Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Productive uses for KickStarter "profits" ~ advice to new creators

Art from "The Steel Road"
Artist: Zachary Viola


There, do I have your attention?   Good.   KickStarter and other crowdfunding platforms have been a terrific boon to small press self-publishers, game designers, and indie comic book creators.

Money from your crowdfunding campaign allows you the luxury of creating your project and may also provide the funding to improve upon it. I have always advocated that you use the funding to enhance your product to make it the best value for your backers as is possible.  Hold on to that idea, as it is important in building and retaining your audience.  People who see that you are creating high quality products are more likely to support your future endeavors. 

I would like to point out that you will very often have some residual funding left over.  While it's nice to call this "profit" and go about your day, I want to point out some uses for these funds that I advocate for, and which you may wish to consider.  Please note: this entry is NOT addressing the costs incurred by the KickStarter campaign (fees, production costs, shipping/fulfillment, etc.), we're just looking at the money made in excess of what you need, and how any such funds can be put to good use.

Art from "The Steel Road"
Artist: Zachary Viola

Productive Uses of 'profits' from a KickStarter campaign:

1) Bonuses:  For my first KickStarter I was able to provide a small bonus to my artists. While this was literally just a few dollars, it was very well received.  I tell you, without hesitation, that I don't miss those few extra dollars but my artists definitely appreciated it.  Morale has been very high ever since.  You cannot put a price tag on having people who are eager to work with you, who enjoy working for you, and who respect / trust you.  Consider this as an option, and be certain to weigh it against the following considerations.

2) Product marketing:  Extra revenue is a fantastic resource for your project once it is ready to be made commercially available.  Even a small amount can go to good use in paying for add space.  Give this some critical thought, as a well run marketing campaign should translate into sales.  This is where your revenue begins.

3) Product production:  Do you want to take your project to a convention for sale?  Do you want to make your product available for sale on your website?  If so, then odds are you're going to need inventory, which means you'll need money to create it, store it, ship it, etc.  A word of caution on this, however, be mindful of your tax obligation on inventory at year's end.  Consult a tax professional for specific guidance on this point.

4) Research and Development:  Fancy way of saying, 'costs for developing future products'.  This is one thing I've been terrible at doing.  I've focused my efforts on my first three points here (above) and have historically neglected this point.  This has put me in the position of having to fund initial costs out of pocket.  I don't recommend you do that.  Instead, I recommend that you take any excess funding and allocate a portion of that for future product development.  This will help ease the burden of your future crowdfunding efforts.

5) Taxes:  This is IMPORTANT!  Consult a tax professional regarding your tax liability.  This is one thing I had found very little information on in my own research before launching my first KickStarter campaign.  Now I'm factoring it in for each.  I recommend finding a local Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in your area, and consult with them on this issue.  Save yourself a tax-time headache by planning ahead in this point.  Once you are aware of your tax obligations (if any), then you can put aside the funds to cover any tax obligation you may incur.

Art from "The Steel Road"
Artist: Zachary Viola

I hope you will find great benefit in using KickStarter and other crowdfunding platforms to bring your projects to new fans and so you can see your dreams realized.  I hope you'll take these points and use them to enhance your own experience with crowdfunding and project development!


Thank you for joining me today on my adventure in writing, game design, and self publishing.  It is always my hope that by sharing my experiences and insights that this blog will help you to avoid pitfalls I have encountered, and that it will help you to achieve your own goals in developing games, writing, and publishing.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

I hope you will share this entry with others.

The art included in this entry is from my coming project "The Steel Road" which I plan to have up on KickStarter in May (2018).  All art for "The Steel Road" is copyright (c) of Zachary Viola (2017 and 2018) and is used under contract and with permission. All rights are reserved.  I hope you will support that great project and share it with others.

Thanks again!

W.S. Quinton

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