What are the best Kickstarter campaign wrap-ups you've seen?
Hi Field Company,Why don't you celebrate with drinks at your local and post pictures as an update?If you are not going to use KS to communicate with your backers, then I would mention it and give links to where you will post news about the project. Instagram, twitter, website etc. Also mention where they can reach you with an email.Make sure you mention this as well in the comments so that it is easily visible to anyone. For backers who have not given their mailing details, we mentioned this in our latest update. Explain that you have contacted them via KS and email and make them understand that the ball is on their side now.It's important to always reply in the comment section and I would make sure the latest comment is coming from you. This show you are responsive.If you are planning on launching another campaign, let them know that they will be the first to hear about it and benifitiate from early bird rewards.You could also do a live streaming to talk about the next steps with Field Company. But I'm not sure how popular the Streaming is...Another nice thing could be to write the closing update explaining the journey you went through manufacturing it and fulfilling the perks. The pitfalls, the highs and lows. Always good food for thoughts.Nice project!Oscar
International shipping -- is it as outrageous as it looks?
Greetings Jill, Melody, John, and everyone else dealing with this issue.International shipping can certainly be a beast and I feel you on that. There are a few ways to dance around it.#1) If you are pre-production, plan a size and shape and weight that ships cheaper. Once you get past certain dimensions the shipping rates jump tremendously. If it's a board game, ensure it fits in a medium flat rate box (there are 2 shapes), or small flat rate if that size. And don't underestimate the value of a flat rate bubble mailer. They fit way more than a small flat rate does and ships the same price. - First class, not flat-rate, is often your best bet.#2) (Best option) You can freight ship a fair stack of your product (book, or game, or else) directly into a foreign region, then ship from there.ie: Freight 3 cases of books directly from your printer (or self) to Germany. This will cost you a couple hundred dollars ($100-500 depending on size and total weight), but once you divide price by the # of books in the cases it's only a couple bucks each, then you pay only the local in-region shipping per book, and charge the total to the backer. - Imagine a foreign seller shipping a pallet here, then paying USPS rates... ah, that would only total about $9 per person that way. - This only works in bulk. It won't work very well in small quantities, but UPS's shipping calculator will help you price it out. Try it.#3) Understand this: Nothing is "free". Subsidize the shipping price in your pledge amount.Got free shipping on Amazon or KS? Somebody paid for that. It's subsidized into the price. It might feel free to the buyer, but somebody paid a cut to the shipper-man. If you're paying $50 for something sizable on KS with "free shipping", they subsidized at least $X of shipping into that $50. Can you do the same? Increase the price of the book $5 and then charge only $15 shipping?#4) Eat it. Charge less than the full amount and eat that percentage (ONLY if still profitable to do so). Does +$5 make your pledge value seem wrong somehow? Then #4 might be for you. But know this: You budget this into the net project before you start, and then it's just part of the net goal. This is basically #3, but a harsher-way of looking at it, when increasing Tier Price is to be avoided.(For #2 & #3 - the more you make and will sell will greatly affect your ability to do this. The more you make, the lower you cost per unit is, so you can pass that savings on, and the more you make the more likely it will become for you to shippThese are the main ways. Shipping is real, and it's never free. You can A) Make it cheaper with great planning early, B) Freight ship directly into the region and ship from within it (a great service to provide for your EU customers who worry about VAT), and/or C) Hide the price of shipping by putting in the pledge amount, and calling shipping free, or D) Eat it (ideally budgeting this plan in in advance.Finally, yes, if you're doing shipping yourself to reduce costs to backers, use Stamps.comI have a ton of advice on Freight Shipping (aka Logistics) and Fulfillment (aka shipping stuff) on my blog, and as much on budgeting, and even a how-to for Stamps.com. Take a look for detailed step-by-step advice for each.As always, heart this post if it was helpful to you.Best on your projects!John Wrot!-Community Adviser
How can I use Shopify in tandem with Kickstarter?
The way this is written it looks as if it's been posted by KickStarter staff as an official announcement. "Kickstarter and Shopify have teamed up to help creators/entrepreneurs make this transition more seamlessly." I'm sure it's not deliberate, but I was well into the article before I realised the above post was not written by a KS staff member.
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 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!
What's the most effective thing you did to get press?
In 2013 we ran a Kickstarter campaign for Allston Xmas, a comedic web-series about Boston's notorious citywide moving day. We got a lot of great coverage in the press for our campaign, and then even more for our official series release a year later. My producer and I were asked so many times about how we got press that we wrote up our press strategy and shared it with the world:How to Get Attention for Your Webseries on IndieWireThe article is focused on promoting a web-series, but a lot of the fundamentals are going to be the same for getting attention for any other project--find your audience, and make it easy for them to cover your story!
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.
How did you estimate the amount it was going to cost to do your project? How close were you?
We analysed it to *death* we accounted for every penny - we weighed each reward and looked up the US and international postage rates - we included the cost of a new laptop and estimated the amount of electricity we'd use. We priced shipping boxes, the plastic bags the product went into, the stickers that sealed the bags down. But it's still very hard because some costs are 'fixed' (that laptop) no matter whether you just make goal or whether you sell $10,000,000 worth - and others scale with the number of rewards you ship. Some other things like leasing a workshop or employing someone to make rewards when it's too much for you to do it cause sudden 'jumps' in the income-versus-profit curve. So we did the math for every $10,000 increment from our minimum goal up to 50 times what we thought we could *possibly* make and made sure that we'd be happy and safe from financial ruin at every single increment.You simply cannot over-analyze this stuff.As others have said, postage is a major pain. Most projects offer free local shipping - which is fairly easy to estimate - but overseas is a nightmare. Some places have it where the size of the box matters, others where it's the weight. If (for example) you live in the USA and you estimate that 20% of your stuff will go to Europe and 20% to Australia and you find that you get a cult following in Japan - then you might get utterly screwed on postage....but if all your overseas sales are to Canada then you'll be overpricing your international shipping for those guys. So make BIG allowances for that.Don't forget that you'll be paying taxes on your sales - either personal income tax or business tax or both.Depending on the nature and complexity of your rewards, expect perhaps around 5% of your shipments to go wrong in some way - you may have to re-ship items that the backer claims went missing (maybe they did, maybe they didn't - you'll never know). Stuff may be faulty, you'll probably end up posting the wrong thing to some of your backers.Just analyze the heck out of it all.