This article is where i’ll break down the planning portion of building a successful Kickstarter. Have you read part 1 yet? If not, I recommend you go here. That article contains information about Kickstarter, and explains what to expect from starting your own crowdfundung project.
Okay, so now you’ve read part 1? Let’s continue.
The planning is where things get really serious. It’s crucial to establish a plan, do the necessary research, and put the plan into action long before you decide to launch.
First question, have you generated any interest in your project on social media? If the answer is no, then I would suggest you start there. Some people might just stumble upon your Kickstarter page, but mostly you’ll need to drive the traffic there yourself. Start generating interest long before you’re planning to launch.
Second, have you thought about your fan base? Who would be most interested in your project? Gamers? Mothers? Sports fans? Find out what social media platforms are best to seek out potential backers. Facebook and Twitter are pretty common, but don’t limit yourself to just the social juggernauts.
You will also need a video. Based on all the research I’ve done on Kickstarter campaigns, the success rate of projects without videos is very low. The odds seemed so bad that it’s a risk I wouldn’t take.
You also need a passionate story. If you can’t tell people why the project is so important and worthy of their money, why should anyone care at all?
Set a reasonable goal. Don’t try to aim for a goal that exceeds the amount you really need. Once your goal is locked in place, you have to hope that you reach the amount by the end of the campaign time. You can exceed your goal, but you can’t have a successful campaign if you don’t reach the set amount. With that being said, you must also remember to factor in the small fees charged by both Kickstarter and Amazon, as well as factoring in the cost of your rewards. Not sure what to offer? If you’re completely stumped then I recommend you browse similar projects, and see what others are offering as rewards.
Speaking of rewards, don’t just offer thoughtless incentives. Entice people with simple, yet fulfilling reward tiers. Some people might donate simply based off your passionate story or video, but most people want value from their rewards.
Now that I’ve broken everything down, let’s use my Kickstarter plan as an example.
I’m slowly building my fan base on social media. Sacrifice is an New Adult urban fantasy novel that features a gay protagonist. I knew that if I narrowed down my fan base to very specific groups, my best chance would be with fantasy readers and the LGBT community. I was already a part of several online communities that specifically relate to those two groups, but I still needed to build interest in the novel.
How? I went to talented artists and asked them to create concept art and illustrations that I could use. I could have just talked about my book, but some people want a visual. The art gave me something to show in my video while I explained why Sacrifice was important, and it provided me with art prints to use as rewards.
Next I wrote up a very compelling story that explains why Sacrifice is important. My book offers diversity of both race and sexual orientation, and that needed to be my key selling point. Make sure you make your selling point clear in both the video and written explanation.
I did my homework and got estimates for how much it would cost to have my manuscript professionally edited, with a professionally designed cover, and formatting for both paperback and ebook. I knew I needed a little more than my estimate to cover costs of printing and shipping rewards, as well as the small fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon payments (it’s 5% for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon as they process the payments). So I didn’t magically pull a number out of the air, and I won’t be asking for more than I actually need.
Now with my rewards I tried to keep my tiers simple, yet still fulfilling to my potential backers. For one of the cheaper tiers I’ll be offering a downloadable PDF of the finished project. The download will allow people to help for a small price while still receiving a fair reward. No shipping there! People also like to receive tangible rewards, so for that I will offer paperback copies and art prints. Small printing and shipping costs are figured into the tier price. I will even offer much larger and enticing rewards such as having a character in my novel named after a backer. So be creative and put time into your rewards.
These tips should give you a great advantage when planning your Kickstarter. You shouldn’t get discouraged if your project fails to meet the set goal. A first attempt at crowdfunding is a learning experience, and you can use that knowledge to make your second attempt even better. Remember to show passion, have patience, and plan as much as you can.