Taking the leap: Five Kickstarter creators on launching their first campaigns
Running a Kickstarter project is no small feat. Whether you’re creating art prints, a tabletop adventure, or a twist on the classic coffee maker, the challenges and triumphs of bringing a new idea to life are often the same. Here, we asked five successful creators to revisit the time just before, and during, their first Kickstarter campaigns.
Q: What were your reservations about running your first Kickstarter campaign, and how did you see them through?
Liz Roche: We could never be certain that we had enough of a following or a good enough product to warrant funding! It was something we had to come to terms with because, often, creators never feel like their work is truly done or the best it can be. But there comes a point when you just have to trust your product and that your passion for it will resonate with others. We did everything we could, and going to Kickstarter was the logical next step to move forward and get the game in people’s hands. So we took the leap.
There comes a point when you just have to trust your product and that your passion for it will resonate with others.
— Liz Roche, Gather Round Games
Bryn G. Jones: Before launching my first comic, I didn’t have any fans or followers. My network of friends and family provided a lot of support and helped me reach the funding goal. This support was vital, and has given me the confidence to keep kicking. Nowadays it’s the other way round — most of my backers have never met me in person, and the platform itself has helped me build up followers. The “Follow creators” feature on Kickstarter has been a great way for me to see how people are responding to my art.
Shanthony Exum: I was worried that I might not meet my goal when I first started my campaign. Every time I was anxious about that, I would reach out to two new people — either through a private email or face-to-face. This helped me feel more in control of the process.
Craighton Berman: My very first campaign was so long ago  that there were very few previous projects for me to compare myself to. In some ways that was very freeing — I had no preconceptions about how it “should” be going or how I “should” tell my story. I just laid my vision out there and hustled to meet my goal; it was simple. These days it’s great to be able to reference so many past projects to learn best practices and see what works and doesn’t — but don’t forget that you’re walking your own path, and that there’s no one right way you “should” be using Kickstarter.
Don’t forget that you’re walking your own path, and that there’s no one right way you “should” be using Kickstarter.
— Craighton Berman of Manual
Amber Discko: During my first campaign for Femsplain, a personal essay publisher, I received a fair amount of trolling because of the nature of the content we were fundraising for. I’m not saying this will happen to you, because it probably won’t, but it’s always good to have a communication plan in place in case it does.
For more advice on running your first Kickstarter project, explore these helpful tips from the creators of the It’s Different Every Day Calendar. Ready to start working on your project? Head here.