Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been around for a while. I won't bore you with what I've been up to right here and now, but one of the things that has taken up a lot of my time fairly recently is that I have started to get serious about creating comics (as a writer/creator). In the last few months I have made fairly good (but in the bigger picture, pretty damn small) progress in the projects I have been working on. The subject of creating comics is one for a whole new thread, but in the process of creating comics it has struck me that creating comic is a lot more expensive than you think it will be. Even if you can pencil and ink your own pages (which gives you a huge amount of creative control and saves a pretty penny), you are still going to have to have deep pockets to get that book made and distributed to the recipients. Like I said, I will go into detail about all this in another thread, but, needless to say, most of us just don't have the money to create comics of the length and grandeur that we would like without a little bit (or a lot) of financial backing.
For those of you who don't know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding website whereby you can post a project on the site, be it a board game, film, technology or comic (among other things) and ordinary punters like you and I can pledge money towards it, bringing the project to life and getting some rewards and thanks for doing so.
Pretty cool, huh? Well, yeah, but if you think that you can just put up some old sketches of your main character, add no video to explain the project, tell next to nothing about the story or characters because you're worried people might steal it, do no marketing whatsoever other than telling your friends on facebook and still expect to raise $10,000 to launch your project, then you would be sorely mistaken. Yes, people have done this and then wondered why they failed. Seriously.
From what I hear, you have to put an enormous amount of work into a successful kickstarter campaign. You have to have a suitable amount of (but not too much) material, be it concept art, comic pages, character designs etc, you have to have rewards that will attract backers, you have to have a clear and well thought out plan of what every penny of the asking amount will be spent on and you have to market the living shit out of your project for a month solid and before that.
That's a lot of work, I'm sure you'll agree.
This thread is general discussion about Kickstarter comics, whether you are planning to create one, like I am in the future, or whether you scroll Kickstarter boards for awesome looking projects, like I am now. And of course if you have created a Kickstarter project yourself in the past, please tell me about the experience.
I'll now give you two examples of, what I deem to be, good projects and an example of what I deem to be a lame one:
Skies Of Fire
Who honestly can say they don't love the idea of giant airships blowing the shit out of each other? The transparency of this project is fantastic. The video is informative, the project is original and attention grabbing, the concept art is interesting, the rewards are well thought out and diverse (and well priced) and we are told exactly what the $4,500 will be spent on. I think this goes a long way to explaining why they have gone nearly 150% over their initial target. I spoke to Ray Chou, one of the creators, and he told me that they did very little in the way of marketing for Skies to begin with. Most of the 350+ backers came from Kickstarter lurkers who clicked the link and were drawn in by the project upon reading. I'm no expert on Kickstarter projects, but this is the best one I have seen yet. Very well made.
As someone who isn't a huge fan of crime fiction, I only found my self clicking on this project just to kill time more than anything else. I found the art interesting, but £9,500 is a huge amount of money to ask for. Given that this is a 160 page graphic novel, plus publication, printing, shipping etc, the amount is fair, but huge.
What made me back this project was the fact that they allowed you to read the first 20 pages for free, promising that it would 'draw you into the stories world' or something similar. So, I read it. And they were right. I wasn't exactly sure why I liked it, but I did. It was the dialogue, I think, it just flowed so well, it was realistic and it built the world very quickly. Plus it is set in Montenegro, I country I have never been too, but would love to. But that's just me. This project is still a long way off it's target, but I think it may just get there if enough people read the first 20 pages. It's good. Not great, but good.
Jonas and the Space Viking
Sometimes giving potential backers the ability to read the start of your comic is a bad thing. Assuming your story is lame, of course. There is an unspoken rule in comics that each word balloon should be 25 words, maximum. Now read the free sample of this comic. Yeah.
The video is boring, the amount asked for is far too high, he tells us outright that most of the money is going on paying his bills, there is no concept art at all and the story, in my opinion, is kinda lame. You may disagree, but if you do, you are wrong.
Now you can do everything right with your Kickstarter campaign and still fail. You can show enough art, think out your rewards well, market the comic to the correct target audience etc and still end up with nothing at the end. Being that I want to start a Kickstarter project in the near future, I am watching these things closely and trying to come up with a plan that will virtually guarantee success with crowd funding.
Anyway, what is everyone else's opinion on crowd funding comics?
Fifty Fifty Member
Kickstarter seems p neat
I've been thinking of using it also, though not sure what I would do with a bunch of printed comics..
have heard horror stories of people actually losing money because they didnt calculate how much money they would really need, though. Either they just really suck at math, or they forgot shipping costs of all the crazy physical rewards they were going to ship out.
It seeme important to keep stuff u have to actually ship out to a minimum/to being higher tier rewards, while still offering neat digital rewards.
Also no idea how to market a kickstarter. Do you have to go to all corners of the imternet and nag people about it or something??
The biggest aspect is the marketing and there are many ways to go about it. The best way to research it is to just read blogs/articles of people who have been successful with kickstarter or just straight up ask them in an email (they're usually pretty cool about it).
The most regularly mentioned website when it comes to marketing seems to be reddit. They never go into much detail about how they used it, but I assume it involves a lot more than just posting a link to your comics facebook page on reddit and just hoping people like it.
The common thing that people do is go to sites like digitalwebbing and bleedingcool and just basically spam the forums with links to their comic. This has very little success as most people don't care too much for those links regardless of whether the comic is awesome or not. I found this out myself posting a link to one of my projects and assumed that people thought it sucked as I was getting very little feedback, but it turned out very few people even clicked on it in the first place.
People have written entire books on how to market your book/comic via the internet. The possibilities are so huge that it is completely overwhelming to many.
So, I don't know is the short answer. But I'm working on finding out.
I can only offer Kickstarter expertise in the application of videogame crowdfunding. So, for me the route I've chosen to go down is once we're ready to launch our Kickstarter, prepare a full press kit and e-mail it out to journalists, reviewers, and publicists. We plan on sending the kit (along with endorsement agreements) to Rhett & Link, Ensemble Creativity (my game's financial manager/lead programmer owns this company), Humble Store, GOG, Desura, and GamersGate. In addition to the press kit linking to our Kickstarter site, we're releasing the Greenlight page at the same time as the publicized reviews and ads are set to air (to gain credibility and maximize the viewership). Another thing you need to bear in mind is timeframe. If you put too long of a deadline, people will just say "Oh, I've got enough time, I'll just donate later!" What you want to do is give yourself a short timespan and keep the media onslaught high. So, for our game we want to give our Kickstarter a month to raise $500k. During that time we will consistently sponsor Rhett & Link's Good Mythical Morning, schedule an interview mid-way through the Kickstarter with IGN and Machinima (though I despise IGN and Machinima as companies, they have damn good publicity), and sponsor and make an appearance on Linus Media Group's LAN Show, in addition to sponsoring five of their episodes. Set a realistic goal, keep your online presence super-high, and never be afraid to do your own free advertising.
So, in application to webcomics, I would recommend you get in contact with popular artists, like Bodil Bodilson, Zach Weiner, Randall Munroe (be careful with him, I hear he's an ass), and Mookie (I only mention him because I hear he's a fantastic dude. So while his comic is ass and his views on women are horrible at best, he's a really nice guy and would probably be all in to help you out). Another fantastic thing you can do is Q&A, AMAs and Realchats. Talk with people who are interested in your Kickstarter, link your personal Facebook profile to your Kickstarter, and just make sure people know that you're a real person. Be genuine and kind with everyone, and you may win yourself a huge donator that way. I know a guy who went this route almost exclusively, and because of his openness and transparency as a human being it landed him like a $5k donation from some rich cat. One more thing that will help you out immensely is strong language. People subconsciously can tell how confident you are in your project by the way you say things. Wording like "not been able," "will soon," and "you will," are weak, negative and possibly insulting, and will turn people away, whereas stuff like "will be able," "will fund," and "pledgers will" are positive, strong and very reaffirming, and will peak peoples' interest in your project.
Obviously my opinion on crowdfunding is very positive, but I would definitely do the research. For instance, I personally dedicated a full week solely to researching Kickstarter, viewing successful projects and unsuccessful projects, and analyzing what made them successful or unsuccessful. Do this yourself and find a presentation style that is strong and true to your project, and you ought to be golden.
Excellent advise, Sylux! What is your project, by the way? What is your videogame?
Did you go to press before spreading awareness of the project yourself, like on facebook, twitter, reddit etc?
My project is a hybrid between Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Zelda, Prince of Persia, and Dark Souls. It's based on MT users, too!
We haven't started going to press, no. I plan on starting a webcomic soon that tells the extensive prequel to the game (the game never actually outright says what happens, you have to decipher what happened through clues and hints left by extinct civilizations). After the webcomic, I want to try to raise awareness for the project through reddit, facebook, and other media platforms, yes. I would recommend creating a following for yourself before going to press. That way you may even find that your fanbase provides an amazing basis for support (i.e. a major press company choosing whether or not to publish an article on your project, and the dealbreaker being that you have such a huge fanbase that they could bring in some ad revenue). It's a PC game, too, (with plans to port it to the PS3/Xbox 360) so I actually want to try to work out a deal with Razer to feature our game as "Optimized for the Orbweaver and Sabertooth devices." Another piece of advice I have is offer exclusive content with your webcomics. One thing I want to do with mine is sell filler. I want to keep the main story free to read online on your PC, tablet, phone, whatever, but I want to have a store where I can sell individual chapters of filler arcs and fanservice arcs. That way, people who really really want it can have it and know what they're getting into, people who don't want it don't have to read it, and I can use the money to help host the free comic for everyone to enjoy.
One Thousand Member
This is awesome. The Kickstartr projects that I've come across have been mostly related to product development (like to manufacture an industrial product) and for travel. A bunch of my friends wanted to travel for a few months documenting the whole experience - kinda like a journalism project combined with social development.
To raise money through this, Sylux has given an excellent outline of how to go about it. Just wanted to add one more point. Advertise through social media. Just one post on each of your networks should do. Don't nag people about it, but if you do share it people who are interested will look into it and get in touch with you and others can just ignore. In turn, you can ask the interested people to promote if they like. The wider reach it has, the better.
Ruler of the Seventh Empire
I've mentioned him before, but this guy has some pretty cool infos, and I think his last Kickstarter campaign for his last graphic novel and probably his book that's on Amazon went pretty well
.................................................. ......................."Mind-controlling you into thinking this is awesome."
Nice one, Gunzet, I'll watch that playlist and make notes on any important info.
I seem to recall seeing reMIND advertised somewhere that wasn't on kickstarter.