This is also the subject of tomorrow’s Chainsawsuit, but I thought I’d talk about it more in-depth and more seriously here.
I think it’s safe to say you really only get one chance to succeed with a project on Kickstarter. If a project doesn’t make it, you blow all the enthusiasm on it, and once you’ve regrouped, the excitement and impulse to fund it will have largely died down. Where Kickstarter succeeds is in creating the potential to have a groundswell, grassroots-style movement for your project. You have to make the most of that excitement during the month-long push and see if you can make as much as possible.
A while ago I had the idea that I would just re-factor what I do in a year into a Kickstarter campaign.
Let’s say that I release 4 books and 4 shirts in a year typically, and attend 6 cons, and I make $60,000 doing so. Rather than just chug along for a full year and do that as I normally would, I’d reformat my fiscal year into a Kickstarter with accompanying goals:
- At $10,000 I can fund 1 high-quality book.
- At $25,000 I can fund 2 books and the quality will be better. I can also make a shirt to give to the mid-to-high tier backers.
- At $40,000 I can fund 4 very nice books and 3 shirts. I will also attend 3 cons. Depending on your tier level you will receive most/all of these things, videos, etc etc.
- At $60,000 I can fund 4 books, 4 shirts and I can attend 6 cons. More videos, more blogs, and upper-level enticements for high-tier backers (naturally).
The cons thing is kinda specious (because what’s the incentive for a Chicagoan to back me at a certain level if I don’t do one of those six cons in Chicago?) but you get the idea: re-factor your merchandise year into a month-long rally that has the potential to gain some press and some momentum.
The effect would be the same as whatever you’d make in a year — you’re of course still beholden to manufacture and ship those goods, make those videos and meet those promises — but this time, your audience and you have made each other a firm promise, and your work will hopefully surge off that excitement and supportive movement.
The more I think about this, the more I think if I create an enticing year or so of work, I could have a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. I want to have that bond, that pact with my audience. I want to be secure in the knowledge that I’m delivering the most-desired, most-asked-for things.