Saturday, October 10, 2015

So, I'm Working on an Article About Crowdfunding...

I've been working on a crowdfunding article (not blog post) off and on since the beginning of September. It's died on the vine more times than Far West has had release dates.

That's a joke, son ;)

Anyhow, my main issue is that I find it often goes off on tangents of Kickstarter failures. Which is fine for later articles, but I seriously find that Kickstarter is more boon than bane, and I want to reflect that.

I want to showcase the +Kevin Crawford s, the +Joseph Bloch s, the Frog God Games' and the like that know how to run a Kickstarter and deliver on what they promise.

I also want to give some examples of Kickstarter "Do's" (and some "don'ts, especially when paired with the "do's")

Give me some positive vibes and thoughts please. I'll take the negative ones, but they may be held back for a later article.

Yes, I'm crowdsourcing an article on crowdfunding ;)


  1. I'm tempted to post a snarky comment to the effect that I'll be crowdsourcing my comment that will serve as crowdsourcing for an article on crowdfunding... but keeping all of these layers straight is giving me a headache!

  2. Not sure if this helps you any but here goes.

    Goodman Games - DCC - Peril of the Purple Planet - They got it to me before I lost interest in it, gave me pdfs along the way so I had access to everything as they were ready, they were informative and on the ball. Have a few more backed and cooking from them. Answered questions in a very timely manner, and worked with me to allow me to purchase extras after the closing.

    Troll Lords - Storyteller's Thesaurus, Castles & Crusades color set - Decent timeliness, pdfs as they were done and updated, and reliable.

    Elmore - Complete Elmore Artbook - Informative every step of the way, pretty good on time of getting the product out, and very pleased with the quality of what I received.

    Zojoi - Shadowgate (video game) - Put out a completed, good product...not a partially completed piece of shit with an 'early access' excuse banner on it which is all too common these days on digital kickstarters these days. Also, after releasing, they put out updates adding quality of life patches that they didn't need to do which was very cool of them and resulted in a better product.

    Good & Bad:
    Scott Taylor - The Folio 1E Module Relaunch - It was a pretty cool module capturing the feel of what it was going after, however, the kickstarter for the 2nd module in the series began and ended before I ever got a copy of the first so I had nothing to base further backing on resulting in me taking a pass on the rest of the series. Once I was able to review it, I was glad I passed because the pages were too busy with background decorations all over the paper that made the text hard to read. Different timing and better layout would have made all the difference in the world to me. A preview pdf would have worked wonders.

    Bill Barsh/Pacesetter Games - Cataclysm at the Acaeum (AD&D Boxed Set) - Estimated delivery May 2013. Lots of promises, lots of reassurances, no deliveries. Will do this by x date, will have that by x date, they pass in silence to be given a later update with more of the same. Put user collaborations in as backer options and seems to have done a world of hurt time-wise to this project. Every few months I get an email with spam and a lot of email addresses of other contributors as his gmail account is hacked time and again. I will never again back a project with user collaborations or by Bill Barsh.

    Hopefully there was something useful in all of that. I wish you luck on your article and look forward to reading it sometime.

  3. Good - Peter Regan's B/X Monster Reference should be out on time based on my experience with the Dungeon Desk Pad.

    I go into detail on my opinions about the way Peter runs successful Kickstarters in my last posted article after the last updated from the CSIO Kickstarter.... Short version, Peter does the work BEFORE launch to have it ready to go, with only minor changes during the course of the Kickstarter with reasonable stretch goals and no crazy add-ons.

    I also update the status of all my pending deliverables.


  4. I would say the biggest "Do" is that one we come back to in all relationships. Communication.

    If everything is going great. Excellent you will have the shortest update to write ever.

    But when things start getting rocky let people know. Don't just stop responding to emails or posts.

    I backed a project Doublesix Dice. The creator thought is would be simple, but it was his first time doing something like this and there were a lot of bumps in the road. He was there the whole time posting regular updates frankly sometimes way more in depth than I needed, but I knew he was there trying to get it done. He's packing them up now and I haven't received mine, but I'm sure I will soon.

    On the other hand I backed a card game and the creator would barely ever post even after it was 2 years late the backers relied on a single backer who knew the creator and would go to the creator's brick and mortar game store to get any information. It finally showed up 3 years late, and I had no idea it was on the way I had given up on it a long time ago. I guess I'm glad to have it, but I would never support another project from this individual.

  5. Here's some general KS do's/don'ts I posted a year ago on Paizo, feel free to use anything that fits what you're after:

    1. Pick an update interval during the project and commit to it. At least once a month. Present a status of what's done, what's being worked on, and any obstacles or impediments. Remember, no news is BAD news to your backers.

    2. For physical rewards, consider making shipping a separate payment due when the rewards are ready to ship. For projects with deliverables a long time away, shipping costs can and will increase. I've seen this affect projects where other corners get cut in trying to account for the shipping hikes.

    3. Avoid project campaigns whose funding deadline coincides with times of great expense for potential backers, i.e. the end of December, the week after GenCon, etc.

    4. Everyone loves stretch goals, but I've seen projects sink under the wait of too much extra work because things went TOO well during the KS campaign. It's more feasible to make "extra" stretch goals digital only, where costs are more controllable.

    5. When someone uses the Contact link on the main project page, respond to it within a day or two at the latest. If you have planned away time (family commitments, planned vacation, etc.), just let backers know that there will be a delay in responding during that window of time.

    6. I'd also suggest making some sort of limited preview available, either from the project or from previously released material. This will help get prospective backers a good feel for the style of the writing and how the product will look.

    7. I'll also say that I may watch the video for publishers I don't know. I rarely ever watch them for publishers I am familiar with. The information is the important thing (esp. any mock-ups you may have, along with a disclaimer that it's not in its final form). I wouldn't sweat any production extras to make the video look more exciting. Short and sweet is the way to go.

    Paizo thread: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2rj5e?3rd-Party-Kickstarter-Best-Practices

  6. I have two requirements for kickstarters I back. Have they done something similar before or, if they haven't, is the project fairly simple? Using my own criteria I would never have backed my own I guess- might be time to change the criteria :) That said Kevin and Joseph are wise examples if what to do. I have backed ungodly number of projects and honestly feeling good about the majority of them.

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  8. Some kickstarters I've been involved in:

    Oathsworn Miniatures have run some well done Kickstarters. I've backed two of theirs and am currently backing a third from them. Great communication for what is essentially a two person company.

    Tony DiTerlizzi's Dark Sword Miniatures was well run, as well as Perilous Journeys (a Dungeon World KS). Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk went well, and Paranoia RPG seems to be chugging along good also.

    Rob Schwalb's Shadow of the Demon Lord has also been handled well (though I should mention I'm personally involved in making one of the rewards and thus take this comment with a grain of salt).

    You Need These Dice...I got the rewards well and good, but this was a case of too much needless communication that failed to communicate much beyond blather. Keep those updates concise and meaningful, people!

    City State of the Invincible Overlord...I understand there's been quite a few hiccups for them but I feel that it's all been communicated well. Still waiting on the physical rewards but there's been quite a few PDF releases along the way.

  9. I'm available if you ever want to Q&A, Erik.

  10. Jeff Dee's kickstarter projects are good, and I'd say one of the reasons is that he keeps them small and simple. Even though he is undertaking a massive project (re-create all his destroyed artwork), each kickstarter is only for the art from some individual work, which keeps the goals manageable and the feedback quick (he posts the results online as he goes, and ships rewards promptly).


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