When is the best time of day / week / year to launch a Kickstarter project?
This is a great question and that's some great data. I'll say that some of it could be potentially skewed. Why?Well if everyone starts to believe that Wednesday is the best day for pledges, then people start campaigns on wednesday, or ending them, and there ends up inflation on that day. What matters is what day is the best for pledges MID-CAMPAIGN and START of Campaign, and END of campaign. So I'd take those daily numbers with a grain of salt.Weekdays are KNOWN for being better than weekend, anyone can tell you that, so Wednesday being at the center gets a lot of "Tuesday Launches" and "Thursday Ends". The differenece from 1 day to the next on those charts are also minimal during the week, so while they're fascinating to study, there's simply not enough information to draw conclusions.FOR YOU...#1) Launch ONLY after your project is fully built and been reviewed and revised at least 2-3 times (by strangers).#2) If your product is seasonal, launch in the same season. It's shown to be better than delivering in the right season.#3) Don't end on a Sunday. It won't kill you, but it won't help. Don't launch on one either.#4) Project length should should stick close to 30 +/- days. It really does help.Best to you!John
How long did you spend building your project page before you launched?
More time doesn't always mean "better". And I think all the previous comments display that perfectly. Two important things to consider are:1.) It's never too soon to hit that "Start a Project" button on Kickstarter and start rummaging around! 2.) While it's great to have a rich and detailed page covering all your bases, sometimes the 'less is more' approach is more than enough. As long as your passion is properly represented and your goals are clear, I think a lot of people will respond and lend their support.Personally, I spent about 3 months crafting my Kickstarter campaign page tweaking the message, the images, the video, and the reward tiers. Honestly, I wish I messed around even longer than that, but we were on a time crunch and set a launch date before we knew what we were doing. Again, I recommend just getting started and going from there. For me, I think the longest part of the process was shooting the featured video. Writing and actually shooting the video without any external company helping out took quite a bit of time. It was a fun process for sure, just time consuming. Knowing when to be ready to launch is a whole other story. And there's two sides of the coin. On one side you do need to be moderately prepared. Becoming a Member of the Kickstarter Community AND Building Your Email Lists are a good start! On the other hand, waiting for "perfection" can be the worst thing you can do to yourself and stop you from launching. I feel like launching your page is a lot like searching for a new apartment or house. It just feels right at one point and you need to follow your gut. Not sure if that makes sense, but I remember just hitting launch because I personally felt prepared and proud event though there was a lot more I could have done. Spend some time setting your goals and expectations, create a realistic project timeline, budget some stuff out, and be realistic with your time and energy needs.Hope this helps!
I have no community. And it feels fake to actively build one. Thoughts?
Hey Blaine. Here's my two-cents. Continue to own who you are and keep making what you want to make. You're already a creator and if your ideas and art come from a place of passion, follow that passion. Maybe that path leads you to Kickstarter, maybe not.When I scour all the campaigns on Kickstarter, I'm not solely looking for an item or a thing that will make my life better. I'm looking for individuals who have a passion and are doing something about it. It's their story that I'm interested in, not just the thing they are creating. I enjoy following creative minds as they navigate through all the highs and lows involved in running a campaign. Living a bit vicariously through them along the way. And I appreciate a balance between introverts and extroverts examining how they navigate this space. Knowing that my support, and sometimes my feedback, helps them on their creative journey is a priceless feeling and motivation. So what do you do? Well, if you have an idea (which you do) and want to see it become a reality, do something about it. Again, this may or may not involve launching a Kickstarter campaign, but it sure is a great option. And if I'm allowed one really corny moment in this response it's this: Sometimes the journey informs the destination. Position yourself to be surprised and don't hesitate to challenge your assumptions. If that advice seems bad, or makes anyone uncomfortable, re-read it pretending Master Splinter is lending his wisdom to the Ninja Turtles.So let's assume, for the fun of it, that you decide the ideas you have would benefit from being on Kickstarter. Cool! Now we're cookin'! Start small. You mentioned you have a few friends that you value, you may have a few family members who would like to help, and you have 2-3 teachers that you respect. Start there and compile them into a list. Sounds gross I know, but trust me, it's a very necessary step that a lot of people overlook. And I think it would be a big mistake to think of these individuals as mearly 'friends and family charity'. Instead, consider them a solid foundation that you can now build upon. It's more than okay to have these important people as the base of your project. And chances are, they will want to be there. Let people define how and why they support you. I know nothing about being a pianist, but I'm still intrigued and inspired to join your community to gain perspective on something I'm not familiar with.At the end of the day, it sounds like you may have more support than you think. And it's obvious by your articulate and heartfelt post (and reply!) that you have the skills necessary to deliver a great message. Besides your aforementioned friends & family, you have about 53 people within this thread alone that would love to see you run a campaign. I know I'm curious. You're an active member of the Kickstarter community already and that's a great start. Further along than most!I could go deep in the weeds here, but I think the first decision you need to make is if your art and ideas can translate on a platform such as Kickstarter. It's a great way to build community in a genuine way as long as you define what your North Star is and stick to the path you create for yourself. And I think I speak for most reading, if you ever do decide to run a Kickstarter campaign (apologies if you already have and I missed it!), let me know.
Do you send a 'thank you' message to each backer as soon as they pledge?
I wish I could! I've tried to use Project Updates to do this on my own projects.When I back others' projects, it's a mixed bag. With some I'll get what is clearly an automated thank you encouraging me to tweet/share their project. I get the utility of those, but as a backer it leaves me feeling emotionally unfulfilled.Because of my role with Kickstarter I do get a fair number of "oh snap it's YOU!" messages after I back a project. Those I do love and always reply back with a "because yr awesome" response.The perfect middle ground could be some kind of global thank you video that we as creators could make, and the site could host in some kind of way. Good one to consider.
What do you wish you had known before you ran your first project?
Kickstarter cannot deliver that *initial* audience.Once you have enough backers, and a REASON to promote your project (making your goal, then stretch goals and freebies), you hit a certain point where your backers will promote the project and you can, in principle, sit back and watch the money roll in. But you somehow have to hit that first critical mass. We thought we'd be visible on the front page for a day or so - but we were only there for a matter of a half hour or so...and then you had to already know that we existed or you'd never find our project. We didn't expect that...we thought we'd get hundreds of page-views per hour...what we actually got was crickets!Our first Kickstarter failed horribly because we didn't understand that. But after we retreated, re-tooled and did some up-front promotional work - the second one took off nicely. The backers from that first successful one then formed the core of people who started the third and now fourth (and soon FIFTH...you heard it here first!!) projects - so we don't need to be so concerned.But the first time out, it's tough. Nobody knows who you are, whether you'll deliver (lots of projects don't!) - whether you can deliver on time - whether the quality of the rewards will be up to your claims. Nobody is searching for your keywords - and initial failure gets you pushed down the search further and further. Unless you get a "Staff Pick" (we never did) or somehow find out how "Sort by Magic" works and exploit it - you're not going to get an audience.So the first Kickstarter is without doubt the toughest...and the only defense is to pre-promote it somehow.
Any tips on what to do 48 hours after launch?
Bjorn please don't buy services from people who solicit you through the KS message system. In fact, I'd go further and report them as spam using the facility provided. This will help KS to weed out the accounts of people who do this.(Edit March 2017) I see the question has been edited to remove references to marketing solicitations. Well they were there when I originally answered the question. Also - I've got a campaign ongoing at the moment and am receiving a lot of solicitations. I'm in the "flatlining" middle period which is pure agony, but I'm holding onto my own advice and reporting every single one. But I really really understand why some people might actually be desperate enough to be tempted by these offers. Don't buy from spammers! It really is that simple. :)
Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
What service(s) do you recommend for printing a self-published book?
Print on demand has higher unit costs, lower financial risk, and doesn't require a lot of money up-front. If you end up needing more than 500 copies for rewards, consider getting quotes from some offset printers. I've used Worzalla http://www.worzalla.com/, but there are tons of options out there. The downside to offset is that there typically isn't an option to handle distribution, like there is with POD. You need a distributor to get books into Amazon, B&N, etc. If you get a distributor, be prepared for the big ugly secret of publishing... returns. You can sell 1000 copies and get a nice check and then a few months later 600 are returned and you could end up owing money back to your distributor PLUS returns fees. (Getting a distributor is hard. Particularly if you only have a single title scheduled.)Ingram and Createspace are the two big players in POD. It pays to look at the prices and terms and figure out which (or what combination) works best for you. Keep in mind that books through a POD printer/distributor are harder to get into brick and mortar bookstores. Most will only take them as special orders, particularly if you have them set as non-returnable. It does get you into the big online stores. Here, Amazon is critical. You'll make most of your sales here. Sadly, your per-unit profit is lowest with POD, but at least it's all profit and almost no risk.You should be releasing a print book with a digital edition. If you don't know how to make an ebook, find someone who does (same goes for the print book or cover). It's important to put your best foot forward with a book, so work with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to look amateur and you may not be the best judge of that.Once again, Amazon is the big player for ebooks, but other places may be big too (talk to people in your genre). There is no excuse not to put it everywhere. By the way, if you manage to get an offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset any smaller returns costs.And of course, none of this works without marketing... and that's an even bigger topic for discussion.
How did you estimate the amount it was going to cost to do your project? How close were you?
How to estimate? Build a detailed honest budget. How close were we? Within 1%.I built our budget for our first Kickstarter in 2013. 2.5 years later when the project came to completion we were within 1%. .7% over budgeted to be exact. That's about $900 in extra profit! Woohoo! : )Update - June 2016: I just updated the budget spreadsheet below to better explain, and with updated formulas.Go here (and click for "Kickstarter Advice Panels" - Go to Article #7) for information on how to budget for a Kickstarter. It contains a Kickstarter budget spreadsheet that you can download and use for your own project. (Free!)It's geared toward Board Games, but should work fairly well for just about anything. All you need to do is change the titles.Let me know if you have any questions. I'm always open and available to answer any specific questions I can. You can contact me here if you like or in the comments below. Have a great project! Heart if this was helpful.John Wrot!Gate Keeper GamesKickstarter Campus Community Adviser
PR: What moved the needle, what didn't, what did it cost?
This is an aspect of crowd funding I didn't consider and found to be a bit unnerving. The amount of spam in my inbox here and through my website was overwhelming. I have not felt the need to risk the cost against what i see as unrealistic promises and predatory business practices. When a company makes claims to get you funded that include things like product placement, top billing on popular blogs or getting you on national news, for a free or tiered fees, I say, walk away. The commercial industry is definitely shifting and while this forum is a fantastic way to network and grow, it is important to remember those things happen whether or not you roll the dice on a PR/Marketing firm, use cheap apps to spam your own contacts, or actually reach your goal. there. my two cents. it's been an interesting learning experience so far ;)