Much has happened since the last journal entry and it's pretty amazing! We reached our goal on our indiegogo and even more than so! That part has left us in great shock, because we thought we would be struggling in the last minutes to get 80% and then borrow the last 20% from everyone we know somehow.. Well, we are really happy right now that we didn't need to do that!
I will try to write a lot here, a sort of thing just to let everything blast out of me, since I really need to put stuff down.
Firstly! I can finally listen to this again and don't have to die of stress and anxiety, so if you want put this on and love it, child of the 80s! It's magical sounds!
We started this crowdfunding and game idea from being nothing at all. We never made a game before (Well, PIXXEL (nsfw) and a ludum dare) and we had been working on Fran Bow for about 7 months. So our crowdfunder didn't have much to go on except the game.
We made a pitch video, and the first one sucked. Really, it did suck! We were ready to launch that one, but we then decided to let a few people watch it first and they almost ninja-chopped us in the face! Because they knew that the game deserved more than that shitty video, so we made another, realizing that the first one didn't "respect" or "have the feel" of Fran Bow to it. That's something everyone should always do before releasing anything, let 2-3 different people watch it first and be honest about it. Don't show it to family or close ones, because you need honesty and diversity of eyes.
When we were happy with the pitch video, we launched the indiegogo. We had perks that we thought would be great and doable, and we were happy with the text (also read by other people first). Now we had to reach a million people.. That part is hard, when you have no contacts whatsoever or know anyone, or know how to do reach people other than twitter.
Our first contributions were made by friends and forced upon relatives and family members, then the contributions stopped. We had seen kickstarter projects get funded in less than 72 hours, and that is something you really shouldn't care about. Really, it's people who have been in the business a long time, are more people in the project with wider connections etc, we couldn't compare our success to theirs.
What we didn't think of from the start was that we actually had been working on the game for 7 months, we had a playable version! We didn't include a demo! So we pumped a weekend like crazies and got a version 1 of the demo out to WIN, LINUX and MAC. That is when things started to happen.
We made a couple of crappy presskits until we managed to do this http://franbow.com/presskit/ and we must have sent really many emails to almost every site here http://press.pixelprospector.com/ . Now, the big sites never answered on the first and second email. But the smaller ones, they did amazing articles! And I was doing my best to promote in tigsource, gamemaker community and here. Also on the swedish PC gamer and Fragzone forums, that didn't lead anywhere! ANYWHERE! But that's another story, about the swedes helping other swedes.. Anyway, for the first month we received lots of feedback from the smaller sites and other sites we never even sent out emails and that really became our foundation.
We also made dev videoblog like this
People said that they wouldn't help us and were just a waste of time, but we had fun doing them and would love watching others doing the same, so we never stopped.
Then, the youtubers showed their true power. There were many Let's plays on Fran Bow, with people making their own voice acting on the dialogues and everything, and it was amazing to watch! It was also amazing because they reach so many, and we had many big youtubers that made huge spikes on contributions! After a long time we decided to try and contact them personally from here http://youtubers.pixelprospector.com/ but it feels like they own the internet already. If the game is out there and some have played it, they most definitely know about it and will or will not make a video. Also, they seem to be the future. I can't see anything wrong about Let's Plays and why some wouldn't want their game to be featured by a youtuber.
We then saw that the interest of the game grew, and we started working on a new version of the demo that would be closer to the "spirit" we want the final version to have. And also, since we work on Game Maker Studio we thought that this would be a great experience to get to know Google Play, so we released a version for androids too.
In about 1-2 weeks, we made another 9 updates. Each update made new bugs of course.
We got so much support from people that we also updated the perks, made a trailer and started using this so called "FACEBOOK". Where ever you can reach people, you should put your crowdfunder there.
Being personal about your project is something personal, but you should try to be personal. Now I've seen crowdfunders that gets 2-300% more than they asked, and they didn't feel personal at all. So maybe being personal isn't econimically beneficial, but I think that got us the love and support we needed to pull it through, and also to meet lots of new people!
It took something like 30 days after we launched then we got a reply from both joystiq and rock paper shotgun. These were told to be a large part of the funding, but it didn't help much. You should see all the gaming sites as equals, the smaller ones are just as good as the bigger ones, and they are more likely to write about you if you are a first time developer making something nobody ever heard of! They all reach a diffferent kind of audience, and sometimes when you are making something that the "general" mass wouldnt take note of, you will really need as much as exposure you can, so you can reach the right audience.
That PR part, reaching out to press, was the most hardest part! It was mentally hard, and you felt a burn in your soul. Some say that when you walk too deep into PR, you come back insane. Or it's just inexperience in doing it right. We came out semi-mad, hopefully we'll recover soon. What I noticed was, you really need to be active in that part. Really active! We didn't have a social life at all for two months. We sat on the PCs almost 16/h each day. If you have the experience or connections, this might not apply to you.
From this massacre, we have also built our own contact list where we have had some kind of personal feedback with a writer or youtuber, that we will be first to contact when we have news or anything worth telling, like the final version!
Then we made the Steam Greenlight but for CONCEPT and not the GAMES section. It was getting awesome feedback from there, and I belive it got up to 98% and nr 13 out of +1000 games. That was encouraging! Unfortunately it didn't get us Greenlit. We decided around 8-9 days ago to go from concept to the games section and the results were a lot different! Still, it's great exposure for your crowdfunder either way.
Our Greenlight! Still needs all the loving support
Soon our crowdfunder is about to end, and we want to be streaming live the last hours from http://www.twitch.tv/misterredplays just to hang out with the people that helped us and such, since it really feels that this whole thing has been made possible by everyone who helped us and that you are all awesome. Maybe we will show something not seen before or Mr Red dances reaggeaton for 2 hours, we'll see.
Also, its so nice that we got above the main funding goal, since Sweden loves having high taxes on everything and indiegogo + paypal costs + the value of dollars nowadays leaves us with less than the correct amount we would have actually needed to succeed!
Right now we are 81% on the way to top 100 on Steam Greenlight! If it works all right for us, I will write an in-depth post about that and the whole process! That would be interesting I think.
So what could we have done better to maybe get another result?
We could have waited with the crowdfunder and let more people look at it, discuss it and only release it when its 100% complete. That it has a playable demo, a presskit thats usable, e-mail lists to sites ready to send out (or send out before, to time everything to the launch? thats where connections come in, I think) and to already be a little big "known" in the business with either some games already made and reviewed or just being very social with everyone.
After this all, I could think that and feel like we did everything wrong from the start. Which is true! But also, if we had not done all those mistakes, we wouldn't have learned it, or made the connections and friends. Maybe it would have been too "perfect" or "generic", and thus raising more than 300% more? I don't know.. either way we are unbelivabally happy with the results, it is a dream come true for us, and we eternally thankful!!
If you want to see how it the crowdfunding ended you can watch the last part of the live stream we had here