ComixLaunch_Green011Earlier this year, Archie Comics launched a massive Kickstarter campaign to help relaunch Riverdale for a modern audience. Just five days later, they shut the campaign down after backlash from the comic book industry. On today’s episode, Tyler James and co-host Jeremy Melloul discuss exactly what went wrong in Riverdale, and more importantly, talk about the important lessons creators can learn from Archie’s failed Kickstarter.

 


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics


What is Today’s Episode About?

On May 10, 2015, Archic Comics launched a Kickstarter to accellerate the planned release of three series in there “New Riverdale” relaunch. The new series included Jughead, Betty and Veronica and Life with Kevin and featured fan-favorite creators including Adam Hughes, Sex Criminals and Howard the Duck’s Chip Zdarsky and Archie stalwart Dan Parent.

After an mixed reaction to the campaign, Archie canceled project five days later, with a little less than 10% funding of the massive $350,000 goald they set. ($34,5K, 642 backers).

Archie comics released the following statement when announcing the cancelation of the Kickstarter:

“While the response to these new titles has been amazing, the reaction to an established brand like Archie crowdfunding has not been… While we fully expected our goal to be funded, it was no longer about the books and how amazing they will be. We don’t want that. This is why we’re shutting the Kickstarter down today.”

So What went Wrong?

  1. Goal too high
    1. $350,000 seemed an excessive request for what they were trying to do.
    2. It was the highest goal a legitimate comic project has ever asked for.
  2. Failure to Join the Kickstarter Community Before Launching
    1. 0 Projects Backed
    2. Rewards structured to benefit them… rather than in line with expectations of comic KS community.
  3. Lack of Transparency:
    1. Unclear explanation of what the funds were for
    2. Issue of creator compensation was raised. Established creators complained about Archie’s history of low rates. If they had more clearly explained how they intended to use the money they would’ve avoided a lot of this.
    3. The story changed, to include filling a funding gap created by a big Wal-mart and Target retail push.
  4. Lack of Clarity Objective:
    1. If the comics were coming out anyway… why the Kickstarter?
    2. The KS focus was split over multiple different comics
    3. Offered an over-complicated reward structure
    4. They tried to position themselves as a scrappy publisher to justify them coming to the platform – knowing there would be backlash – but this only amplified people’s feelings against them

 

What did they do well?

  • Projects themselves looked great. Choice in creators and the books themselves.
  • Responsive to media inquiries and backer questions… (almost to a fault.)
  • Showed some courage in pulling the plug on a campaign that seemed to spin out of control.

Today’s Sponsor – ComixTribe

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Click here for 5 free comics from ComixTribe. ComixTribe…Start here!


Today’s ComixLauncher…

A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can and should do right now, or immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, lean back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU.

 

Go find a Kickstarter ending soon that looks to be failing, 30% or less funding. Try to identify 3 things that the project did wrong.

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #11. and let me know what you found.


Bonus Content: Lessons from Archie E-book

It’s a PDF presentation meant to dive deeper into the merits & failings of the Archie Kickstarter in order to extrapolate as many lessons as possible. It includes:

  • An explanation of the Archie Kickstarter & the controversy surrounding it
  • A bonus lesson in light of the cancellation of the project
  • An alternate Kickstarter strategy: How Archie could’ve put together a successful campaign, based off Kickstarter best practices.
  • A post-mortem, discussing what might come next from Archie and where they could go from here

If you’d like, you can download the entire 72-page eBook for free by pressing the button below. It’ll also get you signed up for the awesome Creator At Large Newsletter.

Or, if you’re not convinced, you can click here to learn more about the eBook!


Session Wrap Up

In summary, the key takeaways of things Archie got wrong in their Kickstarter launch include:

  • Failure to join the KS community
  • Goal too high
  • Lack of Transparency
  • Lack of Clarity

What they did well:

  • A strong product
  • Responsive communication

Have you Subscribed, Rated and Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

If you’ve enjoyed this session of ComixLaunch, I need you to do me a favor… actually, I need three favors. Please Subscribe, Rate and Review ComixLaunch on iTunes.

They’re the rocket fuel this show is running on, and the sooner you do it, the more powerful your action will be. Don’t wait to give us some love!

  • Log into iTunes.
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All of that can be done in 2 minutes and it will make HUGE difference to the show.

Thanks for listening!

 

ComixLaunch_Green010Thousands of creators have had successful comic book projects on Kickstarter, and thousands more have had unsuccessful ones… but few creators have experienced both failure and success in the same month! Today, Tyler talks to writer Wes Locher about the agony and the ecstasy of Kickstarter, and how he turned a failed campaign into a successful one by changing 5 key things.

Today’s Session is Sponsored by The Warden Anthology on Kickstarter

ComixTribe publisher Tyler James, will be joined by a special guest today, who is a hard-working, up-and-coming comic writer and creator, most know for his Kickstarter funded Sci-Fi comedy Unit 44, and the upcoming self-published title Hipsters vs. Rednecks, Wes Locher.

Today’s episode is about turning a Kickstarter failure into a Kickstarter success in a short time.

Episode Outline:

1) Take Us Back to Your first KS… What were your goals, hopes, fears, etc.  Put us in your mindset before you launched.

2) Your First KS Failed… and You Identified 5 things You did wrong.  What were they?

  • Scope
  • Money
  • Audience
  • Words
  • Video

3) Story has a happy ending… You immediately relaunched and made some changes

  • Why did you launch right away?
  • What did you do differently?
    • Scope
    • Money
    • Audience
    • Words
    • Video

ComixLaunch Lightning Round with Wes Locher:

1) Finish this sentence: “Kickstarter is _______.”

…eye-opening!

2) Let’s pretend the powers that be at Kickstarter are listening (which you know they are)… if you could change one thing about the Kickstarter platform, what would it be?

Kickstarter is solid, but add better built in tracking stats.

3) What’s your secret weapon? (Meaning a tool, resource, app, etc. that you couldn’t make comics without?)

Showers! Where all the good ideas happen.

4) Fulfillment is where even successful Kickstarter creators often drop the ball… Do you have a fulfillment tip for our listeners?

Know how much it costs to ship to Australia, because that can mess you up!

Recommended article:

DIY Crowdfunding Fulfillment – Ship Like a Boss

5) Can you recommend one comic (not done by you) more people need to check out?

The Life After by Josh Fialkov and Gabo. (Oni Press)

Today’s Sponsor: The Warden Anthology

  • Set at the turn of the 20th century, The Warden is about a mortal man with an immortal soul. Science and industry are shining a light across the world, but casting deep shadows. No one knows the limits of technology or of the ancient magics slowly being forgotten. The Warden is one of the few that delves into the darkness and prevents the shadows from engulfing the light.
  • The Warden Anthology is heavily inspired by pulp comics like “Doc Savage” and “Conan the Barbarian”. Each story is a self contained one-shot like the early “Hellboy” stories. They often involve mythological creatures, American folklore, and close calls with apex predators.
  • The Anthology will include 5 short comics stories involving 12 collaborators, including ComixTribe’s Alex Cormack, Steven Forbes, and Jules Rivera.
  • It will also include 1 prose story by award-winning pulp author Barry Reese. Reese, who is most well-known for his pulp titles “The Rook” and “Lazarus Grey”, has also worked on several of Marvel’s encyclopedias, handling the Blade and Ghost Rider sections.
  • “Swamp Magic”, the first story of the anthology is available as a free download on the Kickstarter page. In the spirit of 10 cent pulps, a single story of your choice is being offered as the $1 reward.

ComixLauncher

A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can and should do right now, or immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, lean back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU.

This Session’s ComixLauncher: Reframe your next Kickstarter in your head for a moment by asking yourself this question… What am I testing? It could be you are testing your ability to connect with an audience, building a platform, selling, fulfillment, etc.

By framing KS in your mind not as some all or nothing high stakes endeavor, but rather as a test, it might be the breakthrough you need to get over your fear and launch.

We don’t think of Thomas Edison as having failed 1000 times to create a lightbulb, rather he simply took 1000 tests before he found the right material to light the world.

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #10. and let me know… what are you testing with your next KS?

Wrap Up Questions

1) Do you have one final piece of advice on running a Successful KS campaign for the ComixLaunch listeners?

Be fearless… go for it!

2) How can listeners best connect with you online?

Check out Unit 44 on Comixology, and find Wes at weslocher.com and for lettering go to http://www.westondesignstudio.com/letters.

Thanks for Listening.

 

 

ComixLaunch_Green008Today’s Guest: A Harvey Award nominated writer and artist who has published incredible work for IDW and Image Comics, most notably the hilarious series God Hates Astronauts. He’s a creator who has successfully used Kickstarter to raise more than $100K and counting to crowdfund his projects. And he’s taught this stuff, in the form of a one day Kickstarter seminar for the awesome folks at Comics Experience. He is one of the funniest and most-original voices in comics, Ryan Browne, welcome to ComixLaunch!

This session is sponsored by KrakenPrint.  Need a reliable printer for your next comic book or graphic novel print run? Then you need to unleash the Kraken. Head to ComixLaunch.com/Kraken for 5% off your entire first order.

What is Today’s Episode About?

Did you know 9 out of the top 10 most funded Kickstarter projects were webcomics first? In this knowledge-bomb laced session, Tyler James talks to Ryan Browne, creator of God Hates Astronauts and Blast Furnace, about the the potent combination of webcomics and Kickstarter.

Today — I brought Ryan on because I want to talk about the often potent combination of Kickstarter + Webcomics. 

Both of Ryan’s Kickstarter funded series, GHA & BF were first launched as webcomics, and very successful.

1) Why go the webcomic route with GHA and Blast Furnace?

What was your mindset/ strategy (to the extent that you had one)?

Pros and Cons of Webcomic First model

2) Webcomic to Kickstarter — How do get people to pay for what they’re already getting for free?

Keys or Tips to making that transition work?

How do you move your audience from your website to KS?

3) Lessons Learned from first two KS that You’re Applying to your lasted Blast Furnace?

GHA was a huge KS. $75,770 K, 1768 backers… more than 7X the success of your previous less than a year earlier.  What worked there?

Even the most success KS have room for improvement. 

Anything you’re tweaking, changing, etc. for your latest?

SPEED ROUND of Questions (Short/ Quick answers 30 seconds or so.)

1) Finish this sentence: “Kickstarter is _______.”

…an internet pre-ordering system.

2) Let’s the pretend the powers that be at Kickstarter are listening (which you know they are)… if you could change one thing about the Kickstarter platform, what would it be?

A way to change conditions of backer levels after they’ve been backed. Discovered errors after someone backs a pledge can be dicey.

3) What’s your secret weapon? (Meaning a tool, resource, app, etc. that you couldn’t make comics without?)

My hand! (Eyes are second.)

4) Fulfillment is where even successful Kickstarter creators often drop the ball… Do you have a fulfillment tip for our listeners?

  • Hire somebody!
  • Get good packaging… but avoid deluxe packaging. (Remember to factor in replacement costs, as books will be lost or damaged.)

5) Can you recommend one comic (not done by you) more people need to check out?

Sabretooth Swordsman by Damon Gentry (Eerie) and Aaron Conley (Prophet) from Dark Horse.

ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can and should do right now, or immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, lean back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU.

Today’s ComixLauncher — Consider doing a webcomic as a precursor to a future Kickstarter.

Key Resources

Wrap Up

1) Do you have one final piece of advice on running a Successful KS campaign for the ComixLaunch listeners?

Do your homework!

2) Besides the Blast Furnace Kickstarter, which runs until Sep 23, how can listeners best connect with you online?

Ryan is especially proud of his Instagram account @ryanbrowneartCheck him out his Tumblr here.

Capture_Brown

 

Thanks for Listening!

ComixLaunch_Green008Comic book conventions are great… but are they a great place to promote Kickstarter campaigns?

Today’s Session is Sponsored by Purebuttons, your go-to resource for custom buttons of all shapes and sizes.  Go to ComixLaunch.com/purebuttons for 10% off your next order of custom buttons.

Announcements and Table- setting

  • ComixLaunch Crossed the 1,000 download milestone
  • New Review:

“This podcast does nothing but reinforce my high opinion of ComixTribe. A group of successful, talented creators willing to share their experience, process, and insights.” – Mr_Roberts

Honestly that was the vision of ComixTribe… only get so far on your own.

You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with. Want to be a better comic book creator? Then find a tribe of creators whose work you respect to get around.

You want to have a successful Kickstarter projects… spend some time with people who have done it.

Today — Promoting your Kickstarter at Comic Conventions

  • Recent Kickstarter coaching call with Michael Leal of DangerEntertainment… he was planning on launching his next KS for his series Curse of the Vessel, and ask me for my thoughts on comic book conventions as vehicles for promoting KS campaigns.

1) Are conventions a good place to promote your KS?

  • Pros
    • These are your people — highly concentrated group.
    • Chance to connect, win over — know, like, trust
    • People are in a good, buying mood — predisposed to say yes
  • Cons
    • Convention are best for three things
      • Selling comics and merchandise that already exists
      • Building your network — peers, retailers
      • Rekindling your passion /Fun
    • Conventions are and expensive and inefficient way to drive clicks to a website.
      • Costs — table fees, travel, parking, food, time, energy, health
      • $500 to promote on KS ads get you a TON more traffic to your site than the minimal bump you’d get promoting at cons
    • Competing not just vs. all the KS, but all the stuff people could take home with them right then
    • Pocket litter competition – When you get home
    • Having a Con be the primary thrust of your promotional KS strategy is inadequate.

2) Why you should be careful about promoting your KS as a con attendee?

  • Example — NYCC Zuda Competition – gave a few to people I knew, handed out to people walking by (and felt silly) and ended up leaving a stack on a table. Metrics?
  • Understand, creators pay good money to attend the cons for the right to sell / solicit. You setting up shop and hustling without paying is going to get you some eyerolls.
  • Webcomics convention — Guitar Case
  • Strike up conversation with people, mention it, hand out a card, okay.
  • But you’re probably going to be disappointed with just standing around handing out cards as a no-man.
  • CounterPoint — Episode of Funding the Dream.

3) Why launching your KS at a convention is a bad idea?

  • The most busy time of KS is first three days, second is last three days.
  • When you launch, you want to be available…
    • Field questions
    • Clean up mistakes or issues links, you missed that backers point out.
    • Potentially add rewards or make changes
    • Post your first update
  • Yes, KS has a mobile app — it’s okay, but not ideal for making big changes. If you’re at a convention, how do you stay on top of your campaign.
  • Splitting your focus will hurt both campaign AND your con performance.
  • Bad idea to plan your LAUNCH to conincide with a big con.

4) Why promoting KS at cons in the Deadzone is a great idea?

  • Still, I do love the idea of incorporating live events in your KS.
  • Remember, one of the great things about KS is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint… most run 30 days. You have time.
  • The place to do that is during the Deadzone — roughly time in the middle of campaign that sees least action.
  • Powerful message to backers showing you’re not just “cool online” and hiding behind a virtual wall, but you’re getting out into the world and engaging with real people with your books.
  • Social proof.
  • Gives content for your updates.

5) A Killer Strategy I’ve Used for Maximizing KS Promotion at Conventions

  • Still, all the challenges, how do you actually get people back to your KS page at a Con.
  • Use the Convention as Social Proof after the fact
    • Cosplayers
    • Tie promotion in with talk of the show
  • The Raffle  to collect email address, follow up after.

ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can and should do right now, or immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, leian back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU.

1) Last week’s cl had you set a Date and Time for your KS. Now consider plugging in a live event during the deadzone of your campaign.

Check conventionscene.com for conventions, talk to local retailer, bookstore, library etc.

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. [NA — What comes out on paper may surprise you. And if you’d like to share the results of your ComixLauncher with me, I’d love to see them. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #8.]

Quote

“Life is really simple. But we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

ComixLaunch is here to simply the world of crowdfunding for comic book creators.

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