Kickstarter for the Average Indie
September 12, 2012 Page 3 of 3
3. Shoot for a smaller amount. First, find a number that you'd consider the absolute bare minimum amount that you'd need to really get this project done. Then, halve that number, and that's the number you should shoot for. I know this sounds kind of strange, but people generally don't have a great sense for what kind of work game development really takes, and it's difficult to explain it to them. Further, you get nothing if you don't make your goal amount, so it's just simply better to get something to help you along than it is to get nothing. And hey, you never know, you could get 10 times what you ask for.
4. Consider not trying to be funny. We all think that our own jokes are pretty great, but unless you're a professional comedian, don't make us sit through your amateur YouTube video sketch comedy. Think of it this way: few things are more of a turn-off than a failed attempt to be funny, so you're taking a huge risk by relying on comedy. Further, it probably has little to do with what you're trying to show us anyway.
5. Don't get discouraged if you don't make it. A failed Kickstarter could mean that no one is interested in your project, but it could also mean that you simply didn't market it correctly. Actually, I believe that with proper marketing, people will want just about anything. So, do some soul-searching, ask around, and figure out how you can do better next time.
It's often mentioned, but there are quite a few overhead costs associated with Kickstarter and Amazon Payments, as well as paying for shipping/producing any physical rewards. So, you might want to start off with a number that's about 15 percent inflated before cutting it in half.
For instance, on our Kickstarter page it says we made $14,571. However, what actually appeared in the Amazon Payments account was just around $13,000, so just about 10 percent was taken by Amazon. That's something you should be ready for.
Kickstarter, as well as other crowdsourcing websites, provide us with a great opportunity not only for funding, but for feedback. One of the best things about our first failed Kickstarter was how much it actually improved on our game.
We got tons of reactions that we simply wouldn't have gotten if it weren't for the fact that we were out there asking for money. Some of them weren't helpful, but some of them were. A healthy way to think about doing a Kickstarter campaign is that you're doing a test-run of your game's marketing, and for this reason, even a failed campaign can be incredibly useful.
You need to have a little bit of a thick skin, as not everyone is going to be respectful, fair, or even coherent. It is the internet, after all. We wrote a couple of articles (this one got a lot of attention) on our site showing and responding to the unfair treatment we got from some users.
So, you should be prepared for some people treating you like you're scam artists. However, that's the case for releasing a game at all these days, so again it's a good experience to have up front. Be prepared for absurdity.
However, also be able to take good criticism, and adapt. You have to really listen to what people are saying to discern the good sense from the nonsense. It's worth noting that when we did our second Kickstarter, which was far less produced and much more down to earth, we got almost no intensely negative "you guys are a bunch of charlatans" type stuff, so I think that following my Step 1 will go a long way in this.
Anyhow, if you're running a Kickstarter now, already have, or are planning to, share your advice with us. What are your tips for running a successful Kickstarter?
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