There are countless decks that are released on Kickstarter and/or other crowdfunding sites that do not reach funding. There are some that do not even reach 30% funding. I decided to dissect reasons that playing card Kickstarter/crowdfunding projects fail in order to help those that had a failed project and are looking for answers.
1 - The playing cards do not follow the rules: Aside from general design rules, there are also certain rules that should be incorporated into playing card design. It is possible you may have trouble getting funding if your playing cards do not meet the following:
- The Suicide King must be the King of Hearts.
- The Man With The Ax must be the King of Diamonds.
- One-Eyed Royals are the Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.
- The back design should be two-way or bi-directional.
Tip: If you have to break a rule, give a reason and explain thoroughly.
2 - Design is not completed: Often times a Kickstarter is put live but the actual project doesn't have many designs to go by. For example, the recent Rabbit Rabbit project does not have a single complete design or known concept or theme even. It is very hard getting funding for a project that is nowhere near complete.
Tip: If you must go live before having a complete deck, make sure at the very minimum you have a back design and a court card design. Having a theme is step one to success.
3 - Poor card design: This is a very obvious reason why a project does not get funded. However, it is hard for the project owner to come to terms with as they usually feel they have a great design when they go live.
This can sometimes be considered a lazy design as well when the art looks like clip art.
Tip: With any playing card kickstarter project, get it critiqued and looked at by others before finalizing and going live.
4 - Low funding limit: This occurs when the project owners do not do research or contact USPCC before going live. A playing card project will cost well above $1K so if you put your pledge amount that low it will be very apparent to the card community that you do not know what you are getting yourself into. Playing card projects typically ask upwards of $7K to $8K.
Tip: Do research into playing card production costs. If you only need a small amount to go live, be open about where the other money is coming from to fund the project.
5 - Funding limit is too high: Don't be greedy! Similar to the last problem, the card community knows what a deck takes to be created. If you ask for over $25K for a playing card deck it may be a stretch for you to get the funding. It is possible to reach that goal as some decks have been funded well over that but they initially asked for less. This is somewhat happening with the Voyager deck currently on Kickstarter. Although they asked for a modest $12K, they only raised about $9K. With only a few hours left, they may make it but talk about a close call.
Tip: If you need more than what a deck run usually goes for, be transparent with people. Let them know what you will use the funds for and why you need it.
6 - No credibility: "Who are you?" A big reason why I don't pledge for projects sometimes is because the creator does nothing to show me who they are and why I think they will be able to get the job done. If a project has no credibility, it is most likely that they will also be guilty of other issues discussed in this post.
Tip: Show us a picture of yourself, join the community, make friends, pledge/support other projects.
7 - Very little or incomplete information: So the design is great but who is printing it? USPCC? Another company? Why do you want this deck? What is the story behind this deck? What stock are you using on this deck? Etc....These are the questions that backers want answered before hitting go!
Tip: Don't just put up a few pictures and be done with it. Give the details and be upfront. Explain the story behind your deck, the amount of work you put into it and what it is all about.
8 - Project is rushed: A lot of times people go live once they have a design. However, the design is only the first part. It will be clear if your project is rushed or not. For starters, the design will most likely be incomplete. It will also be clear that no research was done on playing card production. Add-ons and stretch goals were not thought out or planned.
Tip: Spend time getting the details figured out. Look at every possible situation that can occur from printing to the legality of the design to the event of over-funding. How will you handle it all? Take time and cover all the bases before you go live.
9 - No marketing/outreach: You can't just go live on Kickstarter and think everyone will come out and fund your deck. It is basic marketing that you must push your project out there in order for people to buy in.
Tip: Join card community forums, make friends and get everyone to believe in and share your project. Don't be afraid to create a blogspot or wordpress site to blog about your process. People love a good "behind the scenes" story, so give them one!
10 - Poor timing/competition: Despite getting everything about your deck right, you could just launch your project at a bad time. Maybe there are 5 other decks currently in funding that are getting the card community's attention, which is making your project an after thought.
Tip: Find out when projects are launching or when they are ending. Try to plan going live when a big project ends funding or when there is a lull in playing card projects to fund. Make room for yourself by not going live when everyone else goes live.
These were just 10 reasons playing card Kickstarter projects fail but I am sure there are plenty more. Feel free to comment other reasons.