A Kickstarter for my short stories set in the Steampunk Western “Brymlight” world is off and running and I have no idea how well it is doing!
Which is weird for me.
I have more than a passing acquaintance with Kickstarter having been involved on both sides of the platform though the /Games/Tabletop Games category. I have seen the Tabletop Games category evolve from funding the development of games to an incredibly sophisticated marketing platform funding the production of games. And with that, the expectations of what is included in your campaign is much higher: play through videos, review videos, completed rules, supporter avatars, demo of the game on online gaming platforms, etc. There are also some norms around funding tiers, exclusives, and stretch goals that the community has debated endlessly in comments and seemingly reached a grudging consensus.
Using Kickstarter for funding an indie publishing project is forcing me to learn a whole new set of rules. I think. Still not sure.
Doing the compare and contrast in my head I am seeing similarities, but I also take caution in apply the lessons and expectations of the Tabletop Games category to the /Publishing/Fiction category. Here are a few of them:
Funding Pace – Tabletop Games places a huge emphasis on funding in the first 24 hours. It has also been my experience that most of the funding comes in the first 24-36 hours and the last 48 hours after the reminders go out. So far, in Fiction, the pattern seems to be holding true: off to a quick start then flattening out. Obviously, I am curious to see if that holds up throughout the campaign. I have seen varying attempts, with varying level of success, at solving the mid-campaign lull in Tabletop Games and will be interested in whether that will be needed in Fiction.
Funding Goals – This is a *lot* different between Fiction and Tabletop Games, almost an order of magnitude. Tabletop Games have a lot of upfront content, manufacturing, and shipping costs that just don’t apply to Fiction. There are similarities, don’t get me wrong, but printing several thousand copies of a game and shipping them around the world is a lot different then sending an eBook, even that of a printed and bound copy of a book. Tabletop Games updates about shipping including the name and tracking information of the container ship crossing the Pacific Ocean are not uncommon!
Funding Tiers/Stretch Goals – Tabletop Games offer a much broader range of options for adding tiers and stretch goals. Upgrading card stock through multiple levels, including premium components, UV finishes, art books, added play modes, playmats, quick reference cards, etc. Fiction? So far the funding tiers that are most popular in the Brymlight campaign are eBook and paperback. The other goodie tiers just don’t seem to be pulling in much attention. Certainly, that could be a lot to do with the goodies themselves and the pricing… or just that the Fiction is more interested in just the goods, not the added goodies.
Regardless, I think leveraging Kickstarter for marketing and costs is still a great thing for indie authors and publishers, but I know I still have a lot to learn!