ComixLaunch_Green24Get a pen and a pad of paper ready because in today’s session, Tyler asks CPA Josh Bauerle everything you ever wanted to know about Kickstarter and taxes…but were afraid to ask. A must listen for creators who see their work not just as a hobby, but as a business.


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.


Session Table Setting

This is a milestone episode.

In mid-July, when the ComixLaunch podcast launched, I made a 24 episode commitment to you guys?

Why 24? Because I knew that would take me to the end of the year… a great time to assess where things were at, whether this show was living up to expectations, and whether people were responding to it.

24 Sessions in, ComixLaunch has earned…

  • More than 4300 downloads
  • 19 5-star reviews on iTunes
  • 100 subscribers to the ComixLaunch creators e-mail list. (Enter your e-mail at the top bar of this page if you’re not on and want great resources emailed to you regularly.)
  • A handful of quality sponsors
  • 10 students enrolled in the new pilot program The ComixLaunch Course
  • Most importantly, ComixLaunch is a sustainable endeavor, and primed for investment and big growth in 2016.

Big Announcement:

The ComixLaunch Podcast will continue as a weekly podcast for the entirety of 2016!

I’m committing to a full year’s worth of episodes.Hope you’re as excited as I am… Here’s what you can do to help the show. If you haven’t already, please give us a review on iTunes.

Go to: comixlaunch.com/review

And I want you to do this not for me, but do it for you and your fellow creators listening to this podcast… because here’s the deal: Reviews matter.

ComixLaunch will never be a huge blockbuster podcast… we’re a small niche (comics& graphic novels), of a small niche (Kickstarter) of a small niche (crowdfunding)… This is a show that’s never going to get millions of downloads like some podcasts out there…

We can’t compete on sheer size… but we can compete on quality. I’m working to improve, and I’d also love to improve the quality of the guests on my podcast… get the biggest names in comics and crowdfunding on this show for you to learn from.

This show gives me a platform to reach out and invite them… but what’s going to happen is they’re going to check us out… and one of the first things they’ll look to see is “is this show any good?”

Going to itunes seeing 20, 50, 100 positive reviews… that’s going to send a clear message that ComixLaunch is a show worth their time.

And today’s guest is an example of that…

I went out and got one of the absolute best people on the planet when it comes to clearly explaining the ins and outs of taxes

I reached out to him cold on behalf of you guys… and luckily enough, he said he’d love to come on the show.

Now, this episode is completely loaded with business and tax advice… it’s a jam packed hour, that anyone trying to make the leap from hobbyist to business person needs to hear.

So valuable, that I went out and paid to have the whole episode fully transcribed, so as not to miss any detail of the content.

Go to comixlaunch.com/taxes to get the full transcript of today’s conversation.


Today’s Guest

My guest today is a CPA, a series 65 licensed financial advisor, and creator CPA On Fire, a a tax and accounting firm focused on helping entrepreneurs, wantrepreneurs, sidepreneurs  helping make their tax and accounting as simple as possible.

He is also a monthly recurring guest on Entreprepreneur on Fire, one of the most listened to podcasts on the planet, which is where I first discovered him and his incredibly helpful advice.

Welcome to ComixLaunch, Mr. Josh Bauerle.


What is Today’s Episode About?

Today’s session is a deep dive on Taxes and how they relate to Kickstarter.

Get the full transcript here — comixlaunch.com/taxes

Guiding Questions for Today’s Discussion

1.  How does the IRS view funds raised on Kickstarter… and what does that mean for Creators interested in using the platform?

2. While there has been a single million dollar comic book project on Kickstarter, and more than 50 that have raised over $100K, most crowdfunding campaigns (74%) raise less than $10,000. Many are run by comic book hobbyists or new creators, and the Kickstarter will mark the first time they’ve ever taken in anything more than beer money for their comics work.  Many might not even have set themselves up as an official business yet. Should they?

  • What are the advantages of formalizing your creative endeavors as a business?
  • Should creators set up their business BEFORE they launch their KS or after, or does it matter?
  • Many creative types get scared by this stuff… high level, what are steps that go into creating a formal business for the independent artist/self-publisher?
  • Any tips or best practices?
  • Any rules of thumbs for when it makes sense for a creator to formally incorporate or form an LLC vs. just being a sole proprietor?

3. Kickstarter funds raised are treated as income… however, if you are a business, your expenses of running and fulfilling the campaign will lower your tax burden, correct?

What kinds of campaign costs might a comic creator be able to deduct?
  • Book printing costs?
  • packaging costs?
  • Contractors (hired artists, colorist, editors, letterers)?
  • What about training – Take a local course to improve their skill as a colorist, or take the ComixLaunch Course to learn how to run and execute an awesome crowdfunding campaign?
What can’t they deduct?
  • What about his her time in the form of a page rate?

4. What kind of records should a Kickstarter creator keep and how should they keep them?

  • Ex. is a credit card statement with a record of the printing bill enough… or do you need to actually print out the invoice and save somewhere?
  • What about contractors invoices?
  • Any tips or best practices for creators to help track their project-related finances?

5. One of the most vexing things for a small publisher like myself (and one of the reason’s I’m super jealous of the EOFire business model which is mostly digital) is how to account for inventory when it comes to taxes?

What is my tax liability for excess/unsold physical inventory (books) left at the end of the year?

For example. Let’s say I raise $10,000 on Kickstarter to fund a print run of 1000 hardcovers.  I spend:

  • $6K on printing the 1000 books.
  • $2K on packaging and postage to send 500 books to the backers who supported the campaign.
  • $1K on advertising the campaign.
  • $1K on contractors – editor and colorist.
  • On balance in this scenario, my revenue raised was $10K and my total expenses after fulfilling the KS was $10K, so I’ve essentially broken even…
  • However, at the end of the year, I’m left with 500 books in inventory, which I can ideally sell online, at comic conventions, or to retailers the following year…
  • In this simple scenario, what is my tax liability for this year?
6. Many Kickstarter creators want to be able to budget their campaigns down to the dollar… yet there’s a lot of confusion around how to factor taxes into their budget projections.  Any tips for making budgeting and planning with relation to taxes easier for creators?

7. Taxes are filed annually, based on the calendar year.  However, many times a Kickstarter run at the end of the year might not be fulfilled until the following year.

For example, if I raise $20K in December of this year, and don’t pay for printing and shipping until March of next year, is there any way I can avoid paying taxes on the full $20K (my total 2015 revenue), when most of those funds might be allocated for real fulfillment expenses, but that just won’t kick in until next year?

Or, should I always try to make sure that my expenses offset my revenues in the same calendar year, to avoid paying more taxes?

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.

ComixLauncher 024:

Schedule a meeting with a CPA.

Many of you will launch successful KS in 2016… could double or triple your revenues… make sure you’re prepared.


Wrap Up

Hope you enjoyed this session of ComixLaunch with Josh Bauerle.

Be sure to grab that PDF from comixlaunch.com/taxes


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or 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!

>>> CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A REVIEW ON iTUNES <<<

Provide a rating, 1-5 stars and leave an honest review.

This can be done in less than 2 minutes and could make HUGE difference to the show.

 

 

ComixLaunch_Green3-1The largest independent study of Kickstarter backers was released, with eye-opening findings about the fulfillment failure rates and much more. In this session, Tyler reviews the findings in depth.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics


Session Table Setting

To talk about the mindset, strategies, and tactics
You know I’m huge on mindset… and in today’s episode I’m going to tackle three mindset myths related to Kickstarter campaigns.
Table Setting

1) What You Measure You Manage Update

One of the things I’ve been measuring is this show.  Something surprising — Podcast metrics are pretty lousy.

  • I don’t know how many subscribers we have.
  • I don’t know how many people actually listen.
  • I don’t know when they listen, where they listen,
  • Don’t know if you’re listening weekly, or binging
  • Don’t know if you’re listening for half the show and peacing or staying to the bitter end.

Capture_podgraph

However, one bit of metric I CAN measure is downloads from Libsysn media host.

People who subscribe and autodownload.

People find an episode and listen to it.

So, I’ve been tracking monthly downloads…

  • July to August – Huge jump
    August to September – Steady growth
    Sept to October – We went down. (Was it because we were no longer in iTunes’ new and noteworthy section?)
    Mid-November – Were tracking down again…

How could that be? We had all almost 20 shows at the time, people who listen to one end up binging… 18 5 star reviews… even optimized my mic with a fancy pop filter to sound better..

WTF?

And then, I figured out what was going on…

After digging in to all the possible causes and doing a little detective work, I found the issue and it was a stupid simple fix.

What a new sub would find when they discovered or went to ComixLaunch on iTunes is that only the last 10 episodes of content were being made available for download.

You could get them all on the CL website, but I had marked a setting on my website feed to only have a maximum of 10 episodes available.

We had some great shows — invisible to peeps on iTunes.

Bumped that number from 10 to 150, and updated and shortly after, all episodes available.

November strongest month yet… and December on track to be even better.

What you Measure, you manage.

This show is important to me. The message and the wisdom and the lessons of ComixLaunch, to better equip creators

If I hadn’t been measuring… just recording and posting and hoping people are out there listening… who knows how long this would have gone on for… and how many episodes that I’ve spent a ton of time and energy and money to create and get out into the world, would be invisible, and unable to impact creators like you.

What you measure you can manage, guys. It’s not about tracking your numbers for numbers sake… it’s about tracking your numbers for the IMPACT you can make.

2) The ComixLaunch Course Update

The ComixLaunch Course is special pilot program where Jeremy Melloul and I will be taking a small group of creators step-by-step through the process of designing and executing a successful Kickstarter campaing to crowdfund their next Comic and Graphic novel project.

Last week, I said the course might be closed before the end of the year. This week, I will confirm that.

We closed enrollment on 12-12 at 10 pm.

I’d like to quickly share with you some application and enrollment stats from this pilot course launch.

24 total applications.

Of those six were not approved, in most cases it was simply a case of them not yet being ready for the course, because they weren’t far enough along on the creative side to be able to take full advantage of the course. So we recommended they focus on their comics for the next 3 months, and look for the next cohort of the course which will likely run in the Spring.

Of those, we approved 18 applications and invited them to enroll in the course.

And from those who were accepted into the program, 10 total students enrolled in the course, and will be working with Jeremy and I in January.

The cost was $379 for the 8 week pilot program, and we did make a couple of payment plan options available.

We did make a 100% money back guarantee to everyone who enrolled, that basically says that if, after the course is over, they don’t feel prepared to launch their KS with confidence, they deserve a full refund. It was important to us to put the risk on Jeremy and my shoulders, not on any of our students.

And so there you have it… in January, we take the ComixLaunch experience to a whole new level!

And I do want to say thank you to all of those creators who have enrolled, on behalf of Jeremy, myself, and on behalf of all the ComixLaunch listeners out there who are getting value from this show.

The fact that we were able to launch a full pilot course means we can invest even more resources into this show, and make it even better in 2016.


What is Today’s Episode About?

Earlier this week, The Kickstarter Fulfillment Report was released.

What is It?

An independent analysis by the University of Pennsylvania Professor Ethan Mollick, an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation who developed an independent study surveying nearly 500,000 backers about project outcomes and backer sentiment.

This is the largest study to ever examine the Kickstarter community.

KS had no influence over its findings.

Before research began, Wharton and Kickstarter agreed that we would co-publish the results, whatever was found.

Why is it important?

What you measure you manage.

Kickstarter is a powerful model — billions of dollars pledged, tens of thousands of successfully produced projects, Oscar and Grammy wins, trips to outer space, and beyond.

But how many projects fall short of delivering what was promised? It’s a question many have speculated on, but we want to know for sure.

High profile flops? Outliers? Par for the course? Trends?

This report sheds light on a lot of those areas.

What were the findings?

Finding #1 – 9% of Kickstarter projects fail to deliver rewards

  • 9% of Kickstarter projects failed to deliver rewards
    • 8% of dollars pledged went to failed projects
    • 7% of backers failed to receive their chosen reward
    • 65% of backers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “the reward was delivered on time”

Professor Mollick wrote in his analysis:

“Project backers should expect a failure rate of around 1-in-10 projects, and to receive a refund 13% of the time. Since failure can happen to anyone, creators need to consider, and plan for, the ways in which they will work with backers in the event a project fails, keeping lines of communication open and explaining how the money was spent. Ultimately, there does not seem to be a systematic problem associated with failure (or fraud) on Kickstarter, and the vast majority of projects do seem to deliver.”

Finding #2 – Failure rates are consistent across categories

Technology, film & video, food, and crafts on the high end.

Comics actually on the low in, closer to 8%

Finding #3 – Projects that raise less than $1,000 fail the most often

Interesting Projects in the $10K-$50K (6%) were the least likely to fail. (6 of the 7 projects I’ve run were in that range.)

Finding #4 – There are good failures and bad failures

Approximately 73% of backers who backed a failed project agreed or strongly agreed that they would back another Kickstarter project.

However, just 19% of backers of failed projects would back another project by the same creator whose project failed.

He found that in 15-20% of cases, backers reported that failure was handled well by creators.

About 13% of backers of failed projects reported receiving a refund or other compensation from the creator.

And 17% agreed or strongly agreed that they understood why the project failed.

Click here for additional findings from the full report.

Older projects from 2012 were more likely to fail (13.9%) than newer projects.

“it is also likely that overall failure rates have decreased since 2012, as creators have climbed the learning curve of how to create successful projects, and backers have become more educated on which projects to support.”

The Effort Effect

Projects that showed signs of creator effort, by having videos or by posting updates before the fundraising deadline, were less likely to fail. These had relatively small effects, however.

Diversity

Given that one effect of crowdfunding is to increase the diversity of people who can get access to funds, there was also a notable non-finding in the analysis of failures – the characteristics of the project creator were not significantly related to failure.

There was no significant difference in failure rates between women and men, between highly educated and less educated creators, between teams and individual projects, between single or partnered creators, or between creators with children and those without.

Kickstarter’s View

“Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life. It’s a platform for ideas. Creative ideas. Big ideas. Weird ideas. But all just ideas that are looking to come to life.

Is a 9% failure rate reasonable for a community of people trying to bring creative projects to life? We think so, but we also understand that the risk of failure may deter some people from participating. We respect that. We want everyone to understand exactly how Kickstarter works — that it’s not a store, and that amid creativity and innovation there is risk and failure.

Thank you to the University of Pennsylvania, and the tens of thousands of creators and backers who took the time to answer these questions. And thanks to all the backers and creators who make Kickstarter what it is. We promise to always be a place where creative people of all stripes can aim high — and, yes, sometimes fail.”

ComixLaunch’s View

As a community, We can do better.

8 out of 100 is better than average on KS, but 1 out of 100 would be a lot better.

Kickstarter is a game-changer, a powerful platform.

But the comics community above all should know what comes with great power…

We have a responsibility as stewards of the KS platform, to run better campaigns, educate ourselves as best as possible, and deliver on our promises.

Our backers are counting on us.


Today’s Sponsor – ComixTribe

5FreeComicsTwitterCardsA

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


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.

ComixLauncher – 023
Get on the ComixLaunchers List – ComixLaunch.com/5things


Wrap Up/ Quote

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or 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!

>>> CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A REVIEW ON iTUNES <<<

Provide a rating, 1-5 stars and leave an honest review.

This can be done in less than 2 minutes and could make HUGE difference to the show.

 

 

ComixLaunch_Green022In this session with Jeff McComsey, the small press powerhouse behind the FUBAR historical zombie franchise, the elements of a successful Kickstarter project page are uncovered. Discover how Jeff’s beautiful Kickstarter pages have generated more than $150K in funding.


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.


Table Setting

If this is your first time, this is the show where we dive deep into the Kickstarter Platform that has raised more than $40M to crowdfund comics and graphic novel projects by creators like you… we talk mindset, strategy, and tactics.

I have an incredible guest and we have an awesome conversation… a Master Class if you will.

Before we get into it… Gotta say thank you.

Jeremy and I have been blown away by the interest and the applications to the ComixLaunch course.

We enrolled a couple new members today, and it’s looking like we’re going to have a full course.

I’m super pumped to be working directly with a several of you next January to build your first or next Kickstarter campaigns.

Note: Enrollment for the pilot session of the ComixLaunch Course is now closed.

 


Today’s Guest

My guest today is a writer/illustrator who has successfully funded 5 projects on Kickstarter that have collectively raised more than $150K.

He is the editor in chief of the New York Times Best Selling historical zombie anthology FUBAR now into its sixth volume.

His other work includes American Terror, Mother Russia, Flutter, and

He is the Generalisso of the Small Press Commandos, one of my favorite private facebook groups full of hardworking creators.

He latest project, HONCHO, which imagines a future world where a veteran of World War III is on a new mission to reunite a fractured America… through baseball, has just launched on Kickstarter.

Welcome to ComixLaunch Jeff McComsey


As a guy who has been in the trenches, survived 5 successful KS campaigns, and now just re-enlisted for a 6th… there’s so much we could talk about… wealth of knowledge.

One thing I’ve always admired about your projects is how great a job you do designing your Kickstarter pages. I know it’s something you put a lot of thought and effort into, and might be something novice KS creators don’t give all that much thought to….

So, I thought it would be great to really dive in deep on KS page design with a Master.

Guiding Discussion Questions

1) Great KS page starts with a great image. How do you go about choosing your KS project images? Tips, Dos and Don’ts?

  • Starts with strong cover
  • Two people who back
    • Fans of you
    • Fans of the product
  • KS Key Art – so important
  • Netflix – what stands out to you there?

2) Recommendations for what to include on your Kickstarter Page?

3) Any Copywriting tips? What’s the right balance of detail to include on your page?

4) What tools do you use to create your graphics and images? Any tips or recommendations for the graphic design challenge?

5) With the Honcho campaign… anything you’re doing differently than previous campaigns?


ComixLaunch Lightning Round

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

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

…the best place to build equity in yourself as a creator.

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?

So way to add a social media aspect to share booty and happy backer pics from fulfillment as great social proof for a creator’s ability to deliver.

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

my phone

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

Start with the reward with the most backers and get it out of the way, then find someone to help you for some of the time.

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

Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith. 

http://www.barbarianlord.com/


Sponsor Mid-Roll

In a moment, I’m going to give you today’s ComixLauncher, but first, we need to thank our sponsor…

[Krakenprint sponsor ad full #2 – 30-45 seconds]


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.

ComixLauncher 022:

Start a Kickstarter Page Design Swipe File.

A swipe file is a collection or curated archive of exemplar work to reference.

To be the best, you want to model the best.

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. 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 #22.]

 


Wrap Up Questions

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

Plan your campaign like a bank robbery!

2) Besides the HONCHO KS, what’s the best place to keep up with you online?

Jeff McComsey on Facebook


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or 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!

>>> CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A REVIEW ON iTUNES <<<

Provide a rating, 1-5 stars and leave an honest review.

This can be done in less than 2 minutes and could make HUGE difference to the show.

 

ComixLaunch_Green021“Early Bird” discount reward levels or “Day One Backer” bonuses can be an effective strategy to get your Kickstarter campaign off to a explosive start… but there is a downside. In this session, Tyler discusses the pros and cons of early bird rewards.

 


Today’s Session is Sponsored by

Johnny Bullet


Session Table Setting

 

Last week was a mindset episode, so this week, we’re talking strategies and tactics — one reward strategy specifically and that is offering special rewards or incentive for early backers or day one backers.

Before we get into it… I do want to update you on The ComixLaunch Course.

Applications are now closed!  

The ComixLaunch Course is special pilot program where Jeremy Melloul and I will be taking a small group of creators step-by-step through the process of designing and executing a successful Kickstarter campaing to crowdfund their next Comic and Graphic novel project.

Applications poured in, and as expected they are diverse:

  • Single issues, mini-series, trades, hardcovers
  • small campaigns under $1K to 5 figure campaigns
  • Creators who have been in the industry for 20 years or more, to creators working on their very first book.

The course is designed based around a framework of guiding principles that apply to all comic kickstarter projects and action items that every creator should take, regardless of the campaign they’re building.

But the framework will be fleshed out with details specific to each campaign, and every creator will be coached to create their own KS Masterplan.

There will be a private FB group for getting feedback on the elements specific to each KS, and there will also be live Q&A “office hours” with the coaches to handle individual issues… I’m excited about it.


Today’s Session

Today, we’re going to discuss whether or not you should offer early bird rewards.

What are they?

Early Bird rewards are essentially early incentives offered to encourage backers to support your campaign as soon as it launches.

Why?

The purpose of early-bird pledge levels is to give potential backers an incentive to back your pledge right away, usually in the first few days of the Kickstarter project.

I think most Kickstarters know that getting their campaign off to a fast start is important. After all, crowdfunding is stressful, even more so on an all-or-nothing funding platform. So, the sooner you hit your target to guarantee your funds, the better.

But one thing I’m not sure most people realize is that a fast start is also important to how Kickstarter displays and promotes your project. Remember, Kickstarter only makes money when projects get funded. Thus, it’s in their own interest to promote “winners” (by featuring higher on the page in search queries or making a featured project) and bury “losers.”

Clearly, coming out of the gate with a lot of activity day one is a good way to distinguish your project as a winner.

Hypothesis: In a crowdfunding campaign, early backers are more valuable than later ones. Therefore, they should be acknowledged, and rewarded.

So, if an early or a Day One Backer is more valuable to a campaign manager than one who signs on later in the campaign. Not only does their financial backing help your project get out the gate fast, but the earlier they join in on your campaign, the more they’ll be privy to your messaging throughout, and the greater their ability to help evangelize your project.

How?

So, how do you actually do it on KS? What does an early bird reward look like?

Kickstarter does not have any system built in that allows you to set up “Early Bird” reward options…

But there are two manual ways you can set up early bird reward levels:

1 – KS tracks when every backer enters your campaign (date and time) and #s your backers for you, in order of backing.

Makes it easy to see who backed on what days of the campaign.

Everyone who backs first day, first three days, first 200 backers, etc.

Can send individual messages to each backer, or when campaign is over, pull emails of all backers in order of back, and send digital or physical bonuses to them alone.

2 – You can set this in the reward level.

Example, let’s say you want to incentive early backer to back your hardcover GN.  You could set the standard price of the GN at $30, but could set up a limited EARLY BACKER reward tier at $20, and limit it to say, 50 backers.  So, once those early backer spots have been snagged… the $20 pledge is closed, and only $30 spots remain.

Likewise, if you wanted to do a time based reward, you could set up a pledge, and then once the time was over, you could change the pledge to a limited pledge, and then cap it at # of backers currently pledge for it.  This basically let’s no one else take that reward… unless one of your early backers drops out, opening up a spot.

My History

For my 2nd KS campaign for EPIC, I employed an incentive for DAY ONE BACKERS. Again, knowing the importance of getting out of the gate strong, I wanted to do something to encourage DO Backers.

Now, I’ve seen many other campaigns employ an early incentive system by releasing a limited number of their main product at a discounted pledge level, encouraging early bird backers. While that sort of incentive might work for a premium graphic novel, I don’t think the margins support it for a floppy campaign. But it is another way to incentivize early backing…

I had a COMIXTRIBE DAY ONE BACKER stamp made. I knew I was going to be mailing all copies to backers myself for this campaign, and thought I would acknowledge DOBs with a special stamp on their package. Small touch… but I know the psychology of backers…

Also included a bonus digital comic for all DOBs… didn’t cost me much in time or money to send, added value vs. lowering price.

Went fine… a little bit stressful worried I would miss a DOB stamp…  Fulfill by level, not by date backed…did add another thing to check.

I did hit 150% funding on Day One, so to that extent, it did its job.

However, I haven’t done DOB or EB rewards on my subsequent campaigns… and to discuss why, I want to talk about some of the cons of EB rewards.

The Cons of Early Bird Rewards

  • Tracking EB or Day One Backers is another thing you need to manage , and potentially makes fulfillment a bit more complicated, depending on how you’re rewarding things.
  • Outsourcing fulfillment — Amazon… no option for DOB stamp.
  • Early Bird Rewards create winners and losers. Great for people who get the deal… But make people who come to your page later feel like they missed out. If you had no opportunity to get the best price, you’re initial gut reaction is going to be negative. That may turn off more backers over the 30 day campaign, than you turn on in the early bird window.
  • EBR Creates a Discentive for Backers to Upgrade their pledge later on in the campaign. Good reward strategy may include rolling out new, higher level pledges throughout the campaign. However, if a backer locked in an EBR pledge level, say, for a discount, and then sees a higher level pledge reward he/she might be interested… has to way desire for that higher pledge, vs. losing his special EBR tier.
  • Backer psychology… should always be win win win… shouldn’t lose anything.
  • Causes confusion or complexity… do you want to create more reward levels for EBR backers, etc.
  • Shines a light on Cancellations. Every project will have backers drop. And yes, when a backer drops, # of backers and overall funding goes down… but as long as you add backers at a great rate than drop, most prospective backers aren’t going to notice.But when you have an early reward tier… that was filled up early, and then backers drop from it, and it’s later on in the campaign, and there are still spots open… it says either (not enough people were interested, or poeple dropped.)

Pros of Early Bird Rewards

They do provide a way to incentivize and reward your biggest fans.

First-time KS, without a large audience, might incentize fence sitters to take action now, vs later.

They do work… is it worth the cost.

5 better strategies than offering early backer rewards

Link: http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-62-early-bird-pledge-levels/

1. Other limited reward levels: Give backers a chance to be a part of your product. Early bird reward levels don’t increase engagement, involvement, or loyalty, but other limited reward levels do. If you price them correctly, they’re more compelling than early-bird levels (see here for more info).

2. Great product on a great project page: Let’s be clear, early bird pricing is a gimmick… and if you’re relying on gimmicks to move the needle at this point, you might be in trouble. Create a great product and display it on a great project page. Get people excited from Day One, and many will back.

3. Offer a fair price: Offer a fair price for your product and you eliminate the need for hijacking backers at an early bird price.

4. Friends and family: For a first-time project creator, friends and family can be an incredible asset over the first few days. Spend the first 2 days of your project writing individual emails to everyone you know.

5. MY Take – Reward early backers WITHOUT advertising it.  Stamp – Day One Backer!

My take: I agree with Jamie Stegmeiyer… Jamie is in the games space, which shares a lot of similarities with comics. Small niche market, but rabid, die-hard fans.  Most backers on KS aren’t looking for a big discount, rather they’re looking to be a part of something special.  While offering early backer rewards for an expensive tech product or something that needs to raise hundreds of thousands might make sense… I don’t think the pros outweigh the many cons in the comics space.

Focus on making a great product, designing a beautiful KS page, running a outstanding campaign, and then fulfilling like a boss… leave the gimmicks to people who are unable or unwilling to do those things, and you’ll stand out from the crowd. 


Sponsor: Johnny Bullet

Johnny Bullet is really the kind of comics that we don’t get enough of. Hervé St-Louis, also known as Toon Doctor, creates it.

It’s a web comic that has the look and feel of a classic newspaper comic strip, except that it’s published weekly web comic.

Johnny Bullet is a professional drag racer who gets in trouble with the law, bad guys, and of course bad women!

You can tell that Hervé, Johnny Bullet‘s creator, likes cars and drag racing. There are muscle cars everywhere!

There is really no comic like Johnny Bullet. It’s been described as Michel Vaillant meets the Dukes of Hazzard. Set in the 1970s the characters sport afros, and bell-bottoms.

It’s fun to read a crime comic that’s serious but without being dark and gloomy. Johnny Bullet is your classic good guy!

While Hervé tells me that he isn’t ready to launch his Kickstarter just yet, there’s nothing stopping you from reading Johnny Bullet at ComicBookBin dot com slash bullet (comicbookbin.com/bullet).

Leave him comments so he knows that we sent you!

Johnny Bullet. It’s a comic about a man and his car.


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.

ComixLauncher 021

Brainstorm a list of three limited pledge reward ideas…other than time sensitivity.

Shoot me an email to [email protected] subject ComixLauncher 021.


Wrap Up

Where do you stand? Pros and Cons of early action rewards… what do you think? On balance, are they worth it?  Have you tried them in your campaigns? Will you employ them in your next ones?

Let me know… I’ve stated a discussion thread on the ComixLaunch FB page here:

Join the Discussion!


Quote

“In marketing, EVERYTHING is a test.” – Jay Abraham

Right or wrong… what works and what doesn’t… only way to do know is to try for yourself or learn from people who’ve done it.


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