An Unexpected Benefit of Kickstarter

Now that the final volume of my and C. Aaron Kreader’s gamebook trilogy Midnight Legion has been funded by Kickstarter, and with a few weeks to go in the campaign, I want to take the opportunity to mention what I think has been one of the best parts of the process.

I should mention that while I’ve edited books and magazines and have been responsible for the release (not through Kickstarter) of 40 music albums, I’ve never self-published, so I haven’t run a Kickstarter myself—but Studio 9 has graciously allowed me to be a part of all three Midnight Legion Kickstarters, and that’s all the encouragement I need to be pretend to be an expert.

There are several obvious benefits to launching Kickstarters, including getting projects funded in advance by preorders and having an additional venue to reach customers who for whatever reason haven’t found you yet in brick and mortar stores or online.  What I hadn’t considered in advance, however, is the ability that Kickstarter provides through its Comments feature for backers to help shape the final product.

Backers have provided us with great advice that Studio 9 has incorporated.  For example: Midnight Legion Book 2 was going to be a hardback after a stretch goal was met, but based on feedback from backers, the publisher kept it a paperback so that it would match Book 1 and fit easily into the Midnight Legion boxed set.  The money from the stretch goal went instead into upgraded paper stock and a premium coating for the cover, all of which was announced while the campaign was still running (giving people the opportunity to back out if they disagreed).  For Book 3, because the print versions of the first two volumes were selling out, Studio 9 added PDF versions of the books as rewards.  Backers requested, and will now get, PDF versions that are fully hyperlinked (not a hard thing to do, but something that required additional work and budgeting).  In both of these cases, and a number of other examples, backers provided input that helped make sure the final product would work for them, and those products were better than they would have been otherwise.

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