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

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.

 

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.

Don’t even think about launching your crowdfunding project until you do these five things.

Today’s Session is Sponsored by PureButtons!
Go to comixlaunch.com/purebuttons for 10% off your entire custom button order!

There is a FREE CHECKLIST available that goes with this episode –

Comixlaunch.com/5things

There is a Lot That Goes Into Running a Successful Campaign. Can be overwhelming… gonna make things easy for you.
This is a show about launching. About taking action. Don’t want you to sit on the sidelines.
Some of you jump the gun.

5 Things You MUST Do Before Launching Your Kickstarter Campaign
1) Join the Kickstarter Community
2) Define your Minimum Loveable Product (MLP)
3) Put some Skin in the Game
4) Price Your Prototype
5) Confirm Your First Backer

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.

Join the Kickstarter Community

Create a Profile
Back 11 projects — Bumped your success rate over 50%

Follow all of your friends on Kickstarter — https://www.kickstarter.com/friends

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 #4.]

“Fortune favours the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

Knock out those 5 things and you’ve laid a foundation for future success.

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.

“Turn your marketing into an event, and you will transform your results.” — Jeff Walker

What is Today’s Episode About?

Today

  • We’re going to look at why KS as a platform is so darn effective.
  • My personal history… Comics Revenues Tripled in 2012… same year I started using KS
  • Nearly 40 Million in Comics funding, more than $1 billion overall
  • First time creators on their very first book taking in easily 4-5 figures. (My first comic made $9.)
  • Why?

Core Lesson/ Parable

  • Jeff Walker
    • Quoted him last Session. Not a household name… unless you have an internet business, and launch online products… e-books, courses, membership sites, software.
    • Best Selling Author — Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams 
    • Guy has been teaching people not just how to sell products, but how to launch them, starting with nothing, no audience, no product even… since the early days of the internet when AOL was still mailing CD-ROMs to people’s houses.
    • Forbes — http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2012/09/11/why-jeff-walker-is-the-400-million-dollar-man-and-7-lessons-you-can-learn-from-him/
    • Created a Formula for Launching products online… I read the book and one of my biggest aha’s was… Holy Crap! KS essentially created a platform to make it super easy for anyone to implement this Secret Formula.

9 Mental Triggers that are At Work on Kickstarter

  • What’s a Mental Trigger?
    • Triggers directly influence how we act and make decisions, they act on a subconscious level.

1) Authority

  • People tend to follow people in positions of authority.
    • Doctors in white coats… actors in white coats.
    • Following “leaders” is a way our brains have evolved take stress off. “Be like Mike”
  • Kickstarter makes us look good.
    • Remember Myspace?
    • Kickstarter makes it super easy for technically unsavy to make a great looking sales page.
    • “Oh, you’ve got a Kickstarter?”

2.) Reciprocity

  • Powerful principle… if someone gives something to us, we will feel some obligation to give them something back in return.
    • X-mas Cards — Study sent to random strangers… got one in return from some 60%.
    • FREE E-books in exchange for an email. —
    • FREE bread at restaurants.
  • KS is founded on this principle of reciprocity. Not donation… it’s a pledge and reward.
  • Best designed KS always give something of value…even before people donate.
    • Ex. Free digital copy C is for Cthulhu book

3.) Trust

  • Supporting a PERSON as well as a Product
    • Why video is so important, and why Your voice and visage is important
    • All things being equal – buy Know, Like and Trust
  • Transparency – what the money will be used for
  • Build trust over time… how you run your campaign. Great campaigns get backers to increase pledges.
    • ComixTribe for Life example

4.) Anticipation

  • Trigger that grabs people’s attention
  • Campaign! There are stakes here… When is it going to launch? Is it going to fund?
  • Stretch Goals? What will they be? When will they unlock?
  • Reveals – New pledge levels.
  • Milestone bonuses.
  • Great campaigns all use this trigger to their advantage.
  • How high will it go?

5.) Likeability

  • Know like and Trust… like is a big thing.
  • Influence — “I like you.” Top auto-salesman example.
  • Good campaigns use that. John Lee’s THE STANDARD campaign… he’s a likeable guy.
  • Potato Salad guy — $55K on KS. Likeable.

6.) Events and Rituals

  • A campaign is an event… people love events. They get pulled into them, make them feel apart of something bigger than themselves.
  • Different than putting an item up for sale– anyone can do it.
  • Events have a start and stop time.
  • Group of people coming together…
  • KS rituals — the first day launch (being a day one backer)
  • Stretch goals unveiling
  • Campaign has Stakes
    • Elections are a huge business… winning and losing is on the line.
    • KS is ALL or NOTHING funding
      • Why it kicks indiegogo’s butt
      • Why its a faster funding method than Patreon
  • “Turn your marketing into an event, and you will transform your results.” — Jeff Walker

7.) Community

  • Community powerful trigger… by and large, we act like the people in our community tend to act.
  • KS allows for instant community building
    • Reading Rainbow campaign brilliant at that. Got tied up in the movement, changed their avatars on social media.
    • Team Mighty Titan – Joe Martino
    • Backer Pledges… means something to some people

8.) Scarcity

  • Scarcity – One of the most powerful triggers known to man.
  • When there is less of something, we want it more.
    • Why is Action Comics #1 worth $1,5 million (or more)
  • Fear of loss more powerful than the appeal of gain
  • KS builds in Scarcity
    • Time – There’s a clicking clock… you usually have 30 days to get in, and once that’s up, you can never get in.
    • Pledge levels — Set Limited Reward (good thing to do, they go QUICK!)

9.) Social Proof

  • The idea that when we see other people taking action, we’re more included to follow suit. “Monkey see, monkey do.”
  • “9 out of 10 doctor’s recommend” – Authority and Social Proof
  • 300 billion burgers sold
  • Sylvan Goldman , shopping cart, 1937 Piggly Wiggly
  • Amazon.com knows this — Highest correlation to sales is ratings and reviews.
  • iTunes knows this — Ratings and reviews. 
  • KS knows this
    • $ total funds raised
    • Backer Total
    • Backer comments
    • Social Shares
  • Best KS projects harness this — Cthulhu

 

ComixLauncher

  • How Have YOU been Effected by Mental Triggers?
    • Take 5 Minutes and see if you can think of one example for each of the nine triggers on how You’ve been triggered to take action you might not otherwise have been.
  • 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 #4.]

Wrap Up

  • I hope you enjoyed this dissection of Kickstarter. Why it works so well, better think about how you might harness the the mental triggers built into KS and dial them up to an 11 for your own campaigns.
  • Thanks for Listening.
  • Tease future episodes
    • Guests coming up!

Quote

  • Jeff Walker — “One of the most important thing to remember about these triggers is that they are not isolated. Many of them are closely related, and they work synergistically. When used together, the impact is compounded.”
  • KS platform is greater than the sum of its parts. The more of these mental triggers inherent to the platform that you take advantage of, the more powerful your campaign will be.

Closing Call to Action – NEW!!!

  • 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.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Ben Franklin

ComixLaunch_Green3-1

In this session, Tyler share’s an incredibly valuable project planning tool that he uses to design all his successful Kickstarter projects. If you want to launch, you need to do a SWOT analysis, and this episode will teach you how.

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

Today:

  • Another strategy session but one you can put to work TODAY. A tool ALL creators should use for EVERY project they run, even if you’re a veteran, ESPECIALLY if you’re new.
  • There is a Special Download Worksheet that Goes with this episode. Get it at http://www.comixlaunch.com/003download/
  • I’m going to introduce you to the SWOT analysis tool, a way to pull back and look at your project. sWOT
  • I’m going to walk you through an example for one of my projects
  • Give you loads of tips on how to do one of these for your own
  • Sound good?

Core Lesson/ Parable:

  • What is a SWOT? Why use a SWOT? Who Uses a SWOT?
    • SWOT Analysis or SWOT matrix a planning method to strategically evaluate SWOT involved in a new or existing project or business venture. (That’s what KS is.)
    • Works on products, places, industries, even people.
    • Focuses on both internal factors – inside our control, inherent traits
    • External factors – outside of control, market conditions,
    • Taught in every business school, consultants, etc.
    • Everything from a formal process, to a back of the envelope way of evaluating.
  • Why Use One for your KS?
    • Ben Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” SWOT is a planning tool.
    • Creative Entrepreneurship —
      • Right brain – Creative side – Rhythm, spatial awareness, colour, imagination, creativity.
      • Left side – logic, science, math, reasoning
    • KS is a platform to fund creativity… but fulfilling creativity, carrying a successful project, executing on all the fine details, requires careful use of both sides.
    • SWOT is great tool for creative people, who need to structure their more left-side of the brain activities, to not let right side take them away.
  • The 4 quadrants of SWOT as they relate to Kickstarter projects
    • Strengths – What are the characteristics of your KS project that give it a unique advantage over other projects. Secret weapons?
      • People
      • Platform
      • Product
    • Weaknesses – Characterists put you at a potential disadvantage to other KS?
      • Same set of Ps
      • Most common
        • lack of funds – Lack of money
        • small platform
        • never done this before
    • Opportunities – What are the unique elements of your KS project you can exploit to your advantage?
      • I always do this one last, because it’s the interplay of strengths, weaknesses and threats that allow me to craft my opportunities.
    • Threats – elements, both internally and externally that could spell trouble for your KS project.
      • For most newbies, this will come in terms of fulfillment…
        • What if the cost of international postage goes up 20%
        • What if my t-shirt vendor stops answering my emails?
      • For veterans, simply assuming there are no threats and “You got this” can be a threat.
    • Download Here — http://www.comixlaunch.com/003download/
    • Now, to illustrate this concept —
  • Example SWOT – C IS FOR CTHULHU Board Book and PlushToy
    • About the Project – Cisforcthulhu.com or on Kickstarter search C is for Cthulhu
    • Strengths
      • People
        • Jason Ciaramella – Eisner nominated writer, lot of industry connections with authors in the space, Lovecraft bonifides.
        • Greg Murphy – 5 Tool Artist (Illustration, Animation, Graphic Design, Music, Photography)
        • Tyler James – Guy who thinks he knows what he’s doing enough to get up in your earbuds and proselytize this stuff.
        • Skelton Crew – experts in licensed stuff, Hellboy, BPRD, Locke and Key, Chew… not their first rodeo.
      • Platform
        • Building off the success of the last KS, which was the most successl I’ve run. 1149 backers, more than $35K raised.
        • FB Community, nearly 5K likes, very engaged, pictures etc. Social Proof
        • Email List – 6K subs
        • Get just 2% of the people we have to back this project, game over, we’re funded.
      • Product
        • C is for Cthulhu Plush – Prototype in Hand, and top notch.
        • Book – Already a winner, already in stock
        • Poster and T-shirts – Co-developed with our Community
    • Weaknesses
      • Not a New Property… Getting PR might be tough.
      • More Product = Less Focus
        • Plush, Poster, T-shirts, Books
      • PR Plan and Media Outreach
      • Pricepoint
        • $39 plush most expensive Cthulhu doll on the market it.
          • Amazon – between $10-$20
    • Threats
      • Internal — Bandwidth
        • I’m a busy guy.
      • External — Backlash
        • Lovecraft –
          • Haters
            • Lovecraft is supposed to be horrifying… Cuddling him up is sacrilege.
            • Lovecraft the Xenophobe and Racist
              • Liking the stories and stories inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft does not make someone a racist… Being a racist makes someone a racist.
    • Opportunities
      • Social Proof
        • Let our existing fans sell this for us
          • Video
          • Ads
          • Imagery
          • Compensated those who we were using prominently in marketing
      • #Cthulhugrams
        • Great doll in hand + Greg’s Photography Skills + Jason’s Lovecraft and Providence connection
        • Cthulugram was born – almost like weathered poloroids
        • Caption contest to build engagement
      • Compete on Quality, not Price
        • Most expensive doll on the market… but the ONLY doll that is based on the Cthulhu in the book
      • Facebook Advertising
        • Perfect product for FB
      • Keep Your Eyes Open – Working living doc
        • Pluto – Cthulhu named a region
        • NASA Found Cthulhu on Pluto …ComixTribe says you don’t have to go that far to get him.
  • SWOT works for All Projects…
    • My very 1st KS project had totally different stuff in those quadrants
    • Your project will be different, but all have SWOT.
  • Sponsor Mid-Roll
    • In a moment, I’m going to give you today’s ComixLauncher, but first, we need to thank our sponsor…
    • [Kraken sponsor ad full – 30-45 seconds]
  • 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.
    • SWOT Analysis
      • Download the Worksheet at http://www.comixlaunch.com/003download/ or just grab a sheet of paper and divide it into 4 equal quadrants – SWOT
      • Set Timer for 5 minutes, and focus just on the S Quadrant — write down as many Strengths as you can. Focus on your People, Platform, Product… don’t over think it, just brainstorm.
      • Then, do the same, 5 minutes, and list all the Weaknesses of your project. Use the same categories… People Platform, Product.
      • Next, 5 minutes, tackle the THREATS. Both internal threats…ways you could sabotage the project yourself, and External, things outside your control that might hammer the project
      • Now, I want you to put that down. 15 minutes, you deserve a break. Go do something else. Get a drink, go for a walk, draw a page… get away from it.
      • When you’re ready, come on back, re-read each quadrant, and from those, generate some opportunities… things you can do to take advantage of your strengths and mitigate weaknesses and threats. In some cases, you’ll turn weaknesses into strengths (focus/compete on quality, not price).
      • When done, what you have is the backbone of your future successful KS campaign.
    • All of us our busy, but we all can spare 15-20 minutes to do this… half of all comics KS fail… doing the extra planning work of a SWOT analysis is how you get on the successful half.
    • 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 #3.]
  • Wrap Up
    • Sum up highlights of session.
      • If the SWOT analysis was new to you, or if you never thought of applying it to a KS before, I hope you got a lot out of this episode.
        • All our projects have SWOT – these are things floating around in our heads… getting them down on paper in an organized fashion really helps take ownership and control over them. It’s powerful, and it’s foundational.
        • Remember, go to http://www.comixlaunch.com/003download/ to get download the SWOT worksheet to help you successfully launch YOUR next KS.
    • Thanks for Listening.
    • Tease future episodes
      • Upcoming, we’re going to look hard at WHY Kickstarter is so darn effective. Really break it down, deconstruct it into its component parts, and see how together, its far greater than the sum of those parts.
      • Also, GUESTS! Won’t just be me doing this show gabbing at you… important to get other perspectives.
    • Quote
      • Guy Kawasaki — “Few things are right and wrong in entrepreneurship — there’s only what works and what doesn’t.”
      • I have no interest in teaching you guys right from wrong… that’s not my mission here. But what I am on is an ongoing journey to discover what works on Kickstarter and beyond, and what doesn’t. Let’s keep discovering that together.

 

SUBSCRIBE – If you’ve enjoyed this Session of ComixLaunch, please subscribe on iTunes to make sure you’ll never miss Session.