What I Learned From My Kickstarter

1) You will no sooner click “launch my project!” than you will begin receiving a whole new kind of spam. It turns out there’s an entire cottage industry devoted to offering promotional services for hapless Kickstarter newbies. Given that the great fear of every person who runs a campaign is “what if I held a Kickstarter and nobody came?,” I imagine these people make bank. Which is a very great pity, since a lot of campaigns don’t reach their funding goals, meaning the money handed over to these promotional gurus is just frittered away. Unless, of course, they actually do make the difference between success and failure . . . but color me dubious.

2) Kickstarter sends you an email every time somebody pledges, changes their pledge amount, or cancels their pledge. This will quite rapidly chip away at your sanity, especially in the first few days, when you get the initial rush of pledges. You may find yourself hitting “refresh” on your email like a demented rat in a lab. You will contemplate going onto the site and seeing whether there’s a setting that lets you turn off the notifications. There probably is. But you won’t go look, because you want to know. And that’s why you’re losing sanity points.

3) You will come up with pretty good promotional ideas . . . when it’s too late to do them properly. Then it will be 2 a.m. the night before you leave for a convention, and you’ll be digging out those blank business cards you never actually got around to making and printing up teeny-tiny promotional images on them because it’s way too late to make nice postcards people might actually pick up off the con’s freebie table. (You will be pleasantly surprised when a few of your terrible cards get picked up anyway.)

3a) You’ll remind yourself that you really ought to have business cards in general. And then you will forget again, like you always do.

4) Good stretch goals are surprisingly hard to come up with.

5) As your campaign draws to a close, you will realize the mountain you just climbed is nothing next to the range that lies beyond. All those people who pledged their support? Now you have to supply them with their rewards. Every one of them. Individually. And after that, you have to actually do the thing the campaign was for. This is a lot like having a novel under contract — in fact, that’s pretty much exactly what it is — but somehow it feels different, and more stressful. You will be very grateful that you hit your initial goal early and have already started writing, so at least you have some momentum on your side.

Just one day left to go . . . .

Chains and Memory

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  1. 1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin)

    I have never done a kickstarter, but backed a fair few. I’ve thoughts from an outside perspective, but, as you indicate, being on the inside is a very different kettle of fish

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Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is the author of more than forty short stories and seven novels, the most recent of which is the urban fantasy Lies and Prophecy. Visit site.

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