How to Survive Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a beast when trying to fund a project.

Setting up a Kickstarter page and publishing are the easy parts. It is marketing that can quickly kill the soul of artists and creators.

If you have been reading Compulsive Creative for awhile, you might remember the article “Kickstarter Campaign Tips & My Last 24 Hours.” In that post, I cover things I wished I had done and what I planned to do after the campaign.

In this article, we are going to get the perspective from another successful Kickstarter, Sarah Roark. The following was her response to a group trying to Kickstart their graphic novel.

Sarah’s response to, “How long did it take you to reach your goal? What were some strategies for promotion?”

………..

Hi [name removed]

Mine very much followed the now-typical “bathtub shape” model of strong activity in the first several days and the last several days, and lots of nothin’ in between. You may be interested to compare my funding graph with other similar projects: kicktraq.com

By the way, do not put too much stock in Kicktraq projections. They just take whatever your current trajectory is and project it straight out – it doesn’t take the bathtub curve into account. Kickspy¬†did a much better job with that, but it got taken down and is now trying to retool its services. Point is, KICKTRAQ HATES YOU and it LIES. The fact is that if a campaign hits 30% at any point in its span, its odds of fully funding become 90%. No joke: “The 30% Kickstarter project ‘Tipping Point’.”

My colleagues’ prediction that I’d get BY FAR the most pledges on the first and last days of the campaign turned out to be right on the money. People dawdle. They do not care how many heart attacks they give the creator in the meantime. The ‘remind me about this KS’ button people can hit on a project they’re considering backing does not even send them notification till 48 hours before close.

As far as promo went, I did run some cheap web ads. I also did some outreach to comics/fan sites and submitted whatever materials they’d take for news release, etc, and appeared on two podcasts for interviews, the Grawlix podcast with Jesse Kiefer and co and the Jason Loves Life podcast, those were great.

IIRC [if I recall correctly], The vast majority of my referrals came through Facebook but there was also a fair Twitter contingent. (Some people have it the opposite, or they get mostly Tumblr traffic — whatever channel you have best established will probably be your winner.) I did some spamming on both those platforms, including content-bearing spam, like reward sketches for funding milestones, and also begged shares from many of my friends and colleagues (trying not to be a pest in the process, but you have to pest just a BIT). I also did an email blast to everyone that I had a reason to believe was actually interested right before the campaign and 48 hours before the campaign was to run out.

Hope this helps! It’s pretty getting-raked-over-coals no matter what.

………..

There you have it.

I completely agree with everything she said. For my last campaign, Kickstarter was my top referral and Twitter was my second. It was a lot of work, and I bothered people more than I felt comfortable, but I also wanted to hit our funding goal… Which we did.

So, here are 5 tips for surviving your Kickstarter.

1- Ask for help from your friends. If they love you, they will be okay with it.
What I found worked best was contacting them directly one time and asking if they would share my project.

2- Connect with people who have an audience that would like your project.
It is important that you don’t ask for help right off the bat. Make sure to try and build a little bit of a relationship or at least do something for them first. Ask if they are looking for a guest post (bloggers), a guest for a show (podcasters), or fan art (webcomic).

3- Get people to back early. The best way to do this is to tell people the importance of backing early. I also found having “early bird” rewards helped with getting people to stop procrastinating.

4- Continually update people on the project. You can do this through Kickstarter updates, social media, or your website. These updates keep the campaign fresh in your friends’ minds and increases the likelihood of them backing or telling friends.

5- Stay healthy (this is IMPORTANT). Most of us survivors of Kickstarter experience sickness from lack of sleep, stress, and exhaustion during the campaign. Be prepared for this and plan accordingly.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask away in the comments below.

You can check out Sarah Roark’s past Kickstarter campaign (After Daylight – Vampire Comedy: Volume 1) or her webcomic (www.afterdaylight.com). You can hear more about her experience in her article “Talking Turkey about Kickstarters.” It is full of Kickstarter Wisdom.

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