How To Crowdfund Your Comic

If you find any of the information below useful, please consider backing Replicator 3


Disclaimer

-SUCCESS-


Your success will depend on a few key points:

  1. The quality of your art.

  2. The amount of people that see your project.

  3. The amount of interaction you have with the community.


The quality of your art.

It’s really simple. The better your art, the easier it is to sell. Don’t forget you can sell your comic for the rest of your life. So short term financial pain CAN work better in the long run.


The amount of people that see your project.

If you don’t get enough eyes on the comic, it doesn’t matter how good it is. You need to build your own channel, build your own socials, build relationships with people and help others.


The amount of interaction you have with the community.

Don’t expect to just show up and take people’s money, they need to get to know you, who you are and what you are about. This takes time and effort.



-PROMOTE OTHERS-


I don't know how to say this eloquently, so I wont. You need to promote other people because it's the right thing to do, and if you are expecting people to promote you when you have done nothing, good luck.


There are unfortunately heaps of people like this; they take, take, take and don’t give back. DON'T BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. It's a two way street; you have to give as well.


People have asked me how? Find a campaign you like, tweet, share, like, talk about it, reach out to the creator, ask them if you can help in any way, build these relationships, and back projects.


-Also you need to realize no one owes you anything.

-If you think you can just show up and people will give you money, you’re mistaken.

-We build this thing (crowdfunding) together.





PRE-CAMPAIGN


Pre-campaign refers to everything you need to do before you launch your campaign. Listed in order of importance.



YOUTUBE


YouTube is the MOST POWERFUL TOOL we have access to as comic creators. Look at the top 25 crowdfunded comics on Indiegogo. The majority of them have small to large YouTube channels.


Examples are Rage Golden Eagle, That Umbrella Guy, Ya Boi Zack, Ethan Van Sciver, Jon Malin, and the list goes on and on.


Find something you are passionate about and talk about it. This will help bring people to your channel, where they will get to know you and become invested in you. This, in turn, will help you get funded.



EMAIL LIST


Email lists are super important. I have about 3,000 people on mine who I email weekly with updates and new art and everything in between.


From those who receive my emails, about 500 people read the email I send every week. You can google statistics about how people on email lists are more likely to read emails as opposed to social media, and again more likely to buy something from an email.



HOW TO MAKE AN EMAIL LIST - Indiegogo Pre Launch Sign up page.


You can use the Indiegogo sign up page as the start of your email list (note: it lasts six months and then it’s gone; when it's gone all the data is deleted and you can’t get it back, set a reminder.)


You will also need a 3rd party platform such as mailchimp/mailerlite.


It’s essentially just a page that allows you to collect email addresses and then you let these people know when you have launched. Those on your email list are more likely to back than an average person as they have already made a commitment by signing up.


You need to offer these people a reason to sign up, such as a discount or a reward for doing so.



Some examples:


“Sign up and back on day one and receive this exclusive trading card”

Bonus/discount for sign ups for day one backers.

  • Trading cards are the most popular.

  • Art prints are easy to ship and produce.



TIPS

  • I did an original art raffle for my list and had 680 signups. It was different, unique and successful.

  • Show a preview of campaign pages to the mailing list and others before you launch. Again, this just makes whoever is following more excited by the campaign and you can get feedback if needed.

  • Secret perk (ideally one or two different perks, a lower to mid range tier and a high range tier).

  • The success of the “secret perk” is to offer real value, a significant discount, extra goods or anything in between. A small discount is not going to work.

  • Make sure the launch day email that is going out looks enticing. See Michael Bancroft’s example here. Example Email- The Lucent



TWITTER


Comicsgate is on Twitter and this document is created for Comicsgate creators. But, if you're not Comicsgate, a lot of the principles are the same.


If you can only do one social media platform, do Twitter. If you already have built a fan base, expand on that through Twitter.



BUILD UP TIME

  • Three to six month build up is ideal,

  • Minimum one to three months.


Three to six month build up - what does that mean? Basically, letting your fans and followers know you are launching a campaign in advance, allowing you to get them prepared and excited about your launch.


A longer build up will also allow you to attract more followers and backers as you get closer to your launch.


One to three months is the minimum I would recommend. People need to feel a part of something, and that requires time.





CAMPAIGN


Here are 3 examples of good campaigns. You could copy the layout from any of these.

Replicator 3

Kozor

The Lucent



PRE LAUNCH

  • 100% OF YOUR EFFORT SHOULD BE SPENT GETTING PEOPLE TO BACK DAY ONE Your goal is to get to the top of the Indiegogo page and try to stay there as long as possible. the longer you are there, the more people see your project and the more people back your project.

  • SET DAY AND TIME AND MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’RE LAUNCHING I had my campaign set as 15 October, 3pm.

  • DO A COUNTDOWN FOR LAUNCH 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week, 6 days, etc. You get the idea.

  • MAKE SURE THE START TIME IS BEST SUITED FOR AMERICA America will be 75+% of your audience. You want to maximise the amount of time you get with that audience. Lunchtime: 12pm EST-Recommended by Ethan Van Sciver

  • PLAN OUT A STACK OF TWEETS/SOCIAL MEDIA STUFF *My brain turns to mush when a campaign is going on. This allows me to have things ready to share in advance and I can tweak them as needed. Having these already stacked up also helps free you up to engage personally with the campaign in other ways.



LAUNCH


Campaign Length - 30 days + 30 day extension. Then in demand if you want/need.


At a MINIMUM I would take the day before launch, launch day and closing day off from work so that you can devote yourself 100% to those crucial days of your campaign.


  • LAUNCH ON A STREAM Pre-plan and contact people, asking to go on their streams. Try and book as many as possible. Same applies to closing day. The plan I came up with for the Kozor launch is my favorite to date; it involves you having a team or fans as you can’t do it by itself and a channel to launch on. Two of us streamed for 12 hours on How To Draw Comics. This allowed the third member to go on as many other streams as possible. Using this technique, we managed to get 149 day one backers for Kozor and 204 for Replicator 3.



STREAMING


I decided to add this section as I watch a lot of people try to pitch their books without maximising their opportunity. I’m not saying I’m great at it, but let me point out a few key things you need to do. I'm going to list them in order of importance.


One note is that you need to know the key selling features of your book. This is something you need to figure out yourself: is it full colour, does it have a cover by x, is it nearly finished, is it perfect bound, is the art incredible? The list goes on and on.


  • PASSION/ENERGY By far the most important thing you can bring is passion. It is nearly impossible to sell your book without this. If you can’t get excited about your book, no one else will be able to. If the story is a hard sell, you can talk about why you made it, what inspired you, anything, as long as you are passionate.

  • KEEP IT SHORT A short, concise pitch is better than a long-winded, overly-detailed pitch. Start with the basics and from there you can elaborate if you need to. I’d rather hear a quick ten second pitch than a five minute detailed pitch.

  • PREPARATION You need to have everything ready that you want to promote: images, links, videos and everything in between. Prepare your pitch and practise it. Reading a pitch off a document is better than a pitch that's all over the place. Of course, knowing your pitch by heart is better than reading it off a document.

  • CAMERA People will relate to you better if you have a camera. If they relate to you, you're more likely to sell books.





CAMPAIGN PAGE


Tips-Keep it simple, keep it clean-looking, less text, best art.



VIDEO


There are two types of videos: the kind people want to play and the kind people don't want to play.


Don't have the second kind.


Minimum would be to do a voice over. That alone would immediately put you above a large portion of videos


Motion capture is great. Keep it short, three minutes or less.


  1. USE YOUR BEST IMAGES For your thumbnails and your marketing sharing images, use your best images. Use anything that will then link people to your campaign. Choose 4 of the images you think are the best and test them - DO A POLL. Seriously do it. I do stuff like this all the time. You might think X is the best thing you’ve ever seen but if 95% of people don’t like it, you are wrong. Sorry.

  2. WHAT YOU GET, PAGE COUNT, SIZE, COLOUR People want to know what they are getting right away. This is really important. This needs to be the first or second thing the backer sees. You want to explain what the backer is getting. How many pages is it? Is it colour or black and white? Is it perfect bound? Is it a one shot or an ongoing series? You could also mention genre. You can see I explain that: Replicator 3 is 32 pages, full colour, ongoing comic book series and that you can pick up all three issues for a combined 88 pages total. So immediately everyone knows what they can potentially get. You can use a graphic if you prefer. My preference is not to.

  3. HOOK LINE THEN MORE DETAIL AFTER IMAGES Short hook line. Elevator Pitch. You can see mine in the image, it’s not perfect. I could change the order and tweak it. But it’s all I say until I get into the images.

  4. FUNDING GOAL AS LOW AS POSSIBLE The campaign goal should be as LOW as you can possibly afford to go to get the book finished, printed, shipped and into people’s hands* Why? The more you go over your target goal the higher % funded you are. The higher % funded you are the more impressive it looks and the more likely it will keep you at the top of the Indiegogo page algorithms *Don’t put it so low you can’t get the book done. You want it at the minimum it takes to keep you safe.

THEN...

  • COVER After you have addressed the essential points discussed above, add your cover next. This should be your best image, something that makes backers think “hell yeah, I want that.”

  • Expand on hook/logline Here you can expand on your logline and include a little more detail. It’s not mandatory.

  • 5-10 INTERIOR PAGES WITH AND WITHOUT LETTERS I polled people asking their preference. it was fairly split between lettered and unlettered pages. Ideally, I would have between three to five lettered and three to five unlettered pages.

  • NOT MUCH TEXT This is the killer, too much text, too much information. People are visual creatures; they don’t want to be texted to death. Unless you are/were a big player at some stage, no one cares about your life story. You don't want your campaign page being so long that people are turned off by the time they have finished.

  • PAGE LOOKS GOOD ON MOBILE 40% of people buy on mobile, so if your page looks like trash or takes ages to load, you could be saying bye-bye to 40% of potential customers. Keep it simple. Keep it short.


You can add more stuff than I’ve mentioned, just don’t go overboard.



REWARDS

  1. SHOW PICTURES OF WHAT THEY GET. Again, people are simple creatures, no need to confuse them. They want a visual representation of what they are getting.

  2. REWARDS NAMED WHAT THEY ARE Keep things as simple as possible.

This is a great example of the above two points. The picture shows three comics and the text tells you there are three comics.


  • LESS THAN 10 REWARDS Too many rewards makes it too confusing; confusing means they don't buy something.

  • VARIATION IN REWARD PRICES FROM CHEAP TO EXPENSIVE Realise money is not equal to all people. Some people have very little (we’ve all been there) and some people have A LOT. Make sure your rewards go from the basic up to the very expensive, and make sure they are good value for everyone.

  • KEEP REWARD LEVELS LOW AND CHANGE IF THEY SELL OUT Example 0/25 or 0/50. The smaller your numbers are, the more demand there will be. In theory, if you have 0/25, for example, people think “I have to get this now or I might miss out.” This is dependent on the size of your audience. On the flip side, if you have 0/500 people will think they can just get it later. If they sell out add a new reward.

STRETCH GOALS


  • PLAN YOUR STRETCH GOALS AND WORK THEM OUT PRICE-WISE Stretch goals will kill you. It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of crowdfunding; you want to give everyone everything, but everything costs money. You need to work out what you want your stretch goals to be, price them out based on how much will they cost you to fulfill. For example, if I have 1000 backers and I decide to give everyone a print. Doesn't sound crazy, right? However, 1000 colour prints here will cost 1000 dollars. 1000 black and white prints will cost me 200 dollars. You will get caught out if you're not careful. I’ve spoken to backers and they prefer a visual representation of what they are getting as opposed to text, something along these lines.

USING THE DATA AND MAKING MONEY


How successful a campaign is can be summed up like this:

  • Number of Page Visits x Backer Conversions % = Backer number.

  • Backer Number x Average spend = money made.


Number of Page visits: the amount of people that go to your campaign page.

Backer Conversion %: the percent of people visiting your page who become backers.

Backer Number: the total backers you get.

Average Spend: the amount of money the average backer spends.


A lot of creators run campaigns without making use of the data available, which in my opinion is insane. It’s critical to know where your campaign is going right or going wrong. You don’t need to check it every day, but maybe just look every few days and make sure things are going okay.


What is your problem?


Are you not getting enough people to your page? Are you getting lots of people but none of them are buying anything?


You can find out statistics on the campaign insights page.



Backers - 312

Total Visits - 5677


With these two numbers I can work out that 5.5% of people that visit the page back something.


For a first campaign if you can get 5000 people to your page and keep your conversion % at 5%, that's 250 backers and a good first campaign.



The numbers you need to look out for are:


Total Visits

If this number is really low, then you need to get more people to your page.


Conversion % less than 5%.

Anything less than 5%, I’d be worried. There is something that’s not right with your campaign. It could be anything. Priced too high, page doesn't look good, or your product is not appealing.


And of course, if you are getting 10’s or 100’s of thousands of people to your campaign, it doesn't really matter what you convert at. A large enough total audience will bring you success.

DURING CAMPAIGN


Add new rewards and new options



REGULAR UPDATES


People can follow a campaign as simply as hitting the little heart button. This adds them to all the updates you send out. So, even in your updates, always be reminding people to back.


Regular updates also let the backers and followers know that “stuff” is happening with your campaign, which helps keep or generate excitement.


Try and keep momentum.



TIPS


Add at least three months onto how long you think it will take to fulfill the campaign.

Consider not having a digital tier, you want to get actual books in peoples hands.

Use a scheduler to schedule your tweets/posts during a campaign.

Apparel-Don't even bother unless you have multiple campaigns under your belt.





UPDATED NOTES*


In this section I’ll add any new information recommended from either myself or others.


1 October 2020 - Feedback from actual backers on How to Draw Comics livestream.

  • Keep your beliefs to yourself. We don't want to hear that you hate this group or that group. No drama. You're marketing yourself; if you bring drama that’s a big turn off.



Campaign Page

  • If it's a new book, keep it simple; not too many variants, not too many tiers.

  • If you have multiple issues, make it easy to get caught up in a specific tier.

  • Three covers max for new campaigns.

  • Don't add covers after the fact unless you tell us they are coming.

  • Use Your best at art. Does not have to be sequential. Don't cover up art with bubbles and too many words.


Stretch goals are a big deal to us.


  • Either show all, or at least three with the knowledge that more are coming.

  • Achievable stretch goals, not goals like when we hit 400k backers, we get a sailing boat.

  • List them after you have funded.

  • Don't make them up as you go along.


If $25 is the standard for a 48 page book, you need to be delivering top art quality or at least providing equal value.

  • Suggestions: Drop your price or do something to separate yourself from the pack; add a print/pdf or something.


Fulfillment

  • Package and package presentation are important. Bagged and boarded. Gemini mailer or equivalent. Personal touch is important.

  • Tracking is great.



Rob’s notes*


Expanding on the hot dog analogy, imagine you are at a ballgame. You want to see a nice, clean professional hot dog stand, and when the guy calls out get your hot dog here, and you yell out “one please” you want that hot dog to arrive to you in perfect condition with friendly service and hey, maybe the hotdog has some extra toppings you weren’t expecting.


What you don't want is the hot dog man to look like a drug addict who happens to be swearing at a group of people he doesn’t like, he delivers the hot dog aggressively demanding his money and it’s missing a chunk of bread, plus the napkin is a little wet.


It doesn't matter if it’s a great hotdog, your experience in getting the hot dog is going to affect your enjoyment of the hot dog.


Backers will often give you one shot; if you fall below their expectations they might simply be done. If you satisfy backers, they are very likely to become repeat backers for your future projects.



August 25- Michael bancroft thread. Feedback from backers, individual opinions.https://twitter.com/thelucentcomic/status/1296602564624969729



GOOD

  • Realistic ship date.

  • Answer backer questions.

  • Comic 75% done.

  • Make it clear what the backers are getting.

  • Get someone to proofread/edit your campaign.

  • Regular updates.

  • What is it? Page count, colour b/w.

  • Five sequential pages, five pages of interior art.

  • First image is the best image.


BAD

  • Too many words.

  • Too many tiers - with cutesy names.

  • Shipping exceeding $20 US for the book (international).

  • No video.

  • No featured tier.

  • Arrogance.

  • Creator life story.

  • Talking politics.

  • Too many variant covers - three max.

  • Spelling grammar errors.

  • Funding pie chart - don't care how the funds are being used.


August 2020 from video interview with Eric Weathers, Adam Post, Clayton Barton, Von Klaus and Sweetcast


  • Email signups are a good indication of where your campaign could be.

  • If you don't get 100 names, you won't break $10k US.

  • 300 is a good base.

  • Sign up page, video or gif is a good option.

  • Build relationships with people, be on time, professional.

  • Adam Post has a series of videos on secrets of the Comicsgate network - YouTube.

  • Concept and title are really important.

  • Pitching is super important - energy, enthusiasm.

  • Try different pitches, log lines, hook lines, some of them speak to different people. Get other people’s input.

  • Featured tier $50-75, if it’s your second campaign having issue one and two is ideal.

  • Thumbnail image is important - enticing images are good. A guy's face is bad.

  • Follow up with your backers, seek feedback, did you like the art? The writing?

  • Create an urgency to back. Limited time rewards, limited numbers.

  • Updates are important, they go out to the backers and people who follow the campaigns.

  • Study successful campaigns, ideally in the same genre.

  • Let people get to know you, way before it's ready to go.

  • Get eyeballs on the project.

  • Know your audience.

  • Interact with Comicsgate people.

  • Engage people with fun.

  • Pick the right art - complete art, action scenes.

  • Post about the successes, $ amount, backer numbers, records etc.

  • People want to be part of your success. People want winners, not whiners.

  • Include the link.

  • Take ideas from good campaigns as much as you can.

  • Cool graphics for the rewards.

  • Promote the idea of your comic for as long as possible. Project Thunder has been coming for a while and people are excited even if they don’t know what it is.

  • Endorsements are good.

Crowdfunding Comics Guide

By Rob Arnold

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