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Lessons of Kickstartiness

The Kickstarter fund drive for Notebook on Cities and Culture‘s first season wrapped up this week, earning what I would call a successful $3000. Having entertained many a vision of just staggering over the $999 line by the close of the final day, I look upon the nearly 300% with some satisfaction. Some fun facts about the results, if you’re collecting experiential data for your own potentially Kickstartable projects:

  • 46 backers pledged $3000 total, so the average backer pledged $65.21, the price of a reasonably slick Taschen book or maybe a smaller Criterion box set.
  • The great majority of the backers pledged within eight hours of the drive’s launch, which is about how long it took to pass its funding goal.
  • The $300 pledge level, where I talk about the backer’s own project before every episode, sold out all three slots.
  • The $30 pledge level, where I thank backers by name at the end of every episode, sold 23 slots.
  • The $80 pledge level, where I talk about the backer’s own project before one episode, sold four of 24 slots. Maybe I’ll retool that middle incentive next season. (Kickstarter suggests offering something “tangible,” but I can’t imagine what that would be. Many projects screenprint up some t-shirts, but when was the last time you wore a t-shirt with words on it? Been nearly a decade for me.)
  • Since the drive passed its goal so quickly, I declared that, for each $250 raised over the initial $1000, I would add another episode to the season. (I’ve never found a snappy way to put that.) This resulted in a planned 24-episode season lasting three months growing into a 32-episode season lasting four months.
  • Next season, I might make $3000 the goal and produce an additional episode for each $150 or $200. Then again, I might bump up the goal a little bit more to fund recording in other cities. Perhaps an exploration of the West Coast? Notebook: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver? We’re talking Cities and Culture, after all, not City and Culture.
  • Before the drive had ended, I’d already recorded six or so interviews. Glad I don’t have to explain to those interviewees why the world shall never hear our conversations.
  • Kickstarter and Amazon (who process the payments) combined take almost a ten-percent cut, and you have to wait almost three weeks for the money to land in your account. So allow for that in your budget! Or, y’know, keep a budget. Not that I’m going to lead by example.

Now to make sure the show doesn’t suck. No assurance of quality like the old chorus of “people paid for this” running through one’s mind!

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