What is Kickstarter, and how does it work?
Hopefully by now, you’ve had a chance to check out my latest Kickstarter project and hopefully support me in my bid to publish Copper Centurion, the 2nd book of the Steam Empire Chronicles. I had quite a few people ask me in the last few days exactly what Kickstarter was! So prepare for a whirlwind tour of Kickstarter Nation.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative and awesome projects. This means that people looking to get a start in creating or producing something will find a home among the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who support projects on kickstarter.
From the Kickstarter Website –
Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.
So what is the catch? Two actually. The first catch is that each project must be funded fully or beyond. So if you ask for $500 dollars, and only get $499, you get no money, zip, zilch, nadda. Which is good and bad. It doesn’t leave ‘partial’ projects hanging in limbo as creators try to secure other fundraising sources. The second catch is that each project creator must build reward tiers for each level of sponsorship. Pledge ten dollars to my project? You get a copy of both Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion ebooks. So in return for your money upfront, I give you a copy of what I’m working on (or have already finished). The rewards go up as the money goes up. I’ve seen people offer major characters in video games as rewards, names for product lines, given producer credit on albums, etc.
The only limits are pretty obvious – no weapons, no bribing (money for money or coupons for money) along with other banned substances. Kickstarter has more information, but really, be creative! My favorite tiers are the two highest because the rewards are the coolest! If you pledge $100, you get to create and name a character in Iron Tribune, my next full-length novel, and you can even choose his/her death. Of course, if you want something even cooler, you’ll pledge $250, which nets you all that plus a Roman Helmet. A legit helmet, not something you find in the dollar store.
But I digress. So rewards are the bread and butter of Kickstarter, but how to get rewards?! You must make your project cool. Kickstarter recommends making a video to promote your project. I plan on doing this, but the weather and light have not been cooperative, argh! But it also helps to have a social network out in advance – twitter, facebook fanpage, or email listserv. Alternatively, you can hit up friends and family to support to.
So there you have it – create your project, tell people why you need their hard earned money, then create your reward tiers, promote and voila! Hopefully a fully funded project. Oh, did I mention the time limit? 45-60 days max! And you must deliver on your rewards. Oh, and Amazon takes 5% of the money doled out in processing fees. So be aware, but then continue on! If there’s anything I learned, it is to start small – ask for $250 to help you get illustrations for your novel. Then see where it takes you!
Have any of you used Kickstarter? How did you like it? Were you successful?