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Friday, August 19, 2016

Kickstarter - The Ice Kingdoms (A Lesson for Others - Edit Your Pitch)


I really wanted to write a positive post about The Ice Kingdoms Kickstarter. I like the concept. I like the cultures it plans to draw upon. I like the art I see.

Then I read the opening sentence:


If you can't discern the proper usage of "a" and "an" in the opening sentence of your pitch I have real issues with the ability to properly edit a product. What's with the "Role Playing Game. Fantasy." anyhow? Keyword search?

Proper names should be capitalized:


Throwing in names of artists that apparently haven't been approached yet is simply wrong:


Then there is this paragraph:


Okay. This makes my head itch. Those first two sentences above make no sense together. Are they recreating rules? Recreating a "feel" that never left? No "comma" before "and." It's "Swords & Wizardry" and "Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game." Also, be consistent. Is it "The Ice Kingdoms", "the Ice Kingdoms" or "Ice Kingdoms?"

It's small things, but awkward use of the English language in the pitch does not leave me with confidence in the project itself. When putting your hand out for money, proper presentation beats all.

12 days left to fund. $3,381 of $5,500 to go. It MAY fund. It's not going to hit stretch goals. It SHOULD find someone to edit it's Kickstarter page in the next few days if it wants to find success and it will NEED an editor on their project itself or this will be, at best, one and done.

34 comments:

  1. I've been seeing a lot of projects like this on lately where the originators have a lot of enthusiasm for their work but seem to suffer not just from poor attention to detail but a pervasively crippling insularity. I can understand being painfully shy and having difficulty socializing (and perhaps being a little to self-absorbed) but on the professional level there's a point where you simply have to poke your head out and take a good long look at all the other work in the industry and understand the standards (qualitative and procedural) that you're going have to meet in order to compete.

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  2. First of all you need understand these are first draft and not everyone has money laying around to pay multiple editors to combine thru every exact words.
    Second you need to look at all the reviews you have ever done. There are multiple grammar and spelling mistakes you make.... but that right you get paid money to do this... so take your own advice.

    You are by all term a damn hypocrite. If you had said something like there are hundreds of games like this out on the market maybe I would actually pay attention to your reviews. Just because of this Im going to help fund this.

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    Replies
    1. If someone wants my money then demonstrating a minimum level of competence with English is not too much to ask for.

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    2. Tenkar has the advantage of starting his Patreon after blogging for some time. People already had already read his product and could decide if they liked it. Besides, I haven't noticed nearly the number of grammatical errors and awkward sentences that are in this Kickstarter pitch.

      On the other hand, the creators of this Kickstarter are trying to convince people that they're capable of making a product people want. Thus, they really have to put their best foot forward to have a shot. A pitch that sounds like it was written by a Nigerian scam artist is not the way to do this. For an endeavor like this, you don't put your first draft on the internet if you want to succeed.

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    3. Also, there is certainly a different bar when we consider the qualitative standard required to be a good blog post and a good campaign source book, rule book, etc. I read Tenkar for free, while I purchase a book. Additionally, I have no interest in buying a conversation about a game you played one time which you think might make a cool book. I have much interest in buying a book which is based on your home game, which you have been playtesting for the last 6 months, which is 73% through lay out and has a few pieces of original art which you can show off, with commitments for a dozen more.

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    4. Also, there is certainly a different bar when we consider the qualitative standard required to be a good blog post and a good campaign source book, rule book, etc. I read Tenkar for free, while I purchase a book. Additionally, I have no interest in buying a conversation about a game you played one time which you think might make a cool book. I have much interest in buying a book which is based on your home game, which you have been playtesting for the last 6 months, which is 73% through lay out and has a few pieces of original art which you can show off, with commitments for a dozen more.

      Delete
  3. First of all you need understand these are first draft and not everyone has money laying around to pay multiple editors to combine thru every exact words.
    Second you need to look at all the reviews you have ever done. There are multiple grammar and spelling mistakes you make.... but that right you get paid money to do this... so take your own advice.

    You are by all term a damn hypocrite. If you had said something like there are hundreds of games like this out on the market maybe I would actually pay attention to your reviews. Just because of this Im going to help fund this.

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    Replies
    1. How long has the KS page been up? How is it a first draft?

      Yep, I make multiple spelling and grammar mistakes as well as multiple posts a day. No one has to pay to read The Tavern. I am not asking for $5,500.

      Back it. It may be a great product. I just can't do so with the issues I saw on the KS page.

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    2. Multiple editors? I think just one could fix a lot of that. Or just preread your work before asking people for cash. Tenkar's Tavern is an opinion blog, what does he need an editor for?

      How is Erik a hypocrite for pointing out your errors? That's a bit silly.

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  4. He is making money off people work and trying to cause controversy to get more readers... to make more money I know his type.... they are all over youtube.

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    1. Awesome. At least I know who is attached to The Ice Kingdom's Project ;)

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    2. What I think is rather funny here is that Tenkar has probably brought the Kickstarter more publicity than it's originators could have ever done on their own. Granted it's not the best publicity but it does get more eyes on the project and I would bet more backers.

      But please go ahead and attack him. Welcome to the actual world by the way where getting critiqued is part of the way things work.

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    3. And apparently they don't know how to avoid double-posts :_D

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    4. I think it lost a backer since the post went up...

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    5. I'm sure the pennies he gets from his Google ads are vital to his surviving.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. "Drumming up controversy" by writing about this project wouldn't be a good plan. After all, how many people knew about this project before Tenkar blogged about it. If clickbait controversy was his game, he'd write a post called "Why Invisible Sun Is a Crappy, Overprice Boondoggle."

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  5. He is making money off people work and trying to cause controversy to get more readers... to make more money I know his type.... they are all over youtube.

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    Replies
    1. That's BS. Erik makes not a dime profit off this blog. Any monetary compensation he makes gos back into this blog. As for him being a hypocrite, where? the guy is honest and fair in his reviews. If he's blunt about it that's usually what it takes to get through to numbskulls who can't run a bath let alone a proper Kickstarter. Hell, I'd probably be the same way if I had to wade through all the crap Kickstarters to find the gold and keep folks informed of the dross.

      Besides, the old saying is true: any publicity is good publicity. Might even encourage SOME to get their act together and put out something good for the money.

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  6. 27 updates compared to 11 comments . . . nah, I'm sure everything will turn out fine.

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  7. I see that the (The) Ice Kingdoms Internet Defense Force is hard at work already.

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  8. Hey.
    They took all your advice on spelling and ran with it ... you should charge'em for that... services rendered and all that ;-)

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  9. Hey.
    They took all your advice on spelling and ran with it ... you should charge'em for that... services rendered and all that ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I posted this comment on the open declaration/rant too, but they seem to be related, so I'm pasting part of it in here too: I expressed my disappointment to Erik (in a private message) with his review of the Ice Kingdoms kickstarter--I am also the person who passed that kickstarter along to him in the first place. Full disclosure: I am not the creator but I have had some input here and there. At any rate, I was (and am) disappointed because Erik's review didn't engage the project substantively at all, but rather focused entirely on inadequacies in the kickstarter presentation. And, fair enough--it's certainly true that the original text was not prepared as a polished pitch, but rather, as a fairly conversational and unassuming explanation of the project. No one has ever thought or claimed that it was above critique, and the kickstarter text has already been edited with some of Erik's criticisms in mind. For all that, the quality of the product itself will be excellent. Professional writers are involved in it, and TSR alum James M. Ward himself has contributed both an adventure module and the detailed mythology in the campaign setting book. I continue to think that enthusiasts of the OSR will love the Ice Kingdoms and find the setting richly imagined, thickly described, and above all, lots of fun.

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    1. As you sent me the link, you know how long I sat on it.

      Now, in all fairness, I do a search on KS every few days for RPGs, so this likely would have been found by me anyway.

      This wasn't a review. It was a critique. It's hard to review KSs because there generally is no product to review.

      The pitch was, to put it bluntly, sloppy. When your pitch is sloppy and its the reference you have to the finished product, it does not bode well for the finished product.

      First impressions are 90% of making a sale. The Ice Kingdoms handicapped itself right out of the gate.

      As I said in response to a comment above, the product itself may be awesome. The sales pitch and presentation was beyond poor.

      If you can't bother to properly have your sales pitch proofread, it bodes Ill for quality of editing of the finished product.

      As I stated in my opening line of this very post - I really wanted to like The Ice Kingdoms. With all that was included, I should have liked it. But the sloppy pitch ruined it and my expectations along with it.

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    2. @Caleb I would have been impressed if the creator popped in, said "Damn, you're right," and promptly fixed the issues.

      Let me provide a business analogy: every time I hire a new employee, I am guaranteed several hundred resumes. One of the first things I do to lighten the load is to weed out every single resume which demonstrates obvious typos, poor formatting, grammatical errors or other, similar issues. I (shock!) usually manage to take 500 resumes down to 200 this way very quickly. Is it possible someone worth the position I'm hiring for was in that stack of 300 with all the typos? Maybe....but that's the point; if that guy wants the job, he'd better go over his resume with a fine tooth comb.

      The same exact issue applies to Kickstarters. People are looking at other Kickstarters, and your Kickstarter needs to stand out. It needs to look competitive and tell the prospective backer that you can be trusted, you know what you are doing, and you have something interesting on offer. In today's saturated market, I need an excuse to rule your Kickstarter out, and a poor presentation is more than sufficient for this purpose. Could you have a viable project? Maybe so, but the KS pitch is your first chance to convince me of it. What Erik does is a great service both to backers and creators....backers get warnings where due, but smart creators get a chance to see how --and why-- other KS's fail to sell.

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    3. Okay, all that said: the current page up doesn't look that bad to me, and I see edits have been done. I can't back this for a different reason (as a rule I don't back first-time KS projects unless its from a known quantity) but I'll be curious to see what eventually comes out release for sale to the general public.

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    4. There is a preview here:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/debq1kia4tzmf79/preview.pdf?dl=0

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  11. @Nicholas, the owner of a store I was managing had an extreme version of that. He'd take the pile of applicants split in half and throw one half in the bin without looking at them.
    When I asked what the He*# he was doing he calmly replied: "they weren't lucky. I don't need employees that aren't lucky".

    :-)

    ... the balls on that guy ... ?

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  12. @Nicholas, the owner of a store I was managing had an extreme version of that. He'd take the pile of applicants split in half and throw one half in the bin without looking at them.
    When I asked what the He*# he was doing he calmly replied: "they weren't lucky. I don't need employees that aren't lucky".

    :-)

    ... the balls on that guy ... ?

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  13. Hello,

    My name is C.S. Barnhart, writer and creator of the Ice Kingdoms and the person guilty of the poorly written pitch. I want to thank Erik Tenkar for taking the time to review the Kickstarter and point out the errors. I have implemented most of the changes he has suggested. It truly is helpful and I do appreciate it. I would have commented here earlier in response to this article, but I do not really frequent Tenkar's Tavern. I want to also thank everyone who has supported or opposed Erik on his posts. The free flow of information and the ability to carry on a conversation are very important. Everyone has an opinion and to attempt to block out their opinion would be very arrogant.

    Now our Kickstarter is still going, we have no plans to cancel it as I would rather run to the end and fail to meet our goal. There are lessons to be learned and cutting tail and quitting does not help. It is a shame that a few poorly written sentences may have hurt us ever so slightly, but I hope everyone still gives us a shot. We have excellent art from a variety of fine talents as well as the writing wisdom of James M. Ward and a forward by E. Gary Gygax jr. Both of these fine legends in our hobby have pitched our Kickstarter and apparently they also missed the "a" and "an" issue.

    Any comment about our pitch video would also be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    CS Barnhart

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    1. Kudos to you sir for your respectful reply. I agree with you, it is a shame that a few typos can spoil a marketing pitch... but that is a reality of marketing. I've worn the "marketing man" hat a few times over the years in a variety of industries and it is always the same whether you're selling coats, cars, or cookbooks. Eric is 100% spot on when he states the first impression is so important.

      Is this fair? Maybe not, but one could turn it around. Would it be fair for a project which did ensure they had a perfectly polished pitch to be judged as equally as a project which did not put in the same effort? Surely their effort has merit and should be recognised? When convincing strangers to part with their money, there really isn't a minimum, "good enough" effort for the pitch - you do your best because your prospective product WILL be judged by the sales pitch alone.

      Regardless of whether this project funds or fails, it should stand as a lesson that all aspects of a sales pitch contribute to that all important first impression. Art is important, mentioning any famous contributors is important, engaging descriptions, are important, a million other things are important, and yes, even grammatical errors and typos are important. Everything counts, marketing doesn't have a dump stat.

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  14. @Nicholas I'm glad you think the text has been improved. But surely Ward is a known quantity, no?

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