At last! A Kickstartee (?) comes forward to tell us what the crowd funding experience is really like. Not for the squeamish, nosirree:
by Marc Alan Fishman
I freely admit that I am 33 years of age and have never been drunk, high, or anything more than over-tired. But over the last 33 days I’ve experienced inebriation in all its stereotypical stages – if only by proxy – as I managed what I can now declare as a successful crowdfunding campaign.
No, I didn’t drink any alcohol, smoke, toke, or shoot any whim-wham-wozzle into my ding-a-ling. I merely held my breath for 33 days as I watched 155 people trickle in to support Unshaven Comics as we embarked on collecting together our first independently published graphic novel. I’m somewhere between hugging the toilet and declaring how I love you all.
Managing a Kickstarter is an absolute pain in the ass. In creating the campaign, it took the better part of every hour in my life not otherwise devoted to my full-time job, to being a husband and father, and to managing a freelance graphic design business. From sourcing the absolutely wonderful partners who filmed and edited our video, to lining up vendors for producing our would-be graphic novel, to locating all other extraneous artisans and stores who would supply the other pledge prizes, it was an undertaking that easily could have been a full time job unto itself. After our network of vendors was in place, it then took hours of meetings between we Unshaven lads to concoct our pledge goal and build the pledge packages to entice would-be backers. And then we had it all spot-checked by a network of successful campaign builders in an effort to ensure we weren’t doing it all wrong. And all of that was merely the work that needed to be done before we could launch. Did I mention this whole thing was a pain in the ass?
The next bit of fun, err, living torture, occurred over the course of the actual campaign. Somedays, backers came in droves. Other days I was essentially pan-handling on the side of Facebook, dancing for nickels. All because of the latent fear that without a steady rise in backing pledges, new traffic would surf in, do the mental math, and walk away – confident that we didn’t have the juice to meet our goals in time. These mounting daily fears compounded with the deluge of offers bandied at me from the ecosystem of businesses now built around crowdfunding campaign management. Each new business enticing me with their promises of success via public relations, targeted ad sales, or (I assume) the sacrificing of a virgin goat by vengeful locals in Papa New Guinea. How could it not work?