Issues of diversity in comics and finding the big why’s behind the comics and projects you create is ComixLaunch_Green033the focus of this session with special guest Kwanza Osajyefo. Plus: ComixLaunch listener voice mail!


Today’s Session is Sponsored by

Rocketbook Wave, a Cloud Connected Microwavable Notebook currently on Kickstarter. Get yours at ComixLaunch.com/rocketbook

RBwave


Session Table Setting

Welcome back to ComixLaunch!
We have a great show and a great guest today, and we’ll be talking about the bigger why’s behind our work, diversity in comics, and a whole lot more.

But before we get into that, I want to start by saying thank you.  I want to say thank you for joining me and for all the feedback, emails, reviews, re-tweets and so on.
I’ve said it before that creating, even in a collaborative medium like comics, involves a lot of time being alone, staring at a computer screen or our desks… in the winter especially, when conventions less frequent, days are shorter, nights are colder… it’s tough! But making connection, even virtually, is one way to keep at it and keep going… and you guys definitely keep me going.

SpeakPipe – Last episode, I shared news of a new ComixLaunch feature, that makes it super easy for you to become a part of this show. I’ve installed SpeakPipe on the ComixLaunch.com website, and now, with a couple of clicks, you can leave me voice mail…

Jim Whiting, creator of Margo – Intergalactic Trash Collector
“I recently received a mixed review from an online comic site, it wasn’t all bad. After my initial hurt and rejection, I listed his points and looked at them as teachers. I emailed the guy and asked to quote him and to exchange banner ads. Now he is gung-ho to promote my up coming book and will run my press release as is.”

Hey, I love the idea of banner exchanges. I also love how you turned what could be a negative (a critical comment) into a positive — constructive crits to learn from, an opportunity to engage a fellow person in the industry further expanding your network, and a banner exchange!
A ton of lesson’s there!

When you share your own vulnerabilities, transparencies, struggles… a funny thing happens. Other people are drawn to it, share their similar experiences, and how they handle them. Yet another part of the ROI of being transparent.

Check out http://margocomics.com/ for more of Jim’s work.

One more SpeakPipe message, this one from a creator named – Daniel Brodie
Thanks for the tips, Daniel, and congrats on your KS success and good luck finishing strong.

If you’d like to leave us a message and be a part of the show, go to ComixLaunch.com/voicemail and follow the super easy instructions there. I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, let’s get to the heart of today’s show and an awesome conversation.


Guest Introduction

My guest today is a former digital editor at Marvel and DC Comics – best known for launching DC’s Zuda imprint, which published series like the award-winning Bayou, High Moon, Night Owls, Superton, Celadore, Black Cherry Bombshells, Bottle of Awesome, and I Rule the Night. He is also the Creator and writer of BLACK, his first Kickstarter project with art by Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, and Khary Randolph, which is currently crushing it on Kickstarter, having raised more than $53K from the support of more than 1500 backers.

Welcome to ComixLaunch Mr. Kwanza Osajyefo
Anything else you want to tell the ComixLaunch audience about yourself?


What is Today’s Episode About?

Guiding Discussion Questions

Black has a strong, “get it instantly” high concept — “In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” that seems to have really resonated with backers. Were you surprised at great start to your campaign?

One of the exercises I have my students do prior to launching Kickstarter projects or new comic series is really hone in on the “Big Why?” behind their work. I’m interested hearing about your why? Why tell this story, why tell it now, and why are you and your creative team the right people to tackle this story?

Have you received any backlash for tackling issues of racial injustice, police brutality, etc. since launching?

You seem to be taking an unconventional approach with Black. What’re your plans with it post Kickstarter?

Now, in a past life, you were an editor at Zuda Comics, which was a short-lived DC’s webcomic imprint and initiative. (Zuda was also the first time I cashed a check for my comics work, having finished with the bronze in two Zuda competitions…so thanks!) While Zuda was a somewhat controversial initiative… in a lot of ways I see Kickstarter as a spiritual successor to Zuda, at least in terms of opening up opportunity for new creators that wasn’t there before. Thoughts?

When it comes to diversity in mainstream comics, are things getting better, worse, or about the same as they were five years ago? It seems like every single year, when asked what they want to see more of in the comics industry, “more diversity” is almost a stock answer, lauded by most. Five years from now, what has to happen to definitively say the industry has made true progress?

Speed Round

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

“Awesome.” 

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?

“Being able to determine when your project starts and finishes.”

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

“Google Docs and Messenger.”

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

“Definitely understand who your audience is.”

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

“Brian K. Vaughn’s Paper Dolls.”


Sponsor Mid-Roll

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

RBwave
The way you take notes might be about to change…

You’ve got to check out the Rocketbook Wave, a Cloud Connected Microwavable Notebook which is currently on Kickstarter.

The Rocketbook Wave provides the freedom of a traditional pen and paper notebook, while instantly blasting your notes into the cloud using your smartphone.

When you use Pilot Frixion pens with the Wave notebook, you can erase your notes using your microwave oven and reuse your notebook.

Machine Vision

The Rocketbook System is the combination of a special notebook and a free mobile app. Write notes and create designs in your notebook with a pen. Then, using patent-pending image capture technology, the Rocketbook app accurately and quickly captures and sends your notes to pre-configured cloud services.

IMAGE PROCESSING

In an instant, the Rocketbook app crops and enhances each page so your digital notes are more crisp and vibrant than the real thing.

Possibilities are endless

Daily Warm-up Sketch pumped out to social media or your tumblr in record time.
Layouts and cover concepts sketched by hand, and then lightning synched to dropbox to share with your team.
Combines the freedom of sketching anywhere, with the comfort of a digital archive.

Get yours at ComixLaunch.com/rocketbook which is our Kickbooster affiliate link.


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 33
Today’s ComixLauncher — Three Whys?

Why this project?
Why now?
Why are you the one to make it happen?

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 #33.]


Wrap Up

Wrap Up Questions
1) What’s one thing that creators do when interacting with editors that drives editors crazy?
2) What’s the best place to keep up with you online?

Thanks for Listening.

We’re going to go even deeper into both mindset, strategies and tactics for making KS work for you.


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.

Transparency is a key currency for creators in the internet age, and a powerful force when ComixLaunch_Green032embraced
by Kickstarter creators. In this session, Tyler discusses the pros and cons of transparency. Then, he reveals the inner workings of ComixLaunch, sharing its key metrics for 2015, including total income and expenses.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by

Luminous Ages, a fantasy comic and art book now on Kickstarter. Visit ComixLaunch.com/luminous to find out more.


Session Table Setting

Welcome back to ComixLaunch the podcast to learn about mindset, strategies, and tactics for Kickstarter!
This is going to be an interesting show with just you and me, and we’re going to get real.

My topic for today is Transparency, why it’s powerful, why it’s important in 2016, and how it applies to Kickstarter.
And then I’m going to embrace transparency myself, and open up the ComixLaunch books and share our income and expenses for 2015. Every dollar that came in, and every dime that went out.

But first, a little housekeeping. Here’s something new and something super cool!  I want to hear from you. Emails are awesome.  Reviews on iTunes are rad.  But this is a podcast… I want to hear your VOICES…

I made it SUPER easy for you to send ComixLaunch a voice message…

Hop on over to ComixLaunch.com and there’s a little “SEND VOICEMAIL” widget.
Right there, from your desktop, laptop, or phone you can record a short, 90 second voice message.
Powered by SPEAKPIPE.
On Phone — will take a few extra click to grab the SPEAKPIPE app, but super easy and quick, and once you have it, you have it.

What I want to hear…

Feedback on the show.
Kickstarter Tips.
ComixLaunchers put to use.
Challenge me on something I’ve talked about.
Questions
Include your name and feel free to plug your comic or website… but remember, you’ve only got 90 seconds, so make ’em count.

I’m currently using the FREE Speakpipe service… which has limitations (hence the 90 second rule)… we’ll see if you guys use it. Hope you do… this is your show.

ComixLaunch Review on iTunes

It had to happen… after 26 5 star reviews, the streak was broken.
A few days ago, our first 3-star review came in… and I am EXTREMELY grafteful for it… because it ties perfectly to the theme of this episode. Transparency.
I’m going to read the review now… and I have a few comments on it, before transition into today’s episode.

To Published100+

Thank you. I appreciate you. I’ve heard you.

Getting critical feedback is a part of putting yourself out there… I’d like to say it gets easier as you get more experience (and it does… but never gets easy.)

You can hear 25 positive comments and thatta boys, and one mild criticism can cause a crisis of concience… OMG everyone hates me!
We fear pain more than we enjoy pleasure.

To the first point, “calling the show a constant-non stop advertisement for The ComixLaunch Course” —

Well, the high school debater in me would counter with the fact
that we produced and delivered 19 Episodes before ever mentioning The ComixLaunch Course
That of the 15.5 hours of podcasting I’ve probably spent less than 40 minutes discussing the course in any fashion.

But this isn’t a debate… and your perception is YOUR reality.
And if one listener is thinking that, others are too.
So, again, I’ve heard you… I’m going to come back to this at the end of the show.

To the second point, I strongly agree with most of what you have to say:

It IS good to get advice from many sources before launching a Kickstarter…

No one has a monopoly on good ideas.
That’s why I’ve made it a point to bring on some of the best minds in crowdfunding to share their wisdom with all of us.
It’s why I’m making a concerted effort to hear from more diverse voices in comics and outside.

And I totally agree with you, the best way to actually learn something is by doing it… and you will totally learn from your successes and your failures.

But some failures have already been learned by others… you don’t have learn every mistake the hard way.

But the best way to MASTER anything… that’s to teach it to others and have them have success with it… And that’s what I’m all about here, folks.
“Personally have a problem with anyone who sets themselves up as self-appointed authority”

Look, I said in the very first episode that I’m not a guru and I don’t have all the answers…
I’ve had success on Kickstarter… I’m certainly not the only one.
There is no one right way… but there are lot of things that work better than others, and that’s what this is a show about exploring…
The day I stop learning and being curious myself is the day this show no longer has value…

Finally, I will say that I wish you were more specific when you said that I contradict myself on a couple of statements.

Not saying you’re wrong… I’m human and make all kinds of stupid mistakes, especially when talking off the cuff.
But because if it’s an area of confusion, with seemingly contradictory material, that’s an area worth digging in deeper on.
But also, the reality is… this world is often very contradictory… and Kickstarter is no exception. While I love to erect frameworks to simplify the complex… there are exceptions to every rule.

For example, building and establishing a large audience of fans prior to launching is a key component of KS success.
And then some guy throws up a project to make potato salad with no audience at all, it goes viral and he raises $55K.

If it was all simple, if everything made perfect sense… this show would be done by now.
I hope most of you listening are glad it’s still going…

So, thank you for giving me the opportunity to address your comments, and I truly do appreciate the honest feedback.
ComixLaunch.com/review to Review the show

What is Today’s Episode About?

Transparency is a Key Currency of the Internet Age

The rise of the internet age and the evolution of social media has rapidly changed the expectations of customer / business relationships. Many have argued that “transparency is the new currency of business” and that if you’re not open, honest, and accountable… you’re increasingly irrelevant.
Expectations have shifted in all walks of life and this extends to Politics:

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders
Opposite ends of the spectrum, but share a lot of traits.

Authentic
Say what they think, whether it’s popular or not.
Can’t be bought

Transparency has been core to what we’ve done at ComixTribe since it’s inception

I am a teacher by both training and at heart and one of the things that requires is honesty and transparency, when conveying the world as you know it to be. And one of the things we decided early on that was going to be baked into the DNA of ComixTribe was that we were not creating in a vacuum, rather we were going to be sharing our journey: victories, defeats and ah-ha moments as we go. And, to be completely “transparent” there was a certain element of marketing savvy to that. I did not see a ton of transparency in big publishers or publishers that were out there and I know for myself I’m attracted to people that tell it like it is and can be straight with me. So, I wanted to do that for other creators who were a bit further back on the winding, exciting road that is building a career in comics.

I also found that I learn things the best when I teach them to others, and many of the ComixTribe articles I write serve as a record and future reference for myself, almost like a diary or cheat sheet that I can go back to later. Some of the articles about goal setting and motivation, those are issues that I struggle with myself, and can serve as a time capsule. I can go back and get a pep talk from myself, sometimes. The fact that it helps other people as well is an added bonus.

So, there’s a lot there, but it’s something that has worked for ComixTribe. It’s built a lot of good will in the comics world for us, it has built us connections, and really helped get conversations going. I’ve been at conventions and had a number of people randomly come up to me and say, “Your article on how to do barcodes, or your Kickstarter tips are great resources…,” that’s always great to hear.

Why I’m not worried about giving away most of my best stuff:

Absolutely not. Here’s the thing: I’ve never been one to subscribe to zero sum thinking, especially when it comes to creative ideas like creating comics. I think a rising tide lifts all ships. I think that the more good comics that are out there, the faster the audience for comics will grow, and thus the more opportunity for me to sell to that growing pool of prospective buyers. So I don’t get down at seeing others’ success.

And as far as the advice I’m giving out at ComixLaunch podcast, I see it as part of a bigger mission, which is to raise the success rate of comic book Kickstarters overall. And not just the success rate for those that get funded, which is about 50%. I don’t view success on Kickstarter until every backer has been fulfilled, and is happy with their pledge and wants to come back again. A recent Kickstarter fulfillment report that found that 9% of all funded Kickstsarter projects fail to deliver their rewards. Some people might see that and think, “Hey that’s not that bad, less than one out of ten will fail,” but that’s not good enough for me. And I know if I was a backer and one out of ten projects I put money in never showed up, that would sour me on the platform.

Kickstarter is a game changer for creators and one of the greatest things to happen to the world of comics, especially for the independent creator. But, it’s something that could be ruined if the trend lines go the wrong way and more Kickstarters fail to deliver on their promises… that could spoil the well for everyone. So, in that way the Comixlaunch podcast and sharing my advice and helping other creators run better campaigns is actually selfish, because it’s going to ensure there are more backers having a positive experience on Kickstarter because more creators are doing it right and using the platform well. And thus it’s going to bring more people to the tent, so when ComixTribe is ready to launch our next project, it has a better shot at being successful. So I think the more great Kickstarters are out, there the better and stronger the platform will be for everyone.

Transparency is a Key Trait of Successful KS Creators.

Successful Kickstarter creators understand that transparency is an important currency in the information age.

They share more, and hide less.
They tell stories.
They get personal.
They let their backers get an inside look at who is behind the project, what they are doing, and why it’s so important to them.
They understand that many of their backers can’t even draw a straight line, and are completely fascinated by the creative process. So they invite them inside, and show them.
Because these creators have done their homework, they’re not afraid to share some financial information, including how the funds raised will be used and why coming to Kickstarter is necessary for them in the first place.

They are honest and open, likeable, accessible, and as a result, backers trust them.

And they also know that people like to support people they know, like and trust.

Transparency on your KS Page

Remember, backers prefer to support people and projects they know, like, and trust, and nothing builds trust faster than being honest and transparent. In the context of a Kickstarter page, that means:

Being open about who you are, what you stand for, and why this project matters to you.
Being clear about why you need the funding you’re asking for and what it will be used for.
Being clear about risks, challenges, and anything that might cause your project to go off track.
Your backers WANT to support you, but they want to know you’re accountable.
It may seem like a risk to be an open book. You might feel like you’re opening yourself up to judgement, that you’re making yourself vulnerable.
And in truth, you ARE.
But here’s a little secret…
Your backers respect vulnerability, because they respect authenticity. Transparency increases the engagement of your audience, which then increases the reach of your project.

Downside of Transparency

The downsides of being transparent are the fact that when you’re putting yourself out there and you’re making yourself potentially vulnerable, you’re also potentially inviting people to challenge your assertions. If you put something out there that whether intentionally or in most cases unintentionally is incorrect, you may have people taking that one bit of incorrectness and running with it, using it for their own agenda and calling you out on it. Whereas had you not started down a road of transparency in the first place they wouldn’t have bothered to make an issue of it. So that’s one downside.

I also think that there’s the potential of inviting more questions and more details than you’re willing to share. And I do think there is a line that can be crossed and it’s up to every creator to determine for themselves where that line is. Often the more you put out there the more they may ask you to continue to put out there. So it’s just important to know if you’re going down that road.

Also, I think for many creators getting started or early on, the numbers (sales or dollars) can be depressing. If ‘fake it till you make it’ is your strategy, it’s pretty hard to fake it when you’re putting out for the world to see that the critically acclaimed, highly-touted book you made lost hundreds or thousands of dollars. So I can see a potential downside there. But at the same time I think it’s important for creators to be real about where they are and to track things, and so for me putting stuff out there helps me know where Comixtribe is, so I can focus more on how far we’ve come and the very next step. Too many creators focus all their time on the disconnect between where they are currently and how far they still have to go to make it. That’s a recipe for never being happy in life.

The ComixLaunch 2015 Income and Expense Report

Why Share?

Actions speak louder than words — embrace transparency, open up the books and share what ComixLaunch looks like as a project from the financial side of things.
Inspired by Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income Pod, John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire, Scott Volker of The Amazing Seller and more…
What you measure you manage… and what you manage you can improve.
I’m sharing these without attaching a value judgment to them… numbers and metrics aren’t inherently bad or good… they’re just what they are.

Before we get to the financials, let’s look at what we did and how we did it:

May- June 2015

Bought Domain ComixLaunch
Built the Website
Learned how to Podcast!
Set up CL email list in Mailchimp

July 2015

Launched first weekly episode.

October of 2015

Ran ComixLaunch Survey – 100 responses.
Posted first blog post.

November 2015

Took applications for the ComixLaunch Course

December 2015

Enrolled 10 students in the course

2015 Year

25 Episodes
4,735 Downloads
2 Blog posts
103 email subscribers

Income Breakdown (May 2015-December 2015)

2015 Gross Total Income: $2,812.00

Product Sales – The ComixLaunch Course: $2,767.00 (98%)*

30 Day Full Refund policy

Sponsorship: $45.00 (2%)

Affiliate Income : $0.00

Expenses Breakdown (May 2015-December 2015)

2015 Total Expenses: $1,734

Website/ Hosting: $1,143.95 (66%)

ComixLaunch.com: $56.95
Pro.ComixLaunch.com: $997
LibsynPodcast Media Hosting: $90

VA: Editing: $490.00 (28%)

Advertising: $100.05 (5%)

Transaction Fees: $71.64 (4%)

Net Income 2015: $1,078

There you have it… ComixLaunch in 2015 in a nutshell.
I’ll have some closing thoughts after our sponsor.


Sponsor Mid-Roll

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

Luminous Ages

photo-original

Luminous Ages is a fantasy comic set in a universe where dragons, humans, gods, titans, demons, angels and beasts have the ability to control dream magic.!
Created by Australian writer/artist Anthony Christou, the adventure begins with a young farm boy, Thrakos, going through a painful transformation to become a Mage of the Mark. What path will he choose? What secret has his father been hiding from him? And why are dragons hunting him in the dreamworld?

It’s a full-color paperback comic available now on Kickstarter, and includes a bonus concept art book full of dragons and magic, that expands on existing and future characters and environments in the comic!

The first issue of Luminous Ages and the Concept Artbook is finished and can be ordered now.

Go to ComixLaunch.com/luminous to back the project.

Be sure to leave Anthony a comments on Kickstarter so he knows that we sent you!

If an intricate fantasy comic about dragons, creatures and human dream mages fighting for control over the real world and the dream world sounds good to you, check out Luminous Ages on Kickstarter today.

Luminous Ages.


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
SPEAKPIPE
Dudes and dudettes… I went and installed SpeakPipe on ComixLaunch.com to make this show more interactive…
So your ComixLauncher is to holler at me.
Tip, Question, Rant
90 seconds cuz we ain’t got all day.

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 #32.]


Wrap Up

I hope I’ve given you something to think about in terms of transparency.
And I hope, as creative entrepreneurs, it was illuminating to look under the hood at ComixLaunch… what it costs to put this show out, how it’s paid for, and how I’m looking to measure its impact.

  • Running a podcast does incur costs.
  • Creating does incur costs.
  • Time is our most valuable resource.
  • Building a sustainable business requires selling.
  • And right now 98% of what keeps this show going from a financial side is sales of The ComixLaunch Course.

That will change over time…

  • Sponsors will grow.
  • Affiliate income will trickle in.
  • Other products and services we’ll have to offer.

I believe in what I’m selling.

The ComixLaunch Course is the best thing I’ve ever done.
I’m proud of the comics and graphic novels and children’s books I’m publishing this year

The Podcast will always be free. And 95% of it will be information you can take or leave no questions asked…
But 5% is going to be selling…

Selling products and services that I 100% believe in.

If that’s a turn off for you as a listener… that’s perfectly fine. I’ve got nothing but love for you.

But I do hope when it’s your turn to sell, and if you’re listening to this show, I’m betting at somepoint in the near future you will… my wish for you is this:

You are extremely proud of what you’ve done.
You believe that everyone in your niche would be better off for buying it.
You unapologetically sell the hell out of it… ethically, passionately, and transparently.

This was a long one, but I had a lot to get off my chest…

Again, I want to hear your lovely (or manly) voices… SPEAKPIPE is installed on ComixLaunch.com and will let me do just that. Share your thoughts on this episode and more, and maybe YOU’LL hear yourself on a future session.

Thank you so much for listening, and for letting me walk with you, as you taken another step forward toward your next successful ComixLaunch.


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.

The Freedom Journal campaign, the first Kickstarter run by ComixLaunch_Green6podcaster John Lee Dumas, raised more than $450K. In this session, Tyler breaks down five keys to the project’s monumental success.


Today’s 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

Welcome back to ComixLaunch the podcast to learn about mindset, strategies, and tactics!

It’s a lovely, Saturday in New England at 50 degress and about 8 inches of snow.  I gave my new snowblower a work out yesterday and today the snow’s melting.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share my big takeaways from phenomenal project.

Thank you to Kevin Joseph for the iTunes review.
Shout Out to Andrew Taylor, ComixLaunch Listener — ADVENTURES OF GALAXY GIRL IN OUTER SPACE: A Sci-Fi Comedy

ComixLaunch.com/review to Review the show

What is Today’s Episode About?

You don’t raise $420K+ by being lucky…

Over the past month, I’ve been watching, learning, and taking serious notes on the campaign for The Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas.

The Freedom Journal is a deluxe planner designed to guide anyone in setting & accomplishing their #1 goal in 100 days.

With about ten hours left, it has raised more than $424,000 on Kickstarter (and funded 2 schools in developing countries… more on that later.)

The origin of this book was that it was the answer to the question John gets asked the most: Of the 1,200 successful entrepreneurs he’s interviewed over the past few years, what’s their secret?

What’s the common thread that separates successful people from those who struggle? 

John’s answer:

“Successful people know how to set and accomplish goals. Those who struggle do not.” 

For me, the theme for the month of January was goal setting and thinking bigger.

I know I’m hardly alone in setting goals for the new year, but right around now is the time most resolutions fall by the wayside, as we sink back into our old routines.

Old routines…

The cynic in me would say that’s a pretty good two word description of the comic book industry.

Last year, with the critical success of books like And Then Emily Was Gone andOXYMORON: The Loveliest Nightmare, I came to the realization that the quality of the books ComixTribe was producing was beginning to outstrip our ability to market and sell them.

As publisher, that’s on me. 

In looking for answers on how to get more books into more readers’ hands, I began to realize that maybe looking solely at what other comic book publishers are doing wouldn’t give me the answers I was looking for.

So, I picked my head up a bit from the arcane world of the comics industry, dominated by two and a half publishers and controlled by a distribution monopoly, and started looking for ideas elsewhere.

It was then that I stumbled on John Lee Dumas, and his Entrepreneur on Firepodcast.

In just a few short years, John:

So, for good reason, when John does something… I pay attention. 

And even though Kickstarter is an area that I know a thing or two about, having successfully run 7 Kickstarter projects that have raised more than $160K in funding, and having launched a podcast of my own where I talk about the mindset, strategies, and tactics that work for comic creators on Kickstarter, I knew I’d learn a thing or two by backing JLD’s Kickstarter.

And I did.

5 Lessons from The Freedom Journal Kickstarter Campaign

1) Don’t develop in secret.

John had been talking about The Freedom Journal publicly for at least six months, and with his inner circle for a year, prior to launching Kickstarter.

It was no secret that he was launching on January 4.

Now, compare that to how so many creators in comics work… we don’t share ideas because we’re afraid someone else will steal them.

We don’t announce our projects in advance, because we want to launch with a bang, and we’re afraid if we talk about them too soon, no one will cover the launch.

And then… we launch to crickets.

And even though I know about the value of the pre-launch interest building, I realized that even I don’t start building buzz for my books and projects early enough.

2) Give ’em a juicy taste for free.

How has JLD built a seven-figure podcasting empire?

Well, for the most part, he’s done it by giving away a ton of valuable content for free… and not just the podcast.

His Free Podcasting Course, for example, has been an extremely valuable resource in empowering new podcasters (like me!) to launch and grow their podcasts.

So, it was no surprise that, for The Freedom Journal, he would give away a big chunk of the book for free to anyone.

The power of free is nothing new… but again, we as creators are still reluctant to embrace it.

We think, “If I give away too much, no one will buy it?”

However, as the most successful creatives on the planet have shown time and again, if what you give away is quality, people will buy what you have to sell… and in far greater quantities than if you didn’t provide valuable free content first.

3) When you launch, be everywhere.

Here’s another JLD lesson… once the campaign launched, JLD was everywhere.

He was on every podcast I listen to, he was on social media, he was being written up in magazine articles and covered on news sites…

EVERY. WHERE.

He was not afraid to promote his book, because he was entirely confident in what he was doing.

Again, very different in comics…

In the world of comics, 80% of the time is spent creating books, and maybe 20% of time is spent promoting them.

(Actually, for many creators, it’s more like 95% : 5%.)

Unfortunately, that’s a disservice to the creators, the books, and the medium itself.

Comics, as a medium, have never been better than they are today.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we let the rest of the world in on that secret?

4) Make your project about more than just yourself.

Obviously, with the income reports JLD publishes, it’s clear he’s not doing this Kickstarter because he needs the money… and that’s certainly different than most creators and publishers going to Kickstarter.

But JLD recognized that Kickstarter isn’t just about the funding… it’s about the channel, and the ability to get his ideas and brand in front of an audience outside of his own established platform.

He also recognized that a campaign would give him the opportunity to make this project about more than just himself and his product… the focus of The Freedom Journal campaign was on how the book could help other people achieve their #1 goal.

And he also used it as an opportunity to partner with Pencils of Promise, and use the proceeds from The Freedom Journal to build schools in developing countries.

I know personally that it can be hard to think beyond funding the next book or the next series… but this campaign has reminded me to try to think bigger, and think about the potential impact you and your audience can have to make the world a better place.

5) Empower and incentivize your audience to spread your campaign for you.

And finally, it’s no surprise that JLD’s campaign is employing the latest and the greatest tools in the crowdfunding space.

He invited all of his backers to become “Boosters” of his campaign, by signing up for a Kickbooster.me account, incentivizing them to spread the word about The Freedom Journal Kickstarter.

It was through this campaign that I first learned about Kickbooster, and I immediately reached out to co-founder Scott Adamson to find out more about the Kickbooster platform.

(You can hear all about my discussion with Scott and all the details on how Kickbooster works on ComixLaunch Session 029.)  

Personally, I think Kickbooster + Kickstarter has the opportunity to be a game changer for both backers and creators, and am excited to see that develop.

And of course, I have JLD to thank for bringing that service to my attention.

So, there you have it…

I wanted to share these lessons with you, a member of my ‘Tribe, who has been absolutely integral to everything we’re building here at ComixTribe.

If you think you could use an accountability partner to help you achieve your goals, do check out The Freedom Journal campaign before it ends in a few hours:

Click Here for THE FREEDOM JOURNAL on Kickstarter
I’m looking forward to receiving my Freedom Journal as a backer, and continuing to make big things happen through small, steady progress.

Best,

Tyler James

P.S. If you decide to get a copy of The Freedom Journal, let me know.  I’d love to hear what your #1 goal is… and look forward to checking back 100 days later to hear how you achieved it!


Sponsor – KrakenPrint

Last year, ComixTribe spent nearly $85,000 on printing.

While we rely on a number of printers to get our books to market, one printer I can strongly recommend is KrakenPrint

Our friends Jacob Way and Sam Amborn at Kraken Print offer:

  • Competitive pricing.
    Great customer service, especially for your first offset print run.
    Monthly storage if you do not want to store hundreds or thousands of books at home.
    Distribution options, including breaking down orders and shipping direct to Diamond or comic stores at their specially negotiated discounted rates on shipping.
  • And NOW they even offer Kickstarter fulfillment!
  • Kraken will pick, pack, and ship out orders for your backers.

If you want to unleash the Kraken, go to comixlaunch.com/kraken, mention the ComixLaunch podcast, and they’re going to knock 5% off your first print run…and they’re going to hook us up with a 5% credit.

It’s a classic win/win/win/win – You get a great price on printing, your backers get a beautiful offset printed book, you help the podcast out, and Kraken gets your business.

That’s comixlaunch.com/kraken for 5% off your entire first print run.


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 31 –
Tell someone about your Kickstarter idea.

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 #31.]


Wrap Up

The Five Key Lessons:
1) Don’t develop in secret.
2) Give ’em a juicy taste for free.
3) When you launch, be everywhere.
4) Make your project about more than just yourself.
5) Empower and incentivize your audience to spread your campaign for you.

Quote
“The Greater Danger for most of us lives not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

Thanks for Listening.

We’re going to go even deeper into both mindset, strategies and tactics for making KS work for you.
Thank you so much for listening, and for letting me walk with you, as you taken another step forward toward your next successful ComixLaunch.


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.

Audio Player

What are the pros and cons of launching a KickstarterComixLaunch_Green030 campaign with a $1 goal? In this session, Tyler will give you his opinion on this “Dollar goal strategy” which is more common than you might think, and more importantly, will tell you what cold hard Kickstarter data says about its efficacy.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by

Luminous Ages, a fantasy comic and art book now on Kickstarter. Visit ComixLaunch.com/luminous to find out more.


Session Table Setting

Welcome back to ComixLaunch the podcast to learn about mindset, strategies, and tactics!

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about a strategy on Kickstarter that has a 100% “success” rate… however, I’m saying the word success with quotation marks, or as Gloria from Modern Family says, “The Finger Bunnies”.

Thank you —
ComixLaunch Podcast Downloads are up this month — Very close to doubling our previous highest month, which was December.
I think a lot of you have Kickstarter Launches set as a New Years Resolution.
Also want to thank you for 5 Star reviews!
Please visit ComixLaunch.com/review to review the show.

Random Pro-tips
1) Take action on the things that make everything else easier… or irrelevant.
2) You Will Rarely Be Happy with the Cheapest Option

And before we dive in I want to give a quick ComixLaunch Course update. As you may know, Jeremy and I have a taking small group.  We had the first live session and the first office hourse completed.  It’s going even better than I had hoped.  There’s a lot of moving parts and we invested in a lot of new software and technology.  We’re dusting off the rust for this new experience.  As I told the course, they are the secret sauce and create the magic that happens.

There’s magic happening in the Private Facebook group with feedback, suggestions, and sharing.  Two creators who were new to each other realized they would be targeting similar demographic so they’re going to pool resources on media outets, PR strategies, etc.
It’s still early and there’s a lot to cover, but exactly what I hoped to happen is happening… and man does that feel good.

The course not open right now, and we have not set the next launch date, but we do have a Course Notification List at http://comixlaunch.com/course

The first course filled up fast… if the creators have the kinds of results I’m expecting, I’d expect round two to fill up even faster.


What is Today’s Episode About?

Russell’s Campaign – If you’d like to check out Russell’s campaign, and support the ComixLaunch podcast, go to comixlaunch.com/father which is our Kickbooster affiliate link.

What does my Gut tell me?
Pros
Cons

Not going to start there…

What do the facts tell me?
Anyone can give an opinion, and opinions are wonderful. Educated opinions more so.
But you know my goal is for ComixLaunch to become the AUTHORITY site
Not just opinion, but cold hard facts and data.

A while back, we talked to Walter Haas, formerly of Kickspy, back in Episode 14. I checked in with Walter who’s been helping KS campaigns optimize promotion and doing a lot with Facebook ads.   Episode 28 got a lot of positive feedback.  I know Walter is the man when it comes to data, so I asked him to work with me on a data scrape of comic book Kickstarter data, the motherload, ever comic book project, launched from 2014-2015.

Wow… so much information to be learned there. Right now, that data is powering a lot of the ComixLaunch Course, but eventually, some of it will make its way to this podcast… starting today.


Analysis of Funded Kickstarters from 2014-2015

What does the DATA tell me about the $1 strategy as it relates to Comic book projects?
Dollar campaign not that all that rare 38 campaigns in the comic category set a goal of $25 or less. Over 100 projects 100 or less. And 19 at the $1 mark.
Eliminated joke / spoof projects — ex. Egg Salad at Gen Con.

Let’s look at All the $1 comic book KS projects launched in 2014-2015 – 19

Avg amount raised by SUCCESSFUL $1 projects — $2,529

Low – $712 and a High of $5,514

So, Pretty good right. Does work… average 253,000% funded!
Success Rate – 100% Success Rate

 

Here’s something that’s interesting… What about super low dollar goal projects Over $1, but $25 or less?

20 Projects fit this
Average — $577 – Low of $10 and a high of $4,776.
Success Rate — 20 / out of 28 — 71% Success rate… but 8 failed to basically raise pizza money.

Cheap goal does not inspire backing.

 

How does the Average Comic KS Project compare to the Avg $1 KS Project?
$11,261 vs. $2,529 (4.5x)
50% Success Rate

 

But… what we don’t know is, would that project have done better if the goal was higher. How does funding relate to funding goal.

Funded Comic book Projects with a $2,000 goal – 101.
On average, raise $3065 (21% more than $1 goal.)
Success Rate – 101/197 = 51%

Funded Comic book Projects with a$2,500 goal – 80.
On average, raise $3884 (53% more than $1 goal.)
Success Rate – 80/ 134 = 60% Success Rate
Risk vs. Reward

Funded Comic Book Projects with a $10,000 goal
On average, raise $20,801 (722% more than $1 goal.) 48 / 98 failed
Success Rate – 48/ 136 = 33% Success Rate

Summary

$1 Pledge is a Gimmick.
The Gimmick does work… 100% success rate & 2K+ average.
If you’re going to go with a super low pledge strategy, $1 is far better than some other low dollar amount.
If successful, you’re better off setting a higher target. With the dollar goal you’re neutering one of the pieces of Kickstarter’s secret sauce: the climb toward a worthy, serious, goal.


Sponsor Mid-Roll

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

Luminous Ages

photo-original

Luminous Ages is a fantasy comic set in a universe where dragons, humans, gods, titans, demons, angels and beasts have the ability to control dream magic.!
Created by Australian writer/artist Anthony Christou, the adventure begins with a young farm boy, Thrakos, going through a painful transformation to become a Mage of the Mark. What path will he choose? What secret has his father been hiding from him? And why are dragons hunting him in the dreamworld?

It’s a full-color paperback comic available now on Kickstarter, and includes a bonus concept art book full of dragons and magic, that expands on existing and future characters and environments in the comic!

The first issue of Luminous Ages and the Concept Artbook is finished and can be ordered now.

Go to ComixLaunch.com/luminous to back the project.

Be sure to leave Anthony a comments on Kickstarter so he knows that we sent you!

If an intricate fantasy comic about dragons, creatures and human dream mages fighting for control over the real world and the dream world sounds good to you, check out Luminous Ages on Kickstarter today.

Luminous Ages.  


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
What do you want to know?

Today’s ComixLauncher

Write down three question that you want to know that data and Kickstarter analytics could answer.

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 #30.]


Wrap Up

What do YOU think about the $1 goal strategy? Let us know!

“Scared money don’t make no money” – Young Jeezy

Thanks for Listening.

We’re going to go even deeper into both mindset, strategies and tactics for making KS work for you.
Thank you so much for listening, and for letting me walk with you, as you taken another step forward toward your next successful ComixLaunch.


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.