Site Review: The Legion of Nothing Kickstarter

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.

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?

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. :)


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.

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

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).

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.



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.



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:




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.

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)...

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.

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

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. :)

Wildbow's Day Off - A Speculative Fantasy

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.

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


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

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.

That's smart. :)