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


This session is sponsored by KrakenPrint.

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


Table Setting

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

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

Before we get into it… Gotta say thank you.

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

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

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

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

 


Today’s Guest

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to ComixLaunch Jeff McComsey


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

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

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

Guiding Discussion Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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


ComixLaunch Lightning Round

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

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

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

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

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

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

my phone

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

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

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

Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith. 

http://www.barbarianlord.com/


Sponsor Mid-Roll

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

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


ComixLauncher

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

ComixLauncher 022:

Start a Kickstarter Page Design Swipe File.

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

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

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. If you’d like to share the results of your ComixLauncher with me, I’d love to see them. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #22.]

 


Wrap Up Questions

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

Plan your campaign like a bank robbery!

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

Jeff McComsey on Facebook


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 


Today’s Session is Sponsored by

Johnny Bullet


Session Table Setting

 

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

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

Applications are now closed!  

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

Applications poured in, and as expected they are diverse:

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

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

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

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


Today’s Session

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

What are they?

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – You can set this in the reward level.

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

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

My History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cons of Early Bird Rewards

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

Pros of Early Bird Rewards

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

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

They do work… is it worth the cost.

5 better strategies than offering early backer rewards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sponsor: Johnny Bullet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave him comments so he knows that we sent you!

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


ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

ComixLauncher 021

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

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


Wrap Up

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

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

Join the Discussion!


Quote

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

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


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

ComixLaunch_Green020What makes a project worthy of launching a Kickstarter? In this session, 3 Kickstarter mindset myths are shattered, and Tyler discusses the best way to think about crowdfunding projects.

 


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics

 


Table Setting

You know I’m huge on mindset… and in today’s episode I’m going to tackle three mindset myths related to Kickstarter campaigns.

Before we get into it… I do want to mention that applications for the ComixLaunch Course are open.

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

To apply, go to:

ComixLaunch.com/course

Had a few questions about the application process, and it’s really a simple one. We ask you to fill out a short questionnaire so we can find out a little more about you, your creative history, and your project.

We’re interested in knowing where you are in the creation of your comic project, roughly when you think you’ll be ready to launch, and get a rough idea of how much you think you’ll need to raise.

If figuring out how much you need to raise or when the right time to launch is is a stumbling block for you… don’t worry. All that is covered in the course, we’re just looking for best estimates.

We also ask you to imagine where you’ll be after your Kickstarter is successful, so we have an understand not just of where you are and where you’ve been but where you’re hoping to go…

Because helping you get there is the reason we’re doing the course in the first place.

The application will take a few minutes to fill out. Jeremy and I will review, and you’ll get a response back within 48 hours.

If you’re right for the program, we’ll send you an invitation to join.

If you’re not right for it at this time, we’ll give you some feedback on what you can do to get into the course next time around.

Admission is rolling, and once the course is filled, admission will close… so please, don’t wait…

There’s no reason not to apply if you think this might be for you…

ComixLaunch.com/course


What is Today’s Episode About?

A hang-up many creators who have yet to run a Kickstarter project are dealing with looks something like this:

“I don’t think I have a project worthy of a Kickstarter yet.”

And I can completely relate to this one.

I had the exact same hang-up for a long time.

In Session 001 of ComixLaunch, I talked a bit about my history with Kickstarter, and how I sat on the fence for a looooong time before pulling the trigger on my first campaign.

See, at the time, I was looking at Kickstarter like a one time use power-up in a video game.

I was looking at it as a card that should be played only for the right project… and one I didn’t want to “waste” on something small.

But as I explained in that first episode, I eventually had a mindset shift on Kickstarter…

Three Kickstarter Mindset Myths

Myth #1 – Kickstarter is Only for “Big” Projects

Reality

403 projects – 12% of successful Comic Book Kickstarter projects were for less than $1K

74% were for less than $10K.

One shots, first issues, pitch packages, digital only campaigns…

Focus is your friend… Fund a book, and tour, and plush, and t-shirt line, and…

Mindset Ship: My Kickstarter projects can be as big or as small as I need it to be, and in truth, the more focused my campaign, the likelier it will succeed.

Myth #2 – If my Kickstarter project doesn’t go viral, it won’t succeed

Most successful comic Kickstarter projects never “go viral”… and going viral doesn’t always equal success.

Steve Lichman KS — Blog post, nearly $200K funding… you do a good search for “steve lichman KS” get 779 results. Now… that’s not bad, but not exactly viral.

Compared to one of the most viral KS stories… “Potato salad KS” -31,800 results… $55K.

Plenty of stuff goes viral with very little return for creator.

Mindset shift: If I build a great project with a goal that takes my current audience in mind, and get that audience out, I can succeed whether or not it goes viral.

Myth#3 – Kickstarter is Too Complicated

Reality…

Compared to nearly every other option for getting your work out there, your ROI on Kickstarter will be better.

What does it take to get picked up by a major publisher or hired?

Todd Mac rejection letters.

What does it take to get your book in the direct market.

What does it take to sell on Comixology?

Mindset Shift – Running a successful Kickstarter campaign will take effort, but your return on that effort will be bigger on KS than virtually anywhere else.

Don’t want to run a complicated KS?

Don’t want to spend a ton on printing? Run a digital only campaign.

Don’t want to deal with shipping? Run a digital only campaign.

Worried about int shipping? Restrict physical pledge levels to US only.

Worried about fulfillment? Design your campaign so you can outsource everything.

Your KS doesn’t have to be Big and complicated and go viral…to win. Because remember, it’s not a one-time power-up.

If used properly, Kickstarter is a renewable resource… a platform that actually gets EASIER to launch on the more you use it.

And that’s a lot different than a “use it and lose it” mindset.

What DOES make a project “worthy”

First, and foremost… it’s important for you to recognize that you are a person of value, and in your creative work, you have something unique to offer the world.

You need to believe that BEFORE you launch.

Because if you don’t believe that, all the backers in the world aren’t going to validate it for you.

Are you Proud and Passionate about it?

Kid on the fridge parallel… we stopped

Are you going to give it your best effort?

Don’t flail.

Don’t toss up a page without a video or with a quickly tossed up description and little love put into.

If you’re not willing to take your project seriously, why should anyone else.

There’s a difference between taking short-cuts (which are simply more direct routs to the same objective… ComixLaunch Course we love shortcuts) and being lazy (not doing stuff you know you should.)

Ex. Big name creator who posted about tossing a KS, stripped down page, no video, just a single pledge level, etc.

Better off doing that on an online store or etsy — less %. Respect platform.

Will it Help You make it to the next milestone in your creative career?

I think a lot of creators mistake “worthy” for “big…” as in your Kickstarter project needs to be some earth-shattering event in order for you to launch.

I don’t agree.

Rather than thinking whether your project is “big” enough for KS…

Think about what the very next milestone in your creative career looks like.

For me back in 2012, before I launched my first Kickstarter, that next milestone was producing a hardcover.

After all, I had been making comics since I was twelve years old…

But many of you haven’t.

For many of you, the next logical milestone in your career is simply getting a comic you created printed and in your hands.

Your next logical milestone might be a single issue.

In life and our careers, we get to earn the right to go after bigger goals…

So, I would challenge you to think about what the very next step in your comics career looks like?

You might want to ultimately become the next Stan Lee or Robert Kirkman… and that’s fine.

But for now, just focus on the very next step.

And once that next step is clear, think about whether crafting a Kickstarter campaign in service of that next step could make sense for you.

From my own experience, and that of the 3,000+ other creators who have successfully crowdfunded comics and graphic novels on the platform, I know that KS is an incredible tool to help you get to that next rung on the ladder…

And progress is always a worthy goal.


Today’s Sponsor – ComixTribe

5FreeComicsTwitterCardsA

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


ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

ComixLauncher 020 –  In a few sentences or less, describe what the very next step in your creative career looks like. We are all someone in our journey as creators.

Go a step further… share your progress publicly with us on Facebook here.

Or shoot me an email to [email protected] subject ComixLauncher 20.


Wrap Up

Hope you got something from this episode… and perhaps expanded your idea of what KS can and should be used to fund.

If you would like to build your next campaign with me and Jeremy and a small group of like-minded peers… I would encourage you to apply for the ComixLaunch Course Pilot program by visiting:

comixlaunch.com/course

 

“Sell one. Find one person who trusts you and sell him a copy. Does he love it? Is he excited enough to tell ten friends because it helps them, not because it helps you? If not, you must stop what you’re doing and start over.” – Seth Godin


Apply for The ComixLaunch Course

Would you like to build your first or next Kickstarter campaign with me?

If so, go to ComixLaunch.com/course to apply to join a pilot group of creators Jeremy Melloul and I will be taking step-by-step through the process of planning and launching a Kickstarter campaign.

CL_Course_LogoBanner_1200

Spots are extremely limited, so if you are at all interested, do not wait… go tocomixlaunch.com/course, fill out the short application. We’re looking forward to helping you launch.

 

ComixLaunch_Green019In today’s session, Tyler is joined by Jon Parrish, to explore the emotional roller coaster ride that is running a Kickstarter campaign. Jon’s first Kickstarter campaign was successful, but went right down to the wire. All the ups, downs, twists and turns he experienced are covered in detail.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by the Johnny Bullet webcomic by Hervé St-Louis. Read it for free at comicbookbin.com/bullet.


Special ComixLaunch Announcement

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to share some early insights gleaned from the ComixLaunch Survey we ran last month… and the thing I’m most excited about for 2016.

We launched the survey throughout the month of October 2015 to find out more about you guys… what you’re struggling with, and what you want to hear about on this show.  The best way to find that information out was simply to ask. And I knew it was going to be eye-opening.

One thing that surprised me… nearly two-thirds of the creators that took the survey, primarily made up of ComixLaunch listeners and creators in the ComixTribe community, have NEVER launched a Kickstarter project.

I know it seems like every time you turn around, someone new is launching a KS… but the reality is, most creators out there are still on the sidelines.
And thanks to this survey, I have a much better understanding of why.

The Things Holding You Back

I know what’s holding you back from launching your first (or next) Kickstarter campaign.

Do you have a project worthy of launching a Kickstarter?

Do you have enough time to run a Kickstarter?

With a day job, you’re already finding it hard enough to carve out time to write or draw… how could you possibly do all the work a Kickstarter would require on top of that?

What if your Kickstarter becomes an all-consuming endeavor that blocks out the sun for 30 days?

Fear is a big thing holding so many creators back… Fear that you’ll launch and your project will be completely ignored and fail to hit its funding goal.

What will a public failure like that say about you?

What will your friends and loved ones think when they find out something you’ve been working on forever looks like it’s going no where?

How do you look yourself in the mirror, knowing how much time you put into your comics, only to have you build it and no one come?

Or even worse… maybe the fear that’s holding you back is that you’ll be successful, and then because you missed something in the planning, end up botching fulfillment and disappointing backers, costing your time, money and reputation.

Or maybe it’s not those fears that are holding you back… instead it’s the enormity of the task. You know a successful Kickstarter will help move your comics career forward… you just have no idea where to start.

How do you set your funding goal?

How much of your project do you need to complete before launching?

How do you allocate expenses?

Does any of this resonate with you?

And and even when you manage figure all that out…

How do you know if your current audience is big enough to hit your goals

How do you promote your project in a way that gets media and attracts new readers?

I know you. You care. You know that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

But the sheer overhead of “doing a Kickstarter right” and executing it flawlessly is daunting.

Veteran Kickstarters Will Tell You Those Concerns Are Valid

And the truth is… and creators who have run Kickstarter campaigns before will back me up on this, those concerns are completely valid.

In the survey, I also received feedback from many creators who have taken the plunge and launched KS projects, some successful, some not… And there were I whole host of other pain points that those creators experienced that they never saw coming.

A theme that kept coming up was the surprising emotional toll running a Kickstarter took on creators.

They spoke of difficulty keeping up motivation and staying positive, especially through the draggy middle stretch of campaigns I call “the dead zone.”

They talked about how isolated and lonely they felt running their campaigns…

Creators who already were dealing with some mental health issues like depression found them aggravated while running their campaign.

And I know at least one creator who will tell you running his first KS campaign landed him in the hospital.

Kickstarter has a tendency to knocked creators way out of their comfort zones… many are viscerally uncomfortable promoting their work as it makes them “feel like a hobo begging for change.”

And even for creators who succeeded, the overwhelming and unexpected challenges of fulfillment left many unsure whether or not they’d do a Kickstarter again.

And even those who will launch another Kickstarter, many were left scratching their heads as to how to build upon the success they’ve had to get books into more readers hands.

There’s Got to Be a Better Solution

With all of those obstacles, with all of that pain standing in your way… It’s no wonder so many of you are interested in KS… But haven’t launched yet. There’s got to be a better solution… and Jeremy and I here at ComixLaunch have been working on find it.

What if you didn’t have to build your Kickstarter alone?

What if you had someone there to coach you through each step in the process — from prelaunch platform building to product design, goal setting, campaign execution, to fulfillment planning and beyond?

What if you had a small group of peers building their own campaigns along side of you, who you could share ideas with, get feedback from, and provide mutual support to?

Would that make you more likely to launch?

With a proven plan, a supportive peer group, and step-by-step guidance from coaches who have done it before… Do you think you could successfully Kickstart your comic book or graphic novel project and take your career to the next level?

Introducing… The ComixLaunch Course

CL_Course_LogoBanner_1200

 

In early 2016, Jeremy Melloul and I will be running a small private pilot course for creators interested in planning and building their next KS project the right way.

Over the course of ~6 weeks, we’ll be covering every phase of running a KS campaign.

This won’t be just theory and general advice, this will be a step-by-step plan for building a rock solid campaign in a small group setting.

It will combine a series of live streaming training sessions, supplemental resources and checklists, concrete assignments, all designed to move you one step closer to a successful KS.

Essentially, we’re giving you the comic book Kickstarter playbook and coaching you up on how to execute it.

And while I’m calling it a course, the final exam won’t be a test… Rather it’ll be your own ready to rock Kickstarter campaign you will be excited and proud to launch and confident to bring to the market.

Capture_CLCourse

Why Learn This Stuff With Us

I know there’s a need for something like this… Reviewing more than 100 surveys made that abundantly clear. But why am I the right person to learn it from?

Obviously, I have a passion for this stuff, and I’ve already spoken at length about the impact KS has had at changing the trajectory of ComixTribe and my own career.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been sharing my creative journey on ComixTribe.com… With lessons learned, mistakes made, and aha moments galore.

I’ve had a lot of success on the KS platform, managing both my own projects and those for others in the ComixTribe stable.

I’ve had a great mix of projects that I’ve funded, including floppies, trades, hardcovers, mature graphic novels, children’s board books, and even toys.

Now, I know having success yourself and being able to teach others how to have it is a different skill entirely…
But I’m an educator at heart… and by training, and I have a Masters in Education from Harvard hanging on my wall to prove it.

So, those are my credentials, but what’s great about this course is that you’re not just getting me…

You’re also getting Jeremy Melloul, who is an expert marketer who travels the world consulting for a wide variety of companies on marketing and strategy. (He’s consulting in Costa Rica right now, the lucky duck.) But Lucky for us, comics are Jeremy’s passion, and he is incredibly strong in areas like marketing, and sales and big picture strategic thinking, where so many creators struggle.

Jeremy and I love teaching this stuff, I’m incredibly excited to share what we know about building successful KS campaigns with the right group of creators in a more hands on fashion.

Who is the ComixLaunch Course for?

  • Creators who will be ready to launch a KS in 2016.
  • Creators who know they have a good product that deserves more readers.
  • Creators who recognize they’ll have to put effort in to get effort out, but are looking to use their time and resources as efficiently as possible.

Who is the ComixLaunch Course not for?

  • Someone who have an idea for a comic but not a nothing to produced yet… plenty of resources on ComixTribe.com to get you to the next step, but the
  • ComixLaunch course is about taking something that you have ready to present to the market.
  • Someone who isn’t coachable. We’re going to be asking a lot of the creators in the pilot program, and some of the steps to launching a successful KS will push you outside your comfort zone… but that’s where all growth happens there.
  • Someone who isn’t willing to invest in him or herself.
  • The course will not be free. I want to make it clear there will be an investment required to be a part of it.

Because this is a pilot course and we’ll still be developing materials throughout, it will be available at a discount for this first round.

But it won’t be free, for the same reason I don’t recommend creators launch a Kickstarter without some product to show… We need creators in our course who are willing to put some skin in the game.

There are literally thousands of free resources on the internet about crowdfunding already… The ComixLaunch podcast is and always will be a free resource…

But the medicine only works if you actually take it… and what being a part of this course will give you is the right plan, in the right order, with the right people there to make sure you stick to it.

I know that when you invest in yourself and actually commit to launching, you’ll be more likely to also put the time needed to be successful.

Jeremy and I are going on to be devoting significant time and energy to making sure our students are successful, and an investment is one way to make sure everyone in the group is serious about launching and taking their careers to the next level, and to make sure everyone who signs up, shows up.

Spots Are Extremely Limited

Because this is a pilot program and the first time we’re doing this, we’re only taking a super limited number of creators… we want to make sure we can fully support everyone whose in, so it’ll be capped.

You, the ComixLaunch Podcast Audience, are the first to hear about the ComixLaunch Course… And for the next two week, applications are open exclusively to you guys.

If you’re on our email list, I’ll be sending you more info on the course and again, for two week, first available will go to you guys.

If there are spaces left over after one week, then we’ll open enrollment to the much much larger list of creators who subscribe to ComixTribe.com and Jeremy will send to his Creator-At-Large network, and we will fill the remaining spots.

How to Apply for the ComixLaunch Course

So, if you’re listening to this and thinking Yes 2016 is going to be my year to launch, and you want to build your Kickstarter step-by-step the right way with Jeremy and I, and a small group of creators by your side, in a supportive environment where we’re all rooting for you, then please head to ComixLaunch.com/course and apply for one of the limited spots.

This course is the thing I’m most excited about working on in 2016, and Jeremy and I can’t wait to work with a few of you.

>>>Click Here to Apply for the ComixLaunch Course<<<


What is Today’s Session About?

I’m excited about this episode, because we’ve got some serious #realtalk coming your way…

One of the things that stuck out to me that so many creators who responded to the ComixLaunch survey brought up again and again was how they were not prepared for the emotional toll launching and running a Kickstarter campaign would take on them.

This isn’t the Oprah show or Doctor Phil, but I still think it’s my duty to help the ComixLaunch audience who have you to run a KS prepare themselves for this… and for those of you KS vets, I want to make sure you know that it’s not just you who experience this stuff.

Kickstarter is a rollercoaster, and I have the perfect guest to talk to about that today…

  • My guest today is the comic book writer of two mini-series (Secrets & Shadows) and ClusterF-U-C-K (we’re a clean podcast!) which will be published by Alterna Comics.
  • He has a BA in English and has spent time teaching Language in Japan, and he recently completed his first Kickstarter project… a project that went down to the wire and managed to hit its funding goal on the very last day of his campaign, exceeding his $5,000 goal by just $76 dollar.

Here to talk about the experience is Mr. Jon Parrish. Welcome to ComixLaunch, Jon!

Guiding Questions for Today’s Show?

  • Why Kickstarter?
  • What kind of preparation did you do to get ready for launch?
  • What were the Highs of your campaign?
    • Getting the first backer.
    • Getting to $100
    • Getting to $1000
    • Getting to the halfway point
    • Getting fully funded in the last few hours.
  • What were the Lows of your campaign?
    • The first 24 hours
    • Messing up the US Shipping Costs on the first day
    • The 10 days things stalled out
    • Not knowing how to turn views and likes into pledges
    • Being in the last day and not reaching $3,000
  • What were some Twists and Turns you didn’t see coming?
    • The Digital TPB had more backers than the physical book
    • One backer changed his pledge multiple times from $85 to $15
    • Having people say they’d back it and not

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

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

“…Daunting.”

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?

“Make it shipping settings clearer.”

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

ComixTribe.com [Thanks, Jon!]

4) Promotion Tip?

Twitter was very helpful for me, a lot of backers came from there. Facebook advertising also helped me get in front of a lot of people.

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

D4V3 by Ryan Ferrier.


Sponsor: Johnny Bullet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave him comments so he knows that we sent you!

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


ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

ComixLauncher 19

Write down 10 things that you’re grateful for…

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


Wrap Up

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

Just give it a shot!

2) Besides, how can listeners best connect with you online?

Twitter: @Jon_H_Parrish

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jpcomicwriter

Website: secretsandshadows.net

Thanks for Listening.

Tease future episodes

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


Apply for The ComixLaunch Course

Would you like to build your first or next Kickstarter campaign with me?

If so, go to ComixLaunch.com/course to apply to join a pilot group of creators Jeremy Melloul and I will be taking step-by-step through the process of planning and launching a Kickstarter campaign.

CL_Course_LogoBanner_1200

Spots are extremely limited, so if you are at all interested, do not wait… go to comixlaunch.com/course, fill out the short application. We’re looking forward to helping you launch.

ComixLaunch_Green018Figuring out if and how to engage brick and mortar retailers in a Kickstarter campaign is a vexing issue for creators. Chimera Comics owner Carmelo Chimera joins Tyler for a frank discussion on retailer outreach.


Today’s Session is Sponsored by Purebuttons

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.]


Today’s Guest

My guest today is the co-owner of Chimera’s Comics, a four location comic shop in Illinois that, in addition to carrying comics and graphic novels, does great community charity work, hosts gaming tournaments, special events, and is now publishing comics as well! He’s also a practicing attorney-at-law, and is a comic book creator himself.

Last month, he launched his first Kickstarter project, The Magnificent, which as of this recording has hit it’s funding goal, heading into the final week.

Congratulations on that and welcome to ComixLaunch, Carmelo Chimera.


What is Today’s Episode About?

One of the more vexing things for Kickstarter creators is figuring out how to approach retailers regarding their projects…

Should they bother with retailer outreach?

What would make retailers back their projects?

And are there other ways besides just financial backing that creators might engage retailers?

Carmelo Chimera the perfect person to talk to about this stuff, because you’re coming at it from both the retailer and the creator perspective.

Guiding Discussion Questions:

1) Last month, you launched your first Kickstarter Project, Magnificent, with co-creator Steven Brown, and David Gonzalez. However, as a retailer, you’ve no doubt been aware of Kickstarter for a while now. We’ll get into your experience as a creator in a bit, but I’d like to start by talking about how you view Kickstarter from the retailer’s perspective.Most retailers I’ve talked to’s opinions on Kickstarter range from open hostility to complete indifference… though some’s opinions on the platform have evolved over time. Can you talk about how you see Kickstarter as a retailer?

2) I think it’s important for Kickstarter creators to understand how a retailer’s business works before they think about how to approach retailers to back a Kickstarter project or support it in some way… Can you give us a look behind the curtain?
How do the terms offered to retailers by most Kickstarter creators differ from the terms you get from your main distributors, like Diamond?

3) What advice do you have for Kickstarter creators interested in getting retailers to support their projects?

4) Have you difficult making the transition from retailer to creator launching a KS? What have you learned from launching your first KS Project? What’s surprised you?


SPEED ROUND

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

“…delightfully subversive.”

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?

Incorporate add-ons as a built in feature.

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

Celtix script writing software

4) You guys made an AWESOME video… any tips for creating compelling KS videos?

Keep it short and from the heart. Save the facts and figures for your page.

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

Roche Limit by Michael Moreci and Val Malhotra


Capture_PureButtons

Episode Sponsor: PureButtons

When creating your Kickstarter projects, it’s absolutely essential to have a variety of pledge levels and awesome rewards for your backers. Making custom buttons of your most popular characters is an easy reward or add on you can bring to your campaign…and the folks at PureButtons can help. Specializing in custom buttons of all shapes and sizes, as well as button packs, fridge magnets, custom coasters and much more, PureButtons is my top recommendation for fast, reliable quality printing of buttons and more.

And now you can get 10% off your next order by going to ComixLaunch.com/purebuttons. 


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 18

Do Something Nice for Your Local Comic Book Retailer

All of us our busy, but we all can spare 5 minutes to do this. [If you’d like to share the results of your ComixLauncher with me, I’d love to see it. Email me at [email protected], subject line: ComixLauncher #18.]


Wrap Up

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

The most important thing is what you do before you launch will determine your success. Don’t start campaigning when you press launch. 

2) Besides the Magnificent Kickstarter page, how can listeners best connect with you online?

Like or follow Chimera’s Comics on Facebook.


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

ComixLaunch_Green016With more than $40 million dollars raised for comics and graphic novel projects to date, Kickstarter is playing an ever increasing role in the industry. Tyler James discusses the economics of Kickstarter and digital comics with Author Todd Allen.

 


 

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.


Today’s Guest 

Our guest today has spent more than 15 years around digital publishing and comics. He’s written about the business side of comics for Publisher’s Weekly, the Chicago Tribune and Comic Book Resources, and is a contributing editor to comicsbeat.com. He’s been nominated for an Eisner Award, he taught eBusiness in the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management department at Columbia College Chicago Chicago for 5 years.

He is the author of the book The Economics of Webcomics and the 2014 follow up The Economics of Digital Comics.

Welcome to ComixLaunch, Mr. Todd Allen!

For more on Todd, visit: http://www.indignantmedia.com/


Guiding Questions for Today’s Discussion

1) Todd, last month, you wrote an article for Comics Beat titled “How to make crowdfunding sustainable for comics” which was in part a reaction to an article on Kickstarter written by a Brian Hibbs, a prominent retailer. I’d like to start our discussion with your take on where Kickstarter and crowdfunding fits into the economics of comics right now?

2) Let’s talk about where we think comics and crowdfunding is headed… I know there are creators who think we’re in a Kickstarter bubble that’s going to burst any day now, and I know others who think KS is the future. How do you read the tea-leaves? What is KS role in the future of comics?

3) Your first book was an indepth look at the economics of “webcomics”… in a recent episode of ComixLaunch, we discussed them at length. Your second book was on “digital comics”. Recently Brian K Vaughn and Paulo Rivera took home the Harvey award for “Best Online Comics Work”…a curious designation. Do you draw distinctions between these various terms… or are the lines blurring?

4) What’s next for you? What are the big questions about comics and Kickstarter that we still don’t know, and want to find out.


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 16: Buy and read a non-fiction book on the comic book industry before the year is out.

Need some suggestions? Try:

Shoot me an email to [email protected] subject ComixLauncher 16 and let me know what book you pick up?

 


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

 

ComixLaunch_Green017Did you know that Kickstarter creators don’t actually receive the entire funding amount displayed on every Kickstarter page? In this episode, Tyler James details the three reasons why, what (if anything) you can do about it, and how much you can actually expect to receive. Plus: A bonus mini-lesson on SMART goal setting!


Today’s Session is Sponsored by ComixTribe

Go to ComixTribe.com/subscribe for 5 Free Comics


Session Table Setting

ComixLaunch Survey Update

We put it out, and you guys responded! Thank you so much for taking it!

Quick Tip: Set a Goal for Everything Important you do

Could have just made the survey

Instead – Pick a target # of surveys to collected, decided to set a time frame, and throughout the month, steadily checked in on our progress toward that goal.

On Oct 30, 1 day before closing, we hit our target.

SMART Goal Setting

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Timely

I sent out an email to the ComixTribe creators list, just talked about the power of measuring your progress towards your goal

Kickstarter bakes into DNA this in. A KS designed with SMART goal framework in mind.

The ComixLaunch Blog is Up!

Jeremy interviewed with Dave Rapoza and Dan Warren of Steve Lichman Kickstarter

Just ended, one of the biggest comic book Kickstarters of all-time, one of the top 1%, $198,608 dollars in funding.

Putting the Reader First: A Six-Figure Strategy for the Steve Lichman Kickstarter

The first in a series Jeremy will be doing where he’s talking to Six-Figure Comic KS projects and breaking down what they do differently.


What is Today’s Episode About?

One of those subjects that really doesn’t get talked about… I think a lot of people take it for granted that people just know this… but in talking to many creators who haven’t launched KS before, I know that this will be something that some of you haven’t completely considered.

The Funding Amount that is displayed in big numbers on every successful KS page IS not the amount of money that KS creator receives.

The Funding Amount raised is a number that’s pledged.

Not number of funds that is actually collected.

Definitely not Amt that shows up in Your bank acct.

Lets illustrate will some actual numbers from the last three KS campaigns I’ve managed:

C is for Cthulhu Plush Toy and Board Book

Pledge – $42,483

Collected – $38,276.19

Difference – $4,206.81   (9.9%)

The Standard Ultimate Collection

Pledged – $17,259 

Collected – $15,374.64

Difference – $1884.36 (10.9%)

The Red Ten Volume 1

Pledged – $13,460 

Collected – 12,136

Difference – $1,324 (9.8%)

Was I robbed? Call the cops? No… This is how KS works…

There are THREE Reasons why KS actual funds differs from funding amount

1) Kickstarter Fees

KS fee -5% flat 5% off the top of every pledge.

Best deal in town…

  • Diamond takes 60%
  • Amazon 35-45%
  • Retailers 50%

Marketplace for comics. People are shopping there, $40 million dollars have been spent there on comics… show me another platform with that volume that takes less.

Nothing you can do about these fees.

2) Stripe fees

Stripe is KS cc transaction partner.

Stripe, our payments processor, will apply credit card processing fees (about 3-5%).

Used to be Amazon Payments, last switched to Stripe Jan 2015

Pros

  • Stripe seems to be the preferred processor of new companies (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Won’t need to set up an Amazon Payments business account anymore.
  • You’ll just enter your bank account details on the Account tab when you’re drafting your project on Kickstarter. It takes about two minutes, whereas the old way could take a few days. 
  • For backers, this means a simpler, faster and easier checkout process. No more being redirected or having to log in to a separate service. It takes half the steps, and it all happens on Kickstarter. 
  • Very easy process, very clean interface.
  • Amazon payments, more cumbersome
  • One lump sum

Cons

  • You’ll need to wait 14 days before any funds are available

Nothing you can do about these fees.

3) Backer Attrition – What is it, what to do about it?

People sign up to Kickstarter to back first project… Enter a cc

When they back their next KS, they aren’t asked to enter a CC again.  This is a good thing… Whipping out cc is a momentum kilker.

Drawback, is that some expire… Ks only checks this when they try to process and cant

KS tries to get backer to update CC, sends several emails over 10 days… Backer updates, great, cc is processed. If not, the backer not charged.

Can amount to real money–

C is for Cthulhu

11 Backers Dropped – $730

The Standard Ultimate Collection

5 Backers Dropped — $479

The Red Ten

1 Backer Dropped – $135

There IS something you can do about backer attrition.

Before campaign over, in update– remind backers to check their cc.

Ex. *IMPORTANT* Kickstarter will be collecting all the funds from backers, so if you haven’t done so already, please ensure your credit cards are up-to-date so you can get your rewards without delay.

Within 10 days after… Send email to extra asking

They might ignore email from KS…

After 10 days… Email with PayPal link.

Hi, [backer name]

It looks like Kickstarter was unable to resolve your payment for the C is for Cthulhu plush campaign. Your credit card was not charged and you were dropped as a backer from Kickstarter.

I know you’re still interested in getting the Plush Toy, and I already have your survey information.

Here is a special direct Paypal payment link from ComixTribe, the publisher of C is for Cthulhu, that will allow you to make your pledge and get your reward — https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=6DW9M5XTHDDS2

If you have any questions, please let us know, and thanks again for your support!

Best,

Greg, Jason, and Tyler

When the product is in hand — Email them again.

Hey, we’ve got your book still reserved for you!

Either direct them to your online store… or again, that Paypal link.

You can recover a good % this way.

 


Today’s Sponsor – ComixTribe

5FreeComicsTwitterCardsA

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


ComixLauncher

It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.

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

ComixLauncher – 016

What is one goal you want to accomplish in the last two months of 2015?

What ever goal you have, find a related, measurable action you can start tracking.

If you’re a writer, maybe it’s pages written, or even words each day.

If you’re an artist, maybe it’s pages or panels.

If you’re a publisher, maybe it’s sales or leads. Maybe it’s retailers on your VIP contact list.

If you don’t know exactly where you fit in the comics industry, maybe your goal should be to talk to 3 people in the industry each week for 15 minutes until you figure it out… start tracking that.

Whatever is important to you… set a goal, and then start measuring your progress toward it.

Go a step further… share your progress publicly.

Shoot me an email to [email protected] subject ComixLauncher 16 and let me know what you’re going to measure.

 


Quote

“What you measure, you can manage.”

– Peter Drucker


Have You Subscribed, Rated, or Reviewed ComixLaunch Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

 

ComixLaunch_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.