My Graphic Novel Kickstarter Before And After: Part 2

by Tito W. James

It has been nearly four months since my last article detailing my thoughts on Kickstarting my graphic novel Crossbone Jones: And Other Twisted Tales. Here are some things I’ve learned now that the project is over.
Also be sure to check out my articles where I give advice to aspiring comic creators. PART 1PART 2PART 3PART 4, and PART 5.
Don’t Do Anthologies
Why? you might ask. Crossbone Jones is an anthology and it was successfully funded. However, when your book is an anthology, it’s much harder to answer two simple questions that everyone will ask you: “What is your story about?” and “What genre is it?”
It is more marketable to have one story with one artistic vision and direction. It’s what new audiences expect and can easily understand.
It’s Another Job
Be prepared to treat running a Kickstarter like a second job. You can’t just push buttons and expect to get results. Kickstarter has a very helpful resource guide. Make sure you review this before starting your project. It is in their best interest for your project to succeed. It makes Kickstarter look good and that’s how they make a profit.

Triple-Check Your Math
One misplaced decimal point is the difference between $1.00 and $100. Factor in costs of production: that’s everything from page rates and printing, to shipping. You don’t want to launch your project and then realize that you have over-scoped or undercut your budget.
Have A Promotion Plan
When I first launched my Kickstarter, I received several messages from total strangers who said they could help promote it for a “small fee.” I deleted all of these messages. Don’t trust everyone online.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hire someone to promote your project. However, your promotion costs should be factored into your production budget before the campaign starts.
Facebook will also try to get you to buy “likes.” It’s waste of money that amounts to nothing.
Be Good To Your Friends
Never mix business and friendship because one is going to suffer. The people who back your Kickstarter should be more than just friends and family.
People you know is not a bad place to start, but your audience should be people who will discover you.
Treat your friends well and don’t guilt-trip them if they don’t back your project.

Make It Easy For Potential Backers
Water always runs down hill. People will be more likely to back your project if it looks good and is easy to understand. The more times a viewer has to work to understand your thing, the more likely they are to tune out.
Keep your pitch video short and your rewards simple.
Use The Right Printer
I had a great experience with Print Ninja. The fact that I could call their office really helped. Some things are best expressed over the phone to avoid confusion or frustration. Print Ninja’s service was easy to understand and very speedy.
This is the exact template I used.
Be sure to compare your sizing with other comics on your bookshelf. That way you know exactly what your book will look like when it comes out.
Double-check pagination. A double-page spread or dramatic reveal can be spoiled if an image appears on the wrong page.

Chill Out
Whether your comic is successfully funded, Kickstarter or not–take a minute to breathe. You can afford to make mistakes when the spotlight isn’t on you. At the end of the day, it’s just a comic that will entertain someone for a short period of time.
No one, not even professionals, knocks it out of the park every time. The difference between you and a successful pro is time, money, and effort. You can’t control all three factors, so focus on what you can control.
Remember you are someone who chose to create something in this big world of busy people. Creating comics is its own reward.

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