20 Dec The 10 Unsexy Truths About Crowdfunding Your Tarot or Oracle Deck (Or Anything, Really!)
Crowdfunding can be awesome. It has allowed for countless creators to get their work out there without breaking the bank or needing a major investor or publisher. It is also a great way to test the market, to see what the potential interest is in your product.
I am going to chat about my Crowdfunding experiences with the Prince Lenormand Oracle and the Awakened Soul Oracle Deck. This information can transfer to a lot of products and ideas if you are thinking about going with a platform like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
I have been super blessed to have two successful campaigns, even if the first time around I didn’t reach my total goal, I did raise enough to get the deck printed and out into the world. So I may be talking more of the less than positive aspects or challenges of crowdfunding, but it doesn’t mean that I am not grateful for the sites and how they allow for the opportunity to reach so many people and project manage them from the back end.
I wanted to talk about these things because it can seem from a surface level that these are cash making magic pills and it is far from the truth.
So here is the truth about crowdfunding your Tarot or Oracle deck.
Truth One: Just Because You Have Something Good Doesn’t Mean People Will Back It
While there is certainly a market for Tarot and Oracle decks there are plenty of decks that have failed to be successfully backed.
Since there is a cost invoiced to produce the prototype, some campaigns try to sell something that is partially finished. You will find that more people will be interested if the product is finished, physical and fully realized.
Your track record is going to come into play. If you are relativity unknown in the community, people are going to feel less confident giving them your money. I know for certain of a number of people in the Tarot community that will not back any crowdfunding campaigns, no matter who is running the campaign after being burnt in the past by people who never delivered after their successful campaign.
Truth Two: The Time it Takes to Run a Successful Campaign is Much More Than You Think
There is much time dedicated to a Kickstarter Campaign outside of producing the product.
Before the campaign you have lots of work to do getting your product done, test print, research printers, get quotes, research shipping expenses and make a kick ass campaign page and video. Not to mention, generating pre-campaign buzz.
During the campaign there are updates and promotion that need to be done which every day.
After the campaign there is communication with your backers and updates, logistics and shipping.
There is also the time required for extras, either your bonuses, extra tier items and stretch goals.
Expect that the time you are going to spend on the project and campaign to be triple what you think it will be.
Truth Three: 5% of Your Pledges Will Cancel or Bounce
Thank the Goddess a lovely member of the community let me know that this was going to happen. Because it does and that is perfectly okay, customers have a choice as to what they buy and crowdfunding is no difference.
There is probably a science to the average around this but I and others I know have experienced about a 5% drop in pledges while the campaign is running.
Then when the payments are being processed this will happen again. People may have put in their credit card details wrong or a million other things could have happen.
Know that this is part of the process, so take that into consideration when you are projecting your numbers.
Truth Four: Beware of Crowdfunding Sharks
There are companies that try to sell you the crowdfunding golden ticket by working with them. My experience with these companies has not been worth the money. I have always been skeptical and did not spend a lot but the return on investment was not good at all. Maybe I was just spammed by the wrong people, or maybe that is how they make money.
You will also get messages about helping you fulfil your campaign too. They tend to be relentless and very spammy.
Truth Five: You have to Advertise. A lot.
I am sure so many of you have seen those advertisements on Facebook where they say something along the lines of, this is a revolutionary bag, everyone is talking about this planner. Which is usually a marketing company they have paid to run those ads and make it look like there is someone who is sharing their project for free. They aren’t.
So how are you going to get the word out about your deck? Are you going to advertise your deck? How are you going to advertise? Do you have a budget for it? Are there people in your community that you have built a relationship with that will help you spread the word?
In my experience advertising has made the difference for a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Truth 6: Your Reputation is on the Line
I have backed over 100 crowdfunding projects (not all have been decks). Only a few have fallen through, which is pretty good percentage wise, but they have turned many people off backing any projects. It has also downright pissed people off. I get it, they invest their money with the promise of something in return and when it doesn’t happen it sucks.
I see this from a number of sides.
Shit happens and sometimes life throws curve balls at creators or there are setbacks. Which is why many people will only back a project that has been completed to the stage where mass product capital is needed. It is a sounder investment for sure. This is the responsibility of the campaign owner to manage communication with backers and manage the risks of the project.
There is an element of risk when it comes to backing a project, and in fact buying anything online. I know that there are risks and as a backer I accept someone of them.
As a creator, planning is extremely important. Poor judgement in this department can ruin you before you begin and burn bridges in the process.
In short, there are risks involved with any crowdfunding campaign for backers and creators.
Truth 7: It’s Going to Cost You. A lot.
Kickstarter or Indigo take money for their fees.
Your payment processor (like Paypal) will take fees.
You will have to pay taxes on your income.
You have to pay import taxes when your decks arrive from overseas.
You might have to hire a truck or people to pick up the decks.
You might have to hire people to help you pack and send the decks.
I think that was one of the best pieces of advice when I was researching for my backpacking adventures. Someone said, forget 90% of the travel gadgets you see, you won’t use most of them. Save the money and take 3 times what you initially thought, you will thank me later.
I would say the same for creating something like a deck. It does depend on the level of product you want to produce as there are many DIY sites and printers you can order from directly so that is wonderful for producing a great product for a reasonable price. But if you want to have gold edging, a box set, a full guidebook or anything like that it will increase your cost.
Then there is costs for shipping boxes or envelopes, bubble wrap, thank you cards and everything like that.
And then there is shipping…
Truth 8: Shipping Included With the Pledges Is Very Expensive – to You.
When someone backs your project, the postage which they add on through the backing process is added on to the total of your goal.
So your deck may be $30 for people to back, then postage is $10 but the Kickstarter total will say $40. Which is great when it comes to reaching your goal but you should immediately put that money aside and do not touch it because it isn’t your money to play with.
So when you set your goal, make sure you take this into consideration otherwise you are going to be in for a nasty shock.
Truth 9: Your Campaign Can Fail if You Pick the Wrong Platform
If you don’t reach your goal on Kickstarter, you’ll get nothing. If you use Indiegogo and don’t reach your finance goal, you’ll still need to produce something (because Truth 6: Your Reputation is on the line).
Research what is right for you.
Truth 10: It’s Stressful
While I have been able to produce two decks by the support of the community, family and friends, I am usually a pretty carefree person. I had pretty bad anxiety with both of my campaigns, something about crowdfunding stresses me out. It’s hard work and I found it really stressful.
Would I do it again? Maybe.
I really hope that some of the information here has been helpful.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I have had a number of requests from people about running a workshop on creating Tarot and Oracle decks. If this is something you are interested in, please let me know that too.
Have you used Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Or any other platform to raise capital for your project. What do you think of crowdfunding? Bane or blessing? Let me know in the comments below.