by Sunny Singh
[Editor’s note: I’ve written recently about how important Kickstarter is to small publishers, but it’s still the method of choice for totally unknown creators as well. When Sunny Singh reached out to me for coverage I challenged him to write a column on how he’s approaching this daunting challenge, with no existing comics community, using social media and other tools and the result is a good overview of the process. Pages is about a quarter funded, so if you like what you read below, consider funding it.]
Who am I? Nobody important. Well, as far as the Independent Comic Book scene is concerned. Go ahead. Google Sunny Singh. You won’t see a thing about Comics. Maybe some banging Punjabi music. But that’s as far as your search for me goes.
How is someone like myself planning to fund $4,000 by April 7th for PAGES, my first digital comic.
I have some ideas and I don’t mind sharing them with y’all. Before I begin let me actually tell you a little about my professional background. For over seven years I was a Content Director/Manager at a very big urban news website. Think WorldStarHipHop, MediaTakeOut and TMZ all formed into one. I started as an intern and I helped grow the entire operation into a very valuable business in its community. It became a household name. I was breaking viral videos consistently, I helped grow all of our social media outlets, and our websites drew millions of unique visitors a day with millions more page views. I am speaking as a person who ran the entire day to day operation, I was the second in command, so I can confidently say I know my way around the digital media world.
Let’s get into it!
Here are the things I wanted to make sure I had before I launched the KS page:
PAGES #0: The Prelude(Free Comic): Have a quick story that gives a little insight of the world the main characters live in while teasing the big picture. This is my attempt to showcase my “identity”. I also want readers to know that I’m serious about this and that I’ve already started working on this comic even before we launched.
The Cover of the 1st issue and the PAGES logo: For branding reasons, I will be using this as a key piece of promotional tool. Thumbnails, B-Rolls, You name it. When people think of PAGES I want them to think of the cover. Not to mention I have a reward on Kickstarter that will hook people up with stickers of the logo and a poster of the cover.
KS Video: My mug detailing the project and sharing bits and pieces of info on myself. I’m a no name right now. I need to detail a banging story, which I believe I have, and I need to share just enough information that people can either relate to or understand why i’m doing this.
Once I had those key features. Everything else was pretty standard.
I launched my campaign on the 7th. Nothing strategic here. I had a final of my Kickstarter page all laid out with video and everything. I saw the green light at the top of the page and I said why not. I almost didn’t do it because of nerves, funny enough. This is it. I’m going to put myself “out there” for the world to see and judge. What if my story sucked? What if people hated me? What if I became a meme that Reddit only utilizes during profanity fueled conversations? Me being nervous is actually an understatement. I was terrified. But getting over nerves was an unofficial last step before launching.
My first order of business, showcase PAGES to every comic book fan I know. I don’t have a lot of friends on my personal Facebook but most of the people I keep in touch with are close friends. Now this area, differs for all of us. I happen to be close with a lot of my friends. They know my story, how I quit my day job to pursue my passion of telling dope tales through comics. They know about the depression I faced while giving my heart and soul away to other companies. I saw an overwhelming amount of support from them. Without them, I have no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am right now in the campaign. So not only did this boost the campaign but my confidence.
Next up, covering my ground on Social Media. I have a plan of attack that will target all, what I consider, “important”, areas of Social Media. Especially the areas I think my target audience is and where I think my target audience will react the most.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: Multiple posts every day of the week that directs my audience back to my KS page. If I have new content to showcase, I will post that.
Facebook + Twitter ads: I have some money left over in my budget that I plan to utilize on social media ads. It also helped that I had some credit on Twitter leftover. So I didn’t end up actually paying for anything on Twitter to run some ads through the week. In just over a week I managed to net +1,000 likes on Facebook. Twitter ads got me around 100 link clicks.
YouTube: Once a week I plan on posting a Vlog targeting my backers and detailing where the campaign stands. This could include production updates, more info about me, and overall any discussion relevant to the situation. I recently posted my first Vlog. I ended up talking a lot and left out plenty of great material. I plan to throw up more videos that I didn’t use throughout the week. I hope to accomplish a few things with these videos. Passersby’s, individuals who accidentally stumble upon the video and want to know what the “fuss” is all about, and keep my backers engaged enough to help spread the word. This also counts as content that keeps all of my other social accounts updated and consistent.
Emails, Emails, Emails: Let’s slow it down. How do y’all think I’m even on the Comics Beat? I emailed them! Matter fact, I followed up through a second Email and I even shot out a tweet to their @ComicsBeat twitter account. I plan on staying persistent without spamming. The more exposure I can get on media outlets like ComicsBeat.com the more exposure my name and campaign gets. This step is absolutely the most time consuming because of the amount of research that goes into it. I need to look at the site, read a few articles, check out their numbers through sites like Alexa, their social media following, and then eventually come to a conclusion if it would be a good fit. Last thing I want to do is send out mass inquiries to websites that wouldn’t give me the time of day or simply doesn’t fit their content rotation. It’s a waste of time for everyone involved.
So I covered the technical elements. But why is it that I’m putting myself out there? Why am I so confidence in my plan? I briefly mentioned that I believe PAGES is a great story. So Let’s get into the heart and soul of my Kickstarter.
PAGES follows five teenage friends who live in a section 8 building in Jamaica, Queens, NY. One day they wake up and they realized they are now in possession of a mysterious alien artifact that has granted them amazing abilities. In the world they live in, Super Powers are a commonplace. Individuals with abilities are called Augmented beings and they are scientifically understood and appreciated. PAGES #1 chronicles their bizarre awakening, their self-serving initial response, and a tragedy that prompts the group to choose a different path.
My biggest selling point is that I’m telling two stories. One about PAGES, about a diverse group of teens who are about to go on an amazing adventure and another one about me, the dreamer. The Sikh-American who has been fighting stereotypes and racial profiling for most of my life. The man who quit his day job because he was tired of giving his heart and soul for others to utilize in order for their dreams to come true. The man who wants prove to the world that if you believe strong enough, if you work hard enough, and if you are passionate enough, you can make your dreams become a reality.
This is a hail mary. No doubt about it. But if I can utilize my strategy above, to tell two great stories. If I can rally people to believe that dreams are possible and that PAGES is indeed the next great adventure. I truly believe I can accomplish my goal. Now, I am realistic. It is a long shot. But it’s a shot nonetheless. It’s a shot that I like and I think I can make.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope I was able to share something that might help anyone out there and I also hope I can get your support!