Kickstarter comics tips are at a premium lately, with more creators taking to the platform to deliver innovative ideas or big books directly to readers, ranging from Scott Snyder to for some reason Keanu Reeves.
Having run my own recent Kickstarter campaign, I’ve spent the past 30 days aggressively learning lessons about the platform. I wrote about my hopes for my project at launch, and now I’m back with a list of the most useful tips I learned along the way. Here’s hoping these insights will prove helpful to all of you potential comics crowdfunders out there…
Launch on Monday. Kickstarter advises that the most successful campaigns tend to launch on Tuesdays, but I submit that your best bet is to launch on Monday. It’s early in the week, which gives you flexibility to bump your launch by a day in the case of giant news breaking or something else happening that could derail the start of your promotions.
Plan for the Time Suck. Everyone you ask (and even some people you don’t) will tell you that managing a Kickstarter is a giant time suck. You will, however, still underestimate just how time consuming it can be. I know I did, especially during the first two days. If I had it to do over again, I would take the first three days of my campaign off work, off family, off everything except for running my campaign.
Co-Promote. Things do, however, slow down after those early days, both in terms of the number of pledges and the amount of interest your project will be receiving. But don’t despair. There are still ways to get the word out, namely by working with concurrent Kickstarter comics campaigns on co-promotion. This can be elaborate — I interviewed fellow Kickstarter comics campaigner David Pepose for a blog — or it can just be a simple shout-out in a backer update. However you decide to do it, mutual promotion within the platform itself goes a long way toward juicing support in the middle of a long campaign.
Set Aside Money for Concurrent Kickstarters. You know what else goes a long way in the middle of a campaign? Having extra cash set aside to back concurrent campaigns. I certainly wish I’d done that. Supporting fellow creators is the right thing to do. Moreover, if you have compulsive tendencies (as I do), you’ll end up backing them anyway. You’ll spend exponentially more time on the platform, browsing other fantastic projects. So, prepare in advance by setting money aside if you can afford it. I’ve also heard of creators who add a couple hundred dollars to their project goals for the same reason.
Seek Out Mentors. Now that I’m finishing my first campaign — having hit two of three stretch goals — I can say none of it would have happened without mentors on the platform. Before I committed to starting my campaign, I asked creators like Charlie Stickney, Ryan Burke, and Frankee White for advice on everything from printing options to cardboard mailers. My campaign would have been clumsy and disorganized without their help, and it would have been a promotional mess if not for the advice of Superfan Promotions’ David Hyde. Kickstarter is a community, and the folks within it are almost uniformly willing to help with advice. All you need to do is ask.
Seize on Opportunities to Promote. Comics Twitter made a big thing about Keanu Reeves launching a Kickstarter with BOOM!, and I don’t really have a problem with it. Actually, his launch inspired me to use a series of Bill and Ted gifs to promote my own book, successfully. One backer literally told me, “I just pledged because of this gif.” I think the lesson in that is to use social media to pay attention to what potential backers are talking/thinking about, then go meet them there. Just hop right in to the conversation of the moment. I even made a ridiculous custom Keanu gif to promote my Kickstarter.
Go For Walks. Finally, running a Kickstarter is logistically hard and emotionally taxing. There’s a lot of risk to it, 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. For me that meant going for many many walks without my phone, just relishing the quiet time away from my campaign, but your results will of course vary.