9 Lives to Valhalla Funding Campaign Postmortem
Oh wait, we never did a 9 Lives to Valhalla crowdfunding postmortem, did we? WELL LET’S DO IT
Let’s start with the facts.
- We started with - ok we forget, around 104 prelaunch followers on Kickstarter.
- We offered 3 tiers: digital, physical+digital, and all of the above + custom art & signed print.
- Initial funding goal: $1K. Announced stretch goal: $1.5K. Unannounced stretch goal: $2K.
- The campaign launched Feb 1, closed Feb 28.
- We funded in 2 hours. Reached the stretch goal in 4. Reached the unannounced stretch goal Day 1.
- We opened strong, had consistent backer growth the entire month, and moderately spiked at the close.
- In total 9 Lives to Valhalla had 594 backers, getting us 839% funded.
Now, a transition from facts into hunches.
We worked a lot on press, arranging appearances as early as Nov. 2021. Press kits went out in January, with follow ups when we added The Wreck of the Murderous to the rewards. We reached out to any opportunities that came up.
It looks like it paid off - we had mentions in Dicebreaker, Tabletop, Cannibal Halfling, Wyrd Science, and a number of exciting videos, tiktoks, and blogs (see: our twitter thread of 9 Lives press!)
We talked about 9 Lives to Valhalla everywhere: podcasts, streams, twitter, discord, instagram, reddit, itch.io, and newsletters.
According to campaign data, ultimately 62% of our backers came from within Kickstarter. But this is misleading: the way Kickstarter counts internal referrals includes pre-launch followers & folks who went to Kickstarter & searched for 9 Lives to Valhalla. That includes an unknown number of people whose interest was sparked by press, the sneak peek on itch.io, and/or any of our marketing efforts - distinct from people who genuinely found it through Kickstarter. Still, probably safe to say at least half our backers came from within Kickstarter, if not more.
We launched pre-orders exactly 24 hours after the campaign concluded. There have been several pre-orders, but nothing like the backer count numbers. Maybe there would be more if we pushed pre-orders as hard as we did the campaign, but that’s not feasible for multiple reasons - there’s work to do on both zines that were part of the campaign, we have other projects that need our attention also, we don’t want to overwhelm our audience with a campaign they already followed for a whole month, and we don’t want to burn out on it ourselves!
Another transition: how do we feel?
Great! Support for 9 Lives to Valhalla was so much more than anticipated, we’re flattered, humbled, thrilled.
And how do we feel about Kickstarter, and crowdfunding generally?
Well, glad that we’ve always planned to pursue diverse funding models.
Sometimes it’ll be crowdfunding. Sometimes a small platform will be best, sometimes a large one. Sometimes we’ll want a different approach.
A Kickstarter campaign worked very well for 9 Lives to Valhalla, but also emphasized what we already knew: this particular type of crowdfunding campaign isn’t necessarily the best every time.
Our goals are to make sure that we’re choosing the appropriate funding model for the project, and not finding ourselves fully reliant on any one model or platform.
That’s always been the plan, and it still is.
Making our zines, mailing our zines, putting out Hex+Settings, playtesting other projects, getting other books printed, and generally clinging to the trello board to keep track of everything we’ve got going on!
If you’ve got any questions, hit us up 😻