Kickstarter Funded lessons
Well. It's been a crazy month, hasn't it? The great news is that kicksterter funded! It more than funded! And now I am in the waiting period for the funds to be collected and sent my way.
So while I wait, I thought I'd post a bit about my experiences and lessons learned at this point in the process.
The very first thing I learned right off the bat is that advertising has to happen. All the time. Every day. That seems like an obvious lesson that we should all know, right? But there was a second, less obvious lesson that came with it.
Your audience matters.
I spread my net pretty wide, targeting lots and lots of various platforms and cross campaigning with friends. And then I watched to see what came of it. Pete advised me to give reddit a try, and while I'd like to, I feel that my feminist/atheist/generally out there and emotional viewpoints may make me a target for the less savory parts of reddit. So I opted not to go that route. At least not till I'm in a healthier place mentally so I can handle it should I become the target for unhappy people. So at the moment I don't know what reddit can do for me. I noticed that sites that I had an established presence on were more likely to respond positively and with backing, than sites that I literally just joined. SO I REALLY suggest joining all the sites you plan on advertising, well before you actually launch your kickstarter. Get involved, give them a reason to like you, personally, and want to support you.
The first days were wild and hectic, with the bulk of my backers coming from facebook and tumblr. I had a tumblr account called 'daily dragons' post my kickstarter and that got a very nice surge of backers who weren't in my established fanbase. At the same time, posting in basic general 'art blogs' seemed to be a swing and a miss. While they thought the art was neat, it didn't call them to back it the way a dragon fan was called to back the piece. The big kicker was when auroscopes cross campaigned with me, and deviantart did an article at the same time that included me. Deviantart drove more *traffic* to the page, but auroscopes drove more *backers* to the page. It really drove home that numbers don't matter as much as people think they do. You can show your work to a crowd of ten thousand people, who aren't interested, or you can show it to ten people who all want to back you because they share the same interests.
So don't discount the smaller media outlets, and the little things. Especially if you have a niche item to fund.
The just missed it people
I had no idea that this would be common, but there's a surprising amount of 'just missed it' backers out there. For me, that's pretty easy to handle because of the nature of print sales. But it's something that others might want to think about beforehand, what to do if they get people who just missed the funding and still want to back you. I've been told that there are quite a few great programs to help you handle that sort of thing, for late add ons and the like, but for this kickstarter I went very simple and am just handling it myself.
Getting people's information
Welp. Had I know that in order to get everyone's addresses for shipping, I'd have to send *individual surveys for each reward tier* I might have consdensed things even more than I already had. I am lucky that this time around I kept things relatively simple, so there were few questions to ask anyone in my survey, but the address question HAD to be sent out.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE AND CLEAR. You can only send out a survey once, and I managed to confuse a few people right off the bat when I asked if they ordered anything extra on top of their reward. I had a few people who had purchased an extra print that was NOT part of their package (mostly prints of vance's dragon), and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anyone, but it caused some confusion on if the stretch goal reward was needed to be said in that question. So be super super simple and clear in your questions!
While they aren't organized very well on the back end for ease of sorting reward levels, they are pretty clear cut about what reward level a person funded for, and what their address is (once they answer the survey). It does require a bit of chasing people down, that could be cut out with addresses stored and automatically sent with their user information, but it's not that bad overall.
I personally am very hands on about my paperwork, because I do my order fullfillment myself for various conventions and the like, so I was already set up to handle converting everything to spreadsheets that work the best for me. But for first timers I do suggest keeping things simple until you really see how the back end works, and what you need to do in order to make it work for you.
So here we are
In the stage of waiting for funds. Now kickstarter pulled from everyone's accounts literally the MINUTE that the funding ended. I was highly impressed. they give you the ability to see your backers and see who paid, and who had an error in their payment. The people with an error in their payment have a week to correct it, otherwise they become 'dropped' backers, and kickstarter continues without their funding. I've been told different amounts, anywhere from 5 to 10 % is the average for dropped backers. I feel pretty fortunate that only four backers seem to have processing issues (it's too soon to tell if they will correct it or not).
that explains why funds take so long, and the wait seems pretty expected. I haven't had any fussy backers, but I, personally, feel the need to fill the empty space with noise! For myself I am choosing to work on the backer reward that was a painting, so that people get exciting updates of a new piece of art as I go along. I want to communicate, but I don't want to waste people's time with constant 'still waiting' messages, so I think this will be a good way to convey that we're still waiting but interesting things are still happening.
I'll post another update after I've fullfilled everything, to talk about lessons learned in that process. But right now, I feel hopeful and excited. Things are really moving along!