So you came up with a really great idea and chose to take a step into making it a reality. You pour your time, energy, resources, and pain into seeing your concept come to fruition. You have a working prototype and are ready to show your idea to the world but first, you need to figure out how to get it made on a larger scale. Historically, your first thought would be to possibly go to the bank and ask for a loan. If you don’t want to be on the hook for interest, you possibly found some investors who believe in your idea. They bankroll your project at the cost of possible equity, and now you are not dealing with just investors but potential partners. These two options are still very viable in today’s world, the problem is that the interest levels of these two options can vary depending on what it is you want to create. If you desire to create something on the creative spectrum, say a board game, then I would say that your best bet is seeking out crowdfunding. We are hitting the end of 2017 and crowdfunding doesn’t look like it is slowing down at all.
There really is something beautiful to the idea that people; will come around you, tell you how much they believe in your vision, throw money at you, and cheer you on while you make a game to deliver to the world. I don’t shy away from the fact that one day I hope to have my first Kickstarter campaign where I too will paint a picture of my game and then explain the reality that I need funding to a large group of people. I hope that those people will, after hearing my pitch, buy into the idea of the game and offer to help my dream become a reality. There is a lot of trust a person must have for them to choose to help fund your project. Trust isn’t something that is freely given but earned, and that is what I want to hit on today.
In 2016 Kickstarter had almost 3000 tabletop game projects go live, and more than half of them funded! You can catch the breakdown HERE. On the surface, this looks to be great news! My question though is, why don’t we have more projects being fully funded? Outside of niche markets, poor concepts, bad art, and bad campaign pages… I think the answer is quite honestly that the creators of these unsuccessful projects forgot that this is all about you. If you have ever backed a KS project, tweeted about a cool project, or even mentioned it to a friend you entered into the crowd. Every creator before going into the KS ring should have a crowd to back them up in some way, and I can’t stress enough the importance you play in this. If you are a creator, remember we don’t get anywhere if we can’t find a crowd to support us.
It takes a lot of time to build a crowd, and more importantly I feel that when you go to find other people who like what you do – you need to remember that this isn’t about you, but about what you can do for others. Jamey Stegmaier has a lot of amazing posts about what you should be doing prior to your KS launch and he hammers this idea in that releasing your game isn’t about you. I would add into his thoughts – your idea isn’t special, the work you have done to bring your idea to life is what is special. You now get the opportunity to share your idea with others and you get to serve them by entertaining them. We should take that responsibility seriously.
Getting back to Stegmaier’s suggestions, he says one of the best ways to develop a crowd is to create a blog. I took that idea to heart and so this blog was born. I have tried a lot of different types of posts and I am slowly finding my voice as a writer. In thinking about what I could offer to you, I had to take inventory of my ability. We are often our worst critics and to be honest, I didn’t know what I could bring to the table. There are fantastic blogs that offer amazing tips on how to do game design, how to successfully build your business, KS marketing, game reviews, top 10 lists… these blogs are written by people with years of experience under their belts. I am a drop in the bucket, but I am still in the bucket. If you are a creator, then you need to be in your proverbial bucket as well. Figure out what you can offer to your community, and avoid just trying to talk about just yourself. Interact with others on all fronts, and ask yourself every day, “How can I make someone’s day better?” For me, I try to make someone laugh every day and it is the most rewarding thing for me.
There have been plenty of failed KS projects this year, some of them I have highlighted on my blog. The big takeaway is that again, you should remember that projects aren’t successfully funded in a vacuum. Bring the awesome people you know into your project, be active in your community, and invite others to be active in your life. For those of you who aren’t creating projects, keep backing others! Spread the word about a project you love, give financially if the project excites you enough, message people like me who can use their blog to highlight a cool project you have found. It is repetitive, but you are important because you are key to our success. Thank you so much for reading this post and supporting the blog, it really means a lot!
As with the first KS Topics post, these posts are meant to be a conversation and I don’t know if we will ever know the answer to the topics that arise in them. My hope is that we will continually revisit these posts and offer new insights to them. We may have new questions in regards to the topics and as stated before, I am focusing on Kickstarter which is just one piece of the crowdfunding world. As I develop my own practices this will expand and change. Let me know in the comments if there are other subjects to be discussed, other perspectives for me to listen to, and if you just feel I am wrong in something, then please let me know!