My first Kickstarter has come to a close. All of the books have been printed and shipped out to my amazing backers. My friends even threw me a book release party. What a ride! I’ve put together a list of 10 tips you may find useful if you’re thinking of running a Kickstarter.
1. Have a fan base. Seriously. It’s going to be that fan base that shares your campaign on their social media accounts. This is incredibly important. I’m certain if I had tried to run my campaign a year ago, it probably would have failed. What changed in a year? I was in the DragonCon Art Show.
2. Look at other campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful. I browsed and took notes for various art kickstarters and specifically those campaigns for sketchbooks. I looked at the type of rewards they offered, prices, and how they structured their descriptions. You can learn a lot this way!
3. Videos are important–more than you may think. The Youtube culture has exploded in the last few years. It’s taken a while for it to grow on me. I must be getting old! Everything I’d read reiterated how important it was to have a Kickstarter video. So I researched the videos of successful campaigns and 90% of the time those videos included either the artist talking in the background or the artist in the video. It needs to be personal. Backers are giving you their money, they are putting their trust in you and your product.
A lot of folks watched my video. This may not be a phenomenal number, but it’s more than I imagined.
3. Quality graphics to show off your rewards. People want to see what they’re going to get if they support your campaign. Take the time to create the graphics. You can then use them in your social media promotion too.
4. A complete profile, with links to your website and social media. This might seem like common sense, but I’ve seen more than a few campaigns with no link to a website. Or their link goes to a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in over a month. That’s not a good way to make an impression.
5. Read the entire Creator Handbook and then also read the FAQ pages and the Rules. Read everything Kickstarter makes available to you. They have specific rules but they also give you an enormous amount of information to help you build your campaign.
6. Pre-promotion. You have to start talking about it online months beforehand. I probably could have done a bit more of this. Share teaser images, talk about your rewards, anything to start peaking the interest of your fans and their friends.
7. Think about your fans when it comes time to schedule your campaign. December might not be the best month to run a Kickstarter. It’s a holiday season for several religions. Even November might be risky if people are beginning to buy gifts for December.
8. Don’t underestimate your goal. You need to know in advance how much it’s going to cost to ship your rewards. Either add shipping to your goal or add it to the rewards. I chose to include US shipping in my goal and add a flat rate shipping fee for intentional backers.
9. Promotion during the campaign–to the point you fear people will starting ignoring you. Truly, you need to share your campaign every day. Work out a schedule and make sure you’re not posting about it at the same time. It doesn’t hurt to ask other artists to share your campaign too.
10. Keep your backers updated! During the campaign you need their support more than ever. I recommend composing an update once a week to let backers now how the campaign is proceeding, to remind them to share with their friends, and for making announcements (stretch goals, new rewards, etc.). But don’t let it end there. If you’re campaign is successful then it’s even more important to let your backers now how things are progressing, so they know without a doubt you are holding up your end the agreement. I had a lot of fun sharing the arrival of my sketchbook with my backers. They made my book possible!