Saturday, February 8, 2020

Hunters in Death: An Inside Look

Hunters in Death has done well. The process of learning the ins and outs of Kickstarter has been a great experience. Today I'm sharing my thoughts on the first week of my first Kickstarter.

Let's get to the numbers and the different metrics I find interesting. These are the current numbers as I write this.

350 Backers
This number still baffles me. When I considered doing a Kickstarter I figured with the price points I established that I'd need 60+ pledges. I was confident I could get that. But I hoped to reach triple digits. Maybe squeeze into the 110 range.
- I blew past that the first day with a 155 backers. 

$3308 Pledged
I considered setting my pledge goal at $1000. But I decided $500 was better because I wanted to make this zine and learn the entire process of Kickstarter.
- The first day I already had $1466 in pledges.

Shipping Costs are Included in the Pledge Total
Another thing I did not know. When folks pledge, the shipping costs are included in the total pledge amount. It seemed a strange thing to me. But after some consideration it makes sense, as in Kickstarter wants 10% of it all. 
- The money collected for shipping is $710.
- 21.4% of my funding total. 

Super Bowl Affect
I was concerned that Zine Quest 2 starting on Super Bowl Sunday would sap the energy and excitement away. I figured people would be prepping or getting ready for Super Bowl parties and would forget about this zine thing. Ahh, nope. As soon as I posted Hunters in Death I received a handful of pledges before I even announced that I did it. People were searching for entries for Zine Quest and were looking to back them as soon as possible.

Reduction or Cancelled Pledges
I've run a Patreon for several years now so I am no stranger to cancelled pledges. It is a running joke at the Manor that when I watched my Kickstarter pledge page, it went down. So I stopped. 
- So far $185 in pledges were either cancelled or reduced to a lower pledge level. 

Increase of Pledges
It works both ways though. I've had a few people increase their pledges. Some have even pledged more than needed. I've had $55 in increased pledges. Granted $35 of that was from my mom, but it still counts. Thanks mom. 

Mailing Costs Scare
There has been some concern about my shipping costs. That I've charged too low and I'm going to lose money on my Kickstarter. And while the concern is flattering, I've got it covered. I ship out zines all around the world every month for my Patreon. I think most of the confusion comes when folks look at the package rates in which case I would be in trouble. These are considered letters. A 1oz. to 2oz. letter, my zine averages around 1.6oz. costs $2.24. The USPS increased their rates on January 26th, 2020. It used to cost $2.13 to mail. So please, do not worry about the shipping. I have it covered. Not my first time.

Project Followers
This was something I didn't know about. These are people who are following a project and want a reminder before the campaign is over. I asked a few veterans of Kickstarter about the conversion rate. There are Project Followers, Converted Followers (you know the person who came up with that term is a D&D person), then there is the conversion rate given in a percentage. The average was about 10 to 35%. Quite the range. 

Right now I am sitting on 322 followers, 31 have been converted, at a 9% conversion rate. 

The Pledge Pattern
It is well known that the first and last are the largest pledge days. Then there is all that space in between where pledges flat line. I expected it to drop to a pledge or two a day. Maybe have days where no one pledged. But it has been fairly consistent, after the first two days it has stayed steady and I feel I'm still going strong. I'll share the daily numbers at the end.

Excitement of Friends and Family
The first day I kicked off Hunters in Death I had people texting me, IMing me, letting me know when I received more pledges. It was fun. It was fun to see my friends online getting as excited as I was. And Ivy, she kept on announcing new marks hit. Each time I'd get 10 new backers or $100 more in pledges. 

Kickstarter Hangover
This is a thing. I released my Kickstarter. A flurry of social media posts to make sure as many people know about it as possible. Then follows the flurry of congrats and backed! and general support. I am not a social media person so while it was all great and positive it still took a lot out of me to be honest. At night it was difficult to settle down. I was wired from all the excitement of the day. On Monday I downloaded the Kickstarter app onto my phone so I spent the work day checking my pledge level. 
- Next year I'm taking that following Monday off.

Fighting the Stretch Goal Demons
With the success I started thinking of stretch goals. People asked me about stretch goals. I knew I couldn't offer physical items (see mailing costs scare above), but maybe a PDF stretch goal? Ivy gave me a good Gibbs smack. Because I swore ahead of time to keep it simple and focus on creating the best zine I could.

I don't know what the rate is for people making what they Kickstart in there own homes is, but that's what I'm doing. I'm printing and mailing everything from my home. I wanted to do this, for some reason, my first time out. Of course I thought I'd only get a 100 backers at most and knew I could handle that without an issue. I'm at 283 backers who will get a zine mailed to them. With my beautiful assistant, Ivy, we can handle that. It'll take a little longer, but it's worth it.

This goes with the DIY section. Because I am fulfilling this myself there are many costs to consider. Let's break it down.

0.06 to .07 for the 6 or 7 pages of paper
0.07 for the cardstock cover
0.04 for ink (best estimate)
0.14 envelope
0.70 postage in the US
2.24 postage to Rest of the World
1.01 made and mailed in the US
2.55 made and mailed to the Rest of the World

- Kickstarter and processing is 10% off the top.
- Taxes, I'll need to hold back 25% of the net profit.
- A $100 down for art plus I'm giving Jim a cut of the profit. 
- Editing, while Joe doesn't want any money I want to make sure he gets paid for his time. I'm thinking $100.

I'm estimating after all expenses and folks are paid, I might land about $1300. And that is a rough estimate and not taking into consideration any mistakes. 

Pledge Days Totals
Day 1
Total Pledges $1466
Total Backers 155

Day 2
Total Pledges $2406 (+$940)
Total Backers 257 (+102)

Day 3
Total Pledges $2704 (+$298)
Total Backers 284 (+27)

Day 4
Total Pledges $2917 (+$214)
Total Backers 307 (+23)

Day 5
Total Pledges $3111 (+$194)
Total Backers 327 (+20)

Day 6
Total Pledges $3244 (+$133)
Total Backers 344 (+17)

Day 7

7 day remaining in the campaign.

That's all I got for now. I hope this little shot behind the curtain is helpful. Thanks to all who have pledged and if you haven't please go on over and check out Hunters in Death. It's taking shape to be the best zine I've made. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have thought about KS before and this open and honest breakdown is invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    1. Great that's what I was hoping people would get out of it to do their own if they haven't yet.

  2. This is cool, thanks for sharing. And thanks for creating the zine. I'm excited to see the final project.

    1. Thanks Sully. It has been a fun time. Lots of work, but fun.

  3. Fantastic breakdown!! I didn’t know about KS taking a cut of shipping. Bastards! LOL.

  4. What rule-set does the stats for this use?