We just started week 3, of my current kickstarter campaign, which is bombing like some three-ton chunk of iron dropped over London during WW2.
During the campaign, I’ve had a bunch of people reach out to me with advice on “how to fix my campaign.”
First, I always appreciate advice. People taking valuable time out of their day to try and help, means they either care about the project or you… Which is really great.
Holy cow, do these people have some total shite advice.
And what’s worse, a lot of these folks claim to be “experts” in crowdfunding.
Most folks don’t realize I’ve been helping people crowdfund comics and games for many years and helped raise more than enough money to buy at least one nice house (for perspective).
Do I consider myself an expert?
Hmmm, I’m not sure. I never really stopped to analyze that…
I certainly never set out to be a crowdfunding expert…
but I do know a lot of the key points of crowdfunding.
And perhaps even more important, I understand how to navigate the unknown variables, of which there are many. Variables which a lot of the “experts” get behind like a SWAT shield, leveraging the massive grey area of unknown to their advantage, taking credit if the project succeeds and falling on it as a scapegoat if the project fails.
Two quick examples of recent advice from the experts;
Break that Unbreakable Book in Two!
I actually had two different people tell me to cut my graphic novel in half and produce two smaller books for less money, before going for a larger book.
Folks, the graphic novel is a choose your own adventure book… there’s no way to cut it in half like a traditional, linear story.
And the point with this advice (or non-advice) is that these two individuals didn’t even bother to understand the fundamental essence of my project.
How can you possibly listen to anyone who hasn’t even bothered to really look at your campaign? The first step in unlocking the potential of any campaign, is understanding what makes it unique and its individual specific goals.
Obviously, this was free advice.
Sadly, I think too many “experts” go in autopilot mode, making this level of engagement on their part, all too common.
Someone to Help, Until they Actually Needed to Perform!
Second, was someone who actually posted on social media that they were running a promotional special for their kickstarter services.
Awesome I thought, let’s throw another soldier to the front and get this battle cookin’…
Imagine my surprise when this person said, they could not help me at all with my campaign as I had already launched and it was on day three.
There goes that grey SWAT shield.
If you can’t contribute to a campaign on day 3, as a “Crowdfund expert,” literally, selling your services online… I have news for the world, it means you don’t know how to do anything.
It means you read some crowdfund articles online and a book or two, and can only regurgitate the most basic fundamentals of precampaign crowdfund strategy.
Anybody can make the number one horse leading the pack win by a larger margin. It takes someone who really knows what they’re doing to make the number 3 or 4 horse win the race in the first place.
You may be thinking, but Nick, you just announced your current crowdfund is tanking, how the hell could you know anything about crowdfunding!?
Not knowing about crowdfunding is thinking you can change an image, or add a new reward tier, and turn a failing campaign into winner. It means you don’t really know why or how.
Knowing crowdfunding means, within the first 12 hours, you know the odds of the campaign are shite… within the first 24, you know the odds are really shite…
and as the campaign roles, you see all possible paths to fund (and their odds/likelihood), or recognize, there are no paths at all to fund.
Thinking ‘to know crowdfunding, is to launch only successful campaigns,’ is a majorly flawed way of thinking.
// By the way, for folks keeping score, my crowdfunding dollar multiplier explained in my comic budget article, is dead on for this campaign. 😉 //
Anyway, I’m probably blabbing too much now.
The whole point of this article was seeing how so much bad advice is getting tossed around out there, I feel obligated now, to try and help upcoming comic and game crowdfunds.
I’ve never really focused on this aspect of consulting that I offer folks… It was always there for folks who knew me and wanted the help.
but now, after this first-hand experience, realizing what y’all are up against,
I’m going to come back here and post some rates/packages.
So I’ll be here to help any indies that want to make it through with their best foot forward.
And make no mistake, in crowdfunding, there are never any guarantees, all you can do is put your best foot forward.
If you’re planning a comic or game crowdfund, talk to me first. I’ll help you!
<< I’ve posted some more info and my crowdfunding consulting rates in a third article in this series, here. >>
Closing point, for anyone interested or caring about my current campaign.
For TMWDT campaign the basic analytics say no fund, no way, no how.
After the first 24 hours of the campaign, I speculated the campaign would come in around $6,000, $1,770 under goal.
Going into week 3, I updated my speculation to 111 backers by campaign close, with closer to $6800 raised… still about $1000 off fund.
*Update: Moving through the final week, the numbers haven’t been kind. Campaign close looks to 100 backers and just over the original $6000 estimation.
It’ll be interesting to see how close I am to predicting the final outcome of the campaign. (updated-see the bottom)
But there are still two elements still in play.
First the campaign has greater focus on higher reward tiers, 40 more backers at the poster reward will fund the project. This alone means a last minute fund is totally possible. In my book, less than a hundred backers is really attainable for any campaign.
Second, the campaign is currently at 43% funded at the half-way point. Only 2% of all projects on kickstarter at this funding level fail to fund. If it jumps above 60%, the number is halved, meaning only 1% of all projects fail to fund after reaching 60% funding. While this statistic is really neither here nor there, in actual reality, it remains interesting to keep in mind and hints that once a project gets significant steam, final hour funds are more likely.
In hindsight, there are always elements you could have tweaked or done a little better, that said…
Everything was done right with this campaign.
You can’t time the economy when it comes to the stock market, or crowdfunding.
When you produce content in a niche genre, there are even less guarantees than the typical “no guarantees” in popular, trending genres. When it comes to crowdfunding, at the end of the day, you just have to produce your best work and recognize that ultimately, the crowd decides.
TMWDT CAMPAIGN CONCLUSION UPDATE
The Man Who Died Twice successfully crowdfunded with 121 backers and just under $9500.
If you want to help us reach our first stretch goal at $10k, which would be awesome, you can go pre-order books right now in my store: StoryToScript.com
So the good news is I was right… and wrong.
Into the final 72 hours, the campaign was totally tracking to perform with my first day prediction ending around $6,000.
In the final 48 hours, someone bailed us out, and funded us with a big pledge which boosted us to cross the finish line +$2,000. I’m not too proud to admit this and y’all need to know real facts to prepare yourself for crowdfunding, if you’re going that route to produce comics.
I suspect without the boost, the campaign would have fallen short, I don’t know if it would have landed closer to $6k or $7k, just under the fund goal…
Whatever the speculative case, the minimum number of backers we needed to fund, running off the campaign average, was 124… which we just about got in the end.
So maybe even without the boost, folks would have rallied toward the end and given us just enough to cross the finish line on our own. It was a rollercoaster that I’m happy to get off… Now I get to concentrate on fulfillment and making the book the best it can be.▪
About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S. Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.