The Kickstarter Blog

Creator Q&A: Crossword Puzzles!

Eric Berlin’s Crossword Puzzles! was an early Kickstarter success. And how could it not be? Berlin makes crosswords and puzzles for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other esteemed establishments, and for a paltry $100 he offered to make people a completely custom crossword puzzle. As Berlin notes in our Q&A below, that’s quite the bargain. And we almost forgot about all-time Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings blogging about the project.

Crossword Puzzles! ended on June 30, and on August 31 Berlin will be presenting the nine promised puzzles for the very first time. There’s even a grand prize!

Nine crosswords, including a couple of nifty variety puzzles, all based on board games you know and love. Solve them all, figure out the final answer, and maybe you’ll win yourself a juicy little prize.

We’re thrilled that Berlin was able to put Kickstarter to good use and was able to create a non-traditional vehicle for his work in the process. Read on for some thoughts from Eric Berlin.

Tell us about your project.

It is a suite of nine interelated crossword puzzles. There is almost no market for such a thing — I can sell individual puzzles to newspapers, and I can make a whole book of crosswords and try to sell it to a publisher, but there is no way to sell a set of nine crosswords to any media outlet. Kickstarter let me market the product directly to crossword-loving consumers.

How did you decide on your rewards?

Impulsively. I have a couple of puzzle-filled mysteries for kids, so it seemed a natural to offer those as rewards. And what else could I offer big spenders but a custom made crossword? So that’s the direction I went.

How many of your backers do you know personally?

I’d guess about 20%, maybe a little more.

Have you learned/discovered anything from the experience?

I confirmed something that I suspected, which is that there is a good-sized audience out there seeking high-quality crosswords. I’m already trying to think of a new product to sell to this audience.

What was unanticipated about the experience?

I set the price of my topmost tier too low — I should have made it $150 instead of $100. I honestly didn’t think anybody would donate that much money, and six people did. I had to close out that tier.

What, if anything, would you change about your project?

Besides charging more for the top tier, nothing.

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