Figuring out what your pledge levels might be can be really daunting. But make no mistake, they should be based upon math.
At bare minimum, any pledge levels you post need to include all your costs (production, shipping, stretch goals, taxes, kickstarter, credit cards, royalties) plus some profit for yourself. Even if you don’t care if you make any money on the campaign, you should include some profit so that you have a buffer against unforeseen expenses.
Make sure your pledge levels have the shipping costs to your country of choice (probably the United State) built-in to the amount. People like “free” shipping, even though it’s not actually free.
We don’t believe early-bird levels are worth the expense. However, there are some very big advocates of them such as Jamey Stegmaier (http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/). In our estimation, early bird rewards will cause you more grief because backers who don’t get in on early-bird feel slighted, and often the way people price early-birds means they take a loss or at least make no profit on those rewards. If you do decide to have early-bird pledge levels then price your game accordingly to ensure you make profit even on those pledge levels.
We are huge advocates of premium level rewards. This is to say, creating some sort of a bundle that makes you more profit while also offering more value to the customer. This can come in the form of bundling two games together, although that can be a tough sell. More often it comes by creating pledge levels with extras such as a roll-up game mat, a special set of tokens, faster shipping (these rewards ship first), auto-graphed copies, etc. Keep in mind though that these are meant to be premium rewards. Therefore, you should be making more profit per copy on these rewards as well.
Some people will want to get your updates, but have not decided to back your campaign yet. For them, create a $1 pledge level. Not $5, or $2 or $10. Just $1. You need not offer anything but your thanks with this level. However, a nice touch is some desktop wallpaper with art from your game.
You’ll see some crazy $1000+ reward levels on some projects. Unless you can offer dinner with an A-list celebrity, do not offer these crazy reward levels. They just make you look like you have lost touch with reality.
Stay tuned for more great articles on how to run a Kickstarter. Next time we’ll be talking about building your Kickstarter page.