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Kickstarter links that guided me

I spent the last year 4 years of my life polishing 3 comic book scripts, pitching to publishers, and learning everything I possibly can about the comic book industry. And in that journey, I came upon Kickstarter, which many creators like me are using to fund their comic books. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing publisher, so I’m not worried about Diamond and minimum pre-orders and all that fun stuff. But I do still have to produce the comic book, and comics are expensive. When you pick up a $3.99 comic book, do you ever think of what it takes to have it drawn, lettered, colored, and written? $150 per page? More? Even at that price, a 22 page book is $3,000 with no cover art, no graphic design, layout or file prep, no printing, shipping, or advertising.

Once it dawned on me that I needed to either a) raise some funds or b) take $3,000 out of our savings account and stowaway on a cattle car to Mexico, I turned towards Kickstarter. I launch my project on Sunday at 12:01am. And in the 8 months or so that I’ve been gearing up to launch, I read a TON about Kickstarter, and bookmarked all the pages. So, with just 3 days and counting until Sevara issue #0 goes life, I’ve opened up all the bookmarks in my Kickstarter tips folder and put them below, and I pasted in the content that was the most helpful as I prepared. I hope this helps you get your own Kickstarter campaign going (and maybe save a marriage or 2 in the process).

There was way too much information in the article Hacking Kickstarter and not everyone can pull it all off or pay for a virtual assistant, but it has tons of good ideas.

“Once you connect with a blogger that is interested in covering your project, your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to write a story that is valuable to their readers and to you.” Landing pages, email examples to bloggers, Klout, and finding relevant bloggers through Google images. “Start by looking at who covered Kickstarter projects similar to yours. You can do this by using a simple Google Images hack. If you drag and drop any image file into the search bar at images.google.com, you’ll be shown every website that has ever posted that image.” Those templates on Google Drive are pretty damn nice too, seriously, I talk to the media all the time but when it comes to my own Kickstarter project I have no idea where to begin.

Ok, ComixTribe is a must for comic book creators. If you are working on your first title, go to Bolts and Nuts and Point of Impact, and just start from the beginning. Read them all. Seriously. And when your script is ‘done’, send it to the Proving Grounds and get schooled. Yeah, that’s right, you’ll learn that your script is far from done. Comixtribe has a lot of articles about Kickstarter, but this one was the most concrete help. I gained a ton of insight from it. Most importantly, the article taught me to edit my video, and edit more, and cut more. Every second counts. I’m down to 2min 21 seconds on mine, and 30 seconds of that is a silly musical montage. Here’s a quote from the article.

“I worked really hard on my video, once again, trying to tell the story of my project and its secret origin. It had a run-time of a mere three minutes, but in the stats section, I could see that less than half of the people who clicked play finished their viewing.” …..”The new video showed some art, explained the basic plot and used humor similar to that found in the book. Over the images I recorded a fast-paced voiceover and the final presentation clocked in at one minute long. In the first five days of the campaign, it had twice as many completed plays as the first video and had something that I considered to be a better representation of the product.”

One insight that I picked up on was to carry on AFTER the Kickstarter campaign. For example, once the 30 day campaign is over, can people just go to your website, pay $10, and get a copy of your book? I mean, I saw this beautiful comic book that also has apprenticeships attached to it, how COOL, I want a copy. I mean, why not, your project is already funded right? But when I go to the website, I don’t see any place where I can just buy a copy. You should. This guy does, check it out. So simple, so easy, and let the momentum of Kickstarter continue, allow people to keep placing orders.

You need a great video, yes. But how? This article really helps you with your video, much more than all the other blog posts that say, “hey, make a stunning video.” The focus of the article is about keeping it short. Sure, have fun, be funny, but make it short and to the point as well.

Another good article about the video production process. You don’t just shoot it, you plan it. You outline it. You immagine it. You storyboard it. Even though the best Kickstarter videos are just a guy in his kitchen talking about his project with some images and voiceover, you still need to work it out. Yes, I’m talking about you.

OK this article forced me on to Twitter more than 6 months ago. I am just now figuring out the magic of Twitter, there is some Jedi force behind it that takes some time to really feel. Check this quote: “If you’re not already on Twitter every day, and you want to one day be able to spread news about anything very very quickly, start being on Twitter every day now. If you think you understand it, but haven’t used it, you don’t understand it at all. Basically, someone says something there, and hundreds of people know about it seconds later. It’s extremely powerful, and trust me, you don’t want to be logging on for the first time a week into your Kickstarter campaign, wondering whether your posts will be considered spam, if you should be tweeting thank you’s to people who tweet about you, etc.” Get on Facebook and Twitter with a vengeance 6 months to a year before you launch your campaign. Tweet a panel from your comic book every day. Search for #Kickstarter and retweet other people’s project tweets. People will thank you for it. And by thank, I mean they will follow you and retweet you when it counts.

Most Kickstarter tip articles cover the same few bullet points, but not many really flesh it out. This one takes the time to write some great thoughts (you can tell he’s not just trying to get traffic to his site). He covers building the fan base, making it fun and interactive, and other points in detail. But I like the end bit about how its not about you, its about the backers. Don Walker said he would put on a grass skirt and a coconut bra and dance for 60 seconds if he reached a certain goal. It is about what the backers get, not you! Here is a quote that sums up everything: “Just don’t think of crowdfunding like the lottery where tens of thousands of dollars is just a lucky break away. See a Kickstarter project for what it is: an incredibly democratizing resource for the little guy to access a world-wide audience of potential buyers and supporters in order to create something a lot of folks would love to have if only they knew about it. Back a bunch of projects so you know firsthand, as a backer, what works and what doesn’t. Spend at least a year ahead of time building an audience of folks who believe in what you’re doing.”

Whew, time for bed. More later! Damian