It’s 7PM on a Wednesday and I’m fighting a summer cold and losing, badly. The vices of work and home life are about as tight as they’ve ever been, and all I want to do is sleep. I have a Kickstarter campaign running with four days left and we’ve just barely oozed passed the 50% funded mark — and there hasn’t been a new backer for days. I should just pull the plug. I should bow out gracefully and tip my hat and admit that this time, the trials of self-promotion and crowdfunding have got the better of me and my team. But I’m not going to do that. I’m writing this blog post and when I’m done, I’m going to post it and share the link in all the usual places and try to convince you to back my project…even though we all know it’s going to fail.
Despite a massive effort from some of our fourteen team members, some wonderfully amazing supporters, and a few targeted ads, its been quieter than a session in a sensory deprivation tank the last couple of days, and I think I know why. I think that potential backers see how short we are on time, and how long we are on need, and think “No way. That project is doomed. No point in backing it now.” I think that attitude, though understandable, though logical, is a mistake. If a potential backer likes the project and would have backed it if it were more “healthy”, I offer them this thought:
There are a number of good reasons to back a Kickstarter, even if we “know” it isn’t going to achieve lift off.
There is no risk. This is Kickstater, so your card is not charged unless the project funds. Putting money up risks no money—you either see the project fund and get the reward you wanted, or it does not fund and your dollars stay warm and cozy where they lie.
It might still make it. The crowdfunding crowd mentality could work to the project’s advantage if the crowd witnesses a surge of backers. The motion is contagious, it is seductive, it is value-adding. But someone has to be the first on the dance floor at the party, or no one is going to boogie.
You vote with your dollar. It doesn’t matter how much you put in (well, okay, it really does in terms of hitting goal, but not for this point) when you back a project: the very act of backing it is a vote of confidence, a nod of shared understanding, a fist-bump of acceptance. In short, you make the person running the campaign very, very happy, just by backing the project.
You give credibility. Just as the appearance of a Kickstarter far from goal in the eleventh hour appears to be a lost cause to many, a Kickstarter that had tons of backers but didn’t raise the funds still appears to be popular. Maybe this campaign couldn’t pull it off but LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE WANTED IT TO. This can go a long way to helping the creator(s) make something happen with the project down the road.
You create a connection. When a Kickstarter is over, win or lose, it stays on the Kickstarter site and all those connections stay active. That means that the person running the project can still communicate with the project’s backers long after closing time. That means that, if you really liked the idea behind the Kickstarter and are thinking “Boy it’s a shame it didn’t fund, I would have loved to read that book” guess what? If you back it you are going to be one of the first people to hear when that creator goes on and creates that book anyway. Even if you don’t succeed in bringing the Kickstarter to fulfillment, you will still succeed in being a fan of that author/artist/inventor/what have you, and that, my dear potential Kickstarter backers, is really the point of it all.
And that is why I am still fighting, still getting the word out, and will continue to swing away until the final bell.
So, hey, if you have no idea about my Kickstarter Seven Stones, please check it out and learn why we call it “The coolest word-and-picture project since the world ended” and consider backing it.
And if you’ve been caught in the month-long deluge of meteoric missives from me regarding Seven Stones, and you’ve been considering but figure that at this stage there is no point, may I humbly suggest there very much is a point… and point you to my project.