Funding Faux Pas
I know what you are thinking, “Your project just squeaked by, David. What makes you think you can tell us how to run our Kickstarter?” Though The Wardenclyffe Horror was not half the phenom that many of the Kickstarter projects are, it was still successful. I credit this with modest goals, great execution, and tons and tons of research.
There are a lot of saying about advice out there, and few of them are positive. So if you’d like to stay and hear what I have learned about crowd funding, feel free. If not, well – I understand that too.
Today we are going to talk about the five things project creators do at their own peril, and the things they should be doing instead:
- Ask for too MUCH money. If your project looks unrealistic, no one is going to give you a dime. Last month, I came across a comic book project that looked really great; it had wonderful art, an interesting premise, and professionals behind it, but they didn’t get my money. Why not? Because they wanted to raise over $200k for their project. They didn’t want the money for the graphic novel, they wanted the money to publish a whole series of graphic novels and found a publishing house to boot. Don’t be that guy.
- Ask for too LITTLE money. Do not say that you need $50k for your project to fund, and then talk about how this project is actually going to take $75k to actually happen further down the page. I have seen this. It makes backers IMMEDIATELY distrustful of your project and of you. Credibility is about making all the signals match – a warm smile with a threatening posture does not inspire confidence.
- Give too FEW details on why you need it. If you ask for a few hundred dollars to self publish a digital novel, a few thousand to print a book or comic book on paper, or a few tens of thousands of dollars for a video game, people are not likely to bat an eye, because it falls in line with their expectations. If you are going to diverge specifically from your competitors though, people need to know why. You need to sell them on why your artist makes your book cost ten times more than the next guy, or how the inflated price tag of your board game is due to superior (and worthwhile) components!
- Tell people, at ANY point, that you don’t need the figure provided. The key to a successful Kickstarter project is two fold: having a vision to create a project people want, and being able to create it. If you start to make people doubt that second one, the first part won’t matter so much. Before you launch make a solid plan, then check and recheck it. When you think it is good to go, consider asking your friends to check it again for you.
- Hint you might SELF-FUND any shortfall. This one is a big deal. Not only is it against Kickstarter’s ToS, but like the previous point, it really takes the wind out of your backer’s sails, and not only that it can make you look greedy or dishonest. If you needed $20k two weeks ago, why do you actually need $10k today; there might be a valid explanation but you will lose face at a minimum. If this happens, consider relaunching the project, either immediately, or after it completes.
So, Have you seen any particularly egregious examples of any of the above?