Kickstarter Advice from Sonya

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Kickstarter Advice from Sonya

Sonya’s advice on launching a Kickstarter campaign for your visual novel:

  1. Start marketing months ahead of when you launch your kickstarter
  2. Prepare a press kit
  3. Release your demo as soon as possible and start contacting blogs to show them the demo game
  4. Do aim too high of a kickstarter goal, pick a price that seems easily achievable
  5. Make a video trailer. Videos have 80% higher chance of getting a successfully funded game.
  6. Don’t make rewards that are expensive. Remember these are real people with real money on kickstarter, so ask yourself, would you pay $500 for a keychain charm? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Many kickstarters have failed because they only started telling the internet about their visual novel/kickstarter the day they launch it. By then, you have only 30-60 days left to share and spread the news about your fundraising campaign. Compare that to a person who posted non stop media for 6 months to announce the game and 6 months of spreading the news that the game will launch a kickstarter vs announcing it on day 1, and having only 30-60 days left to tell others about it. Yeah not a good idea.

Most bloggers are lazy, they want something to copy and paste to easily write their articles. So we have to make it easy for them, and give them a press kit. What IS a press kit? A press kit, often referred to as a media kit in business environments, is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials that provide information about a person, company, organization or cause and which is distributed to members of the media for promotional use.

Here is an example of fluffland’s press kit (just so you can get an idea of how to make one for your game)

Make one and start contacting bloggers as soon as possible about your game and give them a link to your press kit. This will make their life easier. Remember, you are the person begging for them to help you spread the word about your game. Cater to their needs, not your’s.

Release your demo early. The more people you can spread your visual novel to, the better. Do NOT release the demo the same day you launch your kickstarter campaign, this is a big no no. You have to strike the iron when it’s hot, so you can’t release it way too early (for example releasing it 6 months before the kickstarter begins, the “moment” of a new game release will pass and your players/fans won’t be interested anymore after 6 months when the kickstarter begins) or too late (releasing it on the same day as the kickstarter campaign nobody has heard of your game and you have a countdown of 30-60 days when the campaign ends).

Don’t look at other kickstarter campaigns and say you will aim as high as their goal. There are many factors based on the campaign that the campaign was successful in getting the funding. Not all of them are based on quality, most of them are based on how many followers or influencers are backing the project. There are many high quality kickstarter campaigns with gorgeous professional art that got 1%-2% funded and failed. Remember only 15% of all kickstarter campaigns get successfully funded. Kickstarter does a good job of hiding the failed kickstarter campaigns so it look like all of their kickstarter campaigns are successful, when it’s not, 85% of all campaigns will fail.

Make a video, because video campaigns get 80% higher chance of success. Remember for the 1st week of launching your kickstarter campaign your game will be on the front page of kickstarter’s home page. This is the biggest media presence you will get, so if you don’t get at least 33% of your campaign funded most likely it will be fail. During the first week, it is crucial to get as much attention as possible to your campaign, and having a video will increase your chance of successfully funding your project to 80%.

One of the mistakes of a kickstarter campaign is pricing your rewards too high. Just ask yourself, whether or not you would spend your precious money on this if you were in the customer’s shoes. Remember fundraising IS a business, you are selling your rewards to get money from potential customers. Usually a t shirt can be bought with a custom print for just $10, shipping included. If you priced a t shirt for $60, compared to the price of $10 of a normal prices t shirt, why would they spend that much money to buy YOUR t shirt? What justifies them to spend an extra $50 when they can already save that much money for the same kind of t shirt? Think about the prices of your kickstarter carefully, remember to ask yourself, “would I buy this at this price?”

That’s all that I have on advice on running a kickstarter campaign. Thanks for reading, I hope you learned something!

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