Hell, it can feel like that all the freaking time.
As creators, ideas often come to us in an instant.
One moment, we’re minding our own business going about our day, and than BANG!
A flash of inspiration.
A brilliant idea.
Something we MUST create.
The spark of an idea takes no time at all.
Hell, I can remember when that flash of inspiration hit me a decade ago for THE RED TEN.
I was complaining to a fellow comic fan about the overuse of killing off of beloved characters for short term sales boosts, when I made the off-handed comment, “Maybe it should be Big Two corporate policy going forward that someone must die in every issue!”
And then it hit me…
Wait a minute.
What if that was a part of the hook?
How would I do a series like that… and make it fun?
Like I said… one second THE RED TEN didn’t exist.
The next it did.
Well, the idea for it at least.
As you probably know fully well by now, a great idea for a series is both everything…
…and nothing at all.
Independent creators will have a hard time selling ideas alone… because there are no shortage of those in the world.
What there IS a shortage of is a fully realized execution of a great idea.
Because doing that
When Cesar Feliciano and I started working on THE RED TEN series, neither of us had any idea that we’d be working on it for the better part of a decade.
(Probably a good thing, too… because a project that daunting might have scared us away!)
When we started working on the series, ComixTribe was also just an idea, but not a fully realized graphic novel publisher with worldwide distribution and hundreds of thousands of copies of books in print as it is today.
Kickstarter was also just an idea, and not a platform that is closing in on raising over $100 million dollars for independent comic projects as it is today.
None of these ideas are executed over night.
And none of these ideas are executed without dedication and commitment to building them one tiny step at a time.
THE RED TEN series took a lot longer to complete than I would have liked.
If we’re being honest, I carry a little bit of embarrassment about that.
Growing up as a passionate comic fan, there was nothing tougher for me than the long wait for those early Image books that came out on an erratic schedule…
Every trip to the comic shop had me asking the annoyed clerk:
“Is it out yet? Is it out yet? Is it out yet?”
And yet, as a creator, I soon discovered that it can take a lot longer to produce a comic series than you initially imagine… especially if it’s not the only or even the main thing you’re working on.
THE RED TEN was a project that definitely took longer than I wanted it to.
But now that the series is 100% complete and we’re collecting the final volume into a stunning graphic novel that I’m hoping to get into backers hands before the year is out, I’ve decided to do something I don’t do enough of…
I’m going to give myself a break.
After all, I had never produced a ten-issue maxi-series before this book… so I had no idea how long it was going to take!
Why keep punishing myself for that?
Instead of holding onto the guilt around how long it took vs how long it would have taken in some perfect world, I’m simply going to be grateful for the long, eventful journey of creating this book with my friends and for all the fans we’ve been able to share it with.
Grateful for the awesome creative partnership with Cesar who breathed life and passion into every page.
Grateful for all the brilliant edits from Steve Forbes that helped make me a better writer.
Grateful for the additional insight and careful catches from editors Steve Colle and Sam LeBas.
Grateful for all the stunning covers from CP Wilson, III.
Grateful for the brilliant colors from Gus Ucha, who hit every deadline and made the book shine.
And grateful for every fan who took a little time to hear what THE RED TEN series was about at conventions, store signings and online over the years… and especially those who took a chance on it and bought an issue to help us fund this series.
Finally, I’m grateful that the experience of creating this book has lead to so many lessons that I’ve been able to share with other aspiring comic creators who I’ve been able to advise, coach and connect with over the years.
But perhaps no lesson is greater than this one…
Give yourself a break!
Creative projects, especially those at a scope and scale you’ve never attempted before, take time.
Usually more time than you expect.
Often ten times as long as you think it will when you start it.
And so, if there’s a project you’re working on that’s taking longer than you’d like, I want to invite you to accept it and release any guilt you might have around that reality.
And instead, open yourself up to some new possibilities…
What if your project actually is NOT taking longer than it should be?
What if it’s taking EXACTLY as long as it needs to be to teach you all the valuable lessons you need to learn from it?
Whether that’s true or not… I don’t know.
But I do know that holding on to guilt or beating yourself up about not being where you think you should be isn’t going to get it done any faster.
So, let it go.
As long as you’re committed to seeing it through, in the grand scheme of things, the exact amount of time it took won’t matter.
But you know what will matter?
The people you’ve met along the way.
And the person you’ve become through the process.
P.S. If you’ve been getting value from the ComixLaunch Podcast or the resources we put out for creators, but have just realized you’ve never actually read a Tyler James book… I would love to invite you participate in THE RED TEN Vol 1-2 Kickstarter launch.
After forming several MasterMind Groups over the years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Here are four tips if you’re thinking of starting your own group for mutual support and accountability.
Interested in joining a creator mastermind group this summer?
On Kickstarter, is it best to wait until after you fund to add a list of stretch goals or does it help motivate funding if people see you already have a list of stretch goals? Tyler has a definitive answer for you!
Should you serialize your comic book on Kickstarter? On this FastTipFriday episode, we’re going to look at the benefits of Serializing your series on the Kickstarter platform.
The LAUNCH SERIALIZATION Kickstarter strategy is one of 9 crowdfunding strategies covered in my new free crowdfunding strategy guide for comic creators titled FUNDED: 9 Savvy Strategies Comic Creators are Using to Crowdfund Their Projects on Kickstarter. You can download your FREE copy in both PDF and Audio MP3 at http://ComixLaunch.com/funded
Would you believe that half of all comic creators launching projects on Kickstarter are making a big mistake when it comes to how they title their crowdfunding projects?
In this post I’ll show you how to title your Kickstarter project to attract more backers and to increase funding on Kickstarter.
You diligently researched and planned your crowdfunding campaign.
You took your time and built a slick looking Kickstarter page you were proud of.
And even though you were nervous, you took a deep breath, summoned up all of your courage, and hit that green Kickstarter launch button…
And it worked!
The funding started rolling in!
Your core fans and supporters came out Day One and you even saw some names you did not recognize on your list of backers.
You felt amazing and even started to let yourself think about cool ideas for stretch goals or even your next Kickstarter launch.
Everything was going great.
And then… it stopped.
It’s now day five of your campaign.
You haven’t had a new backer in 48 hours.
And the Kickstarter launch that was going so great is somehow already a distant memory.
It was simply too good to be true, you think.
And now every fear and insecurity you had about launching suddenly start creeping back into your head…
What if you don’t get another backer for the rest of this campaign?
What if it was only friends and family who were ever going to support you… and you’re all out of friends and family?
What if everyone has moved on to the next shiny project and no one cares about your campaign any more?
What if there’s too much competition on Kickstarter this month and all that funding is going to projects better than yours?
What if the Kickstarter bubble finally burst… and of course that coincided with the week YOU decided to launch?
The worst part is that up until now, you felt like this Kickstarter campaign was evidence that you were finally taking control of your creative career.
You worked damn hard on this project!
Step by step, brick by brick, you took action day after day, week after week to put this launch together.
You were in control.
And yes, it took longer than you thought to launch.
And yes, it was more work than you thought it would be, but you didn’t shy away from that challenge, you leaned into it…
And when that first surge of funding came in, you finally let yourself breathe a sigh of relief because it was validation that it was all going to be worth it.
Now, you’re back to feeling powerless again.
You feel like the Kickstarter campaign you worked so damn hard on is slipping out of your control…
You were counting on more backers coming from Kickstarter itself, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Your confidence is waning…
Maybe you won’t raise nearly as much as you thought you’d raise
Or even worse, maybe you won’t fund at all.
And if this campaign that you put weeks, months, maybe even years into planning fails…
…then what hope do you have to succeed at anything?
What does a public failure like this going to say about you?
What are people going to think?
How are you going to face your creative team if this launch goes bust?
How is your family going to react when when they see that all the time you spent away from them to create this project was a pointless sacrifice made in vain?
The negative thoughts in your head are relentless…
You’re trying to stay positive.
You know you should roll up your sleeves and get back to promoting your campaign, but all you want to do is crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.
Because frankly, you’re exhausted from all the work you put into the initial launch…
And secretly, you’re afraid that you simply don’t have anything left in the tank to get things moving again.
Where did it all go wrong?
You, my friend, have entered the Kickstarter Dead Z💀ne.
And how you deal with this part of your Kickstarter campaign will be one of the main determinants in whether Kickstarter propels your creative career forward…
Or whether it sets you back physically, mentally and emotionally.
What is the Kickstarter Dead Zone?
Well, my ComixLaunch Listeners have described it as…
A “midway slump in your campaign.”
Or “the draggy middle stretch” of your launch.
Or probably my favorite, “that goddamn middle dip dead zone!”
The Dead Zone is real, and the truth is… it can even get worse.
After 48 hours of no campaign activity, your phone buzzes again with an update from Kickstarter.
But when you check it, it’s not a new backer at all, but a message letting you know that one of your high level backers is lowering their pledge by $50…
Or even canceling their pledge all together!
At its worse, I’ve had creators confess to me that it’s during the dead zone of a Kickstarter launch they’ve experienced aggravation of mental health symptoms of depression and anxiety.
I know of at least one creator who had to check himself into the hospital after a grueling nail-biter of a campaign with a long, nerve-wracking dead zone.
Let’s get real for a minute here…
No Kickstarter launch is worth hospitalization, I don’t care how much funding you raise.
Something Is Terribly Wrong Here…
As, host of THE COMIXLAUNCH PODCAST, a show dedicated to helping writers, artists and publishers crowdfund their dreams projects on Kickstarter, I’m one of the Kickstarter platform’s biggest advocates.
So you might be wondering why I’m scaring you about one of the less discussed aspects of crowdfunding, the Kickstarter “Dead Zone.”
First, because it’s Halloween, which is always a good time for chills.
But second, and most importantly, it’s because it doesn’t have to be that way.
During my first few Kickstarter campaigns, I struggled through the Kickstarter dead zone just like most creators.
I think the dead zone actually felt worse on my second campaign… because somehow I had forgotten what it felt.
I think it’s a bit like buried trauma that resurfaces that way, but many creators I talk to have the same experience, where their second campaign’s dead zone feels even harder than the first.
But through the process of launching again and again and again, I’ve gotten to the point where the Kickstarter dead zone is not a problem for me at all.
I do not fear it.
And when analyzing my past Kickstarter campaigns, the truth is, I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars during the so-called “dead zone” of my Kickstarters.
And yet, for many, the dead zone remains the single worst part about launching.
What I’ve discovered is that:
We fear that which we do not understand.
And we fear that which we do not control.
And that’s why the dead zone can hit us like a ton of brick.
Most creators enter their campaigns unprepared for what lay ahead during the dead zone.
As a result, they bring the wrong mindset, strategies and tactics to the dead zone and they struggle.
But if you have the right mindset, strategies and tactics to conquer the dead zone, it won’t seem scary at all.
Kristie McDowell, creator of Gamer Girl & Vixen, was one of the first creators in the pilot program of THE COMIXLAUNCH COURSE that I taught my dead zone strategies to.
She raised over $11K to fund her first graphic novel, and said “knowing about the dead zone and how to conquer it made that part of the campaign way more bearable than my first Kickstarter.”
These dead zone strategies work for me, they worked for Kristi and I believe they’ll work for you, too.
So, if you’re a creator planning your first Kickstarter campaign and didn’t know the dead zone was coming…
Or if you’re a veteran Kickstarter creator and everything I described about the dead zone hit home with your past crowdfunding experience…
Or especially if you’re currently running a Kickstarter and in the midst of the terror of the dead zone right friggin’ now…
I WANT TO HELP!
Starting Friday, October 26, I’m putting together a special, all-new, 13-part training.
It’s called RAISE THE DEAD ZONE! 13 Days of Proven Kickstarter Dead Zone Busting Strategies.
In this training series, I’m going to teach you how to maintain crowdfunding momentum, steadily attract and convert new backers, and stay confident during the difficult middle stretch of a Kickstarter campaign, without hustling until your eyeballs bleed or becoming repetitive or annoying to your followers.
Each day for 13 days this Halloween season, I’m going to shine a light on exactly how to stay positive and maintain your motivation so that the funding keeps coming in, through short, easy-to-implement, actionable strategies.
Nothing I share during this training is conjecture or “this might work” stuff.
Rather, everything I share in this training series will be proven strategies that have worked for me and the dozens of creators I’ve helped raise more than $500,000.00 in funding for their dream projects.
How to Do You Get Access to the “Raise the Dead Zone” Training?
But, I’m going to change that up for the next two weeks during thisDead Zone Patreon promotion, because much like PBS or NPR, we need the support of our listeners to continue to thrive.
For some of you, it’s a no brainer, and you’re already heading over to ComixLaunch.com/patreon and becoming a Patron, not just to get access to this upcoming 13-Days of training, but also because of everything you’ve learned from this podcast already.
For everyone else, before you make a decision, I want you to ask yourself three questions…
First, have you received value from the ComixLaunch podcast over the past year?
Second, do you believe in supporting monetarily the things you value?
Third, and finally, would you miss this podcast if it went away?
But I do want to make sure that you, as a loyal listener, understand that right now 100% of all funds raised on Patreon go entirely to support the free weekly ComixLaunch podcast.
The funds go to support things such as:
The monthly Media hosting cost on Libsyn, a cost which has continued to rise as the show’s downloads continue to grow. (We had our biggest download month in August, on on track to eclipse that again this month in October… not complaining, but growth does come with a price tag.)
Podcast Editing – The only reason this show comes out weekly is through the talent and dedication of the editing team.
The “Just Launched” Section of the podcast –> One of the services I’ve offered to ComixLaunch listeners and literally every creator who’s launched a comic project on Kicstarter is our Just Launched Section… that’s organized, managed by my assistant Fred, and again, is a lot of work every single month.
And I do it happily, I do it unreservedly, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can, because this show and the results it’s generated in the comics Kickstarter community is probably the thing I’m most proud of that I’ve ever created.
But I want to invite more of you to own a piece of our success by taking the next step and becoming a Club ComixLaunch Patron on Patreon.
And to make it a no-brainer for you and everyone else listening to this, we’re going to finally solve the biggest pain point of running a Kickstarter…
An Alternative Way to Support ComixLaunch and Get the Training
Now, I know that there are some of you out there who are thinking, Tyler, I’d love to get this training, and I’d love to support the ComixLaunch podcast, but for whatever reason, you don’t believe in Patreon or don’t like the ongoing funding support model.
I get that…
I want you to have and option to access to the training as well… so I’m providing another option.
If you go to comixlaunch.com/deadzonebook you can pre-order the e-book version of this training which will be ready in November for just $13.
You’ll also get the same daily posts as our Patreon supporters delivered via email.
Yes, it’s a slightly higher investment than on Patreon, but I wanted to give an option for those of you who, for whatever reason, do not support Patreons to still get this training and still show your support for the ComixLaunch podcast.
Let’s Defeat the Kickstarter Dead Zone Once and For All!
I’m excited to share with you the best of what I’ve learned staring down the barrel of 15 Kickstarter dead zones myself and coming out of the other end with 15 wildly successful crowdfunding campaigns.
I’m also excited to share with you the dead zone stories and strategies of dozens of creators that I’ve worked with on their successful Kickstarter campaigns.
You too can learn how to survive and thrive during the Kickstarter dead zone without hustling until your eyes pop out or pestering your fans…
You can do it.
You will do it.
13 Days of Dead Zone strategies are all yours starting Friday.