Kickstarter 1 - So you're planning a kickstarter

This is the first of a series of short blog articles about my kickstarter planning process. I hope you might find them useful or thought provoking

Well, I’m planning a Kickstarter (for January) and I’ve been doing lots of planning and research, so I thought I’d put down here some of the things I’ve found out – and links to much bigger, better references which I’ve been using. Credit for good ideas all belong to those people; I’m just explaining my journey and what I’ve learnt so far.

Unfortunately the number one bit of advice isn’t much use unless you are in the really early days – “Start building your online community five years ago”. Or unless you have a time machine, but I digress since I live in the actual world.

The single most useful thing I came across was the instruction to “do the maths”, and I’ll talk more about that in the next blog post.

The first step though, is probably to really think things through.

  • What do you want to do?
  • How much do you need to raise?
  • Have you costed out all of the elements, getting quotes from third parties so you know what is needed?
  • have you remembered the Kickstarter cut and payment processor cut?
  • how much will it cost to produce your game?
  • what about different formats?
  • are you certain you know what formats you need?
  • how much is shipping to different countries. Does that impact where you can sell to?
  • after taking off overheads and printing and shipping, what proportion of each pledge actually counts towards your goal?

The following are some of the most interesting issues I had;

Are you certain about your formats?

This one bit me quite late in the day. Living outside the US as I do, A4 is the natural format I gravitate towards. It has been a UK and European standard for most of my life and has a mathematical elegance to it. So naturally I was laying out Starguild in A4, because that was fine for pdf and drivethrurpg softcovers so I’m all good, right?

Until I was getting ready to order a hardback print and noticed to my dismay that although they support softcover A4, they don’t support it in hardcover! The nearest size that they will print hardcover is US Letter (8.5″ x 11″). Oops.

So it was back to the drawing board for me. Changing the master pages to US letter format was straightforward, but then checking the flow across pages, looking for widows and orphans and rearranging some picture locations was… Not quick. It was about a weeks worth of evenings which I’d not expected to spend on re-editing at this point in the game!

The moral is simple – double check all the formats you are going to offer, and if you are using Print on Demand like DriveThruRPG, double check them again afterwards!

Useful references in the DTPRG site include

Cover photo by Lucas Clara on Unsplash