Many of you know I'm a big fan of failing and failing often in order to learn and grow. Well, my Kickstarter campaign didn't reach it's funding for I HATE READING! and I think I know why. When things don't play out the way we want them to it's tempting to adopt an attitude, "Ah, the world doesn't deserve my genius." "I'm taking my ball and going home." But I have had the luxury of failing so much in my life that this isn't even a scrape. I brought home so many bad report cards that failure was almost part of my to do list. Failing often has made me somewhat immune to the feelings of regret many become paralyzed by - I know that the next time I try something I'll have a better chance of success based on lessons learned.
Here is a list of the main reasons I believe my Kickstarter didn't reach it's goal:
1) I didn't have a launch party to rally my close friends and family. Many suggest that before you ever pull the trigger on your Kickstarter web page you should let as many people know about your project as possible. I was sort of in rush mode to get mine going as I was juggling other freelance projects etc.
2) I didn't get a "staff pick." The coveted holy grail factor in having a super successful campaign is getting loved by the Kickstarter staff. A "staff pick" means that Kickstarter features your project so that it's easy for people to find your project. They say right on their website that they're looking for projects that are doing well. This is more of a hunch but I think that if you come out of the gate with a roar you have more chances of getting their attention. There are thousands of projects on their site and the more money you rack up early has to be one of the factors they're looking for. So it stands to reason that if you have a bunch of people lined up to contribute when you launch you'll send a message that you aren't fooling around. In addition their search algorithms are set to move your project up on the list each time someone contributes to your Kickstarter. I think they also count the facebook "likes" and move you up on their "popular" list.
3) My rewards weren't enticing enough. If I had painted the I HATE READING! images in acrylics instead of working digitally I would have had original painted art to offer as incentives to perspective backers. Having rewards that people really want is important - ask yourself - would I want this? This was a choice I struggled with early on but I felt that I couldn't spare the extra time to work traditionally - gambled - lost.
4) I charged too much for the app. I think most people are practical - like I see myself. I was charging $10 for an app that everybody figured I would end up selling for a few bucks in the app store. Why pay 4- 5 times the price for the same product? I was figuring that charging $2/app wouldn't get the project funded very easily and that perhaps more people would contribute a little more to get their name in the credits - guess not. :)
5) I didn't nurture my campaign. Call it laziness or an excuse but I really didn't feel that I had enough time to keep my Kickstarter in peoples minds on a daily basis with updates. I struggled with this one on another level too...I didn't want to bug people. I was afraid of people growing to hate I HATE READING! through over-exposure.
6) I didn't reach out to like minded people - educators and teachers. I'm sure that with enough prep work in the form of research and invitations I could have rallied a group of interested organizations. I feel confident that some or all of them may have helped me in one way or another with my goal if not simply by just spreading the word.
So that's it - probably a bunch of other mistakes but I value the experience in that if I ever do another Kickstarter I'll start with a much better game plan. I also have this experience to share and that's priceless!
So if you decide to launch your own Kickstarter please don't be discouraged by my failure to fund. You can right many of my wrongs. Check out one of my friends successful campaigns that finished a few months ago - Jake Parker - dreams can come true on Kickstarter!
Good news! I'm going to be making the app after all - with a few cuts here and there and digging into my own pocket we'll be able to release what I feel is going to be a really fun app! Also - I've been contacted by a few publishers who may want to publish I HATE READING! into a physical book - stay tuned!