Kickstarter Lesson #68: You Don’t Need to Launch Today

31 October 2013 | 77 Comments

One of the biggest mistakes when launching a Kickstarter project is to launch too soon.

I see this time and time again. In fact, I see it more than ever now that people contact me on a regular basis asking for Kickstarter advice: “I’m launching my Kickstarter project today and I just found your blog–do you have any last-minute feedback?”

Yes I have some last-minute feedback: Don’t launch today if you’re still asking for feedback.

99% of the time when I get a message like that, I know something is wrong without even looking at the project page. Because if you have the mentality that you’re somehow on a deadline for launching your project, you’re setting yourself up for failure from Day 1. Not necessarily catastrophic failure, but you’re not doing everything you can to make your project a success.

There is a growing wealth of resources out there for the steps you can take to increase the chances of success for your Kickstarter project. It’s important that you discover them months before you launch your campaign. So if today is the day you discovered a key resource, add 2-3 months to today and you’ll have your new launch day.

Not convinced? Here’s a list of some of the things you need to do before you launch your project. If you have not done these things, do not launch your project today:

  1. Start a blog focusing on creating content that is interesting and useful to other people and write 1-3 entries a week every week for 3 months.
  2. Hunt down and subscribe to at least 20 blogs related to your project. Read them every day. Comment on at least one a day. Do not think of this as networking. Think of it as you reading about a subject you love and interacting with people about that subject.
  3. Read every Kickstarter Lesson on this blog, listen to a number of Funding the Dream podcast episodes, and read James Mathe’s blog about Kickstarter.
  4. Back 10-20 Kickstarter projects and read every update in real time, noting when you reach the point when you have the intense desire to unsubscribe.
  5. Add value to something that’s important to a stranger every day for at least 2 months. Share a Kickstarter project you love. Be active and positive on a message board or comment section. Message a project creator and tell them what you love about what they’re doing. Proofread and offer feedback on a Kickstarter preview page. Contribute to a conversation on the Kickstarter Best Practices Facebook group. Playtest someone else’s game for them. Do all of these things without asking for anything in return or even mentioning that you are working on your own Kickstarter project.
  6. Create a spreadsheet of at least 10 successful Kickstarter projects that are similar to your project to compare them to one another.
  7. Create an extensive budget for your project factoring in a number of different outcomes and what they mean for production and shipping. This is when you need to figure out how you’re going to ship your project around the world in a way that is time- and cost-efficient for you and backers, not after your project has launched or funded.
  8. Pay a professional artist and designer to create some really attractive, eye-catching art to show off on your project page.
  9. Make sure that art is actually good by asking people who don’t care at all about your feelings.
  10. Send out samples of your product to several high-impact bloggers, podcasters, or YouTube creators. For game creators, this means full game prototypes. Don’t send them out of the blue–only send them to people you’ve been a fan of for a while and have interacted with in some context.
  11. Share your project preview page to at least 20 people asking for their feedback. Ask 3 specific questions and 2 open-ended questions. If there are consistencies in the answers you get, really pay close attention to them and do something about it even if you disagree.
  12. Send out personalized press releases to 15-20 blogs and relevant news outlets at least 1 week before your project launches.
  13. Clear your schedule for launch day so you can spend all day sending personal invitations to share your dream with your friends and family as well as responding to individual backers as they pledge.

If you have not done those things, you are decreasing the chances that you’ll fund. Period. All of the reasons you have for launching today are nowhere close to as important to your project’s success as doing all the things on that list.

In fact, let’s look at some of the reasons people give for sticking with a self-created deadline even when it no longer makes sense:

“I already told everyone it’s going to launch today.”

Let’s talk about these artificial deadlines we create for our Kickstarter projects. The idea behind them is good–you build up hype for your project and then release it to the world when you said you would, then you hopefully have a successful launch day. In essence, that’s a good thing.

But the trouble is that we sometimes forget that we’re the ones who created those deadlines in the first place. No one is holding us to them. And yet I get that sense from a number of project creators. They’ve been telling people a certain date for a while now, and if they miss that artificial deadline, they feel like it ruins everything.

Let me assure you: Nothing bad will happen if you don’t launch on the day you said you would.

Plus, Kickstarter now allows people to press a button on your preview page and get a notification when you launch your project. So if you’ve shared your preview page with your friends and fans, they’re going to get an e-mail when you’re ready to launch.

“I have to launch today or I’ll run into a bad time of the month or the year for a Kickstarter project.”

Perhaps you read somewhere that projects make more money or get more backers if they’re launched at a certain time of the year and that you should avoid launching in certain months of times of the month. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you have a great project and you’ve put it the legwork, timing hardly matters at all. We’re talking about a few percentage points at most. There’s no magical formula for the month or time of month, so stop focusing on that and focus on making an awesome project.

“I have to launch today because I need the money ASAP.”

This might be the most dangerous one of them all. Your livelihood should not depend on Kickstarter. You’re raising money to create something, not to fund your life–that’s explicitly against Kickstarter’s guidelines. Most people will have tough financial times at some point in their lives. Those times suck, but they’re not the time nor the reason to launch a Kickstarter project. Figure out your personal finances and keep them separate from your project when it’s ready to launch on its own merit.

“My project isn’t 100% ready, but I’ll fix it as we go.”

Let me be clear about this: It’s a good thing if your product isn’t 100% ready to go. Leave some wiggle room for backer feedback and improvement. But the project itself should be 100% ready to go when you launch. Sure, it will evolve over time, but the first few days of a project are so important. Don’t waste them on a subpar project page. Check every item off this list before you deem your project page ready for the world.

“I have to launch on today or my production schedule is ruined.”

I left this one for last because I DID THIS. I wanted to get Euphoria to backers before Christmas, so I had to finish the project on June 12 and send it to Panda by June 22. It was such a precise schedule, and it looks like we’ll actually make it.

But here’s the deal: No matter how well you’ve planned your project, you know not what awaits you in production and shipping. There are SO many variables. If you really want to target certain dates–say, a release at a big convention–your production schedule should have 1-2 months of buffer room at least.

In the end, backers want a great product. Try to deliver on time, but delivering a subpar project on time is way worse than delivering an awesome product 1-2 months late.


I’ll end this with a question: Are you still going to launch today after reading this?

Leave a Comment

77 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #68: You Don’t Need to Launch Today

  1. What an article? Stumbled upon this blog as I am preparing to launch my first, very first kickstarter. Really great points you have brought it here. And I sincerely appreciate, admire this blog.
    Just one question though, especially this may be true for certain categories. You mentioned about sending samples to bloggers, Youtube creators etc. In that case you are assuming that , there is upfront investment on creating your product before launching on kickstarter. Right? Most of the times, product requires MOQ of 500-100 pcs and manufacturers, generally don’t provide 20-50 pcs.

    What would be your recommendations in terms of budgeting to plan your kickstarter launch?

    Again, thanks for the great blog…

    1. Thanks, Tushar! That would fall into the “fancy prototype” category–you can make nice, reviewer-ready prototypes at Print & Play Games or The Gamecrafter. It does indeed involve an up-front investment.

  2. Its a 2019 year and it’s so as relevant today. Thank you! And I have a question. Is it so important to communicate in blogs? In the remaining paragraphs, I can put a tick, but here is a weak point. I’m still embarrassed to comment because my English is bad and I haven’t released any games yet, It seems to me that I can not bring anything useful.

  3. I think the key takeaway here is transparency. If you have put the work in, most issues should be avoidable or at least to easier to fix. However, sometimes things come up that you have no control over. If you let people know what happen and why, it shows that you have their best interest in mind. This should help alleviate any doubt of the change being a money grab or the result of your incompetence. Hopefully this should be part of any business not just KS related.

    Looks like you have an example where you talk about a change you made and how you went about it, I just hadn’t gotten to that lesson yet. Thanks for always been one step ahead.

  4. It is never easy to swallow your pride and tell people that you are moving your release date, I am about halfway through your list of lessons and have now pushed the KS project release date from March to June. My KS is a novel beverage cooler and when people ask me why the change in date, I site examples of other KS projects and how it is better to offer the product when people need/think about it vs trying to have it delivered when it would be most useful.

    After explaining the reasoning, people overwhelmingly agreed with the date change and gave me a lot of credit for doing the research to understand the best way to market the product. It almost felt like I got bonus points because I brought up a situation that they had never considered before. I hope you don’t mind that I didn’t correct them when they assumed that this an original stroke of genius on my part.

    Have you ever had a situation with a KS campaign where you thought people were going to be disappointed/upset/ or not understand your decision but then when you shared it, people not only agreed but almost rallied around it?

    1. Daniel: I’m impressed that you’re willing to take that extra time to get the launch right–I commend you for that!

      That’s a great question, and the answer is definitely yes. I can’t think of any specific examples offhand, but I know there have been many times when I’ve been transparent about something that I wasn’t eager to reveal, but I thought people should know, and I was pleasantly surprised by how people responded.

  5. We are planning a fundraising campaign for our social project of a cross-generational boardgame café. For the implementation of this café here in our town we have support form many different organisations. Our biggest challenge is to cover the costs of one or two social workers and there we could apply in different govermental programs to fund this, too. But to get the access to this programs we need about 20k EUR to start with them.

    Our plan is to start a kickstarter crowd funding campaign or do you think there are better plattforms for such project?

    1. That’s a good question. I think local projects like this are tough, as your potential backers are almost strictly limited based on location. Kickstarter is an option, though in this case it’s more about raising awareness instead of raising funds. As a result, I would suggest setting a very low funding goal and tap into other sources (not crowdfunding) for the rest of the money.

  6. It’s a very useful and nicely done article. And your every article here is just great – as well as the projects you brought to life. You do really need to have a lot of strength and will to create projects, write blogs, do a lot of things actually.

    I think there is a one thing that is not covered in your articles: how to build an audience if you have nobody, completely nobody who knows you and your project. The thing with bloggers and press releases is great, but in this way you can just ‘hope’ that this will work after your campaign launch.

    What is really important is a bunch of people in your facebook group/forum who will most likely support you so you can estimate the probability of your success more precisely. But how do build your own community from scratch? How much time will it take?

    You can write good blogs for months and still have no subscribers. You can tweet/retweet for months but have only bots following you.

  7. Jamey: Cheers for your fast response! I see, that’s a shame – I was hoping to use it to bring his asking price down. Thanks anyway :-)

  8. Laurie: Thanks for your comment. Previously, Kickstarter had a guideline that prohibited “fund my life” projects, but it looks like they’ve removed that rule. The key is that a creator needs to be creating something, so if part of that creative process includes paying their personal bills for a few months, it appears that Kickstarter is okay with that. Is that the best way to fund a project? Arguably not, as it means you’re dependent on the same funds that you need to manufacture the item. Plus, as you said, it inflates the funding goal. But it does appear to follow Kickstarter’s guidelines.

  9. Hi Jamey,
    Thank you so much for this resource, this website is incredibly helpful! You said above “You’re raising money to create something, not to fund your life–that’s explicitly against Kickstarter’s guidelines”. I was wondering if you could elaborate on this, please.
    I have a team member who I feel is asking for too much money (£25k for one year) and thus endangering chances of us getting funded. I want to find the official word to show them that funding is explicitly for creating the project rather than living comfortably at the same time, but I’ve been unable to find it other than referenced on other sites. Are you able to point me towards it?
    Many thanks

  10. Well, there’s the easy and fun first step for you–you should be following at least 10 game-related blogs, podcasts, and video channels! :) I follow hundreds of them. So much good information out there and a great community to get involved with. Take care of that first, then give writing another try.

    If you need somewhere to start, look at the blogs we featured on our charity auctions the last few years:

    Also, check out Isaac Childress’ blog. It’s a great example of a designer who sometimes writes about his games in interesting ways, but mostly he just writes about games and game design:

  11. Main difficulty is I’m better at being factual, basically writing the list of what we did and what we’re trying to do, probably without much personality, guess I’m struggling to figure out how to make something that people can get something out of with what feels like a flat personality, considering they describe most flat writing as having aspergers syndrome like what I have, lol, sorry if I’m making excuses, just frustrated with not being sure how to make my writing interesting.

    Would be nice if I could get the rest of the team to participate in the blog as well, but everyone seems reluctant to touch it, either “I don’t know your idea well enough” or “I’m not good with people”.

    I may try that 10 video game blogs/podcasts/(youtube videos?) but first have to find more then 2 I like keeping up with, XD

    Thanks for the suggestions by the way, I’m trying my best at using them.

  12. Here’s another way to look at it: Write a list of your 10 favorite board-game related blogs and podcasts, then write down WHY you love their content. Learn from those reasons and replicate the spirit of them on your blog with your own voice and unique perspective.

  13. You’re right that it’s good to show people that you’ve been working on the blog for a while. But I don’t think that’s the best way to build an audience. Few people care about the minutiae of the development of an unpublished game. Give people something they want to read.

  14. wouldn’t most people, when looking at the kickstarter, and using the blog to find out more about the game, only want to see how the development of the game has been going for the last 3-6 odd months and use that to decide if our team is worth backing? I may be looking to deeply into what people will want to see in the kickstarter though.

  15. Thanks for your question. I would actually suggest writing about your game very seldom, unless it’s something that’s super interesting to other people. Write about other games or things you learn from the design process. The focus should be on adding value to other people, whether it’s giving them a good story, a reason to laugh, some invaluable information, an opinion worth reading (i.e., about another game), a strategy tip, etc. But it should be fun for you. If you’re finding it a pain to write, pick something that’s actually exciting for you to write about and then write it in away that readers can relate to and connect with.

    I’d recommend reading this:

  16. Hey there, quick question on the starting a blog thing, we’re having a lot of trouble talking about the game every week, should we include unrelated game design subjects, such as thoughts on game design or random game ideas, or should we have the blog focus on just the game? and if on just the game, what would you suggest we talk about?

  17. Hi Jamey,

    For starters, I want to say a huge thank you for the time and effort you have put into this blog. It certainly has opened my eyes, and I’m really excited to start reading your book (just purchased it earlier this morning.) Like most things in life, there is a natural order in creating a board game that I wasn’t 100% aware of and I am guilty of trying to put the cart before the horse which likely would have ended badly. I know that one of my biggest challenges is accepting that things take time – especially when it comes to building a group of readers and followers. I know being patient will likely pay off in the long run, but it is really easy to be discouraged when it seems like no one cares enough about what you are writing to read it I just have to keep believing that my day will come :)

    Thanks again,


  18. Thank you so much for writing this! I am now going to wait a few months. I was starting to freak out and get heart palpitations—not good signs LOL

    1. I’m glad to hear this, Carol! You know the decision that’s best for you, and while you might still feel those heart palpitations on your actual launch day, you can be reassured that you’re truly ready to launch at that point.

  19. Heya Jamey, great article. Very high standards for a campaign here, no wonder you’ve had such success there. A few times in different articles you mention that the product itself shouldn’t be 100% complete so that it can incorporate feedback from backers. I was wondering in your own projects, how have backers shaped the game? Has backer feedback every changed something core about the game?

    1. Chris: That’s a great question. It’s varied from project to project. I would say the sweet spot was on Between Two Cities. The game was 100% playtested and finished, but I posted art and graphic design elements during the project, and backers offered feedback on them (both for aesthetics and functionality). In the right game, I think I would let backers help design some cards that would only require a little bit of playtesting. We did something fun on Tuscany where backers designed a special worker meeple to go in every copy of the game–the comments threads for that portion of the project had hundreds of comments with tons of creativity.

      Does that help?

  20. When Kickstarter reached the $1 billion mark they released a page with some stats – This doesn’t show the monthly stats, but it does show that if you’re going for a 30 day campaign, it’s probably worth ensuring that there are two Wednesdays in there, as Kickstarter receives significantly more pledges mid-week than it does at the weekend. suggests that 30% of projects launched in July succeed vs. 50% of projects launched early in the year, which is a huge difference. Probably because so many people are on holiday in August that there’s less traffic to the site.

    I still think a campaign needs to be ready to launch and our campaign for Funny Feeling is nearly there. My main concern is if I wait we’ll be launching over the Easter holidays when the site presumably sees a small drop in traffic. I haven’t quite decided if today’s the day!

  21. Excellent article Jamey! I read it awhile ago, but realized I never left you a comment until I referred someone else to it today. I wasn’t actually planning to launch until next month, but the point still stands that I think we’re just not ready yet. This article made me realize that most of the reason to launch soon was all in my own head, so thanks for saving me from potential failure!

    The only things I’m struggling with now (which I think no one else has mentioned) is that I’m leading a large team of people, working on this project in their own free time, and I’m afraid further delays are going to hurt motivation and increase the likelihood that I lose guys to paying work, lack of time, etc. Most of us have been at it for close to a year now, so I would hope they’re committed enough to stick it out another few months, but I can’t help but worry. It’s a video game project, so I think it would definitely be a mistake to launch before we can show a polished version of our core gameplay, and I would also love the extra time to build our audience more. So it seems like the smart move is to wait, but I still worry.

    Oh, and you also inspired me to start a blog. I had convinced myself I don’t have time, but I’m just going to buckle down and do it anyway. So thanks for the great advice, and the needed push! :D

    1. Rob: Thanks for your comment! I can certainly understand the thing you’re struggling with. I think you’re right that the smart move is to wait, but I wonder if there are other ways that you can energize your team so they feel like they’ve made a big move forward. There are lots of ways you could do this, but one that relates to Kickstarter would be to create the first version of the project preview page and share it with your team. That way they will have a tangible project to get excited about. Perhaps you’ve already done this.

      Congrats on starting the blog! I hope you’ll find it to be worthwhile.

  22. So glad I came across your article. We are in the final stages of creating our kickstarter and clearly we have left off a big part of the leg work in marketing. I really appreciate all of the points you covered and plan to start in on those right now. Thanks so much!

  23. I love this post and agree with most of the stuff in this article, except for some of the advice regarding timing the start date. I can tell you that it was HELL launching my project on December 11 (search KS for ‘steampunk goggles’ to see my deck of playing cards). We reached our funding goal but traffic died from around December 17 to around January 4 due to Christmas and New Year’s. I spent many hours during that time doing a lot of outreach and finding pockets of money to get me through the days (pimping out likenesses to backers to have their faces on the cards, etc) and keep at least some funding going. Thankfully we came up with some creative ideas for add-ons that helped increase funding during the last week of the campaign. So, my advice is to avoid Christmas season, and definitely do not run a campaign that has 2 holidays in the middle of it.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts about timing. I do think you make a good point about Christmas–when people are traveling or on vacation, they’re much less likely to pay attention to Kickstarter. I think a project could potentially do well if it ended around December 15, but not begin around that time. What motivated your decision to launch on December 11?

      1. We had gotten approval from KS on our project earlier that day. So our choice was to either launch and hope that we might get enough gift-givers etc. during that week, or to wait until January. We had already put so much into it that everyone was anxious to launch and no one wanted to wait another month until after the holidays. So, we took a gamble, and made it by the skin of our teeth. That said, had it failed, we would have regrouped and relaunched in February. In retrospect I think we could have raised another 25% had we waited until after the holidays. All said and done though, it was our first project and so I have no regrets. We made lots of other mistakes during that campaign that I learned from, too. One of the biggest was setting our international shipping too high, which resulted in very messy and confusing rewards as we found an international shipping service to replace the USPS at half the cost. KS doesn’t let you delete reward levels if they have at least 1 backer, so we had a lot of duplicate rewards that differed only in the international shipping rate. I will say that the stress pushed me to go beyond my limits and to find creative ways to find funding to get us through the holidays. Luckily we got a lot of support from other project creators and did some cross marketing, plus we had a lot of very supportive backers who promoted us on social media and who gave us some nice ideas for add-ons that helped bump up our numbers substantially in the last few days of the campaign. We’ll be launching a deck-building game on June 9th called Scrapyard Empire. July 4th falls in that range, so we’re most likely going to run the campaign longer than 30 days, through July 14th. if you want to check out our old project, search Kickstarter for “steampunk goggles” and you’ll find it listed under our old profile (we created Galliant Games as a new entity for this stuff since then).

  24. Thanks so much for this post and to everyone who has responded here. Let’s say you feel 95%-99% ready to launch your campaign (because who feels 100%, right?) and you have the choice to launch your campaign 2 weeks before a con that you will be attending and will have hundreds of board gamers to introduce your game to. Does anyone have advice on whether the better option would be to launch the campaign before or after the con? Pros? Cons?

    1. Loren: That’s a great question. I do recall that Mars Needs Mechanics had a great opening weekend after demoing it heavily at Gen Con 2012 and then launching the Kickstarter the following week. I think the best scenario would be to launch the Kickstarter a few days (4-6 days) before the convention. That way you get your initial push from all the brand-building you’ve already been doing, and then you get a nice pick-up at the convention. Then nice thing about that is that convention attendees can immediately back the campaign while their excitement for the game is at its peak instead of having to wait.

      The downside is that you’ll be super busy if you’re working the convention and running a campaign at the same time.

  25. I was not going to launch today. Not even during the next two months. Still, I’ve been awarded plenty of good advice for reading… thank you!

  26. I’ll play Devil’s advocate, since Stick Games doesn’t want to.

    I pushed to get Squishy Forts live when it really wasn’t 100%. Our pledge levels were a bit high, our full marketing strategy wasn’t in place, and there was probably a bit more planning that could have been done on the manufacturing end, too.

    But, I launched for 3 reasons:
    1) I wanted to get it out there. There comes a time with every “great idea” when you have to nut up and just do it. I was sick of letting great opportunities pass me by because I didn’t get them to that next stage.
    2) I wanted to coincide my launch with the day Kickstarter opened to Australia. There was due to be a lot of press that I wanted to capitalise on, so timing was important.
    3) I had roped a group of fellow students in to doing a business plan for Squishy Forts, as part of our MBA Entrepreneurship class – and I wanted the kickstarter page to have backers by the time we gave our presentation a week later.

    And you know what, for the first week it really didn’t go anywhere. We really only had a couple of backers. By the time we presented to our entrepreneurship class, we were really only at $1,000 of our $25,000 goal.

    And then I shifted gears – I negotiated better pricing with our manufacturers, which allowed me to significantly reduce our reward levels. In fact, by going to Kickstarter with the higher reward amounts, I was able to get GREAT feedback from people that would have otherwise backed the project (the sort of feedback you don’t get from friends and family looking at your preview page).

    I put the full website in place, replacing the holding page that I had previously put up, and which included comprehensive press releases, and I triggered a bunch of marketing stuff I had lined up. In the end, we’d been featured on ThisIsWhyImBroke, Huffington Post, CNET, Gizmag and Gizmodo. I’ve also been doing local radio interviews, after a local journalist’s husband backed the project.

    Now, with 6 hours to go, I’m at about $66,000 – well over 250% funded.

    So you CAN do it.. there are exceptions to every rule – and in some regards, I have been very lucky. But on the other hand, none of this was lucky, nothing happened by accident. I had a pre-launch strategy that I built on during the campaign, and I hustled constantly.

    Probably not something everyone can pull off, but it can be done.

    1. Ross: Sorry about the delay in my reply to your great comment. Congrats on your successful project! While I’m still not a fan of starting a project too soon–even in your case, it seems like you could have had a much better start and finish if you had solved those issues before launching, and it doesn’t sound like items #2 or #3 on your list of reasons for launching prematurely ended up factoring into your success–you’ve shared the invaluable information that a lot of hard work during the campaign can pay off in the end. Well done!

  27. I love being the devil’s advocate on posts like this just to keep the discussion going, but really I can’t find anything to argue! The only question that might be worth mentioning is, “Is there ever a project or model that might benefit from releasing early? Possibly one that would offer free updates?”

  28. This post is particularly meaningful to me because 1, I was going to launch Today. For the last several months I have been telling people that “November 3rd is the day” and all that. I was going to launch today not because we were ready, but for several of the listed reasons of why we shouldn’t launch in this blog post. I’m financially hurting, I wanted to finish the Kickstarter before Christmas, and we had a (arbitrary) production timetable we wanted to keep. We ended up not launching because we found a cheaper and faster way to produce prototypes and our main reviewer that we’ve spent money on was on vacation and needed a bit of a delay. I also landed a part time job and so the financial burdens have been lessened ab it.

    Overall I’m very glad for the extra time. The breathing room has been a huge weight off of my shoulders and I’m confident our project will be all the better for it. Hopefully I can launch in the next 3 weeks or so and am glad that everything worked out so we could delay things until we were truly ready.

    1. Kayosiv–Thank you for sharing. I commend you for taking the difficult step to delay the project until it’s ready–that’s hard to do, and I genuinely hope it pays off for you in the long run. I hope you post a link to the project here when it’s ready so people can see what you were able to make of it given the extra time.

      1. I’ll certainly not say to the free publicity of posting a link on your blog. I’ll probably email you directly when we’re close to launch. By no means feel obligated to do anything about it, this blog has helped me immensely already. But If I could garner a bit more attention somewhere else on your site than 21 posts down on a seemingly random blog entry, I’d like to. If not, I’ll still be happy to take any space at all.

  29. I really enjoyed this post and am glad to say that my project launch date has repeatedly pushed back as my understanding of what needs to be done to be prepared continues to expand. This post both reinforced the need to make sure you have everything set and provided a nice comprehensive list of what that everything is. I really appreciate the focus on helping others out with no specific intention of reciprocity. I know that motive is there and when I read someone’s rules or playtest their game, I am hoping to build a connection, but I think it is like you say really important to just do those things in a pay it forward type of way. If nothing else you are making the world a more supportive, creative place and learning by helping.

    1. Well said, Tim. That’s a huge part of my philosophy, and I’m glad you have similar principles. I think they go a long way in the business world (and in life).

  30. Jamey, I have been reading your blogs for many months alongside listening to the Funding the Dream podcasts by Richard Bliss. It never fails that the MOST DISCUSSED MISTAKE I’ve heard from almost every KS project creator that was unsure about their KS project was – not properly gathering enough buzz and backer support before launch! But more surprising is that most people think this means going around with a megaphone and yelling “my project is coming, my project is coming!” but we have all failed to recognize the importance of learning by taking part in the ongoing efforts; backing projects, reading updates, reading blogs, responding to blogs etc etc etc….. I hope that every project creator reads this before they make that leap into the wild wild west of launching their project. You have done an INCREDIBLE job of articulating how to do that well!

    1. John–Funny, it didn’t even occur to me to put the “megaphone” step on my list. :) I completely agree that all of the hype and buzz you need to build has nothing to do with the megaphone. Sure, you need to tell people you’re launching a project, but that’s such a small part of building hype and buzz, and if you pull out that megaphone, you’re going to drown out those other more effective methods.

      1. There are so many ways to build buzz. I would add to your list:

        – Demo your game at conventions. If you haven’t hit at least 2-3 conventions and had 30-50 people try out your game and give feedback you should not launch.

        1. Jeff–Absolutely, great point. I tried to keep this entry (and most entries) open to any type of Kickstarter project, but for a game creator, absolutely. There’s a long list of things that game creators in particular can do to build buzz–use the Two Rooms and a Boom project as an example of that.

  31. Jamey- Great post. In the end it is all about the project/product. As a backer I would choose to back a project that is polished down to the last detail it shows the creator is vested for the long haul and not just looking to slap up a project to make some extra cash. I still believe KS is about “Launching” something not making an extra buck. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Graham–Well said. I agree that a polished-looking project reflects well on the product and the creator’s commitment to delivering something awesome.

  32. well I wasn’t planning on launching today anyway so to answer your last question, NO, I will not be launching today.

    In all seriousness though, i think you have a valid point but there is another side that you didn’t address. that is for extreme procrastinators like me. Giving yourself a deadline actually gets the project done and out there. If I don’t do that there is always something else that can be done, some minor tweek that can be made, and the project never sees the light of day.

    So, what I do is give myself a realistic launch date, then work toward accomplashing a similar list to the one you gave by that time. it holds me accountable to myself. I try not to sacrifice the “good enough” on the alter of the “perfect”. I know my project will never be 100% perfect but 95% is actually good enough to get it out there and get funding.

    1. Jeff–That’s a great point, and I completely agree. Artificial deadlines are really helpful for getting things done in a timely manner (or at all). I think there’s a difference between feeling like you can always make a few tweaks here and there to improve your project and knowing that there is a very important piece missing from your project page and launching it anyway. In the case of the latter, you don’t have to launch today. :)

      1. Yes, it’s very personality driven. For me, being a perfectionist, I have to allow myself to let the little things go or it never will get launched. But I agree, if you have a very important piece missing you don’t have to launch today and shouldn’t.

  33. Is there any statistical pages that show funding by time of year or time of month? I’m surprised that it’s only a couple % points at most difference in funding…

    I read another article about a year ago that suggested (but had no proof to back it up) that any Kickstarter for Board Games that launches in January has a lot higher chance of NOT funding because it’s just Post Christmas. I nodded and said “Well, that makes sense, I guess”, but I’d sure love to see some actual number crunching!

    1. Justin–The thing is, as much as I love hard data, this is one area that I don’t think can be determined by looking at past projects. You would essentially have to look at the exact same project launched at 20 different times during the year because each project is so different. There is nothing to indicate, for example, that Euphoria wouldn’t have raised the same amount if I had launched it at any other time of the year. I think this is one area where the success of past projects has nearly no connection at all to how your project will do if launched at the same time–it’s all about the quality of the project and the work you put into it.

      So even if someone crunched the numbers, I don’t think the trends would mean anything. I think it’s an irrelevant comparison that could actually be quite misleading for project creators.

      For example, post-Christmas example you gave is misleading in itself. People often return gifts after Christmas and have extra cash in hand (not to mention gift cards).

      I would highly encourage creators not to focus on timing and instead to focus on all of those other factors I mentioned.

      1. Let me give you my own personal “hard data” after being on Kickstarter for two years and backing a total of 289 projects — I went and checked and these are the statistics for my main account, representing 247 of them. :-)
        January 7 projects $391
        February 6 projects $248
        March 16 projects $589
        April 25 projects $1292
        May 25 projects $817
        June 30 projects $1582
        July 33 projects $1105
        August 38 projects $1224
        September 29 projects $1244
        October 26 projects $1000
        November 11 projects $575
        December 6 projects $280

        BGG.Con and Christmas definitely slow MY participation down. As I get ready to go to BGG.Con this year, I’m considering backing out of a few projects that I really want to stay in, completely because of family finances.

        I know, I know, anecdotes do not equal big samples of hard data, but I think it’s a mistake to see the year as flat. The big fall cons — GenCon, PAX Prime, Essen, and BGG.Con — do take chunks out of people’s wallets, as does the holiday season.

        1. Julia–I do agree that within certain categories on Kickstarter, different types of the year may impact your project (just not Kickstarter as a whole). For board games, absolutely, you should be very aware of the convention schedule. I’m not as familiar with the other categories, but I think creators should be aware of conventions or buying seasons for specific categories.

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