We funded the System Finale audiobook via Kickstarter, a rather last minute project. Well, it wasn’t last minute in the sense we started planning for it in January but with everything else happening, the launch just kept pushing back and then, of course, I accidentally launched it early (instead of giving us a week or so to drum up more excitement).
So the entire thing was rather slipshod, unlike our previous comic Kickstarter. However, we set a much lower backer amount this time, which was really cool. We debated doing stretch goals / being more upfront about the total cost of the audiobook, but since the amount we pay is to Nick directly, we though it would be rude to let people know about that without asking first. And, see above about time getting away from us.
So we didn’t. I did throw in a random stretch goal when we started getting close to 100 backers though, a random imaginary goalpost in my mind. That stretch goal was a short story which I’ve actually got an idea for now.
I just need to finish the A Thousand Li short for patrons first (which I started yesterday).
Overall, the entire Kickstarter was much, much better than we anticipated and has made us incredibly happy to get funded. Further thoughts downwards. But first…
One of the biggest things that Kickstarter does is that you get datasets! Like, a LOT. Not only do we get contact info for backers (if they wish to give it) later on when we run backer surveys, we also get all of this:
That’s right, referral data of where all the sales came from. I didn’t use custom referral tags enough, but you can see stuff like our Discord channel directing sales over, and even Twitter! As much as I might complain about Twitter not generating sales… well… no. It does.
Though e-mails and our FB groups by far outstrip everything else. But a good 36% of our backers came from KS affiliated stuff, which is amazing.
Also, we get little things like this – a nice graph to show where we had ‘dead’ times and when we made big pushes. Like you can see the sudden slope rise is when we hit Reddit, the FB groups and the like, where fans came along and helped push things for us.
There’s a ton of other data, but one of the biggest takeaways is the sheer profit level. Like, on average we made $61 per backer, which is significantly more (even after you take away expenses of shipping hardcovers/paperbacks/etc.) than what we would make on Audible ($4.50 or so per book sale).
Further Thoughts & Musings
Because time ran away from us, we ran this Kickstarter with a lot less preparation and prettiness than we should have. We have no KS video, we have no pretty graphics, no stretch goals.
All things we’ll try to prep for our next Kickstarter. This one will be for the second short story anthology we’re looking to run for System Apocalypse, which I expect to get much fewer backers and income. Shorts just don’t do well in LitRPG but in this case, our backer goal is $700 (translates to roughly $0.01 more payment to writers). Launch is probably in September once we get our short story applications in and know if we have enough people to run an anthology.
Watching other people work on this, we’re coming up with ideas for stretch goals and the like for further work. I’m definitely thinking adding stuff like merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, etc) might be cool; though mugs are a killer on shipping fees which might be why we’d skip that. Bookmarks and bookplates though…
Or we can add those items as ‘add ons’ next time…
So many ideas. But yeah, Kickstarter seems to be a good way of adding to our income streams, especially if we plan for it beforehand. Eventually, some of our more ambitious projects (an A Thousand Li and System Apocalypse prestige edition of the paperbacks) will be done.
Oh man… the ideas we have for those.
Just have to find the time. As always.
Like the business blog post? Want to support me writing more of them? Want to read ahead (2 weeks) of others? Become a Patron and choose the $2-tier to be able to read the business posts only and ask questions about the business side of writing.