5 Kickstarter Tips for Comic Books
All crowdfunding campaigns need to be rooted in great social media marketing, press outreach, and guerrilla marketing. Unless you have an established audience, your goal should be to reach out to your target market and capture those early adopter customers that think your product is super cool and believe in your company’s mission.
Looking for some helpful tips on marketing your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign? check out 5 Tips for a Better Kickstarter Campaign or 21 Places to Promote Your Kickstarter Campaign. Otherwise, continue learning about comic book marketing on Kickstarter below.
Comic books are a little bit unique in that their is a tremendous cult following and at the same time there are large barriers to entry. Frankly put, developing a new set of characters that resonates with the audience is extremely difficult. In addition, distribution costs are a nightmare. Creating a Kickstarter campaign is one way to break into this marketplace and that’s exactly how Jason Coffee’s Warhawks is gaining traction.
Having passed away in 2008 at age 33, Jason Coffee had one last request: that the world hear his voice. With this mission in mind, his friends took up the mantel and decided to publish his unproduced screenplay Warhawks as a comic book. Warhawks features a heroic team of machine-enhanced soldiers who battle against their villainous cyborg counterparts, Maelstrom. As they clash, the heroes question their purpose and the morality of using lethal force to maintain the peace.
“If you’re wondering what it’s like, think Avengers & X-Men with a heavy dose of 1980’s G.I. Joe!”
The team behind the project has already visited WonderCon in Los Angeles with a 5 page comic book preview and distributed 500 copies. They are now looking to complete the interior artwork of the comic book and print and distribute the first issue. With 77% funded and 9 days to go, they are in the final leg of the race. Check them out here!
I had the chance to speak with the team about their lessons learned from launching a Kickstarter campaign. I hope it can benefit other individuals looking to crowdfund a comic book!
Tip #1: Reach out to your connections!
How did you manage to connect with the Marvel Artist Billy Tan and Joel Gomez?
Even though we are self-publishing this comic, we wanted it to have a blockbuster feel. The problem was none of us had published a comic before and we didn’t know anybody in the industry. Eventually, we discovered that one of Jason Coffee’s friends knew a former Marvel Comics editor.
When we told him about the project, he suggested a short list of artists who might be interested. Billy Tan was the first person we talked to, and much to our surprise and delight he agreed to do it. At the time, Billy was working for Marvel doing covers for X-Men and now he is the lead artist on DC’s Green Lantern series. It was amazing that he took the time between working on those two huge franchises to do the cover for our book.
Finding a great cover artist was really important to us because we didn’t want to launch our project on Kickstarter until we had something cool to show our potential backers. I think people always appreciate when they see that you have already put substantial work into a project before asking others to help out. It also helped with publicity because websites and blogs always want imagery to show. Beyond all that, it was cool to have Billy do the cover because Jason was a huge X-Men fan!
Billy was only available to do the cover, so he referred us to Joel Gomez to do our interior pages. Joel had done some backgrounds for Billy before, and he turned out to be a perfect match for our project. Even though he has worked for some of the biggest names in the comics business like Jim Lee, Joel has embraced our little comic and become our mentor. It also helped that he had done a Kickstarter comic before, so he knew the ropes.
Tip #2: Connect with bloggers and content creators in your niche. Attend events and network.
You said the biggest risk is that you don’t have famous characters or a famous creator with a built in audience. How did you overcome this obstacle?
We tried to get the word out immediately via the comics press. Many of the comics websites and blogs have recurring features about Kickstarter projects. We got an important early article on comicvine.com that brought lots of traffic to our Kickstarter page.
One of the big decisions we made was to take our project to WonderCon, the annual Los Angeles comic book convention run by the same people who put on Comicon. We wanted to introduce our comic to as many people as possible. Our Kickstarter had started several weeks earlier, and we were excited that a number of our Kickstarter backers and fans came over to talk to us at our booth. We handed out 500 five-page preview editions of our comic, talked to publishers, and did as many press interviews as we could.
Tip #3: Continuously develop new marketing strategies and promote on new channels. Trial and error is your friend.
What have you learned from starting a Kickstarter project?
Don’t expect thousands of people to find you on their own. Be prepared to work every day to find new ways to get the word out. Even if people like your project, it’s a busy world and it’s hard to get people to notice you.
The other big thing is that Kickstarter is a community. We got some great advice by direct messaging other Kickstarter creators to see what had worked for them. We have also been giving advice to others who are planning to start projects soon.
Tip #4: Have a strong network of supporters lined up.
A lot of people would like to know whether or not they need to “bring their own crowd” when crowdfunding. Looking at your Kickstarter analytics, where have most of your pledges come from? What percentage has been from people you don’t know (who have discovered you on the site).
Some of our earliest backers were Kickstarter regulars who support lots of projects, but we definitely have brought our own crowd. I would say that more than half of our pledges have come from friends or family. Luckily, our Kickstarter is being run by a group of friends, so we each brought in our own crowds. And remember that each member of your crowd has his or her own crowd, so you can get the word out exponentially by encouraging people to share the project on their own networks.
I was surprised to find out from our analytics that the majority of clicks on our page have come via Twitter, since we only have about 100 followers. Each time there is a press article or blog post, the author will tweet the link. More people find the project based on the tweet than on the article itself.
Tip #5: Don’t go it alone! (Check out: Do you need a kickstarter cofounder?)
Any advice for people looking to run a Kickstarter campaign in regards to preparation, marketing, management, etc?
Don’t go it alone! Someone needs to be working on the campaign every day, so it helps to share the responsibility. Our team has about a half dozen people on it, so if somebody is busy one night, then another person can pick up the slack and send out press emails or update the Facebook page, or whatever else needs to be done.
Get the Kickstarter plug-in for Google Chrome. It’s a great way to keep track of your project. Beware, though, it will be hard to resist staring it all day while constantly hitting refresh.
There’s lots of good advice out there, but be prepared to learn as you go. Try everything. Email. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. Go door to door. Ask that celebrity for a retweet. Hasn’t worked for us yet, but we haven’t given up!
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