Site Review: The Legion of Nothing Kickstarter

7 years ago | Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

This isn't a review of the Legion of Nothing site (which I know needs work), but rather a review of what I've put into the Kickstarter.

Basically, I'm wondering what questions and comments you have. I know that I've got a few things I'm tempted to change, but I'm sure that I'll discover a few more if I'm not the only person who looks at this before it goes live.

Read responses...

Page: 12


  1. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 7 years ago

    I think the biggest issue I had from that page was a general feeling of indecision - you don't seem too convinced about what the money would go towards or what the stretch goals would be (graphic novel, computer).

    The general tone of the writing you use also implies a kind of hesitancy. A lot of use of the word 'hope' (especially toward the tail end), 'suspect'. 'Come to think of it' (as if this is being done on the fly).

    I would suggest:

    * Starting off, perhaps redo the video so you're getting into what this is about without hesitating or saying 'uh'. I'd be far less coherent than you were, honestly, but this is something you'd want to run through a few times until you had it down pat.

    * If you can, tap your legion of nothing Fanart and existing book cover (even concept work your artist sent prior to the final version of the book cover?) and add it to the video, panning in/out/to one side to give a sense of what the setting is about and the vibe.

    * You're selling a product here, so you need to detail more about Legion of Nothing and what makes it good. You say 'It's about Nick Klein and his friends, all of whom are grandchildren of the members of the Heroes League. The Heroes League got together in World War 2, and continued to fight criminals, supervillains, and aliens into the early 1980's.' but that doesn't grab the reader. Even the two and a half words you've got leading into that paragraph take away from the immediacy of the pitch. Hype up your work and condense it to its key points, sell it like you had 15 seconds to talk to a roomful of publishers and comic book greats at Comicon.

    * Don't neglect to mention the high points of what it is in the general sense. We don't need/want to hear how many updates you missed. Tell us that you've been doing this for something like nine years, that this is a labor of love, that you've gotten to know Nick and his friends and you want to bring them to the world at large. Share your background, and talk about how little there is in the way of good superhero literature in general.

    * I advise against saying it was surprising how well your book did. Screw that, show confidence in your work. While we're cutting words and sentences, the anecdote that closes off the kickstarter seems random and out of place as the last thing you say to potential backers.

    * Reading the kickstarter rewards, you use 'plus' a bit too much. I dunno if this is regular, but it kind of gets tedious to read more than letting excitement ratchet up as I read through, if that makes any sense?

  2. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    I agree with Wildbow: the writing is very loose. It needs to be tightened up and, yes, made a lot more confident. Figure you've got a paragraph to talk people into spending money. Give them a reason to be excited. Give them a reason to open their wallets.

    Kickstarter is like speed-dating. Present yourself accordingly. :)

  3. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    If it helps you do it, write it in the voice of one of your characters—preferably the most confident and charismatic character you've got. :)

  4. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    Chris, Wildbow...

    Thanks. This is why I asked people to look. After a while it's easy to get too close to things, and stop seeing the obvious, especially what's wrong. I've been revising the video for much of the day. It isn't changed on the site yet, but I hope to get it changed soon.

    The rest will be relatively easier (in that it doesn't involve video production), and I felt like hitting the big stuff first.

  5. SgL (Member)

    Posted 7 years ago

    I've backed almost 50 projects on Kickstarter -- in publishing, comics, video games, and the occasional tech item.

    Without a little luck and a good product to pitch, most of the time the KS success is determined on the quality and number of social connections of you and your most fervent fans. So that’s good news if you’re popular. You’re ahead of the game.

    However, the other type of Kickstarter funder are people like me who look at pitches and think about whether the project or creator are worth the risk (e.g., the output is worth gambling upon).

    Publishing is a terrible category. I think the failure rate is fairly high compared to comics or other categories. The problem is that KS lets too many “fund my writing dream” pitches through. Too risky given that a backer has no idea if an aspiring writer is any good.

    But serial authors have an enormous sample to look at. They also are a lesser risk if the book being crafted is being developed from a completed piece. The time to delivery of the kickstarter goods should be theoretically less than most other categories.

    You should have a strong case but your case isn't coming through.

    Cut the length in half. It is way too long at 4:30 or what you want to convey. You are trying to give us an idea of who you are or what your universe you’re selling is. For the most part you are repeating the information you write below .

    You could make this more visually interesting. Instead of telling us what it is, you’re a storyteller, describe your story as if you were having to read it aloud to us. Show us your awesome cover from the first book. Quote your reader comments (with their permission) as quasi-testimonials. Sell us your universe.

    When you talk “why I need your help,” make the case. List off what a good book needs and remind us you have it done but you need help making it a great follow-up to the first volume. Don’t just tell us what you want us to help fund, show us slides with numbers/figures, the process. Tell us about the process. Make us understand why it is not something you can just do yourself.

    Tell us concisely why you can't fund the same on your own. Tell your audience that you need our help (These words work so well. You need –us- to help you make an awesome book.)

    vState the link at least once near the beginning and also at the end.

    Lastly - you are very nervous! Write out a script for yourself or a good outline and practice it a few times in front of your family before recording. It's the same as preparing for a presentation, do it over and over until you sound natural. Or-- if you want to be cute, get more pictures/diagrams thrown in, go all text, or get your fans to help you with your video :)

    Stretch goals:
    I would drop what you mention from your video pitch. Anything that appears to finance a life-choice or anything that isn't necessary turns people off. Therefore I would not mention the computer. Writing on your iPad will not be perceived as a hardship.

    The RPG -- Is it based on fan demand? Is it just a neat idea? I've been left with a vague impression that this wasn't researched. If it has been, tell us in the text e.g., "Many of my current readers have asked about a RPG version set in this universe. I talked to a reader who has five years of experience developing games and provided an estimate." That said -- Tabletop games are often kickstarted and I'm not sure about your figure. It kind of sounds too low -- do some checking on other pitches on KS. (See for an example.)

    You also should consider that the tabletop game could be carved off into its own kickstarter and leave it at that. Come back for it another time. Many webcomics tried to throw this in as a stretch and they failed. It has nothing to do with the book.

    You need to format your text cleanly . Don’t use paragraphs when you can use bullets.

    Background needs to be tightened up. You had a fantastic first book from 1889 (show cover) and can’t do it the same way. You should be telling us you want the second book to match the first – that should motivate current owners of book 1 to go the distance for you.

    Explain what “the same way” implies so that we understand you when you list the costs of publishing this book and why you came up with 1500 dollars. It helps to itemize editing, and talk about the cover (if you have a specific artist, say so and how much it costs to commission them). If you are using the same artist as your first book, please tell us that .

    Remind us we can read a sample (and provide that link in a prominent fashion) . This is your what makes you stand apart from other publishing pitches that sound like "help me write my first ever book and you have no idea if I'm good."

    Look at these projects which were similar to yours in niche:


    A poster of cover is a hard sell to convince one to try if one doesn’t know who is doing it and a sample of their work. Get me excited about this poster. If that means pimping out the cover to book 1, then do it. I liked that cover btw, as an artist, I thought it was well-done and if you promised a similar grade of work for poster #2 and I was a hardcore fan, I'd consider it. (But your tier is awfully high for that -- what's the justification for 50 dollars? Is this a high-grade poster? most cost way less than that. Also, very confused by your copy in that column. What does the 10-person limit refer to?

    Similar issue with t-shirt. I think I need to understand what this t-shirt is and it should be described in the main-text. People obsess about t-shirts. They want to know design, colors, available sizes before they change to a higher tier pledge or go for that off the bat. This has been true for every webcomic/comic fundraiser I've supported as well as Planet Money's t-shirt campaign.

    Consider a website acknowledgment as a part of a tier.

  6. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    Sgl: Thanks for you reply. I'll respond soon, but not immediately. I'm redoing things using people's suggestions, but that's not all I've got to get done. I'm also trying to meet a deadline for an anthology.

    It feels depressingly like the week before finals in college (the week were all the big papers came due)...

  7. SgL (Member)

    Posted 7 years ago

    No worries Jim about responding to my suggestions. They're only suggestions, after all. A lot of the pitch depends, after all, on whether you're going for a presale model or wanting a lot of "angel funding" which means selling the concept to people who have never experienced your work. The audience ultimately shapes your output.

    If you're leaning towards presale, consider getting more feedback from existing readers (particularly on funding levels). If you want more support from those who may hear about the project from others, then you need some input from other folks . Ask some of your twitter confidants to do so... they see a lot more KS pitches I think than the folks here.

    If you decided to redo the video and want to share your outline or "talking points" here or offline, I'm happy to give feedback.

  8. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 7 years ago

    @ Jim - every week feels like finals week to me.

  9. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 7 years ago

    Jim, I'm terrible at giving this kind of feedback and you've already received some detailed opinions - I just wanted to chime in and wish you good luck. Your story of someone who spent 7 years (wow!) on LoN and now takes it one step further is very inspiring, and I believe you're one of the rare kind of people who might push the whole genre forward. Maybe even change the ways in which the world at large perceives and enjoys online fiction in the future. Keep it up!

    @ wildbow - you really should consider a "Wildbow's day off" blog serial. :)

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  10. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    Wildbow's Day Off - A Speculative Fantasy

  11. Stormy (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    One comment I'll make is that you intend to put additional art in (the $150 reward) - some vendors, such as Amazon take the file size into account when you sell and if it's over a certain limit, they take a delivery fee out of your profit margin.

  12. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    That's something I hadn't considered at all. I had noticed that the delivery fee existed though.


  13. Stormy (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    I've hit reminder, but are you going to let us know when it's live?

  14. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 7 years ago

    Absolutely, and even before. I've rewritten most lot it, but haven't redone the video. I'm going to do that and get reactions, and then go live.

    That said, to avoid running it during a holiday, I'm going to post it after July 4.

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