This is the second part in the Kickstarter Planning series. To read the first part, just visit this link: Kickstarter Planning – Part 1
It’s been two weeks since I posted the first part of this series and I have done a lot of work towards my Kickstarter campaign, which has taken time away from updating the website. I apologize for that. There are still a lot of things I have learned over the past month that I want to share, but I figured I should first finish the section about Lobster’s guide. For reference, I will post the link again below:
Good, now that we are all in the same page, let’s get started on the most important points and advice I found while reading this (very long) guide. I will use a bullet-point list to follow the format from the previous post.
- Game Demos can be a double-edged sword. There have been a lot of arguments against and for putting them on your KS page. If you feel you have a solid build that will not crash andhas a HIGH LEVEL of polish, then upload it. If not, maybe consider sending the demo just to the press and limit your backers to watching videos of you playing. You should do your own research and determine whether your game should or shouldn’t have a demo up. Also, Extra Credits – Demo Daze is a good video you should watch about game demos.
- Definitely try to contact everyone on the VideoGameCaster website if you have a good demo.
- Have your project updates ready before the campaign even launches. Having them will save you a lot of time while running your KS and you will have an idea of your reveal schedule. This doesn’t mean that you will always post what you had planned without a second thought. KS campaigns are ever-changing, and you should adapt to your campaign’s flow, not the other way aound. Still, having the updates pre-made can help in having at least a base for what you wanted to talk about.
“You should be professional and ALWAYS find a nice way to reply.”
Treat your backers nicely at all times. I don’t care if they flame you or call you names. They are funding you, so you should be professional and ALWAYS find a nice way to reply to any comments made. When you make a KS campaign, your project will resemble a service more than a one-time product purchase. Also remember that backers can withdraw their pledge at any time, so causing a flame war in your KS page can dissuade many people from helping you finish the game because you are not a nice person.
- Running a campaign should feel like a full-time job. Remember to reply to everyone, send emails thanking your backers for pledging and use this opportunity to grow your community! It can feel like too much, but hey! It’s only for 30 days. Take a break from your game and dedicate yourself to the campaign. It will be worth it in the end.
- Find ways to keep the middle part of your campaign (The Through) entertaining! Don’t let things slow down. Keep sending emails to the press, keep tweeting, posting updates, anything to get new backers behind your project.
- Social media is very powerful. We have built a nice community through social media, especially Twitter, but find what works best for you! Reddit is also a very nice place to start.
- The last 48 hours are crucial! Remember that KS campaign charts look like a “U”. This is your second chance of getting a ton of funds into your project!
- You only get one chance at sending out surveys, so think carefully about what you are going to ask your backers.
- Your campaign isn’t over once the 30 days are over. Hopefully you got a successfully funded project, but you have to remember to keep your backers updated. You shouldn’t spam emails twice a week or anything, but at least a monthly newsletter will keep people interested and excited about playing your game once it comes out.
- Plan your project! This shouldn’t have to be said, but it is overlooked so often. Find your burn rate and figure out if you will achieve your milestones on time and within the budget. Cutting features or content is better than having an incomplete game with no more funds a few months into development.
- Physical reward fulfillment can be hard work. Be sure you have a storage or an empty garage where you can keep all the rewards as they arrive before sending them out. If you don’t want to deal with this, there are websites like BackerKit that help you get through this process.
“If someone torrents your game, they weren’t going to buy it anyway.”
In my opinion, fighting piracy, especially as an indie developer, is completely useless. It WILL happen, so try to make the best out of it. Uploading the torrent of your game can be the best course of action in many cases. Be sure to add some scrolling text or notice somewhere asking people to buy the game and a link to do so, maybe even add an easter egg (usually involving pirates) into your game! Here’s a list of funny measures developers took with pirated games: IGN: Eight of te most hilarious anti-piracy measures in video games People will realize that this version won’t be constantly getting updated and buy the game if they like it a lot. Just remember, it will no decrease your sales if you post your own game. If someone torrents your game, they weren’t going to buy it anyway. At least this way they’ll get to play it and there’s a higher chance that they will buy your future games or even the same one once it’s on sale on Steam.
- Have a contingency plan of what would happen if you can’t deliver after getting funded. Dealing with lawsuits can make an indie developer go bankrupt, or worse, loose all his credibility for the future.
- Relaunching your KS campaign after not getting funded has worked in the past. Just don’t think that you will make it with the exact same strategy. Go back to the drawing board, see if there’s anything flawed in your game design, in your reward tiers, your marketing strategy, anything! Also, be sure to use the people that supported you the first time. They will help you get that initial bump for your reboot campaign.
- Returning to KS is a great idea. You will have already built an audience and you will have a lot more credibility under your belt if you were able to deliver successfully on your previous project.
Wow, that was a long post! I hope you found Lobster’s guide and my, errr, summary, useful and that you learned something new! Keep an eye on my KS campaign that will be launching sometime in August 2014 and help us reach our goal if you have a few dollars to spare. I will be eternally grateful.
I’m still not sure what I will be talking on my next Kickstarter Planning series, but I will try to post it next week for sure.