What is Kickstarter?
So, now that I have launched my first Kickstarter Project I am contacting everyone I know to let them know about it. I figured that there are probably a lot of you who are not familiar with what Kickstarter is exactly. Well I am here to help with a quick run through of the site and what to expect when you get in there.
If you are still trying to figure out what Kickstarter is, the website itself describes it best:
“Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.”
So what does that mean exactly? Basically, people create projects that they would like to see come to life. As with most major projects, it requires money. That’s where Kickstarter comes in. People post their project on Kickstarter in the hopes of getting enough people to find their project and believe in it enough to pledge their money. This allows the project to be funded without the need for loans or any kind of major personal or financial risk.
So what is in it for you?
There are several reasons to back a Kickstarter project.
Helping Someone Fulfill a Dream
I’m sure there have been several times you have had an idea or project that you would love to see come to life. These ideas come and go and there are many things that prevent us from going after them. Most of the time what holds you back, is the lack of time and money. Kickstarter helps to take care of that money part. Basically you are funding a dream, especially for those who are individuals going after a creative endeavor.
Cheaper Way to Get Products
Most Kickstarter projects involve some sort of physical item. It could be a book, music CD, movie or a deck of playing cards. Many times, you will be able to get these products at a lower cost than you would when it finally comes out into the stores. One of the main reasons this is possible is because this is a direct “sell” to the customer; you avoid all the costs that distributors and retailers take. Technically you are not buying the products though, you are giving a pledge and they are giving you the item(s) as a gift for your pledge.
Access to exclusive and collector items
If you are a collector, or would like to have that something extra that no one else will get, this is the place for you. Many Kickstarer backers will be able to receive things that no one else will be able to get when the product actually goes to market. These may include, signed copies, packaging exclusive to Kickstarter, bonus content and more. There are any number of things that can be offered, depending on the project, that you wouldn’t normally be able to get once it hits stores. For example, the poker playing card project that I have started up will be for a collector’s edition of the cards. Once I have this first printing done, this particular version will never be printed again. So if you are a playing card collector, this will be a more valuable item to you.
Because the producer of the item is able to send you the product as a gift and they don’t need to deal with the costs of distributors and retailers, they can afford to give you extra content – especially if they get above their goal. I am backing a board game right now that I have pledged $15.00 for. This is already $5 below what it will be sold for in the stores, in addition, I will also get the game in an exclusive to Kickstarter box, the first expansion pack that goes with the game, and several bonus characters and items that will only come with the Kickstarter version. They can do this because of all the costs they are skipping when normally selling via retail. The cost of production would be too much to include all of this in the retail version at an affordable price.
So what is the risk/downside?
The way Kickstarter works is that it is an all or nothing idea. A person starts a project, they set a time frame for the project to get funded (usually 30 to 60 days) and they set their monetary goal. When you decide to back a project you pledge a given amount by selecting a pledge level. You must have an account on Kickstarter and must have a credit card on file with Amazon to do this (Very easy to set up.) However, you are not charged when you make your pledge. Once the project has run its course it will either be fully funded or it will not hit its funding goal. If it becomes fully funded, your card will be charged for your pledge level and your product(s) will be sent to you. If the goal was not reached, you are not charged and the project owner does not receive any of its funding. That is one of the things I love about Kickstarter.
On the flip side, if a goal does succeed and you are charged, you have now placed your money in the hands of a person that may not necessarily follow through with what they say they are going to do. Basically take your money and run. I have heard of a few stories where people will make excuses as to why there are delays to the project or just stop responding to messages all together. Now I don’t want this to scare you away from Kickstarter because there are a few things to help you avoid this.
Fund Projects, Not Ideas
I would recommend you avoid projects where people have not actually started anything. If they say, “If funded I’m going to do this.” don’t go there. People that are passionate about a project will have already started on it and have something to show.
It is very easy to start a project so anyone can just throw some stuff together and throw it up there. If there is little content on their page that shows they haven’t put in much of an effort. Again, a serious person who is passionate about their project will already have something done.
Take a look at their history. You can see how many projects a person has started and how many they have backed. If I see that a person has never backed another project, I avoid them all together. It tells me that they aren’t really a part of the community. If they have previous projects, you can take a look at them to help form your opinion. Once a project is on Kickstarter, it never leaves, even if its funding did not succeed.
One other downside to Kickstarter is the waiting. Since these are projects that need to be funded, you must wait for it to be produced once they are funded. I backed a video game that I am really looking forward to, but it won’t be done until November of 2014! The good news is, I am getting it a lot cheaper than if I had waited for it to hit stores. Plus, I am helping to make sure it will be developed, rather than just hoping.
You need to create a Kickstarter account. You can do this without using a credit card and it only takes a minute. Once you decide to back a project, you will need to have a credit card on file with Amazon. Kickstarter uses Amazon for the credit card processing.
Once you have an account explore Kickstarter. You can start by checking out my project HERE.
Terms You Should Know
Once you have decided that you want to back a project, there are a few terms you should understand.
When something says that it is exclusive, it typically means that you can only get it by making a pledge on the project on Kickstarter. Make sure you read the full description though. Some exclusive items will only go to certain pledge levels.
Add-ons are additional items that you can get by increasing your pledge amount. I’m sure this will change in the future as Kickstarter evolves, but as of right now, this is how it works: Let’s say that you select a pledge level that has a reward of a $12.00 deck of playing cards. They have an add-on available that is a dealer button that you would really like to have for another $12.00. You would select the pledge level for 1 deck of cards by clicking on the radio button next to your choice. The next screen will show you the total amount you are pledging. You can change this amount to whatever you want. The amount for the cards will be shown – $12.00. The dealer button you want to add-on is $12.00 so you would add that amount to the original amount. Your new total would be $24.00. If you have already made a pledge and want to add the add-on to it later, there is a button that you can press that says “Manage My Pledge” on it. This will take you to where you can modify it. At the end of the project, you will receive a survey that will ask you what the additional pledge money is for.
A stretch goal basically means that the project owner has met their goal for the project and now if they get to another monetary or backer total, they will do some additional things for the project. Most of the time this is for free additional content that you get with the product. Sometimes it will unlock additional items or give additional add-ons. Make sure that you always read the description so you know if it is free or not for your particular pledge level. Most of the time this means that with the extra money the project owner will be able to afford more product and you, the backer, will benefit.
Time to Get Started!
I hope this helps you understand Kickstarter better. If you have any questions you can email me at email@example.com.
Now, head over to Kickstarter and take a look at my project. Hopefully this is something that you will want to back and help me on my way to realizing my dream. Remember to always share with your friends! Kickstarter’s success is based mostly on word of mouth. So, even if you are not a fan of Zombies, you may have friends or family members that are.
Thank you for your support!!
If you want more information you can also GO HERE
On this website, I am going to record my progress and preparation of the game Zombie Bite Poker and its project launch on Kickstarter.com. I will share information, picture and videos involving the game and its creation. My hope is to build a community on here and have the players be a part of the development of the game.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and more to come soon!!