieces of advice I could offer, though, are:
1. BUDGET WELL. There are all kinds of hidden costs in whatever you’re doing, and you can’t go back and revise your target number. Make sure that you’ve got all your budgetary “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed. Make sure that you add in a “fudge factor” on top of that. And make sure that if you only hit your target number dead on, you’ll still be okay.
2. STRETCH GOAL MANIA. Stretch goals are a big part of most successful Kickstarters, and when things are going well it’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm when choosing and announcing stretch goals. Be just as calculating and clear-eyed when you budget out the money (and TIME) involved in providing the stretch goals. Bad calculation here can undo the good budgeting you did at the start.
3. EYEBALLS, EYEBALLS, EYEBALLS. The biggest thing you need to do during your Kickstarter is spread the word. I’m STILL getting email from friends (FRIENDS!) who say they had no idea that I ran the Littlest Shoggoth Kickstarter in Nov/Dec … and I spent A LOT of time promoting it in ALL of my social media, paid ads, and as many other venues as I could get into. And the real goal is to get out BEYOND your friends and personal voice range into the broader fan base for whatever it is you’re trying to fund. You’ll need to spend as much time as you can find promoting, advertising, linking to, and otherwise trumpeting your project AND–perhaps even more important–getting OTHERS to do so for you.