Road to Kickstarter Part 4: The Kickstarter Reward Levels

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Road to Kickstarter - Kickstarter Reward
Copyright 2017 Claire Jennings

Road to Kickstarter Part 4: The Kickstarter Reward Levels

Hi there, I hope you had a good week. My week has been spent on design tasks, as I talked about last week, I have been polishing my site design for the web page, which will cascade down to the social media sites and the Kickstarter site as well. I have also been thinking about reward levels, and to go with my plan A or plan B on them.

Update on the website and social media development

Just a quick update, I will be using my avatar in the website design, and it heavily influences my design. This avatar works well, as it represents both me and Samantha. Some people think it is me, and others think it is Samantha. Once I get a picture of the two of us up, you can look past the hair color and eye color, and decide for yourself which of us it really looks like.

Website Preview - Kickstarter Reward
A preview of the website design I have been working on. Copyright Claire Jennings 2017

I have had help this week as well. I friend of mine gently ripped my design apart and pointed out where I was ignoring my graphic design training where I really need to keep it in mind. He refused to take anything for me, saying it is the kind of help he gives for free. Still, I am very thankful for his time and help. One thing to remember with a Kickstarter passion project, always show gratitude for the help you get to bring your dreams alive. Some will help in small ways, others will help in big ways. Give back in the ways that mean the most to those helping you. Always.

A look into Kickstarter Reward Levels

People do all kind of things when looking at reward levels. The offer shirts, post cards, and all kind of items that don’t have anything to do with the project at hand. I want to get a book that my daughter made with me out into the real world, so everything I do should be focused around that. Plus, if an extra is really wanted, be it a bookmark or a poster, I can always evaluate the difficulty and cost and bring it in later. But this book needs to be the center of the Kickstarter. Else, I am doing Samantha a disservice and taking away options from people who really want to get excited about this little project.

Go big, or go home? No, go small and succeed

I know what I could eventually do with this project. I could go to a board game printer, and have them create a cool binary counter with book type package. This could really drive my project big, make it interesting to those who might pass on a smaller first step, giving it the potential to explode. I just have one problem with this, I want to make sure I can really deliver, no matter how big or small my project gets. I have many things to learn, and I need to respect the backers. I need to be honest with the risks and limit them, even if putting caution to the wind means a smaller end potential.

So, I will be going with Plan B. What is Plan B, you ask? It is making a book, a good book, but a book all the same. It means spending all my extra energies in updating that book, swapping out the font for a better one, changing the graphics, making a really cool cut out binary counter, and producing it through a tried and true method. It means looking at distribution and choosing something that is best for backers around the world. It means taking the safe route on logistics.

With that in mind, I will be doing POD, Ingram Spark to be specific. I can ship from the factory to backers, have a nice hardback as an option, and can have books printed in the United States, Europe, and Australia, allowing for a much nicer experience for world-wide backers. It is a box I am putting myself in, but some of the coolest designs come from being put inside a box.

Kinckstarter Reward Level Considerations

Reward levels are tricky, too complicated, and they confuse. Too simple, and you are cutting out options that may really feel like a thank you to the backers who either want to back big or back small. So, I am trying for the following backing pattern: $1 level for those who want to support the project just to support the project, one to three levels that contain the main point of the project, with a clear indication of which is the project, a package for those who need several books (schools, libraries, resellers) one to three special thanks for those who want to give big.

With this in mind, I am thinking about breaking the rewards as follow:

Digital Thank You

For the digital thank you, this needs to be something quick and easy, something will have meaning to them if they want meaning, but also something that will be inexpensive and easy to get to them. It should also relate somehow to the project. A thank you on Twitter is common, but that seems like a thinly veiled marketing stunt to me and has nothing to do with the book. Something like a bookmark should be inexpensive and would relate to the project, but the Kickstarter logistics get complicated when taking into consideration how I will be shipping the books. So I need something else, maybe something that combines the best of the two but ditches the aspects I don’t like – a digital thank you on the website, and a downloadable pdf for the binary counter. The key here is to be thoughtful.

Digital Book

When looking at the main project, is there a way to give a light version of the project goal? If so, you should do so. For books, it is common, create a digital version of the book. Unless there is a good reason, I would also include the previous rewards in each reward level. You may or may not have a “light” version to hand out.

Softback Workbook

This one is unique to my project but shows the possibilities of up to three versions of your main project goal. This would be a digital book, plus a softcopy workbook. One of the things many people have asked for is help with sharing the binary book and counter with their kids, and this would give them that help. So this gets added as a “listening to what your supporters want” type level. If you are being selfish with your Kickstarter, you should not be on Kickstarter. If possible, give your supporters a voice in your project.

Hardback Book Plus Workbook

This is it, this is the point of the Kickstarter passion project. It is important this is clear to people, and that it does not get confused with any partial rewards before it. One check, if people don’t get this version, can they still have a good experience, if not, then the versions before this are too light. If they get this version, do they get something nice for their effort? Yes, doublecheck the reward levels. If they go with this level, do they get something that makes it feel nicer? If not, doublecheck your levels for a quality upgrade each level.

In Book Thank You

Print space is expensive, so it works as an extra special thank you for those who really want to support your passion project, and reward your most important supporters. At this level, you might think about limits. That is something I will be giving some thought to.

Customized Book

Is there a way you can create a “special” version of a project for your backers if they want to pay for it? If so, it is a great way of making a few feel very special. If I do this level, it will require a significant investment because they will get a custom book, which costs me upload price, and possibly a custom ISBN purchase as well. I really like the idea, and it seems like POD should be able to do this. The price might be high, and there might be no backers, but if there are those interested, then I could do it.

Classroom Bundle

It can be a good idea to have a larger bundle (say, five to ten) for people who want to purchase for reselling. However, back to that thoughtful factor, with my project, there is a second group that would be good to support, schools and libraries. This is a way of letting someone donate to a classroom or library in a way that talks to them. This would not be customized. If someone wants to resell, they could also do this version, and I don’t need to call attention to it. I would rather highlight the community aspect. So when you do your project, that is something to think about as well.

Customized Classroom Bundle

At the top-level reward, it is important to give people a chance to get everything, for those who don’t want to be left out.

Access To Me Reward Levels

Now, there is one type of reward level I decided to bypass on Kickstarter. It is the “You can have access to me” through a trip, or skype, or similar. I could make this related to the book with a book reading, but somehow, it just feels cheap to me. After all, everyone who backs me is supporting me, so I really should, you know, make myself as available to them and listen to them as I can. I should give them a voice, instead of making the highest payer have the biggest voice.

There are several ways I could tweak this to try and get more money. At the end of the day, this is a passion project, and I want to share my project with people. While I need to be fiscally aware in order to make sure I can deliver on what I promise, it is o, so important put priorities where they should be, how can I share a project with others that people have expressed an interest in having shared, no matter how many or how few back me (assuming my minimum goal is met)?

Looking Forward

Well, that is it for this week. I need to get the financials nailed over the next week. I also am receiving a microphone today, so I will hopefully be adding some form of video to my updates starting next week.

If you liked this post, check out the other posts in this series.

Until next week,
Claire