Revising today's Overdue Kickstarter List got me thinking - it seems some folks think that Kickstarter is there to raise money for them and their "customers" don't need to be satisfied in a timely manner, because they've "already paid" and there are no refunds with Kickstarter. This works if you never plan to publish anything ever again, because with social media, we will be sure to tell your future customers how we've been treated. We will tell them until your ears bleed. And then we will tell them again.
Do yourself a favor, and try to follow the suggestions below:
1 - If you are funding an RPG game or supplement, make sure it is 99% written before you ask for a single cent. Outlines, scribbles, wish lists and Magic 8 Balls do not count. Your biggest issue in hitting your "estimated release / ship date" will be actually writing the project. If it's done up front, your main hurdle is behind you. For board games, have a working prototype. For computer games, have a fucking title for your game, not just a placeholder.
2 - Communicate - If you can't communicate with your backers at least every other week, and preferably every week, don't bother with crowd sourced funding. Communication takes the sting out of things like lateness and makes your backers feel like you really care about them, even if you really don't. In all seriousness, if you keep your backers in the loop, they will be less likely to complain about your lateness. If you are afraid your backers might bite, there's less chance of that happening if you communicate frequently.
2a - Fuck Forums - I don't like forums. Actually, I hate most of them. Don't force me to sign up for yet another forum just so I can find updates for a project I backed. Update me via Kickstarter once a week. It's easy enough. I'm sure you used it while pushing you're projects funding. Use it when your project is late too. Because, like I said, I hate forums.
3 - Make realistic completion / shipping estimates - Estimate the time you think you would need under ideal circumstances, then double it for unseen illnesses, flakey artists, European Vacations, natural disasters, writer's block and Murphy's Law. After doubling, add at least two months to the new estimate. You'll probably still be late, but by following suggestion #2 your backers might not be too upset.
4 - Shipping costs - include this in the actual funding levels. Adding it after the project completes is total bullshit. Most projects do this. Others try to keep their "funding levels" artificially low, and then hit you on the back end. Like I said above, bullshit.
I'm sure there are others...