Some great tips for crowdfunding came via comic veteran Billy Tucci whose created characters like Shi, and Zombie-Sama. Billy has done 2 kickstarters, and both were successful raising money. For Zombie-Sama $32,000 in kickstarter in 28 days was just the start, and in 2 weeeks on Indiegogo Billy got $36,000 with a total 1,200 backers. If you follow comics you know Lady Death is in the process of being brought back, and Brian Pulido was successful with close to $300,000 for the reboot on Kickstarter. So what’s the best advice regarding crowdfunding besides Indigogo and Kickstarter are the best for artists while Gofundme is great for funding lots of medical bills and handouts?! I found out the info at Chicago Comic Revolution at Billy Tucci’s panel, and the results are applicable across arts and products. Three main tips follow as well as some other small tips for crowdfunding.
1. Think of it as a Business – First things first. Get things done. You don’t start new projects until you’re done with works in progress. You launch project B once project A is in consumers hands. There is no way around this. Don’t do too many projects at once or you won’t get finished with any projects at all. If someone believes in your art they are giving to you directly via crowdfunding so you must deliver your product when you say you’re going to. You can’t go off being and artist and doing some other work just because you felt like it. No one is to blame but you if you don’t deliver. So do your art like it’s work. Because if you are selling your art that’s what it has become, work. Nothing is wrong with that word besides the preconceived notion you’ve allowed the modern world to create in your head of work as something to be disliked. Work is the ability to get things done, and that is a pretty amazing thing. The opposite is to be incapable of work, which would mean you are sick, physically unable, or mentally unable to work. So if you can work you are gifted with life and energy. Use it. If you’re self publishing or doing any art it’s gotta be good. Working hard is a part of that process. With that said partnering up with someone can be good. It can help with the stress of having too much work if you find another gifted artist or individual to help in the creative business process. Owning your own stuff is even better. Billy says there’s nothing cooler than someone coming up to you and asking you to sign your art or book and buying it. Own it all if you can.
2. Try to make sure as much of the book or art is done as possible so delays are minimized – This works in with the aforementioned tip as if you aren’t done with your project to be crowdfunded you may make poor decisions. You may decide to do other things with the project, which could take more time and disappoint your funders. You may come up with completely different ideas and head off in new directions. If you choose to expand the project it will definitely take more time, and as mentioned the original project may be scrapped. I contributed to the Super Mario Brothers Crossover creator’s Kickstarter for creating a new video game, which was a huge bust. This was mostly because development hadn’t even begun on the new game and all the different positions for creating a game had to be hired. People had just contributed to the video game creator of Super Mario Brothers Crossover because of the awesomeess of this work. But in the end we were all let down as making a new project from scratch is ridiculously hard in any context. So make sure your product is already close to done by the time you attempt to crowdfund it. This may seem counterintuitive, but your product should be ready to be delivered as soon as your Kickstarter says instead of constant delays. If you’re late let your funders know you’re late and why whether it’s a family sickness, life change, or you reading through Game of Thrones and it was more than you thought it would ever be! People lose friends over not delivering stuff so deliver! Its shows you’re dedicated and professional.
3. Use social media as leverage – A crowd must know the creator is for legitimacy. People who fund you must know who you are to trust you. They’ll be more likely to give money to the cause then. You can do this by showing yourself through your work, what you do, and what you say. So having a social media presence, a website, videos, and more is a plus. On Kickstarter people can see how many projects you’ve backed and launched so they can know what types of things you support. Another quick tip is don’t ask for more money than you need for your first crowdfunds. Just ask for what you need, then with a built in audience you can fund even more projects!
Give updates on a certain day and time on your social media. Put up a new page you wrote, a panel you drew, or even just a sentence or paragraph. YouTube can be great as you can use Skype to bring people onto your YouTube. There’s so much you can create from production sketches to more.
Get into your niche on social media. If your book pertains to a certain subculture or element, network within that group. Get into the niche. The groups on Facebook are gold! Collector’s corner on Facebook is great for comics. Most of the backers for Billy came from Facebook. About 50% of crowdfunding backers from from Facebook and the other half from Kickstarter users.
What rewards can you use as incentive for people? – They don’t know the creators, and many times they don’t know the concept so what can you offer them. So stretch goals may be great ,and for reaching $1,000 everyone might get a car magnet. But remember the extra time and cost of your additional stretch goals.
Shipping and printing – Charge for shipping. It gets really expensive for bubble wrap, boards, etc. You want to give funders a great book in great condition. Letter packages might be nice for comics rather than expensive boxes, and media mail works if if there’s no advertising. . It would cost over $70,000 for shipping for Lady Death’s new comic shipping so put shipping in your equation when crowdfunding. Get your printing in Canada! Quebecor used to print a lot of things and it’s a great go to for comic printing. If you do China there may be delays and may take longer.
Drop Off After Plateau – When your crowfund seems to be at a plateau add things. Be active. Lower your minimum price. You shouldn’t put in a monetary goal to make a profit because it won’t happen otherwise. Also when you’re funded you get pushed up in the crowdfunding systems.
Billy Tuchi was first active in crowdfunding for charity projects then his comics like Zombie-Sama. He had put out over 100 copies of a comic he did by himself and was burnt out. So he did stuff for DC and Marvel, but got tired of that too. The big comic corporations have all the power, and when artists pitch something new they won’t really ok things even if it’s a brilliant concept. So it breaks an artists’ heart as you’ve been proven to successfully draw and write the big characters already but aren’t really considered much part of the artistic creative process. The big guys at Marvel and DC never give a solid “no” when pitched new ideas. They just say, “Maybe we’ll look at it again sometime.” There’s possibly more success with Indiegogo and Kickstarter that delivers directly to fans, family, and friends. Think about it. If you only sold comics you only get back $1 a book minus all the other overhead costs of paper, printing, and more. With crowdfuning you have the possibility to make more money. So go ahead and try to crowdfund your artistic ideas today!