OUTSIDE THE PANELS #17: THE TRUTH ABOUT KICKSTARTER

WARNING! DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE EASILY FRIGHTENED, MADE ANXIOUS, OR IF YOU CAN NOT HANDLE THE TRUTH… ABOUT KICKSTARTER!

“I got it! I can’t find a publisher to believe in my project, SOUL MEN, but I keep getting good feedback, so Ibai and I are going to do a Kickstarter project,” said by my naive self this past March.

Sorry for the long hiatus with Outside the Panels –I have been so freakin’ busy with my Kickstarter Campaign for SOUL MEN #1 and the rest of my comic work that certain things needed to be put on hold in order to focus on the adventure that is running a 45-day Kickstarter Campaign. Unfortunately, this was one of the things that I had to cut out of my weekly routine… did I mention I just finished catching up on every TV show I have interest in from that time of the year? Well, I’m back now and it is time for me to write about my experience.

Kickstarter, oh, Kickstarter, where should I begin with you? Hm… Let me start at the mystique. Kickstarter is the best crowdfunding website on the planet. More comic and video game creators have run successful campaigns with you than any other crowdfunding website, period! There are so many inspirational stories of creators going out on their own, getting fans to back their project with faith… and their wallets… only to see those creators accomplish their goal and create amazing projects. The success of those creators has inspired hundreds more to begin campaigns and chase their dream too. Unfortunately for the hundreds of inspired creators, not everybody can see the same success as creators like Jimmy Palmiotti and Humberto Ramos.

When I first thought about using Kickstarter to help fund the printing of SOUL MEN #1 I presented the idea to Ibai who was all for the grind. We put together a ton of promotional images, emails to send out to raise awareness, heck, we even created a one page comic of Gerald Osmar Dontell, one of the characters, pitching the comic to readers.

As I was importing all of the information into Kickstarter, filling out all of the fields, and doing my best to not mess up the image uploads I was smacked in the face with the idea to turn that one-pager into a short little YouTube promotional video with music and voice acting from the Cliff, Rigby, King and Gerald! Except… we couldn’t afford a voice actor, so I did it myself. Why did I think this was a good idea? Well, I wanted to be different and memorable.

So many Kickstarter videos are a creator standing in front of a camera explaining why they deserve backers. That’s cool… That’s just not us. We wanted to pitch video to be different, hence why we did it our way. I think, while creators have the best intentions for their project, sometimes a random person, who nobody knows, telling you about their dream project may not be the best way to gain support.

Kickstarter hopefuls have to remember to pre-promote their project. Something that was really helpful for us was starting a launchrock.com page, which allowed us to obtain emails in the months leading to the Kickstarter Campaign launch. Super helpful for sending out updates about the project as well. It actually gave me this idea to do a “members only” webcomic, where people would have to sign up in order to read pages…. I’m actually planning on doing this sometime in the near future.

Promote…. Promote… Promote… Before the launch day, during the launch day, during every single day of your Kickstarter you should eat, sleep, and breathe promoting your campaign. In theory, you should always be promoting your projects anyway, but if you are doing a Kickstarter just promote the damn thing until you fall asleep. I’ve seen a lot of projects gain steam only to fall flat when the creators stop promoting. I’ll tell you right now, if you don’t care about your projects neither will potential backers.

Your immediate network will be who initially push your project. It’s true. Everybody you have ever met should know you have a Kickstarter campaign, including your family, friends, high school and college friends, former teachers, co-workers, the guy who bags your groceries, who ever!  Tell them all and tell them until they either back your projects or tell you to shut the F up. Trust me, people want to help… mostly. When backers, who you don’t know, see your project they may back you if they think you are going to be successful and your project has a bit of steam. You will only get that steam from the people you. They will build the foundation of what you will hope to be a snowball effect.

Give updates while your campaign is live. Make sure your backers know you won’t run off with the money. Something we did was give a quick, little, personal ‘hello’ to all of our backers when they first pledged. I wanted them to all know how appreciative we were for their support. Some backers responded and some didn’t. We actually sparked some great conversations with people who responded, and do you know what happened? They added more money to their Backing! It was awesome!

We were successful with 20 days to go, so the last 20 days we just kept busting our butts promoting. We were 133% funded, overall. We kept hustling and spreading the word about the campaign. You should not stop promoting until the clock expires. Your goal should be Buzz Lightyear’s goal, “To infinity and beyond!” Lmao, I’m not joking, though.

Kickstarter is not for everyone. But if you are a hardworking person, who doesn’t mind marketing by any means necessary, and you have a good-looking project, you will have a good chance of hitting your goal as long as it is set at a reasonable amount.

I was kind of rambling, I know. If you have any questions just hit me up on Twitter.com/SalveyB or look me up @SalveyB and I will be more than happy to help!!!!

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