Unanswered Questions on Comic Book Crowdfunding

gamalhennessy Community • Mar 16, 2021

Our recent comic book crowdfunding webinar offered a lot of information, insight, and inspiration. The only downside to the evening was the little time we had to cover all of the insightful questions you asked. I’ve collected ten of the most relevant questions here and answered them as a resource for you. We had 99% of attendees request a follow-up, so we will be announcing one shortly so be on the lookout. In the meantime, happy crowdfunding, and wishing you success. Thanks to all the participants who asked questions.

Before we get into it, next Tuesday, March 23rd @ 8pm, panelist Rylend Grant will be taking you behind the curtain of his newest campaign for THE JUMP 1-2. And he'll be answering questions 'until he drops'. (His words, not ours.)

All you need to do is 1) REGISTER HERE for the webinar, and 2) SIGN UP HERE for launch notifications for THE JUMP.

Now, onto the questions:

1. I have a graphic novel done, print copies, and digitally available. It is available on Amazon, ComiXology, Goodreads and I’ve already sold it to my friends. Does it make sense to do a Kickstarter or is it too late? (Anonymous)

A: If the members of your target market already have multiple ways to access your content, it doesn’t make sense to try and leverage the power of Kickstarter unless you offer something new. This could mean a deluxe edition of the graphic novel not available anywhere else, along with some related perks. In the alternative, it might be time to start working on the next graphic novel and using the audience you’ve already built to drive the next campaign.

2. I have a live-action teaser to go with the 1st issue comic. (I want to do a Kickstarter for the following comics to complete the series.) How do I make the most use of that and not waste it? Can it be used towards ads that lead to the Kickstarter? Should I put it on the main Kickstarter page? Would it make sense to have a short teaser as an ad to the ks campaign and then a much longer video on the site? It's the best chance I got to complete my series and I just hope the money I used to create it will go to good use. :-/ (Joe Bagtas)

A: It sounds like you could use that live-action teaser as the video for your Kickstarter. You could also post it to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to drive interested viewers to your campaign. It might not make sense to use the video for paid ads since you can generate substantial interest with social media without paying extra money.

3. I get the feeling that the allies and network buzz leading UP to the Kickstarter campaign rollout is pivotal for success. Having an audience alone, without a deeper network thru others..might not be enough? Is there any validity to this? (Vince Vaitiekunas)

A: The size of the audience you need is directly related to the crowdfunding goal you set and the backer levels you establish. According to Kickstarter, the most popular pledge amount is $25. For every order of magnitude of your target market (10, 100, 1000, etc.), the probability of success increases dramatically (10%, 20%, 40% respectively). So if your funding goal is $10,000 and the average pledge is $25, then you need at least 500 backers. Where they come from (your network, crowdfunding allies, comic book publicity) is less important than the overall number of backers.

4. Theoretically, if you had 2 titles on the go, running smoothly in the creative process, would you alternate between titles on Kickstarter, run all of one then all of the other, or run each on a different crowdfunding platform simultaneously? Which is optimal? (Johnny Cassidy)

A: There are two factors to this answer, based on your time and your audience. Crowdfunding is a time-intensive process. Unless you have the people and the mental bandwidth to manage concurrent campaigns, then it makes more sense to space them out. Depending on how you manage your crowds, you could run both campaigns together with both books being a package, but if each book appeals to a different person who likes a different type of story, then separate campaigns might be the way to go, especially when you factor in the time commitment.

5. How would you approach re-launching a failed campaign? (Wikid Publishing)

A: Before deciding to relaunch a campaign, you should try to understand why the first one failed. Did you not have a big enough crowd? Did an event outside your control undermine the campaign? Is the quality of your comic strong enough for a campaign? Once you get a handle on why you fell short the first time, you can adjust your efforts for your next attempt. You could decide to launch the same book again, or try a new title and use the failed book as a perk or a stretch goal instead.

6. So is hiring a promoter really worth it? (Jim Walsh)

A: Bringing in a publicist, promoter, or crowdfunding consultant should be considered if you feel you don’t have a large enough audience on your own to make the campaign successful. If you have the connections in the comic book press, social media following, and mailing list to reach your goals without spending extra cash, then outside help isn’t necessary. Having said that, I used a publicist for my social media campaign and exceeded my goal by 600%. There is no way I would have had that level of success on my own.

7. Is Kickstarter mainly used for comic book creators, as opposed to daily comic strip creators? (RobotFunMonster)

A: Kickstarter can be useful for daily comic strip creators if you leverage the audience you create with your daily strip to fund a compilation book or other collection of your work. If you’re looking for an ongoing source of crowdfunding, consider Indiegogo or one of the other platforms that don’t rely on a short-term campaign.

8. Is there a social media formula to adhere to or a follower count number you’d recommend hitting before you attempt using Kickstarter? RobotFunMonster (Rick)

A: In my experience, about 10-20% of your marketing network (including your social media, your mailing list, and your website visits) in the prior year might respond to your campaign, so for every 100 people you need to back your project, you have to reach at least 1,000. That’s why it’s so important to have a crowd before you look for funding. Also remember, that the most popular pledge amount is $25, so if your funding goal is $10,000 and the average pledge is $25, then you need at least 500 backers, which means having a market of at least 5,000 people to have a good chance for success.

9. Is it viable to use both Kickstarter and Indiegogo for the same project? (Wikid Publishing)

A: The main difference between Kickstarter and Indiegogo is the time factor. Kickstarter has a defined time limit. Indiegogo doesn’t. Depending on the type of comic you’re making, the type of crowd you are working with and your goals, one platform makes more sense than others. Some comic creators use Kickstarter as the initial push for their comics and then switch to Indiegogo for long-term distribution after the KS backers get their packages. Others who are creating webcomics have more success with Indiegogo as I noted earlier.

10. Any apprehension towards larger entities like Image or Boom pushing their own comics via Kickstarter like Brsker via Keanu Reeves that take away from smaller indies? (R Finn)

A: High-profile campaigns actually bring potential backers that would otherwise not know about comic book crowdfunding. At the same time, competition between independent comics and larger publishers only exists if your story is similar to the stories from the other companies. People don’t back books in a vacuum. If your comic is a historical romantic comedy, the fact that Keanu Reeves has a Wolverine/ Bloodshot/ Old Guard revenge comic doesn’t hurt you. Finally, the key to successful crowdfunding is having a crowd of your own. Keanu brings in his crowd to his comic based on his career in film and video games. You have to bring in your crowd based on your efforts. One crowd doesn’t and shouldn’t undermine the other.

If you have more questions, please let us know. We’re planning our next event and additional questions are welcome.

In the meantime, if you’d like to publish your digital comics, graphic novels, or manga on GlobalComix, you can create a free account here.

If you’d like to see how to publish your comics in less than ten minutes, check out this video that will walk you through the whole process.

Have fun with your comic.