Any tips on starting a crowdfund?

I’ve embarked in a fairly big project and, after some working on it, realized that I’m going to need more money than I can pour in a hobby project on my own, so I’ve been thinking to crowdfund it (the other option is to find enough people willing to work for free).

This is something of a long-term thing, since I don’t plan to start anything for the next couple of months (I want to work and refine what I can do on my own to the best of my capacity, so I’ll also have a better idea of what I need to outsource and, in case the crowfunding goes bad, I can also release it for free and call it a day), but I would like to get some advanced info before starting the CF part.

Do you have any blogposts, success/failure stories (to be honest, I feel like the latter would be more useful) or anything similar for somebody new to this world?


Do as much of the work upfront as possible. Have good art or something to draw people in. Reach out to people(you’re already good on that one ;)). Spend as much as you are able to afford to lose, as if you were going to make it no matter what (whether that is true or not), and start investing that time and money and effort in before you even launch the crowdfunding.

In my case, I was financially in a position where I could have afforded to fund it out of pocket if my Kickstarter had failed, so admittedly it was easier for me to risk those funds, but nonetheless, I do believe it was critical to the success of my campaign.

Don’t over scope and don’t raise the funding goal too high, but also, if you think you’re thinking too low, go a little higher. Have a clear sense of what you want it to be. Part of putting in all that time and money and effort upfront is not just about catching people’s attention, but also earning their trust, and proving to yourself that you can do it.

Be involved on social platforms, put out stuff regularly, like on a blog, again partially to build “credit”, and make connections. But also, understand that probably most of those things will go nowhere and that’s ok. It’s ok to hustle and be a little shameless, but you want to still respect other people and engage genuinely.

Here’s my Kickstarter campaign, game is still in progress but coming along well. Feel free to ask any other questions. It’s a pretty modest project in scope, but it’s been incredible to see that any people are interested at all, when I thought I’d never come close to meeting the goal, and it’s already turned into something I’m really proud of having made.

Maximum Recursion Depth, or Sometimes the Only Way to Win is to Stop Playing


Here are a couple links that I found to be really interesting. I’ve never run a kickstarter or anything, but a lad can dream right :laughing:

And this is really the gold standard for Kickstarter resources. Jamey runs an extremely successful boardgame company and has generously written up 100+ articles on every aspect of fulfilling crowdfunds.


This is my main problem: I’m considering a crowdfunding campaign because I know I cannot fund the whole project out of my pocket (otherwise I would have done that and probably released it as a PWYW or outright free product because I’m really bad at marketing).

Basically, I’ve got a nice idea for a setting, which I’m 100% capable to write on my own, but would be wasted without art (and I cannot illustrate it on my own both because I’m really bad at arting and the whole idea has been inspired by a couple of illustrations and I really feel like the book should be illustrated by the same person).

I wish I had a good answer for you :/. In my case, wanting to be in a position financially to be able to afford to make a game was acctually a nontrivial factor in why I made some of the life choices that I’ve made, but that took several years and was the product of my own unique circumstances and no small amount of luck and/or privilege and all of that is sort of a whole conversation in itself that’s not going to be helpful here necessarily.

I obviously have no idea what your exact circumstances are, but if you can save up and afford to even commission a few pieces of art, and put together one or two pages of a mock-up of what the layout of the book might look like, enough so that at least people can see you’re serious, and also just see what you’re trying to do. Maybe you can’t commit to making it no matter what, but you have to show something. Or maybe you don’t, but I think you’ll be severely limited if you can’t do that. If that means not feeding your kids or paying rent or something, that’s probably not worth it, but if it means maybe buying fewer videogames or ordering pizza delivery less frequently, I dunno.

I don’t mean to sound patronizing when I say these things, I’m just saying, I really think you need to be able to show this level of commitment if you want people to take a kickstarter campaign seriously, I just don’t know if there’s a way around that, but maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe you know enough people who could front you or contribute, not even for the Kickstarter campaign, but for the funds to commission the art and/or layout to launch the Kickstarter to fund the rest of the book? Almost treating it like a startup or small business kind of thing, but on a smaller scale?

@thekernelinyellow I just saw this on reddit:

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This is another avenue I’m taking in consideration right now. I’m not going to start a Kickstarter for the sake of it, so if I feel like there’s a better way to get the work done, I’m going to take it.

The interesting thing is, said pieces are already out there (and I would really like to use at least some of them, instead of original pieces which did not inspire me). Once I have a better feel of what’s going to turn out like, I think the deciding factor will be whatever the artist tells me about the use of their art (if, for example, they don’t want me to use it at all I might even drop the project as a whole: it wouldn’t feel right to me to pay someone else to do that work).

One day I might be in the same position, but this is not that day, so I’ll have to make do.

So the main cost is just in licensing the art that already exists, and layout, and then I guess print if that’s what you’re intending to do? I know people who know how to do print but I’m avoiding that for the time being because that just seems like a huge hassle lol.

I don’t know who the artist is, depending on who they are, you might be able to work out a percentage deal rather than a flat licensing fee. Anyway, I’m not an artist so I can’t speak to this, but I’d imagine that a licensing fee for a pre-existing piece might be cheaper than a commission, but that might also depend pretty heavily on the artist themself.

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I’m not printing anything, maybe I’ll consider a print on demand if the whole thing turns out good-looking enough to be worth the effort, but, since I have no place to store a big pile of books which isn’t dangerously humid for paper, I’m not going to handle that part. It’s just logistically impossible in the foreseeable future (and I’m moving to an even more humid area, so…).