Creator Confessions: How To Launch More Crowdfunding Projects

by Frank Martin

One big difference between crowdfunding on Kickstarter and publishing via the direct market is the frequency one can launch books. Since Kickstarter is primarily used as a pre-order system, those orders have to be processed before the books are manufactured and delivered to customers. Whereas in the direct market system, customers can go into shops every week and purchase a new book (if the release schedule chooses to do that) without necessarily having to pre-order. Because of this handicap, Kickstarter has creators look for ways to launch projects as frequently as possible. Having launched five campaigns in the last year — and planning on launching another five this year — I’ve picked up some tricks along the way.

One obvious solution is just to shorten the length of your campaign time. A lot of people think a longer campaign means more funding, but this isn’t necessarily true. Kickstarter campaigns enter an infamous dead zone in the middle. During these times, projects sometimes go a whole day adding just a single backer or even no backers. The majority of pledges come in the first two days or the last two days, so eliminating the fat to a Kickstarter campaign by running it for fewer days is an easy way for a creator to launch a campaign, fulfill it, and then move on to the next one.

This brings me to my next tip: limiting fulfillment time. Most backers are unaware that a creator doesn’t receive their Kickstarter funds until sometimes two weeks after a campaign ends. Creators often wait to get this funding before ordering the items they need, but this just takes up more time in the fulfillment process. If you know you need the books it helps to order them right away so that you’re not waiting on the printer for vast amounts of time. You don’t necessarily need the money either. You can charge the printing bill to a credit card and then just pay it off with the funds you know are on their way.

The last bit of advice I’m going to give is to just simplify things. A lot of creators like to make a big show out of their campaigns with crazy rewards, but that complexity takes up more time. There is a benefit to doing fun and unique rewards, but if you’re looking for a quick and seamless campaign so you can move on to the next one quickly, then it would probably make sense not to do anything too out of the box. A comic creator should be interested in creating comics. Yes, it’s fun to do action figures, pins, and t-shirts. But first and foremost, your readers want to read your stories. And if having a simple campaign allows you to launch more of them, that’s really what those readers are looking for.

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