I released my first NFT collection in late January (The Image is the Utility), and what an experience. Several hundred people signed up for the WL. I had to make decisions and choices around edition size, price, communication, the lead-up to the announcement itself, and then post-announcement activities.
This collection was also the first time I minted using Manifold Studio’s smart contract, which was a cool and seamless experience despite a slight snag in contract verification at the time.
So what did I learn?
1. Develop a relationship with Mods in Manifold’s discord. If there are issues, you know who to reach out to (albeit there probably won’t be any issues since they have made it so smooth). Manifold’s server also lists delays or “downtime alerts” so if you are having a problem, check there as it’s very likely a lot of others are experiencing it too, and Manifold is aware/on top of it. I ran into an issue where there was congestion on the blockchain, and my contract could not be verified. Someone at Manifold helped out on the backend almost immediately to verify the contract
2. Look at the short video clips on Manifold Studio’s website. The minting process is straightforward, but you want to be doubly sure of the details (like when to name the contract, how to set your ASCII graphics, etc.)
3. To that point, check out this site that generates the ASCII graphic of your username displayed on your smart contract. You can play around with different styles to find ASCII art that best suits you and then play around with different fonts and typesets. It was fun, and I opted for something clean and simple
4. Royalties on Manifold are set AFTER the contract is verified (verified first on rinkeby testnet and then mainnet). The testnet is there for you to ascertain things look good before finalizing on the main Ethereum chain. You have to set royalties at both the contract level on Manifold AND on Opensea at the collection level after minting to your wallet
5. For Opensea display: After minting your NFTs to your wallet, go to My Collections in the drop-down to see it there and click the top right three dots to Edit. You can change the collection name, link, royalty %, links, etc. This is a crucial step to ensure the collection is displayed correctly on Opensea
6. Names/titles matter: It is worthwhile to spend time thinking about what you want to call your collection, the name of your contract (which can be used to mint multiple different tokens), and how it’s all displayed. The name of the NFT is separate from the name of the collection. In my case, I wanted the collection to communicate its utility (Image is the Utility). Please do not name things esoterically and randomly. The name has to share both its purpose and is an easy reference point, easy to remember in a way, for the future as you refer to it. A collection or NFT title that is too long is also not a good idea. It’s also possible that the collection name if it’s too short, may already be taken by someone else on Opensea. So do scout out the marketplace beforehand for appropriate names that are available
7. If you do give people WLs, be mindful that you will have to individually approve EACH WL listing on Opensea (after you mint to your wallet address). I did that, and I had to manually approve hundreds of WL spots using my cold wallet, which was not ideal as each transaction approval required several mouse clicks to set the price, time of sale, and confirm the address. Then it takes several button pushes on the ledger to authorize. One method is to mint the NFTs to your main account and then transfer them to another hot wallet for approvals and sales if you are doing a large number (as for hot wallets, you have to click once on Metamask). But I wanted to show the provenance of each NFT sold and that it was directly from ME
8. Opensea will let you WL a lot more people to purchase than the NFTs you have available for sale (and I’m not sure there is a way to track it than to count how many you have listed for sale manually). I ran into this issue where the public sale demand was way more than I anticipated which led to a sold-out situation where there were still WL who did not purchase (and thus could not, as I had no more NFTs). Once all NFTs are sold out of your wallet, all your remaining WL sales offers will be automatically canceled, thereby burning gas
9. Full transparency is critical during drops. If there are issues or snags, go on Twitter to describe them (which should be the first place to communicate the problems as not everyone is in discord). I did not use a Discord. Consequently, it was relatively easy to tell people immediately that I encountered a sold-out situation
10. You will likely get a lot of direct messages if you encounter a sellout situation. Sometimes, people ask for the same information as things move relatively fast in NFTs. One thing that may help is to write out a Q&A and publish it somewhere (tweet thread) and refer to it for key points. It may also be beneficial to write out a few stock responses (like “mint site is here: XYZ”) instead of having to type it out every time
11. If you feel overwhelmed by messages and everything, take a break. Remember to breathe and be patient at times
12. Your adrenaline will rush as you get near mint time, and finally selling the product to people you have provided expectations is quite a rush. Nevertheless, don’t rush mints and drops as attention to detail, such as ensuring prices are correct (I accidentally listed a sale in Eth instead of ASH) is paramount. Slow down and remember to breathe
13. Once you’ve sold your NFTs, they are out of your control. This much is obvious but don’t be too attached when others flip/resell, the floor goes up or down (NFTs are volatile). You being You is what drove people to purchase and support your creation and artwork. Continue to do that
14. Map out a timeline on what to tweet, highlight, share/announce details, etc., before your drop. Mapping it out, like a trip itinerary, will save time writing completely new tweets in real-time. It’s one less thing to worry on
Finally, good luck and try to have fun. You don’t need to reply to every message either :)
It becomes an art to mint...;-)
Thanks for sharing your experience and congrats on your successful drop