It’s really hard for somebody to get excited about your project if they’ve never seen it before you launch. In fact, the more often somebody sees a project the more attached to it they become, and the more they will want to give you their money. This is one of the biggest secrets to selling your work without feeling gross about it. If you make somebody want to give you their money then it changes the dynamics of your entire career. The more people want what you are offering them, the less work you have to do convincing them to buy. Instead of selling, you are just jamming out about something you both grok.
So, while you are squirreling away, hiding your projects from the world…maybe learn something from companies who are great at doing this, like Marvel. We all knew Black Panther was dropping for months–years–before it did. Along the way, they teased out trailers, set photos, and all sorts of information to build the buzz. People were thrilled to give Marvel their money to the tune of a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, most of the time I’m looking through my timeline, see a Kickstarter launch, and go “what the heck did I miss?” Then, I look through the creator’s timeline and it’s a ghost town. They haven’t talked about their project at all. There’s nothing to get my excitement up, except maybe one post, before they launch. Then, they wonder why their project fizzles. Well, I don’t wonder. I know it’s because nobody cares about it, and that’s a you problem.
I get why you don’t want to share your project. What if people don’t like it? What if they criticize it? What if nobody cares? Well, that is a risk, but isn’t it better to know that now while you can abandon it as opposed to later when the project is done and you’ve sunk so much time into it?
More importantly, nobody will care about it at first. It’s only as you keep sharing your work and your process that people start to care about you and your projects. Caring is a function of time, and the more time you put into your relationship with your fans the more willing they will be to part with their money when you launch a project.
If you want your project to go gangbusters, you should share itaround and let people in on the process well before you ever ask for money from them. Give people advance copies, build the buzz, show promotional images, make sure your fans know it’s coming, and when it’s coming, so they can carve out time to buy it. You don’t have to share everything, but at least share some of your process. Give people a taste, just like Marvel does when they launch something new.
You can’t just release something and assume it will make money. On top of the fact that it won’t work, it’s kind of gross to just expect people to drop everything and back you immediately as if they don’t have other stuff going on in their own lives besides your project. I know your work is the most important thing in your life, but it won’t be that way for anybody else, and in order to make people stand up and take notice, you need to give them something to latch onto so they have an emotional investment in the work.
If you want that money, making people feel attached to your project is the best way for you to launch successfully. Make them feel involved and they will gladly give you their money because they’ve watched you build the project over time and have an emotional investment in seeing it succeed.
I write cool things, filled with monsters, humor, action, adventure, and generally awesomeness. Then, I sell those things to humans. I am pretty good at it.