Enhancing Crowdfunding Projects with Freelancers: A Guest Post by T.R. Knight

27 January 2015 | 7 Comments

I mostly write from the perspective of a project creator, and occasionally as a board game publisher. However, I’ve never discussed things from the perspective of a freelancer.

“Freelancer” is a broad term. It applies to anyone you hire for a very specific job. Typically they’re people who have an expertise that you do not have, or sometimes they simply make your job easier. Artists, graphic designers, proofreaders, virtual assistants, etc.–these are all examples of freelancers.

To help creators better understand how freelancers work and how they can enhance crowdfunding projects, I invited frequent commenter and fellow blogger T.R. Knight to write a guest post on the subject. Thanks T.R.!


My name is T.R. Knight, and I am a freelance editor/proofreader. Having worked on quite a few Kickstarters recently, I wanted to give you some insights from a freelancer’s perspective. Freelancers are supplemental staff for you, the publisher. Our desire is to help you succeed in your creative endeavors. We are blessed to work on various projects for different publishers, and you benefit from our varied experience and availability.

Working as a freelancer on Kickstarter projects is very satisfying but can also be very challenging. The excitement of working on a successfully-funded project is a joy for the publisher and the freelancers. The question to ask is, “Can freelancers enhance the Kickstarter?”. I have experienced three ways a freelancer is involved in a Kickstarter, each with its own challenges.

  • Plan Ahead For Freelancers – I have regular update meetings and open email dialogues with a publisher I work with often as a freelance proofreader of novellas, RPGs and tabletop games. He keeps me in the know on upcoming projects and Kickstarters he has planned. I really appreciate this advanced notice, even though the jobs will not be for several months. Knowing allows me to clear my schedule for those specific weeks in anticipation of the incoming project, and it also gives me a reason to follow the project to do what I can to promote its success.
  • Add Freelancers In For Stretch Goals – Popular Kickstarters have the propensity to grow exponentially with Stretch Goals. I have been called upon to supplement staff in a Stretch Goal enhanced Kickstarter. The team for the roleplaying game was already in place and working hard, so I had to get up to speed quickly and merge with their work flow. There was a “breaking in” time as I learned their standards and procedures, but we moved through that quickly, and the project picked up momentum. With me on the team as a freelance proofreader for the additional sourcebooks in the game line, a staff member was freed up to focus on writing and line editing.
  • Replacement Freelancers – Being the “second choice” can be stressful, especially when the project has been delayed by the “first choice.” I remember coming in as a replacement freelancer, both for the stress and for the feeling of success once completed. The original person contracted to edit and proofread the books in the Kickstarter backed out before completing the project, delaying its release. I was recommended to the publisher, who contacted me quickly, asking if I could take on this project immediately to finish it. He was frustrated about the delays and concerned because he had not worked with me before. After a few phone calls, we agreed I would complete a few chapters of one book so I could learn his standards and he could see my work. That quick trial period relieved his concerns and lowered my stress about the last-minute project. We then went on to complete the project together, and I plan to work with him on another project soon.

Publishers and Freelancers should view Kickstarter projects as a partnership where they both benefit from the success. I would be interested to hear about your successes, and perhaps challenges, utilizing freelancers to enhance your Kickstarters.

T.R. has been involved with successful Kickstarters such as Achtung! Cthulhu by Modiphius Entertainment, Heavy Steam by GreenBrier Games, Interface Zero 2.0 by Gun Metal Games, and Pulp Fantastic by Battlefield Press.

Also read: Kickstarter Lesson #3: Art and Design


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7 Comments on “Enhancing Crowdfunding Projects with Freelancers: A Guest Post by T.R. Knight

  1. Great post and very useful idea. Trying to do everything yourself rarely works out, particularly when you have (or are in need of) a specialized skill set.

    I would caution those who use freelancers to get something in writing. Look up works-made-for-hire, for instance. If you use an employee to create something for you, you become the author of that, for copyright purposes (in most cases). However, if they’re an independent contractor, you need to have an agreement that either states that it is a work-made-for-hire or some kind of assignment of rights. Plus, it has to fall under certain types of works, like contributions to bigger works or translations.

    Just my 2 cents!

    1. Zachary – In this guest post, I limited my focus to the freelancer perspective and experience. You bring up some great points in regards to the legal aspects of hiring freelancers from the publisher perspective. Depending on how you plan to utilize freelancers, there are legal documents you may wish to utilize including a work-made-for-hire contract, non-disclosure agreement, copyright agreement, tax documents, and standard invoices. Each publisher develops different legal relationships with their freelancers depending on their personal preferences, level of trust, and the laws of their country of business.

  2. Great post and T.R. helps me shape future Kickstarters and kick around ideas. His insight is refreshing and invaluable. He’s in tune with current trends in games and has a keen eye for Kickstarter projects.

    1. David – Thanks for those kind words. I have enjoyed being able to brainstorm with you and share my experiences. As freelancers, we should be striving to learn from each project to better our understanding of the industry and increase our skill sets. That breadth of experiences should add value to publishers who utilize us.

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