Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Kickstarter Fulfillment 101: Pledge Management

Kickstarter fulfillment is an under discussed, behind-the-scenes process that can make or break a campaign as easily (or more so) than a failed launch. In a series of posts, I'm going to dig into the nuts and bolts behind shipping, distribution, pledge management, and the customer service baggage that comes with a Kickstarter. 

This first post on pledge management services is based on my own experiences Kickstarting The Drain and discussions with other indie RPG creators. I generally advocate for a financially risk-averse approach because that's my personal priority, but I will try to indicate options for those prioritizing accessibility, time investment, and other concerns.

Even if you're not planning to run a Kickstarter any time soon, you might be intrigued to learn what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite RPG campaigns after they fund.

My Fulfillment Experience

Back in February 2021, I kickstarted a 3rd party Mothership zine called The Drain. The campaign went far better than I'd hoped, closing out with over 1400 backers. I launched with a completed, edited manuscript and art + layout in process. I gave my backers a fulfillment estimate for June 2021, but internally I expected to fulfill in April-May. I ended up encountering a few setbacks and delays and used my entire grace period—beginning digital and physical fulfillment on the main zine in mid-June, with a few outstanding digital stretch goals still in the works.