How Not to Kickstart Your Project

Internet Kickstarter

Kickstarter too lateKickstarter too late

A little too late to start marketing your Kickstarter project.

Dear Kickstarter Project Creator:

Thanks for writing to us about your amazing [board game | book | art | music | movie] project on Kickstarter! I congratulate you for being bold and taking steps to make your [lifelong dream | crazy idea | complete rip-off of somebody else’s project] a reality.

Also, thank you for considering GeekDad as part of your marketing engine. As you know, we here at GeekDad are really fond of Kickstarter and love writing about cool projects. However, I regret to tell you that at this time we cannot write about your project for one or more of the following reasons:

1. There simply isn’t time.

The best time to contact us about possible coverage of your Kickstarter campaign is before you launch. Next best is right after you launch it. Writing to us when you have a week left in your campaign because you’ve only reached 30% of your funding and you just realized that you should have done some marketing — that’s generally not a great idea. Occasionally we’re able to knock out a quick Kickstarter alert, maybe bring you a few more backers before your project closes. But usually that won’t happen: most of us have day jobs in addition to writing for GeekDad. We have kids, and all that it entails. Plan ahead.

[update] Also, please note: sometimes even if you contact us well before you launch, we still won’t have time. In which case: it’s not you, it’s me. Sorry.

2. You got the wrong guy.

Look, I’m not saying your project doesn’t sound terrific. But honestly, it’s just not my thing. Despite being a GeekDad, I don’t actually have much experience with [role-playing games | miniatures wargaming | electronics | power tools] … but chances are, maybe one of the other GeekDad writers does. Sure, I have a broad range of interests — perhaps too broad — but your project just isn’t in my wheelhouse. Do your research. See if anyone else at GeekDad has written about similar topics, and maybe contact them directly. We get a lot of email flying across our internal email list, and it becomes second nature to ignore anything that says “FWD:” in the subject line. Write a personal email to the person who actually cares about your project, and you’ll be better off.

3. I’m sorry, what exactly is your project again?

Sure, your video is cute, but it doesn’t actually tell me what your project is or what you’re going to do with my money if I back you. If your project is a game, I should be able to tell how to play it. If it’s a book, I should know what it’s about. If it’s art-based, I should see some samples of the art. You could have the most amazing idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate what it is to me (and your potential backers), then it’s going to be a hard sell.

4. You have unrealistic expectations.

Not every project reaches 500% of its goal and blasts through several stretch goals. In fact, most successful projects just barely cross the finish line — but the ones that do insanely well are the ones that you’ve probably heard about (and are the ones you’re currently trying to replicate). I like your project, but do you really think:

  • you need that much money to complete this project?
  • you can complete this project with so little money?
  • that many people will pledge at that reward level?

Set your goal for what you actually need to do your project, but don’t forget to take into account Kickstarter’s take, Amazon’s take for processing credit cards, and the amount it will cost you to mail those things once you’re done.

5. Your project is lame.

Sorry, I know you’re invested in your project and you’ve clearly put some blood, sweat, and tears into it, but it just doesn’t make the cut. As the line goes, “my mother said to pick the very best one and you are Not It.” Don’t let us discourage you, though: just because we don’t like this idea doesn’t mean we won’t like any of your ideas. Maybe your next idea will be the one we’ve been waiting for. Just don’t wait until the last week of your campaign to tell us about it.

Thanks again for contacting us about your Kickstarter project, and I wish you luck with your fundraising campaign.


Jonathan Liu

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