Should I be nervous?
As I get older, I realise there are only a few things in life that have a considerable long-term emotional impact. Sure, there are plenty of minor events that steer my life and help define who I am, but I’m talking about things that truly change you as a person.
These can be happy things like falling in love or having a child, and sad things like the passing of a parent.
I believe that for some people, running a Kickstarter is one of these moments and for me, my campaigns have been some of the most emotionally challenging times of my life.
Perhaps the most frequently asked question I get is:
Do you feel nervous before your campaigns, like, really nervous, to a point where it becomes hard to do anything? (This is a direct copy and paste from an email).
The answer is yes, and I believe it is perfectly normal, the trick is to learn to move forward while managing it, and not let it become overwhelming.
The passionate creative
I believe this is because I am passionate about what I do, I spend thousands of hours on every game I release and I only release games I am happy with. When you spend so much of your time on something and know whether it fails or succeeds will change your life, it’s only normal to be nervous.
It’s a good thing!
Over confidence is where people start to fail, if you believe your campaign will succeed then you won’t put in the same effort. You’ll be comfortable that you have enough followers, people will turn up, and that your success is nearly guaranteed.
Being nervous shows you care, that you’re worried, and it can be a motivator to do more. Prior to my campaigns launching I have a 3-week process that I go through, and I am working 16 hours every day trying to make sure everyone knows my campaign is coming. I don’t assume people will turn up and I work just as hard as I ever have. I also spend months prior to that planning the 3-week process and the campaign. If I don’t and I fail, I know I could have done more and I never want to be in that position.
Success is never guaranteed
Another common question is, do the nerves stop once you’ve built up an audience and had successful campaigns?
For me the answer is no, I never want to assume, and I work just as hard (if not harder) now than I ever did.
There are many cases of failed Kickstarters from successful creators:
- Gil Hova had 5 successful Kickstarters which had raised over $300,000 prior to launching the unsuccessful High Rise campaign.
- Restoration Games had 3 successful Kickstarters which had raised nearly $7,000,000 prior to launching the unsuccessful Thunder Road: Vendetta campaign.
- Druid City Games had 6 successful Kickstarters which had raised over $2,000,000 prior to launching the unsuccessful Bloodstone campaign.
The reason these campaigns failed is outside of the scope of this article, and all of them have or are relaunching, but it shows that nothing is guaranteed, mistakes can happen, and assumptions can be wrong.
Never assume you will be successful and always do everything you can to guarantee that success.
Look after yourself
I want to wrap this up by telling you to look after yourself, find someone you can share the journey with and make sure you talk about it.
If you find yourself under too much pressure, take a step back and re-evaluate your plans.
I am a firm believer in not announcing a Kickstarter date until everything is ready, and a huge part of that is making sure I never put myself in a position where I’m overwhelmed. I recommend you do the same.
Finally, also remember to enjoy it, as I said at the start of this article, this process is something that can have a long-term emotional impact on your life and it can be an incredibly joyful thing if you let it.
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!
1st September 2022 at 7:36 pm
It’s great to see even the people who I consider to be giants of this industry feel and face the same struggles as the smaller indie devs like me. Great article as always, thanks Frank!
1st September 2022 at 11:43 pm
It’s my pleasure, I think it’s important to discuss and share these feelings as no one should feel like it is just them who finds it hard!