Using Kickstarter to fund projects has been a thing for years, but more and more comic creators are using the platform to get their work out to fans. Famous artists and writers, newbies, and even small and large publishers are relying on crowdfunding campaigns to get the financial backing they need to put more stories in the hands of their followers.
If you are considering the Kickstarter route for your own work, [email protected]’s “Launching Your First Kickstarter” panel offers a firsthand perspective from a few creators who’ve been successful on the platform.
The virtual panel consisted of writer Tina Horn (SFSX), cartoonist Eric Powell (Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?), cartoonist Afua Richardson (Aquarius the Book of Mer), cartoonist Jeff Smith (Tuki), and Arune Singh, Skybound Entertainment’s director of brand, editorial. Kickstarter’s director of publishing & comics outreach Oriana Leckert moderated.
Topics discussed included what were the most difficult and most rewarding elements of their respective campaigns and why they chose Kickstarter in the first place. One of the biggest reasons was to avoid censorship and other limitations. Many felt that on Kickstarter, they could put out the material they wanted to the audience that desires it without consequence.
Horn explained, “All kinds of things are often censored by platforms because they can because of pure cynicism, because of shame, because of all kinds of reasons. And so that means that censorship and lack of representation actually is a material concern that keeps certain people marginalized.”
“Basically what it boils down to is that if you’re making work that makes people uncomfortable, you are institutionally cut off from a lot of money,” Horn continued, “So being able to have that like real clear communication and then to have a place where other consenting adults are interested in mature works and can support the book and read the book and get their hands on the book is really important to me as a creator, but it’s also important to me in terms of organizing and advocacy work that I do with sex worker rights movements and lots of related movements.”
For Richardson, Kickstarter offered security. She said: “For me, Kickstarter is a platform that people trust. And that’s something that’s really important when you’re trying to get people to invest in something that you care about.”
The panelists shared their first-time mistakes and what they’d do differently and offered tips for planning your campaign to ensure a smooth experience. The consensus among the panelists seemed to be that early, well-thought-out planning was the key. They also recommended taking a good look at popular campaigns for inspiration, especially from creators who have repeatedly found success on Kickstarter. Smith referenced Billy Tucci and Brian Pulido specifically, mainly because both creators have a long history of fans devouring their content and backing campaigns minutes after they launched.
Smith said, “I mean, it’s essentially self-publishing, but it’s removing all gatekeepers. You don’t have to convince comic book stores. You don’t have to convince comic book distributors. You’re just talking to the readers.”
To watch the full panel, click here.