How much of an uptick in pledges can I expect at the end of the campaign?
Hey Jennifer! Carol from Kickstarter HQ here. Congrats on all of the support your project has received so far!I don't have any precise data about last minute pledges, but if anyone hit the Remind Me button on your project page, they'll get a reminder about it at the 48 hours remaining mark. This could result in an uptick in pledges during your last few days. And here are the stories of a few campaigns that saw major pick-up towards the end.
How do you advise backers to combine rewards and manage pledges?
Simply: "With Difficulty", or "Use IndieGoGo/CrowdSupply".This is something Kickstarter does *very* badly, along with assisting people to fulfil rewards.I've had people back twice using two accounts just so they could get multiple rewards, despite the description saying to just add the value of the other items. Even after explaining to people via messages how to do it, and giving them a link to the pledge page and saying "just enter $x into the top box" - they still don't get it.I'm lucky enough to have 10 years professional software development behind me, so I can write tools to help me wrangle Kickstarter's data so I can begin to try to figure out what backers want with their extra pledges. There is no way to know what the extra money is for, so make sure you use odd numbers for the extra items or you'll have to message each backer and hope they respond in a reasonable amount of time. For example, have $5/6/7 items rather than 3x $5 items.If you're set on using Kickstarter, you might want to give BackerKit or similar a hefty percentage of your campaign funds to manage this process.This, the inability to choose a currency, and the complete lack of tools to handle backers/shipping after the campaign are my big pain points with Kickstarter. I've been complaining here on Campus for almost a year about these, and I know others have been complaining directly for much longer. My next campaign is likely to be on IndieGoGo or CrowdSupply because of these issues. Don't get me wrong, Kickstarter is a great platform for getting backers.. its just awful to have to put in dozens and dozens of extra hours after the campaign trying to deal with everything that the platform really should handle.
Which projects stood out in 2015? Why?
I loved the Will Davies Kickstarter, fantastically produced books that celebrate a Canadian artist who is not well known outside of his circle. I loved seeing the care and art put into the book to help bring attention to an artist with a strong legacy (who was involved in the production as well)
What do you do about unclaimed rewards?
Honestly? I hang onto them. The backer paid for it, and they should get what they paid for. And I've been vindicated, too; to date, the longest period between surveys going out and a backer actually claiming their reward I've ever had is two and a half years.
What do people generally do about certifying their products (eg. FCC, CE, etc.)?
I think a lot of people either don't know they are required to, or don't bother to. Personally, as an electronics engineer, I think every product should be fully and properly certified. Many products coming from hobbyist origins probably would not pass due to lack of filter/poor circuit design :(Products that are not RF based (or using pre-certified modules) only need to be certified as an unintentional radiator - this can be pretty cheap if your design is good - under $1k with many labs, under $2k with almost all.If you are creating an RF based product and not using a pre-certified module (consider using one if your volume is under 20k over 2 years, it almost always works out cheaper) then you need to be certified as an intentional radiator, that WILL cost you over $10k, if your design is bad and you haven't done in house pre-electromagnetic compliance testing and need to make changes, it can easily cost into the $20-30k range. Labs give you a certain amount of time to make changes and resubmit without extra cost... but if you can't just hack the board and need to actually make changes to the PCB, get new boards made, and arrive... you might run out of time and have start from scratch (paying the fee again).I recommend EMC Fast Pass to all my clients coming from hobbyist backgrounds: www.emcfastpass.com it covers much of what you need to do to certify, and what you can do on your pcb to help it pass.If you're looking for a lab to certify an RF product with, my recommendation for those new to the game is to find a product similar to yours then look up the FCC ID. The FCC ID will tell you the lab who certified it - reach out to them and say "hey you certified [this product] thats very similar to ours, how much will it cost me to have my similar product globally certified?"... contact 3 or 4 labs like this and you should have some reasonably accurate quotes - assuming the lab isn't just a flat fee.As a note on this however, FCC are changing their rules this year (in a few weeks?) and require all labs to be inspected, not just "self certified". Meaning things are about to get a whole lot more expensive - no more using the cheap labs that havent spent the money on inspections. A lot of labs are going to close soon i think, or only do pre-compliance testing to help you pass.If you're not sure if your design will pass, and you don't have the equipment to test it, and you don't have the budget to go to a lab for pre-compliance testing... then head to a freelancing website like upwork.com and post a job for an EMC review. Get someone to check over your board design and give you suggestions, and send them a sample board so they can test it on their equipment (make sure they have the right equipment! 2.4GHz based systems need a 12.4GHz analyser to get all the required harmonics).And finally... if you are using a pre-certified module (such as an XBee or wifi module), make sure you're using the right antenna with it. The pre-certified module is ONLY certified with specific antennas. If your device has a PCB or chip antenna already on board - you don't need to worry. If you however need to use a u.fl or sma connected antenna... you MUST use one of the antennas specified under their certification or you will have to certify as an intentional radiator - their certificate is void if you dont use that specific antenna. This means you can't grab a cheap (likely very crappy) antenna from China that claims to operate in the band you are using (based on my testing of dozens of antennas... chances are its not going to be very well matched LOL.)
What questions do you have for Music creator and social media queen Jenn de la Vega?
Stephanie from Kickstarter here. We recapped our incredible hang with Jenn along with some other creators on our blog here.Here is just one of the many gems Jenn shared:What if you don't have existing social networks?Jenn de la Vega, Hit PLAY on The Shortsleeves Cassette: If you present yourself online fully and engage with people in a genuine way (never spam them!), they’ll start to see what you’re doing and follow along. It takes a lot of work. Making community starts small. Starting small and really getting to know the people who become your friends and supporters is really important.
What are some good manufacturers that tabletop game creators have worked with?
LudoFact in Germany. Was more expensive than using a manufacturer in China but they triple checked my files for me to make sure everything would turn out ok. I am a print designer myself but I had no idea to check for ink coverage on the cards since they may stick when packaged. They found that error and I fixed the files. Actually found out you could exceed the ink-coverage if working in CMYK in photoshop and tweaking colors, actually better to stay RGB and switch at the last moment to CMYK as usually it'll turn out fine. Not a perfect method for color-balancing as you may still have to tweak, but you then keep your eye on the ink-coverage. Eek.. what a pain it was to find that out but well worth fixing and made the extra money I spent for them to work with me. It would have been a nightmare to have poorly printed games.... and believe me, I have a few games in my personal collection with sticky-cards and bad printing from China.
I’m looking for the perfect super short KS explanation.You know what they say, You don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. And Grama wants to pledge but she isn’t going to read the KS manual. So I’m including this short 140 word description in my story but if the wordsmiths out there can do shorter/better:Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform. This means it's a place where creative people seek funding from the online crowd for their ideas and products to avoid seeking venture capital, investors or loans. Creatives present their concepts online and offer rewards – like my (insert creation here) – for pledges of support. If the crowd is receptive they can each invest a little or a lot. Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing funding model so if the creative gets 99% or less of their goal in pledges, the project fails and the supporters are not charged, no (insert creation here). But if the creator gets 100% or more support for their project, the supporters' pledges are charged to their credit cards at the end of the fund drive – usually around 30 days – and the creative completes their project and sends out rewards to their supporters.Feel free to use this but I dare ya to do better... I know you can, because I’m a photographer and not a writer.
S. Dirk Schafer
How do you use the success of your first project when launching a second one?
Yes. I sent a note to the backers of my first campaign. Some of the authors I had involved with that project overlapped with the new one, so it didn't feel like I was spamming them. No one complained and a number thanked me for the tip. I think the way to keep momentum moving is to have clear communication with your supporters, provide a quality product, and to avoid going back to the well too frequently. I know that it bothers me when someone runs campaigns for the same thing over and over. Have a plan to build alternate sources of income to continue forward and I'm more likely to support your further efforts.I did reach out to genre news sites to get the word out about my science fiction in translation project. It was picked up by BoingBoing, io9, sfsignal and a few others.