Friday 3 January 2020

My Kickstarter Task List

I recently made a list of all the tasks that I can remember doing while I ran the Kickstarter. I'm sharing it here in the hopes it helps someone who is thinking of running one themselves.

Please note that this leaves out huge chunks of work—literally everything to do with getting the book made and sent to people. That was substantially more work than this list, which is simply what I did to create, promote and run the Kickstarter in order to sell the book.

Most of these line items are themselves complex tasks that I had to figure out. There was very little about this project that was simple, that didn't explode into ten related sub-tasks as soon as I started it.

Without further ado, here's the list:

  • Learn the basics of how Kickstarter works
    • What options are there to configure on a KS project?
    • Did I realize I can only send one survey? etc.
  • Planning the Kickstarter offering
    • Determine product pricing
    • Determine shipping pricing, where I'm shipping to, and how I'm recouping it (built into the one price, or charging shipping)
    • Build a simple financial model for various hypothetical funding levels
    • Assess my exposure to exchange rate fluctuations (since I'm collecting in CAD)
    • Assess my exposure to shipping price increases
    • Defining reward tiers (e.g. PDF, PDF+book, wholesale FLGS tier, etc.)
    • Pricing my stretch goals, attaching them to funding targets, updating the financial model
    • Figuring out the exact start/end dates of the KS
  • Build the KS page itself
    • Write/revise all the copy, get it proof read
    • Solicit bios from the contributors
    • Produce supporting graphics for all of the headers, the table of rewards
    • Producing alternate versions for many graphics, 'stretch goal met' etc.
    • Product mockups/photos and image cleanup/cropping
    • Enter all of this into KS
  • Produce the KS video
    • Storyboard it
    • Produce all of the supporting graphic assets
    • Hire Mair Perkins (animator extraordinare)
    • Script and record the voiceover
    • Source sound effects
    • Edit it together, render, upload to KS
    • Use Kickstarter's subtitling tool to subtitle it
    • Edit/render/upload alternate versions of the video to YouTube for other marketing contexts, e.g. pre-launch teaser
  • Circulate the preview version of the KS campaign to a smaller audience
    • Replying to questions/comments
    • Incorporate their feedback into the campaign design
  • Pre-launch marketing campaign (huge, huge task)
    • Learn Mailchimp
    • Edit Mailchimp subscription dialog box into my web site
    • Sketch of a marketing plan: who are my 'segments' (enthusiasts, somewhat familiar, total newcomers), where to find them, which ones to pay attention to most and what messaging to use
    • Write/publish all of the 'coming soon' marketing assets: social media pinned posts, links in bio, web site, blog post, blog sidebar, twitter/facebook header images
    • Figure out what image dimensions work for various social media posts and header images
    • Making a diagram of how all these properties and calls to action relate, so I could plan all of the transitions (e.g. "coming soon -> now live -> buy here", "subscribe -> go to the kickstarter")
  • Ads and Analytics
    • Learn how ad campaigns work on Facebook, Twitter, Google
    • Learn how to generate KS referrer codes so I can see which are worth it
    • Make a spreadsheet to keep track referrer codes
    • Set up google analytics w/ e-commerce for my KS campaign
  • Pre-launch prep
    • Pre-write all of my launch day marketing, proof read it
    • Write my launch day task/checklist (adrenaline poisoning is real)
  • Launch day
    • Make the KS page public
    • Publish all of my launch marketing - blog post, social media, etc.
    • Update all of my 'coming soon' stuff to say it's live: blog, site, social media pinned posts, social media bios
  • Answer backer questions
    • Tweak the KS page in response to questions
    • Add questions to the FAQ
  • Sending KS updates
    • Writing all of the updates (I couldn't do this as I had an interactive campaign and random stretch goals; this easily tripled the work of this task)
    • Compulsively refreshing the $ total, checking biggercake, easily 2hrs/day lost to this
    • Monitoring my social goals ("If this gets x retweets, we unlock stretch goal y")
    • Planning when to publish non-milestone KS updates
    • Actually publishing the updates (since you can't schedule them)
    • Sourcing supporting art assets for the updates
  • Mid-campaign marketing nudges
    • Mailchimp, Patreon, blog posts, ad campaigns
    • Monitoring the analytics to see whether/which ads are doing anything
  • KS campaign end
    • Send the "we made it, gang" update
    • Editing the KS page for some new, post-KS call to action (e.g. "pledging late? go here and subscribe for updates / buy it at my online store")
    • Updating all of my other online presence to swap from "KS now live!" to the new call to action
  • Follow-up updates
    • Writing & publishing fulfilment updates ("books are nearly ready!")
    • Answering fulfilment status questions ("When do Europe backers get their things?")
  • Pre-fulfilment surveying ("What's your address?")
    • Writing/editing/double-checking the survey (you only get one, unless you're doing BackerKit)
    • Sending the survey
    • Pre-lock 2-day warning
    • Several rounds of nudging non-respondents
  • Exporting backer data for fulfilment/reporting
    • At least twice, one when the KS ends, and then later once surveys are done, since addresses will have changed
    • Manually adding people who pledged but didn't complete the survey, then provide their details via email/KS messaging
  • Customer support ("I didn't get my thing/it came damaged"), initiating replacement fulfilment orders
This is quite a lot, now that I see it all in one place!

Wednesday 1 January 2020

The Incursion Egg

Three years ago, a Birevian expedition set sail to solve the mystery once and for all: what lies inside the great glass dome of Never Gap? Puila's cog never returned, and the mystery remains.

The Incursion Egg
This adventure started with a purely visual inspiration: a giant dome enclosing an island, far out to sea. What purpose could the dome-makers have had? What's inside?

This adventure has what I think of as 'scuba dive' pacing. The island is meant to be deliberately difficult to explore; only the hardiest of parties will be able to stay inside the dome for long periods of time, at least if you pay attention to sleep and exhaustion. But for those who assess its risks carefully, the rewards are potentially enormous.

As always, a big thanks to my Patrons who have supported making these adventures freely downloadable for everyone.