If you're passionate about creating your own comics, you may be wondering how to start. How do you find an artist, publisher, or audience? How do you fund and promote your project? How do you balance your creative vision with the realities of the market? Luckily, you're not alone. Many comic creators have faced and overcome these challenges with the help of Kickstarter. However, launching a successful Kickstarter campaign is not easy. It requires planning, preparation, hard work, and unfamiliar skills and strategies. That's why we've gathered tips and tricks from successful comic creators who have used Kickstarter to fund their projects and launch their careers. Here are some recommendations they have:
Reach Out to Your Connections!
One way is to reach out to your existing connections in the comics industry and ask for their advice, feedback, or referrals. You might be surprised by how helpful and generous they can be.
For example, you can use your connection to find a senior worker within the comics industry and have some friendly exchanges. With any luck, they may provide you with a list of artists who might be interested in your project. Comics people are pretty helpful and it’s easy to find people receptive to helping out.
Another way is to combine your audience with someone else’s by collaborating with other creators who have similar or complementary styles, genres, or themes. This can exponentially increase your reach and support, especially if you are a new face on the scene.
For instance, you can team up with another creator who has a larger or more established fan base and offer them a guest spot in your comic, or vice versa. You can also cross-promote each other’s campaigns on social media, newsletters, podcasts, or blogs.
Attend Events and Network!
Another way to expand your network and gain exposure for your project is to attend events related to comics, such as conventions, festivals, workshops, or meetups. These are great opportunities to meet potential backers, collaborators, publishers, or mentors in person and showcase your work.
However, more than attending events is required. You also need to network effectively and make a good impression. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Do your research before the event. Find out who will be there, what they are looking for, and what they are working on. This will help you tailor your pitch and approach them with confidence.
Prepare in advance. Have some copies of your comic or preview editions ready to hand out or sell. Have some business cards or flyers with your contact information and campaign link. Have an elevator pitch that summarizes your project in a few sentences.
Be friendly and professional. Smile, introduce yourself, and start a conversation. Ask questions and listen attentively. Show interest and enthusiasm for their work. Don’t be pushy or rude.
Plan for The Time Suck!
Managing a Kickstarter campaign is a giant time suck. It requires a lot of attention, dedication, and energy. You need to create and update your campaign page, communicate with backers and potential backers, produce and deliver rewards, handle logistics and finances, deal with problems and setbacks, and more.
However, most creators still underestimate just how time-consuming it can be. They often neglect their other responsibilities or commitments, such as their day job, family life, health, or personal projects. This can lead to stress, burnout, or poor-quality work.
That’s why it’s crucial to plan ahead and allocate enough time for your campaign. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:
Set realistic goals and expectations. Don’t overpromise or underdeliver. Be honest about what you can achieve and how long it will take.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Break down your tasks into manageable chunks and assign deadlines for each one. Use tools like calendars, reminders, timers, or apps to help you stay organized and focused.
Delegate or outsource some tasks if possible. Ask for help from your friends, family, or collaborators. Hire professionals or services to handle some aspects of your campaign, such as design, editing, printing, shipping, or marketing.
Seek Out Mentors!
One of the best ways to learn how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign is to seek out mentors who have done it before and ask for their advice. Kickstarter is a community, and the folks within it are almost uniformly willing to help with advice. All you need to do is ask.
You can find mentors in various places, such as:
Kickstarter itself. Browse through past or current campaigns that are similar or relevant to yours and see what they did right or wrong. Contact the creators and ask them specific questions or feedback on your project.
Online forums or groups. Join online communities that are dedicated to comics or crowdfunding, such as Reddit, Facebook, Discord, or Slack. Participate in discussions, share your project, and ask for tips or suggestions from other members.
Online courses or resources. Enroll in online courses or access online resources that teach you how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Offline events or workshops. Attend offline events or workshops that are related to comics or crowdfunding.
Go for Walks!
Finally, running a Kickstarter campaign is logistically hard and emotionally taxing. There are a lot of risks involved, mostly of your time and mental state, and there’s a lot of opportunity to take non-backers as personal slights, or to spend the time during your campaign obsessively refreshing the page, hoping for new pledges. None of it is healthy, and you need to figure out how to manage that, especially with everything going on in the wider world too. So whenever you feel overwhelmed or stuck with your campaign, take a break and go for a walk:)