Kickstarter Advice

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I was emailing with another TGC indie game designer about my Kickstarter experiance and I realized it would make a great post.
He emailed: I've been checking out your Host Kickstarter campaign with interest.  How did you find the whole process? -tom
As far as the Kickstarter, It was stressful. It was my first real KS (i had launched two before one for a music project and another for a camping project but i wasn’t really invested in those). The first 3 days I saw some good pledges coming in but the first canceled pledge kept me awake through the night, wondering what if anything could do better to keep that from happening again.
5 serious mistakes I made at launch kickstarter.
  • I didn’t have a video
  • I didn’t have any professional reviews
  • My description page was a mess. I made it too thematic. like a classified document. JeBus (from TGC) quickly pointed out that it was stupid.
  • I didn’t have a Facebook page for Broken Prism Games
  • I didn’t have reward levels for Multiple copies i.e. 2x 3x etc.
It wasn’t until 4 or 5 days in that I fixed the first four, and I didn’t fix the last one until the last week.
I am preparing a game for another Kickstarter later in the year. Things I am doing different this time around are:
The Consulting will be $75.00
some of the reviews are free others are pay for review so that will be another $200
The KickTraq Advertising is $150 (i think)
The Board Game Geek Advertising is $200-$1000 (i think)
The Advertising with Facebook will run during the campaign and be $20 a day for the 30 days.
What this means is I will be out of pocket $600-$1500 before I even launch the campaign. and another $600 during the campaign. But I believe strongly in those steps being a huge boost to the campaign. This next game will be a bigger one. and be a real flagship product for Broken Prism Games.
I have also been putting together Break even reports and going through the cost of the game + Shipping + (Advertising/Qty produced) : Sale Price. To see how many copies I have to sell to start turning profit.
I also have the benefit of a previous campaign and a backer base that even months later have emailed me to say they still like the game.
I started to sort of ramble on here. But there is no end to the amount of information that is helpful to consider when doing a Kickstarter. I will distill it here for easy take-aways for a first timer.
The Golden rule is: You will not get rich from a Kickstarter.
You have at best a 40% chance of funding.
  • Set as low a funding goal as you can manage, even if that means only printing 10 copies of the game via TGC.
  • Set a reward level that covers all your costs for a single copy (production of 1 copy at one copy price and shipping from Madison, WI to Key West, FL)
  • Ask TGC General Chat to look at your campaign before launch. get opinions from everybody. no one has a monopoly on good ideas.
  • Message each and every backer. Reply to all comments. Devote all of your time off from your day job to talking about this project with people and to people.

That was the first email. It's mostly unaltered so i apologize for grammar, punctuation, and straight up spelling errors.

Now on to Email two:

I appreciate your interest in Host, Im only 7 more copies sold from getting the Mithril accolade. My First goal was very similar. I just wanted strangers to have it. Its now in the homes of 160 backers. for a total of ~240 strangers. The only reason Im committing so much finically for my second game is I was able to hold some of my tax return aside and plan on socking money from each of my paychecks until launch day for advertising. I had a friend donate his time and graphic ability for HOST which I am eternally grateful. For my next game my girlfriend is doing the bulk of the art, and Matt Slater (from TGC) is helping with templates and layout design (I’m paying him for his time and talent).

I feel you on that UK Shipping, I budgeted $15-$20 for international shipping and it ended up being $25-$32. I nearly lost my mind when placing my Bulk order with TGC. I wasn’t aware of the forced shipping insurance. I Love TGC and have 11 different prototypes in various stages of development on their page. 3 of which I hope to finish this year and hope to Kickstart 2 of them. But even for all they do to make indie game design possible there is still some stuff that just drives me crazy.
I am reading back over everything I emailed you and realized that i should really make it a blog post on www.brokenprismgames.com because you’re right. My insight is useful. I am also very community minded and want to share anything I can to help others.
I took some business classes in college, and although I never finished my degree, I did learn to expect a long delay for success. I encourage you to continue making games. put your best effort into it, and use each one to build on the next, then 2-5 years from now 5-10 games from now look back on how much you’ve achieved. For example, my next KS will have a New Game + Host bundle for the “if you missed out” crowd. and that will build for all following Kickstarters. Much like how Jason Glover does. I also recommend looking at and following the Kickstarter examples of Jason and his company Grey Gnome Games. Look up the Kickstarter for his first game Plague emulate your first one off that. Then his second Game Zogar’s Gaze and emulate your second of the average of the two. Also look at his others for Tansia, Four Tribes, Neptune etc… Jason has tapped into some of the top “Best Practices” for running a Successful Kickstarter. You can look at and use those as case studies for free information. but if you have the $75 then I recommend hiring him via indieconquest.com for direct input.
Also, Dave Taylor from To The Table reviews. was one of my backers. I motivated him into doing reviews and now he has his own accolade on TGC and has done 20+ reviews in as many weeks. He loves TGC and its designers and if you message him he would likely do a review of your game, his reviews are getting better every time so I highly recommend him.