The Book of Jamey, Chapter 1

Book of Jamey, Chapter 1


If you have been following me along my path of creating Queen Bee then you know that I had an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in Oct - Nov of 2018. To me, this entire experience has been an incredible learning experience and one that I have been enjoying. It wasn't necessarily an experience that I had hoped for (I'd much rather see Queen Bee out in "the wild" being played by board gamers around the world) but I think it has provided an incredibly opportunity for me to make Queen Bee better and to also be a resource to other first-time creators who are making the same mistakes that I did. Some listen, some don't - and that is their path to walk. But I tell many other creators that I know exactly how to run an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign. :) Sometimes that gets the conversation started as I share what mistakes to avoid.

One incredible resource to me has been Jamey Stegmaier's book, A Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide. I didn't discover this book until midway through my campaign when one of my backer's (Eric Fersten) recommended it to me. Since then, I have read it cover to cover twice, and am now working my way through it again. This time I am making notes and creating these blog posts as I apply Jamey's chapters directly to Queen Bee. I hope that by posting these that I might be able to help a fellow failed-Kickstarter creator like myself. Many Kickstarter creator's don't take the time to properly reflect and refine their projects while others have been able to find success - even if it takes three times, like Psi Wars. I hope to be an example of how to correct things if you don't do things the right way the first time. I suppose time will only tell if I get to be that example.

In Jamey's first chapter (titled "You Don't Need to Launch Today") he starts the chapter by talking about the Coolest Cooler (see above picture). I absolutely love the story of the Coolest Cooler because they were a Kickstarter failure, too. After their failure they refined their project and then went on to become the 2nd highest funded project ever on Kickstarter - raising over $13 million dollars on their relaunch! (Plus the creator hails from Portland, Oregon - which is where I also grew up). I don't anticipate that I will raise $13 million dollars on my relaunch or even $1 million for that matter. But I do think that the Coolest Cooler shows a glimmer of hope if I apply some of the same lessons that they did to my Queen Bee project.

One of the main blessings I have with the relaunch is the blessing of time. On my initial launch I created a great game (which is now an award winning game), a decent Kickstarter page and then I launched my project. I failed to create a large enough community beforehand to make it a successful campaign. Now, as part of the "refining" process, I get to better decide when to relaunch the project when the community has been built up enough. I don't need to relaunch today. I would love to as the game is ready, but it isn't quite ready from the community side of the project. That is the most important part of the project. If no one is there to play the game then why create the game in the first place?

Later in the chapter, Jamey gives a checklist of things to do before you hit the launch button. Here is my status update, as well as a comparison of where I was at with the initial campaign.

  • Start a Blog - CHECK - As you can see, I have created a blog that now has three entries. We are a nice healthy blog :) Okay, perhaps not a healthy blog quite yet - but it's a decent start. (Initial Launch: no blog started - and really no intent to create one.)
  • Hunt down and subscribe to at least twenty blogs - CHECK? - I haven't done this one EXACTLY as Jamey suggests - but I have my reasons. My primary reason is that I have chosen to focus on social media platforms rather than blogs. The reason for that is that Kickstarter and social media have changed a lot since 2015 (when his book was published). Due to those changes, I feel that a very focused and active effort on social media will be more beneficial than reading game blogs. As such I have joined A LOT of game groups on Facebook (by my count it is 14 groups now, and I am fairly active on about half of those). Additionally, I have my Instagram and twitter accounts and subscribe to a small handful of blogs. (Initial Launch: I was only part of 2-3 Facebook groups. No Instagram, no twitter.)
  • Read every Kickstarter Lesson on my blog - UNCHECK - I am working through his blog. He has over 125 blog posts related to Kickstarter lessons. Between his blog and James Mathe's blogs - there is a lot of reading to do. I'm getting through them, though - and learning a lot along the way. (Initial Launch: no blog posts were read.)
  • Back ten to twenty crowdfunding projects and read every update in real time - CHECK - when I initially launched I had backed 16 projects. Now I am sitting at 65, and that number goes up just about every week when I see new projects that I want to support. Reading the updates in real time has been very beneficial. Balancing over-communication with under-communication is a fine balance. (Initial Launch: I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of this as well and was familiar with Kickstarter updates. Hopefully I ran a decent campaign, considering the circumstances. I felt I did but know I can improve for the next one.)
  • Add value to something that's important to a stranger every day - CHECK? - I try to do this. I've shared projects that are appealing to me. I've play-tested a lot of other creator's games. I comment frequently on Facebook groups, etc. I certainly try to do this and it is very rewarding. Right now I have a prototype game at my house that I will be playing this weekend. That game hits Kickstarter later this month. I'm excited to play that game and offer my thoughts. (Initial Launch: I was pretty selfish. I was always asking others to play my game, share my content and (quite frankly) was spamming Facebook groups. I have since learned better.)
  • Create a spreadsheet of at least ten successful crowdfunding projects - CHECK - I'm an accountant. Of course I have this done! (Initial Launch: also CHECK.)
  • Create and extensive budget for your project - CHECK - I'm an accountant. Of course I have this done! (Initial Launch: also CHECK.)
  • Pay a professional artist and designer - CHECK - I had artwork done on my initial project as well, but since then I have also contracted with an artist to give me artwork for a better board. We are putting the final touches on it now and should have something mid-late June. (Initial Launch: also CHECK.)
  • Send out samples of your product to several high-impact bloggers - UNCHECK - This has been and will be a priority of mine before the relaunch. Not having creditable reviews/previews of my game before or during my campaign hurt my initial campaign. (Initial Launch: also UNCHECK.)
  • Share your project preview page with at least twenty people - UNCHECK - The new project page is far from ready - but when it is close to ready (and closer to relaunch day) I will send it out for plenty of people to see. (Initial Launch: also UNCHECK. I held my project page pretty close for various reasons - all of which are now kind of silly.)
  • Send out personalized press releases to fifteen to twenty blogs - UNCHECK - This also will be a priority of mine before the relaunch as the final pieces fall into place. (Initial Launch: also UNCHECK. I only sent out a press release to a handful of people - most of which were not anyone I already had a good relationship with.)
  • Clear your schedule for launch day - CHECK - I'll certainly have this one done - and I did have it right that first go around as well. (Initial Launch: also CHECK.)

So there you have it. Chapter one of Jamey's book and my progress with it for my relaunch. In summary, (since this blog post has already gone on long enough) there is a great opportunity for a project that relaunches correctly. I plan to be one of those projects and am being patient so that I can give Queen Bee the best opportunity for success. I am going through Jamey's checklist and checking off things as best as I can - but I am not rushing through the checklist. The point of the checklist is to do things to lead to success, not to just check a box off and hit launch.