There are two warning signs you should look out for when preparing to launch your first Kickstarter project: being worried too much, and not being worried at all. Regardless of the group you’re in, here’s a list of top 5 things you should probably do before launching your first project.
Taking the first step into the world of crowdfunding is no trivial matter. After all, you most probably won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so you better make this one count. We know all of this, because we’ve launched 10 successful (and zero unsuccessful) projects as NSKN Games thus far, and we’ve helped a few dozen creators crowdfund their projects as Strawberry Kickstarter.
So, with some credentials established, let me jump right into the list you’ve come here to read.
Finish your game
The first thing you absolutely need to have before launching a campaign is the product. Since gaming is our business (and yours, I assume), you need to have a fully working and tested game before you actually go about putting it on Kickstarter.
We’ve just tested our game again, and we successfully prevented it from locking up again.
Actual Client, three weeks before their Kickstarter launch.
Before you ask – yes, the quote is real. We had a client seemingly ready to launch their game, who called us one day to announce the good news. We were completely stumped for a moment, and then we promptly proceeded to explaining some basics (that had seemed too basic to explain before that faithful phone call).
So, before you go to Kickstarter, make sure that you have a fully working prototype. A game that is finished – and fun – with no more than a few kinks to iron out. Also, make sure that it works well both with and without any stretch goals you’re planning to possibly add.
Give a bit more
Crowdfunding is about excitement, but it’s also about trust. Before you build a project, you need things you’ll be able to present to your backers, to show that you’re doing your share.
The miracle of Kickstarter is that of allowing people to become fans of something that does not yet exist – and by doing so making it a reality. However, before anyone decides to finance your dream, they need to have a few good reasons to believe that you’re as invested as they are – and that you’re probably not a fraud.
The important thing is that the game is great. We’ll illustrate it after we get money from Kickstarter.
Prospective Client, first contact
Don’t get me wrong – Kickstarter is there to allow your idea to grow into the best version of itself, so nobody expects you’ll have everything ready before you launch. However, you need to have enough to draw people in – and then convince them to stay, and that you’re serious about what you’re offering.
Make a video that’s short and sweet
Competition on Kickstarter is fierce nowadays, and with a large number of projects live, you have little time to make a big enough impression. That is why having the right introduction video is one of the key things to do before launching a Kickstarter.
We’ve got this promotional video from a convention last year. It’ll do, right?
Prospective Client, completely clueless
The time when five minutes of the designer talking about his dream as a Kickstarter video has passed. And while you can still find such videos even leading into very successful campaigns, these are more often outliers than a solid basis for a rule.
In short, you have to prepare the video well, you have to boil down its content to a visually attractive, minute long elevator pitch that will make a backer stay and listen to what you have to say. And, honestly, you’ll do best by hiring a professional to help you out with this.
Know the costs
Here’s another thing that should probably go without saying, but you need to know how much it will cost you to produce and ship your game. Honestly, it seems like it’s the latter that’s more important these days, as crowdfunding is rife with stories of very successful campaigns which ruined their creators.
What do you mean when you say that the factory won’t ship for free?
Prospective Client, making a nasty discovery
For a first time creator who has not yet have anything to do with game manufacturing and shipping this might be the biggest challenge – and another situation in which I’d strongly recommend seeking professional help. Before seeking though, you can come back here in a few weeks, to read an upcoming article on the basics of shipping and production.
Secure an access to Kickstarter
For many creators this should probably the number 1, but it isn’t for a simple reason: only some of you do business in countries that do not have direct access to Kickstarter. In any case, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have the access – and an even better idea to make sure that your project will ask for funds in dollars.
In fact, opening access to Kickstarter is an essential service our Strawberry Kickstarter provides, but I would highly encourage you to check out multiple options and similar companies. This will not only let you find the bit of help you need with your project, but also get the feel for what are the industry standards for accessing Kickstarter via third party companies.