By Anne Bellov-
News of Kickstarter is everywhere today. Don’t know what crowd-
source funding is? Here it is in a nutshell: you create a project,
determine a monetary goal, set a time limit, submit the idea, and
once approved, your project appears on Kickstarter. Site visitors
pledge money in return for rewards that you offer on your project
page. Succeed and the money is yours, less a 5% fee and any credit
card fees incurred. Fall short of your goal and you get nothing.
Exceed your goal, you get to keep it all, less the aforementioned
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
What’s true for writing is true for Kickstarter as well. To be
successful takes study, forethought, and hard work before, during,
and after your project is active.
To pique potential investor’s interest, your proposal must be in
your voice. What wildly successful projects have in common is that
their rewards are so cool that people can’t resist, or their
presentation so enchanting that you are not only compelled to keep
reading, but also cannot keep your finger from caressing the Back
This Project button, muttering I must have marshmallows..
Tips for Success:
1. Your project description is like a query letter: Hook, synopsis,
and bio. Edit the heck out of it! Don’t sound needy.
2. Your video needs to add to your presentation, not to repeat the
description. Study what works and what doesn’t from other project
videos. It should be no longer than two minutes, unless Steven
Spielberg is filming it. Quirky and personal can trump slick and
3. People you already know are your most likely supporters. Contact
them before and during your project. Personal emails take longer,
but will be more effective that a mass blind mailing. Let friends
know what they can do to help spread the word. Thank them sincerely,
individually, and often.
4. Don’t join a new group right before your project launch and think
they will care about supporting you. By the same token, if your
existing groups have nothing to do with your project’s theme, don’t
assume they won’t climb on board. I thought people who followed my
panda cartoons wouldn’t be interested my fine art project. In
desperation, during the last week of my project (40% funded with 7
days to go) I posted a cartoon about my project and significant
support came from panda satire fans, pushing my project past its
goal with only hours to spare.
5. Be realistic about money. Ask for enough to complete your project
and fulfill rewards, but don’t get greedy. Set reasonable timetables
for fulfilling rewards, and add a month or two. No one will complain
if they get their goodies early, but some will if you are late.
6. Plan to launch and end your project during weekday, daytime hours.
Many people take weekends off from their computers, especially if they
have Internet access while at work. If your project ends at 3 AM on
Saturday and it is down to the wire, you may not be able to rally your
troops. (Granted it is always 3 AM somewhere, just don’t let your
project end in the weekend wee hours of your own time zone.)
7. Project activity levels determine placement on the Popular this
Week page, so have your fans ready to spring into action. It’s easier
to stay higher in the rankings than it is to get there later.
8. Being a staff pick or featured project brings attention from those
unacquainted with you. Stand out from the herd and you may be one
of the anointed.
In 2012 over two million people funded 18,000 projects, raising more
than $300 million. Why not give it a try in 2013?
Anne Belov is a visual artist, cartoonist, and writer living on an island in the Pacific Northwest. You can find Anne’s paintings at The Rob Schouten Gallery in Greenbank, WA, her cartoons on the blog The Panda Chronicles, and read her guest posts on Whidbey Life Magazine, an on-line journal of arts, food, and culture on Whidbey Island. Anne’s first book was funded by her second successful Kickstarter project. Her only regret in life is that there is no MacArthur Grant awarded for panda satire.