ComixLaunch_MailbagTyler James answers ComixLaunch listeners’ crowdfunding questions! This episode covers protecting your books from piracy, getting the best price on printing, and how big an audience you need to launch a successful Kickstarter project.


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 toComixLaunch.com/Kraken for 5% off your entire first order.


Today’s Ask ComixLaunch Questions

In this episode, we answer Kickstarter questions from creators!

Questions #1 – Piracy

“I was interested in your opinion on releasing digital versions of comics/graphic novels as rewards on KS.

Everything I’ve read indicates that – although it seems counter-intuitive at first – letting your stuff out there, DRM free, is on balance a positive thing for creators. In fact, it seems like if you want to run a viable KS campaign, you really have no choice these days but to offer a digital download. Eric Stephenson of Image and Neil Gaiman seem positively evangelical about this.

I completely understand the rationale behind this. But do you have any reservations about it – or do you know of any independent creators who feel that releasing easily pirated digital versions of comics (or in particular single graphic novels) wasn’t the best move?

Thanks for your time,

Lex M.

It’s a good question… and definitely one that draws strong opinions.  This is also nice follow up to the recent ComixLaunch Session entirely on Digital Rewards.

Here’s the deal… the most pirated TV show on the planet is Game of Thrones. (HBO is doing just fine.)

The most pirated comic book is The Walking Dead. (Robert Kirkman, also fine.)

9 of the 10 most successful comic book Kickstarters, including this one that has absolutely EXPLODED this week, were webcomics first, and largely available to read in their entirety for free.

So, I wouldn’t be concerned about your work getting pirated…

I would be far, far, far more concerned about your work getting ignored.

A lot of creators out there who waste a lot of time worrying about preventing other people from making money off of their work… before they’ve even figured out how to make money off it!

DRM is an illusion… focus on getting readers.

Question #2 – Printers

“Can you point me in the direction of printers for a Kickstarter that we’re finishing up, I’d like to share it with my partners. They have someone in mind, but I’d be interested in seeing if we could get more bang for our buck. Who have you used, and what was your preference for price and quality?

– Shawn

Shawn, ALWAYS price multiple printers… and don’t be afraid to share your print quotes with the printers from other printers, as they’ll often try to beat them.

KrakenPrint is a sponsor of ComixLaunch and if you mention ComixLaunch, they’ll knock 5% off your first order. Go to ComixLaunch.com/kraken and shoot them an inquiry. But definitely get multiple quotes!

  • Transcontinental
  • PrintNinja
  • POD – CreateSpace
  • IngramPrinting / Lightning Source

#3 – Platform

“Should you hold off launching a KS until you have a (measurable) audience for your comic? Or is doing a KS a way to build an audience?”

– Rich

Yes and Yes

Should you hold off launching a KS until you have a (measurable) audience for your comic?

Yes… love the wording… measurable audience. Because

The Avg KS pledge is around $25.

That means for a $100 goal, you need 4 backers. Do you have a measurable audience where you’re confident 4 people will back?

$1000 goal, need 40 backers.

10,000 goal need 400 backers

100,000 goal need 4,000 backers. Think about it… difference between 3000 people can make a $90,000

So, yes, your audience should be measurable (ballpark), and your goal should reflect your audience… but that doesn’t mean you need a huge audience.

Yes, Kickstarter is a way to build a platform.

Some will tell you it’s not… but here’s the truth… I could pull up the list of 3500+ backers, and most of them are people I couldn’t pick out of a line up and have never met in person.

KS is a profit maximizer.

If you start a fire, it makes smoke… likewise, a successful KS will attract fans.

And the single most valuable thing that KS does for you, something that so many other platforms — the Direct market/Diamond, Amazon, Comixology, Bookstores — is that it gives you direct access and the ability to contact after the fact every single person who pledges to your KS.

They are YOUR backers… not Kickstarters. And that is HUGE.


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.

This week’s ComixLauncher… 

Ask ComixLaunch a Question.

Shoot me an email to [email protected] subject ComixLauncher 15 and ask me something. You’ve gotta have something you’re wondering… and chances are someone else is wondering it to.


Closing Quote

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

– Mark Twain


LAST CALL for the COMIXLAUNCH SURVEY!

We’re in the final week of the ComixLaunch survey, so if you haven’t already, please head over to comixlaunch.com/survey in order to take our first ever listeners survey.

This survey will help shape the direction of this show and the resources we create over the coming months and into 2016.

Comixlaunch_CLICK

We’re committed to making ComixLaunch the single best resource for comic book creators interested in using Kickstarter the right way to fund their projects, and advance their careers… but we can only do that with your input.

Please head to comixlaunch.com/survey and fill out the short survey, I promise it will only take a few moments and yet have a huge impact in what we’re able to do for you.

And as a special bonus…

Everyone of you who completes the ComixLaunch survey will be given instant access to a private bonus ComixLaunch training! I promise you… it will be well worth your time, and comixlaunch.com/survey is where it’s at. 

ComixLaunch_Green014ComixLaunch host Tyler James is interviewed by Walter Haas of Kickspy, in an effort to uncover the secrets of successful Kickstarter projects.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics


Today’s Session…

I have a very special interview for you today… in the hot seat getting interviewed is a creator who has successfully run 7 Kickstarters and raised nearly $170K on the platform… you may have heard of him… his name is Tyler James.

Now, before you think I’ve gone crazy and I’m interviewing myself on the show, or that my ego has super sized, let me tell you what’s up with this week’s session.

A few weeks back, I was contacted by a gentleman named Walter Haas, a mathematician in San Francisco and who’s been studying successful Kickstarter projects for the past few years. For a while, he ran a site called Kickspy.com analyzing Kickstarter projects.

While Walter is primarily focused on the quantitative research side… he now wants to focus more on the qualitative side to balance out his knowledge of the platform. As such, he’s talking to successful KS creators, seeking to pick their brains, similar to what I do in my interviews with creators, trying to find the mindset, strategies and tactics that lead to success.

So, he asked if I’d talk to him… I agreed, on one condition… that I could record the interview, for the benefit of YOU, ComixLaunch.

And so that’s what I have for you today! But first…


ComixLaunch Survey Reminder!

Before I get into that, though, I wanted to mention the ComixLaunch Survey.

First, thanks to all of you who have taken it, and there are a ton of you who have. Jeremy and I are already taking action behind the scenes planning topics and future shows based on your responses.

CLSurvey

The survey is running until the end of the month Oct 31, 2015. We set a goal for the number of respondents and right now were’ about 2/3rds of the way there.

If you’ve gotten value out of this show and want to see it continue and get even better, the single biggest thing you can do is take the survey.

(Next biggest thing you can do is share it with other creators, so we get even more responses and better data.)

Also, remember there is a Bonus KS Training unlocked at the end of the survey that you won’t want to miss.


The Tyler James Interview

Here’s Walter’s list of Questions for Tyler James… We touch on most of these!

General Discussion Topic

  • What would you say are the biggest factors that led to your phenomenal success with your last Kickstarter campaign? Is there one or a few things that stand out the most?

To Connect with Walter Haas, email him at [email protected].


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.

Write down one idea from this episode that you’re going to take action on.

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this, and I’d love to hear what you came up with. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #14.]


Final Quote

“It’s much easier to do things right from the start than to fix them later.”

– Guy Kawasaki


SURVEY

Hey, guys! Before you go, I just want to remind you to head over tocomixlaunch.com/survey in order to take our first ever listeners survey.

This survey will help shape the direction of this show and the resources we create over the coming months and into 2016.

Comixlaunch_CLICK

We’re committed to making ComixLaunch the single best resource for comic book creators interested in using Kickstarter the right way to fund their projects, and advance their careers… but we can only do that with your input.

Please head to comixlaunch.com/survey and fill out the short survey, I promise it will only take a few moments and yet have a huge impact in what we’re able to do for you.

And as a special bonus…

Everyone of you who completes the ComixLaunch survey will be given instant access to a private bonus ComixLaunch training! I promise you… it will be well worth your time, andcomixlaunch.com/survey is where it’s at. 

 

ComixLaunch_Green013In this session with writer Ryan K Lindsay (Negative Space, Deer Editor), the topic is the pros and cons of digital only reward Kickstarter campaigns. This session will be especially valuable to creators outside of the United States interested in discover whether or not Kickstarter is a good platform for them. 


This Session’s Sponsor…

Purebuttons, your go-to resource for custom buttons of all shapes and sizes.  Go to ComixLaunch.com/purebuttons for 10% off your next order of custom buttons.


This Session’s Guest…

ComixTribe publisher Tyler James is joined by a special guest who is an up-and-coming comic book writer from the land down under, who has been steadily building an prolific body of impressive, thoughtful work, and whose career has really taken off this year. Comic fans and critics alike are raving of series “Negative Space” from Dark Horse.  In the past four years he’s had work published by Image comics, IDW, Monkey Brain, Action Lab, SequArt, and more… And I’m thrilled to be working with him on a yet unnannounced new ComixTribe title that will be making big waves in 2016. Welcome to the ComixLaunch Podcast Mr. Ryan K Lindsay.

Anything else you want to tell the ComixLaunch audience about yourself?


Today’s Session… 

I’m thrilled to have Ryan on the podcast today because I wanted his perspective on a topic that I’ve received a ton of questions on from ComixLaunch listeners… and that’s the viability, pros & cons, of “Digital Only” Kickstarter campaigns.

In 2014, Ryan launched his first KS campaign for DEER EDITOR, a 48 tablet page B+W mature readers noir comic… that happened to feature an anthropomorphic deer as the lead.

It was primarily a digital only campaign that exceeded its $1000 goal by more than 200%.

We’re getting two for the price of one here with Ryan, because we get to talk about digital only campaigns… and running a comics Kickstarter outside of the United States.

We have a lot of INT listeners to this show, and FYI KS is available currently in 18 Countries:

US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg

Key Topics Discussed

1) To rewind the clock back to August of 2013 when Kickstarter announced it would be opening up shop in Australia… you’re a savvy comics creator, obviously backed KS before… what were your thoughts when you heard that announcement.

2) Why a Digital Only Campaign? What are the Pros and Cons?

3) Thoughts on what worked and what didn’t?


ComixLaunch Lightning Round

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

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

…fantastically diverse in the way you can put things out there, and the way they will land.

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?

Some sort of element of lottery of surprise, that rewarded backers randomly for backing projects. We need more people getting into the door for KS. 

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

DropBox and Google Drive, Google Drive especially, because I can work anywhere and share easily and quickly.

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

Get all your emails off of Kickstarter and set it up in a spreadsheet instead. Don’t copy and paste one e-mail at a time.

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

D4ve2 from Ferrier and Ramon.


ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

Today’s ComixLauncher — Come up with 3 creative ideas for digital-only rewards (beyond just a PDF copy.) 

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 #13.]

 


Wrap Up

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

Don’t be afraid to use your location as an advantage… play up the home-field advantage. Step up! 

2) You have an awesome email newsletter… comes out every Monday, I’m a subscriber and I look forward to it every week… tell our ComixLaunch audience about it?

http://tinyletter.com/ryanklindsay

Weekly Monday email, talking about comic process, Kickstarters, books I’m reading, and the week-to-week trials of breaking into comics!

Website – http://ryanklindsay.com/

Twitter – @ryanklindsay

 


SURVEY

Hey, guys! Before you go, I just want to remind you to head over to comixlaunch.com/survey in order to take our first ever listeners survey.

This survey will help shape the direction of this show and the resources we create over the coming months and into 2016.

Comixlaunch_CLICK

We’re committed to making ComixLaunch the single best resource for comic book creators interested in using Kickstarter the right way to fund their projects, and advance their careers… but we can only do that with your input.

Please head to comixlaunch.com/survey and fill out the short survey, I promise it will only take a few moments and yet have a huge impact in what we’re able to do for you.

And as a special bonus…

Everyone of you who completes the ComixLaunch survey will be given instant access to a private bonus ComixLaunch training! I promise you… it will be well worth your time, and comixlaunch.com/survey is where it’s at. 

ComixLaunch_Green012Last session, we detailed all the things that went wrong with the Archie Comics Kickstarter, and the major lessons creators should take from that failed launch. In this session, Tyler James and co-host Jeremy Melloul, rebuild the Riverdale relaunch Kickstarter from the ground up, and discuss ideas for crafting a more successful launch.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by KrakenPrint. Visit comixlaunch.com/kraken and mention the show for 5% off your first print order.


Kickstarter News

Something cool… The success rate for comics on KS went above the 50% mark… 50.1% to be exact. First time I’ve seen that!

Clearly ComixLaunch is working!

Number fluctuates, around that 50% mark for years… but as far as I’m concerned, no where close to where it can and should be… so we’re not resting on our laurels here… We’re DOUBLING DOWN!


What would we have done differently if we were running the Archie Kickstarter

Join the KS Community 1-2 Months before Launching

Back 10 projects

Do your homework

Run a strong Pre-Launch Campaign

KS got off to a very slow start…

Social Media Teasers

Emails to List

Narrow the Focus of the Project and the Lower the Goal

ex. Life with Kevin digital campaign

Lower the goal to something more reasonable

Simplify… Everything

Simplify the reward structure

Improve Transparency

Obviously transparency & more realistic goal are two good things to do.

Clarify the costs

The Target/ Wal-mart deal not relevant to this campaign


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.

Come up with at least three ideas for what would you have done differently to build a better Archie Comics Kickstarter?

Tyler mentions his email, I give mine

Email us your ideas at [email protected] & [email protected] using subject line: ComixLauncher #12. and let us know… how would YOU have righted Riverdale?


Bonus Content: Lessons from Archie E-book

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

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

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

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


SURVEY

Hey, guys! Before you go, I just want to remind you to head over to comixlaunch.com/survey in order to take our first ever listeners survey.

This survey will help shape the direction of this show and the resources we create over the coming months and into 2016.

Comixlaunch_CLICK

We’re committed to making ComixLaunch the single best resource for comic book creators interested in using Kickstarter the right way to fund their projects, and advance their careers… but we can only do that with your input.

Please head to comixlaunch.com/survey and fill out the short survey, I promise it will only take a few moments and yet have a huge impact in what we’re able to do for you.

And as a special bonus…

Everyone of you who completes the ComixLaunch survey will be given instant access to a private bonus ComixLaunch training! I promise you… it will be well worth your time, and comixlaunch.com/survey is where it’s at. 

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

 


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics


What is Today’s Episode About?

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

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

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

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

So What went Wrong?

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

 

What did they do well?

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

Today’s Sponsor – ComixTribe

5FreeComicsTwitterCardsA

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


Today’s ComixLauncher…

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

 

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

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


Bonus Content: Lessons from Archie E-book

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

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

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

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


Session Wrap Up

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

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

What they did well:

  • A strong product
  • Responsive communication

Have you Subscribed, Rated and Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

  • Log into iTunes.
  • Search for ComixLaunch in the Podcast section of the iTunes Store.
  • Click SUBSCRIBE
  • Leave a ratings 1-5 stars.
  • Leave an honest review would be great.
  • Submit

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

Thanks for listening!

 

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

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

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

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

Episode Outline:

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

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

  • Scope
  • Money
  • Audience
  • Words
  • Video

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

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

ComixLaunch Lightning Round with Wes Locher:

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

…eye-opening!

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

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

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

Showers! Where all the good ideas happen.

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

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

Recommended article:

DIY Crowdfunding Fulfillment – Ship Like a Boss

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

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

Today’s Sponsor: The Warden Anthology

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

ComixLauncher

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap Up Questions

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

Be fearless… go for it!

2) How can listeners best connect with you online?

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

Thanks for Listening.

 

 

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

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

What is Today’s Episode About?

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

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

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

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

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

Pros and Cons of Webcomic First model

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

Keys or Tips to making that transition work?

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

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

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

Even the most success KS have room for improvement. 

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

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

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

…an internet pre-ordering system.

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

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

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

My hand! (Eyes are second.)

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

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

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

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

ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

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

Key Resources

Wrap Up

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

Do your homework!

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

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

Capture_Brown

 

Thanks for Listening!

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

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

Announcements and Table- setting

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

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

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

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

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

Today — Promoting your Kickstarter at Comic Conventions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

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

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

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

Quote

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

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

SUBSCRIBE

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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!

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ComixLaunch_Green007Who is Kickstarter for anyway?

Special Guest Co-Host: Jeremy Mellou

The History and Evolution of Who Has Used Kickstarter for Crowdfunding Comics and Graphic Novels

  • Webcomics
  • Newer Creators
  • Anthologies
    • Womanthology 
      • Launched July 7, 2011
      • The first over $100k comic project.
  • Larger Webcomics
    • The Million Dollar Comic: Order of the Stick Reprint Drive 
      • Came after Womanthology. The next big success. Set the bar for success.
      • Launched January 22, 2012
      • Only comic project past 1 million. Next closest hasn’t even hit by half.
      • Laid the groundwork for everything that came after. 2012 was really the big year for Kickstarter in general and comics, especially.
  • Creators finding Enduring Success
    • Jimmy Palmiotti 
      • 8 Projects
      • First one Queen Crab in July, 2011 (~$11k)
      • 2 Projects in 2012 (~$55k)
      • 2 in 2013 (~$60k)
      • 3 in 2014 (~$145k)
    • Fabian Rangel Jr. 
      • First one Boss Snake in 2013 (after initial audience on Comixology) (~$7.5k)
      • 2 in 2014 (~$17k)
        • Doc Unknown Print Run
        • Reprint Six
      • 1 in 2015 so far ($12k)
        • Doc Unknown finish
      • Took him through indie into now producing Space Riders for Black Mask (other projects?)
        • Black Past (Dark Horse Presents)
  • Established Creators
  • Publishers
    • Publishers vs. Independent creators / The Zero-Sum Mindset
    • Top Cow’s Cyberforce Returns
    • Fantagraphics
      • Faced with difficulties due to unforeseen death of one of their partners
      • Able to turn to Kickstarter to finance their 2014 Spring-Summer Season
        • Raised ~$222k with almost 3,000 backers
      • Launched November 5th, 2013
    • Archie most recently
      • Kickstarter controversy
  • So, who is Kickstarter for?

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.

1) Set a Date and Time for your next Kickstarter project

2) Write it Down (on a calendar, planner, scheduler, etc.)

3) Tell Someone — (Need someone to tell? Tell me! [email protected])

The Holy Trinity of Action is: Thought, Word, Deed

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. [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 #7.]

Closing Quote

“If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction.” – Sam Walton (Walmart, Sam’s Club)

SUBSCRIBE

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

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

Log onto iTunes. Search for ComixLaunch

  • Click SUBSCRIBE
  • Ratings 1-5 stars. Honest review would be great.
  • Review
  • Submit. Done in 2 minutes and could make HUGE difference to the show.
  • Outro
    • You’ve been listening ComixLaunch with Tyler James. Visit ComixLaunch.com, C-O-M-I-X Launch.com, for this episode’s show notes and additional resources to help you crowdfund your comic book & graphic novel projects on Kickstarter… and Beyond!

“Image is Everything”

Today’s Session is Sponsored by Kraken Print comixlaunch.com/kraken

Today — Tips for Designing Your Project Image

Special Download — Project Image Swipe File – 25 Killer Comics Kickstarter Project Images 

Why is project image so important… important enough to devote an entire show about it?

  • Single most viewed Image of your Kickstarter Campaign
  • The image they’ll see on your project page… is it inviting enough to click play on your video.
  • Image that shows up in Kickstarter Widget
  • Image that shows up as a thumbnail on KS
  • Image that gets pulled by other sites Kicktraq, media ,etc.

10 Tips

1) Image Should be Representative of Your Project

Click on a banner ad…and feel deceived? Kate Upton nothing to do with your Robots vs. Ninja Zombies webcomic collection.

2) Belong to You… No copyright infringement

Idea of something like… not cool

3) Get the Image Format and Resolution Right

JPG, PNG, GIF, or BMP, 50MB Limit (way too big)

JPEGs are for photographs and realistic images.

PNGs are for line art, text-heavy images, and images with few colors.

Minumum At least 1024×768: 4:3 Aspect Ratio

Double It PNG or JPG – Good to Go 2048 x 1536, 72 DPI

4) Design for the 4:3 Aspect Ratio

  • Trips up a surprisingly large number of comic book creators, I suspect because most of the art we have for our projects is vertical, not horizontal, at standard comic book dimensions
  • Very little thought into it for most…
  • Sloppy re-purposing of good existing art one of the most common faux pas in comics space
  • Simply cropping verticle covers to horizonal space often looks bad
  • Just like comic readers judge books on their covers, they’re going to judge your project on your project image
  • First impressions matter
  • Story – Wife and I were looking at homes, nice one, but the front door wouldn’t close properly. Very first think I noticed, colored the rest of the walk-through negatively, didn’t buy it. Super happy where we are.

5) Even great comics logos can make lousy project images

Great that you love your logo… you should. Means NOTHING to backers.

First thing most creators do when they merchandise… make a shirt! I’ll use my logo!

Beauty of the comic book art form is the marriage of words and pictures. Why rely on one without the other?

Because project name is under image, may not need logo at all.

6) Kickstarter Branding is Unnecessary

Get too complicated with design… you do not need to brand your image with Kickstarter… Kickstarter brands itself quite nicely.

Why dilute the impact of your image, by sharing the very limited space you have with Kickstarter?

7) Avoid small copy on your image

No one likes to feel like they’re going blind

Squinting to try to read small text sucks.

Make sure all copy is legible at a very small size, say 200 x 150 pixels… cause that how your project will often be viewed.

8) Avoid Super Important Copy at the Center of your Image

Go to your Kickstarter page… Play Button in middle of the page right over your copy.

9) Make your image stand out

As of this recording, there are 154 Live Comics Projects on KS right this minute. What can you do to help yours stand out from the crowd?

Close-ups/ headshots/ Faces make it easy to connect

Use of Negative space, irregular boarders can make your image stand out

10) Generate Several Candidates and Test Them

Generate 3-5 Candidate Images

Poll your friends

Run a short Facebook Ad campaign – Spend $15-$20 running identical ads, only different is the image.

 

Tools for Creating Project Images

In general, most of us have an advantage. We’re comics creators, we’re used to creating compelling images, and we will generate a lot of them in the course of sequential work.

If you’re an artist… this should be one of the easy things for you… still get feedback, right in your wheel house

However, many KS projects are run by writers… and some of you don’t have a graphic design bone in your body. You don’t have fancy design/editing programs like PS. What do you do?

1) Ask Your Artist — to generate these image options for you. Provide them the aspect ratio and give them some direction… should be very easy for most. Photoshop or Illustrator

2) Hire a designer — Go to Fiverr.com (fiver-r) and find a pool of graphic designers more than happy to whip up an image in the right aspect ratio

3) Canva.com Online tool, super easy for non-designers to make compelling graphics for social media… can set up custom image for KS campaigns.

Sponsor – KrakenPrint

I am always being asked, “Hey Tyler, where does ComixTribe print its books?” The truth is, we regularly work with a number of different comic book printers…

One printer I can strongly recommend is Kraken Print… ComixTribe is doing more than $20,000 worth of printing with Kraken this year, and for good reason.  They 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…
  • That’s comixlaunch.com/kraken

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 – 006

1) Go to https://www.kickstarter.com/discover

2) Click COMICS (or whatever category you’re next project will be in

3) Scroll down to “Explore Live Projects” and click “View more” to look at all 150+ live projects

4) Skim the page, and make note of which project images on a quick scroll, jump out at you… what do you notice, what do you like.

5) Start your own Swipe File of the top 5 images live on KS now that really kick butt.

6) Then, for extra points – email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #6.

Wrap Up

Session Highlights

Quote

Ben Franklin — “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”

Take a chance on yourself. Stumble, fall, get back up… keep going.

SUBSCRIBE

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

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

Log onto iTunes. Search for ComixLaunch -One word ComiXLaunch, Click on our logo.

Click SUBSCRIBE

  • Ratings 1-5 stars.  Honest review would be great.
  • Review
  • Submit. Done in 2 minutes and could make HUGE difference to the show.