Game and story-shaped designs
Kickstarter fever was in the air. It seemed like every time I turned around, someone was posting about their new Kickstarter project on Facebook or Twitter. It seemed like a magical box where you put an idea in one end and an amazing thing came out the other. Somewhere in between a bunch of generous strangers dumped a bunch of money in there as well.
The excitement and success stories surrounding Kickstarter projects made me want to do it like the cool kids. But what would I do? Of course! I could do an expanded print run of The Stork, my… game…book…experiment…thing. Yes! Kickstarter was the perfect place for my weird idea of promoting random kindness.
So I filled out the proposal, describing the book and the general concept and sent it off for review. As I waited, I began plotting out the logistics of the new print run, what sort of benefits I could offer, ways of promoting it, etc. In my mind, it was a done deal. I know it might sound like a lot of self-motivational-seminar bullshit, but acting like something is a done deal is a powerful way to make it so.
But a few days later…dum dum duuuuummm! An unexpected turn of events. They rejected my project, saying it wasn’t a good fit and best of luck to you and…what? Not a good fit? I was taken aback. I felt betrayed. It was like seeing Mr. Rogers rob a liquor store: an unforeseen gut punch to my world view. To see all these other projects get approved and then be told, “No, you don’t get to play with us” was truly heartbreaking.
I looked through some of the other games that had been approved by Kickstarter. One project sought $7800 for what amounted to some fancy maps for Dungeons & Dragons. Why was that a better fit than The Stork? Another guy had a game that was essentially a more adult version of Apples to Apples. Really? That got the okay?
So I wrote back, asking for an explanation. And this was their response:
?”With Kickstarter, it’s important to be able to communicate past experience, visual examples of your work, and a comprehensive plan to complete your project within a reasonably certain time-frame — projects at the very beginning stages are less successful because they are not able to do this. Something like this sounds exciting, but is not in an ideal position to benefit from our platform.”
When I got done being puzzled at their response, I saw what had happened and hope sprung in my heart: They didn’t get it. They thought I had merely the glimmer of an idea, a “what if” scenario. I wrote back to explain that I could send them hard copy of my “beginning stages” in the form of a complete book. Would that be enough evidence to demonstrate I could finish the project within a reasonable time? My project was essentially already done. I just wanted to print more of it, print it with better quality and expose it to more people.
The next message was an apology for not comprehending what I wanted to do and a big green light of approval! So I am moving forward with a bigger and better print run of The Stork. It’s a done deal.
The lesson: If you cared enough to make it, fight for it. The thing you made is amazing, so do what it takes to keep it alive. When you give in to “No,” that’s not someone else taking away your project; it’s you smothering it while it sleeps.