10 Reasons why your kickstarter will fail
Let’s start off by saying I am a pretty positive and motivated person and I do what I say, this is coming from a place to help YOU: I would love to see every project fund, and have even more games out there – the sad truth is though that some projects just aren’t ready, and even if it is the competition is fierce and you could be buried under a load of amazing campaigns. Kickstarter can be seen as a get rich quick scheme, and it really isn’t. I’m no pro, and I don’t have all the answers, but maybe this just might help you not make some basic errors!
I can’t guarantee any project will fund, nor will I say that not following these guidelines dooms you to failure – there are exceptions to the rules but take that exactly as they are – the exception, not the rule. Here are ten reasons why your kickstarter will fail, in no particular order.
Being a first time creator is a hard enough journey as it is, but not using the platform yourself just looks bad to backers – and it does tell them in a nice big box on your project page. Back a few projects and get a feel for campaigns – learn what works for them and try to emulate that. Kickstarter is a community – be a part of it.
Again, backers aren’t stupid – they can even do maths! It works both ways: set the goal too low and they think you won’t deliver. Too high and they’ll calculate how many pledgers are needed to hit it, and you’ll be quizzed about it. Set it somewhere that you can manufacture the game, and maybe a bit to cover any situations that arise. Do not try to recoup your outlays for art, and making a profit, whilst nice, isn’t the aim so don’t build yourself a wage into it. If you’re putting your own money in then that’s good – it shows faith in your own product, but mention that somewhere on the page to justify a lower goal.
You have less than 30 seconds to convince a backer why they should back, or keep reading at least – put your best foot forward. A quick summary of how the game plays, some images of what’s included should be at the top, and try to break large chunks of text up with images. Getting all the info on there is great, but make it manageable. Mix up your media and make it appealing.
WHY???? A lot of people won’t watch it, those that do may not finish it, but having no video is a turnoff for most backers. You’re trying to show them you’re serious, do the basics at least. It doesn’t need to win any awards and doesn’t have to cost the earth – use it as an elevator pitch for your game and show off your artwork and components.
With so many different channels for social media out there this should absolutely not be happening. On the way up to a campaign you should be on the trail drumming up excitement – have a facebook page, twitter, instagram, youtube – as many platforms as you can handle. Any playtesting or demoing you do, especially at conventions, gives you the opportunity to get interested people straight onto your mailing list – set one of these up on mailchimp, which is free up to a certain number of subscribers. This should be the people that want to be there when you push that button.
People need to know the game is out there, that it is playable, and what people’s thoughts are. Many reviewers are happy to look at your game for free, and even pass it onto another reviewer so there is really no excuse. Just make sure you start this process long before you launch so they have enough time to create the content. Embed them rather than use links – don’t be sending people away from your page.
Backers are going to compare your game contents with games of similar size and weight. There are expectations of how much something like a deck of cards will cost so don’t get greedy. If you can justify it then great, but expect to be challenged. If you can’t make the game for the correct amount then you have to rethink your strategy. Any addons should add value to your pledge. Don’t make too many different levels though or you’ll just confuse people.
This one is frustrating as I know that shipping parcels costs money, and the bigger/heavier they are the more expensive they get, but asking close to the same amount as the pledge itself to ship it out will not go down well. Sorry, that’s just how it is. Try and keep the game streamlined, and do your homework on shipping to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
It’s your project and it’s the game you want to make, but the more out there you make a theme or art, the more niche your audience will be. This can also work in your favour, but know how to use it well.
I’ll put this one last because you may have thought none of these affect you. If you have used any advice groups, whether on facebook or when demoing and the same concerns are raised then PLEASE listen to them – there is a reason they are telling you this! Get to the root cause and fix it.
There is no silver bullet, no magic way to guarantee success, but following these steps will help you on your way. Get people to look over your page before launching, spellcheck EVERYTHING, and remember to keep everybody engaged. You do not need to launch until everything is in place so don’t feel pressured into jumping too soon, and take it from me – there is no shame in failing – a third of projects do. Stay positive, learn what you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.