In the last post, I covered the basics of establishing your Kickstarter goal. Check it out here. In this post, we’ll talk about choosing your reward tiers.
In my opinion, every Kickstarter reward level should include a digital copy of your book, and you should have a book option for less than $10. Don’t bother with $1 thank you pledges, since likely won’t have any influence on your project succeeds or fails. These were my reward tiers for my first project:
Early Bird ebook - $5, limited to 10. This included a copy of the book in three arm-free formats and permission to share with two others.
ebook - $7 ebook. This also included a copy of the book in three drm-free formats and permission to share with two others. I will probably make my next ebook reward $5 and eliminate the early bird discount, but it still sold well at $7.
Early Bird Paperback - $25 limited to 10. Includes everything in the previous tier plus a paperback.
Paperback - $30. Includes everything in the previous tier plus a paperback.
Special Thanks - $100. At this tier, all backer names were listed in the front of the book. This includes everything in the previous tier.
Name a Character - for $250 someone could name a character in the book. Be careful with this since you have no control over the name they choose. I got lucky but will probably not do this again in the future. This includes everything in the previous tier.
Early Draft - $500. Includes a draft of the book as soon as the project concludes as well as a signed paperback and ebook. No one backed at this lever, but hey—a guy can dream. I may make this my $250 level in the future.
Something to keep in mind—backers are willing to pay more than the list price for rewards, especially if they receive early access, extra goodies, and behind-the-scenes peeks along the way. At first, your Kickstarter audience will not be the same audience that buys your books from Amazon. Kickstarter folks tend to be less price sensitive and are looking to support authors and artists, not simply buy a product. They want to be a part of the creation process, so it is critical that you keep them in the loop throughout the project.
Notice how my rewards stack? This makes it easy for backers to choose a reward level. I often see projects with tons of confusing rewards, but I’ve found that 7 stacking rewards works well for me, and I had zero questions from backers asking for level explanations. In the last article, I mentioned that some creators leave out more expensive reward tiers, which can lead to project failure even if they have a massive number of low end backers. Although only 7 or 8 people backed at the $100+ tiers of my project, they made up nearly 50% of my project’s funding. If you’re the only one running your project and filling your orders, it’s worth keeping things simple.
Next Level Rewards
To Stretch or Not to Stretch?
Although Kickstarter officially doesn’t recommend using stretch goals, they can provide a way to spice up your project. Be careful, though—stretch goals can add additional costs to your project and eat away at project profits. In short, like shipping, they could single handedly sink your project if you’re not careful. I’d recommend skipping the stretch goals for your first project. What is a stretch goal, you ask? A stretch goal is an additional reward backers receive when a project passes a certain funding mark. I had two stretch goals in my campaign—a vinyl sticker for breaking $2250 and book illustration for breaking $2500. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but they consumed almost all of my additional profits ($250 per stretch goal). In the future, I would space these goals much farther apart, although the illustrations and stickers were kick-ass, and backers really seemed to enjoy them.
Some project creators offer add-on items, such as extra books or swag. Backers add these to their pledge by adding the relevant amount to their pledge. I offered extra copies of the book for $25 a piece and not a single person added a copy. Add-ons can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with Kickstarter, so it’s probably best to leave them out unless multiple backers request extra items and add-ons.
So, there we have it. 7 items with a simple step structure. Not so hard is it? In the next post, we’ll discuss how to structure your project description in Kickstarter.