Months went by, and during this time we charged forward with development, creating an alpha version of the game. Once we had one, we felt like we might have better success. I also felt like I had learned a lot from the experience, and wanted to apply those lessons in a new, better video.
Essentially, the failures of the first two videos were the same. Put short, we didn't do a good job of showing what Auro was either time. All of the work we put into little jokes and production values made it seem like maybe there wasn't anything special about what we were actually doing.
So this time, I wanted keep it simple. Just me, in front of a camera, talking about this game that I was so passionate about. We also had a nice alpha version of the game running and I could just show clips from that, while I voiced over it explaining what would happen. Super simple. Also, this time, we asked for half as much: $7,500. The thinking was, we were roughly halfway done with the game by then, and any help we could get, we could really use.
The second Kickstarter, which we invested vastly less time and effort in, was a great success, making nearly 200 percent what we asked for.
There are a few key lessons that I think people in similar positions as my team should take from this article. Again, we've done two Kickstarters for the same project, so I feel like we can talk a little bit about what seems to work, and what doesn't.
Again, these are tips for people like us: people who aren't yet making a living off of previous releases, who maybe have to have other jobs in the meantime, and aren't famous.
One other caveat for these tips: you actually have to sincerely believe that your project is something that would be valuable for people. If you're doing a Kickstarter out of any kind of cynical quest to make a quick buck, then I'm not sure my advice will be as helpful.
1. Keep it simple and direct. Keep your video short and down to earth. You don't need to come up with some great joke, some funny gimmick, or whatever. I know that a lot of popular Kickstarters do this, but if you have a good idea, I think people would generally rather just hear a sincere, passionate appeal from the people who want to make the idea happen. I know I would.
2. Wait until you have something to show. This part can be painful, but actually start making your thing before you set up shop on Kickstarter. It's just the same as how record companies want to see that you've already built a fan base, have a demo, and are playing shows before they'll sign you to a contract. With Kickstarter, the people are your investors, and letting them see your actual progress gives them comfort. It makes us feel like you're really serious about making this thing, and aren't going to just run off to Mexico with our 12-dollar pledge.
One thing that makes this bit a bit easier, of course, is having a simple, down to earth game. If you're making a giant earth-shattering MMO, then this is going to be a lot harder than if you're making something simple.