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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    $130,688 in Funding - Kickstarter - Erfworld Year of the Dwagon

    Total Funded: $84,981 & $45,707
    Project Urls: &

    #1 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your project.

    I'm the author of Erfworld, an ongoing fantasy series of graphic novels that runs at We started the comic in 2006, and we will begin our third book soon.

    Our first project (March 2012) was to raise $24,000 to make Book 1 into a motion comic. We met that in 3 days and added a series of stretch goals that brought us out to $85,000 (and a donated Mac mini). Stretch goals included a score for the motion comic, a new website for Erfworld, new shirts and plushies, a reprint of previous volumes, and other things.

    Our second project (April 2013) was to raise $9600 to print E is for Erfworld, an alphabet book we used to teach new artist David Hahn to draw characters and things in Erfworld. We met that in 24 hours and added modest stretch goals. That project ended up raising $45,000.

    #2 Why did you choose Kickstarter out of all the crowdfunding platforms that exist today? Do you think you could have succeeded in funding your project on another crowdfunding platform? If so, which?

    Kickstarter was the first mover in crowdfunding, and is still the highest profile name in the field. Besides being a genuinely visionary and ethical privately-held company, the community of donors there dwarfs any other site. While we could have succeeded with both of these projects on another site (at minimum, 80% of our donors were already Erfworld readers), I do not feel we would have done as well.

    #3 What do you feel contributed the most to the success of your project? Where did all these people who funded your project come from?

    As I mentioned, we have been doing the comic for years. Our regular audience numbers something like a quarter of a million people. A percentage of them are generous enough to support our creative endeavors, and we're grateful.

    #4 What was something that you learned from having a successful Kickstarter project which you did not know prior to going live?

    Fulfillment is brutal. Postage on a 4-pound book overseas can cost several times the printing cost of the book. I advise project creators to do their research on all possible costs, especially packaging and shipping.

    #5 What mistakes do you think you may have made along the way on your crowdfunding journey?

    It's easy to keep adding stretch goals, because new promises are cheap to make and exciting to say. In our second project, we tried to be much less ambitious and only fund what we could handle creating. We'll have everything done for project 2 before everything is done for project 1.

    #6 If you could give advice to someone thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign, what would it be?

    As far as I can work out, three things determine the final dollars pledged: 1) footprint, 2) narrative, and 3) project management.

    Footprint is your existing brand and network. How many people can you get to look at your project page at all, and how much do they care about you already? It helps immensely to build an audience with free content long before you ask them for any money. It helps to know people who will boost your signal with their audience.

    Narrative is the story you tell about who you are and what you want to do. You have to convince potential donors of several things. First, that you are a person worth supporting. Second, that this idea is worth making real. And finally, that you are a person who is capable of coming through and actually making it come true.

    Project management determines how much a donor is willing to pledge. You can affect that by managing your donor reward tiers well, and by keeping an ongoing narrative (updates, progress charts, group goals, bonus rewards, etc.) about the project as long as it's live.

    #7 Now that your project has been fully funded, what issue or unexpected occurrences have you run into, if any?

    I mentioned about the postage. We also have been through 4 different website development teams and don't have a new site yet. Almost all the physical rewards we promised have been made and delivered, but the DVDs are waiting as production on the motion comic has been stalled out.

    A project description is just a dream statement, and donor rewards a list of promises. I view the donor rewards as more important, and they've taken up more of my time than the projects I have funded. That's okay, and it happens. But project creators should be prepared for it.

  2. #2
    Just curious, out of the three things that determine the final pledge amount, which of these three do you find most important? 1) footprint, 2) narrative, and 3) project management.

  3. #3
    CrowdFunding Success
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Fundordie View Post
    Just curious, out of the three things that determine the final pledge amount, which of these three do you find most important? 1) footprint, 2) narrative, and 3) project management.
    Footprint is, by far, the one with the most impact on the final number. All the biggest projects represent some person or agency whose work was widely known and loved.

    In fact, footprint is so big that it's tempting to say "that's the whole story." That you have to be a celebrity or have been doing your thing for many years before you can do very well on KS.

    But narrative has a huge impact as well. Compare Michael Dorn's movie to Star Trek: Renegades. In both cases, a bunch of Star Trek cast members got together to make a movie. Dorn's was about never doing Star Trek again, and it failed. Walter Koenig and Tim Russ' was another Star Trek adventure they wanted to make a pilot for. It succeeded well. So the Kickstarter audience was not responding to the celebrity. Two projects, same footprint, different narrative. One raised 5 times what the other did.

  4. #4
    Administrator admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I completely agree that footprint and prior marketing is the most important factor in succeeding on Kickstarter. Having said this, there are a limited amount of projects which raised hundreds of thousands or even millions which pretty much had very little footprint, but had a unique, innovative idea, which ended up receiving the right press at the right time. Thanks for your feedback
    Join TheHidden Content , and Invite your friends.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Hey, I'm an Erfworld reader and I actually backed this

    Kickstarter was the first mover in crowdfunding

    Sorry I have to correct you there, my friend. Fundable was the first crowdfunding site with a threshold pledge scheme (also known as the "all-or-nothing model") and they actually got plenty of attention from tech bloggers from their start in 2005. Kickstarter combined the threshold pledge scheme of Fundable with the reward levels of many earlier fundraising sites, and distinguished themselves by being far more picky about which projects they would permit than any site before or after.

    Fundable didn't have a payment provider to take the hits/blame for them, but relied on credit card payments directly. Predictably, this gave them huge headaches with credit card scammers eventually. Then they flagged a legitimate user for a scammer. Unluckily for them this was the science fiction author Mary Robinette Kowal, close friend of Cory Doctorow who at the time ran the world's most popular blog. The resulting PR fiasco and highly public fighting between the two founders was the end for the company.

    But they kept it going from 2005 to 2009, had thousands of successful projects, and did crucial early work in wrapping the public's mind around threshold pledge funding. So they were definitively the first mover in Kickstarter's type of crowdfunding.

  6. #6
    Well, in the Author's defense, Kickstarter was at the very forefront when crowd-funding became the zeitgeist that it is now. As you put, this was largely because of their selectiveness and combination of features and system that other sites were doing right. So while they may not have been the first they were the first big name. And I believe that's what he meant.

    Erfwood looks great guys, it's a shame I didn't get to pledge. But your success is inspirational!
    Last edited by DaveyKanabus; 07-30-2014 at 03:27 AM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member btcomp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Eastern Michigan
    Great job on your funding. I am reading your responses, to also have a successful campaign, whether it's this month or in the future.

  8. #8
    Well donated , well donated

  9. #9
    That is really impressive. I can't believe that you almost got 6 figures in a single campaign for a graphic novel. That's awesome!!!

  10. #10
    Limited time: The SoGo Mini! (now on kickstarter) #indiegogo #kickstarter #sogomini

    Hopefully we can be as successful as this project!

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