While writing the previous item, I played around with the Kickstarter stat page, to see how comics are doing—and they are doing very well! While comics crowdfunding projects have the second lowest number of projects—3,944. one tenth that of the top category, film and video with 34,985—they have the fourth highest success rate! Here’s the top four:

Dance — 1,856 projects 70.35% funded
Theater — 5,933 projects 64.37% funded
Music — 28,939 projects 55.24% funded
Comics — 3,944 projects 49.64% funded

Other states: Comics have raised $27.40 million in total dollars, $24.31 million going towards successful projects, $2.06 million to unsuccessful ones.

These stats are about the same as the last time we looked at this, so I think you could say this is a pretty stable pattern by now.

You can play around with all the other stats on the page (Todd? Torsten?) involving money levels and more. For instance here’s a tough one: there are 18 comics projects that made it to the last percentile — 80-99% funded— but still missed out. Close but no vape pen!


  1. The problem is distribution.

    There are all these exciting comics projects on Kickstarter, but if you don’t find out about them through their Kickstarter campaigns, you might not know they exist. Many are available on Amazon or through the sites of their creators, a small few get distribution through places like Diamond, and many are small digital runs. I’ve seen cases where creators are able to do really well with small runs, making up the difference with higher reward categories, but again, few people see the books.

    And then a large number end up in their creators garages. This isn’t to disparage the creators or their books, it’s just really really hard to get a book out there, even when it’s paid for, even when it’s a fantastic book.

    I recently did a Kickstarter for my picture book, (Mostly) Wordless, and had the good fortune of getting sub distributed through Alternative Comics due to the generous efforts of Marc Arsenault. I pre-sold about 200 or so through the Kickstarter campaign, which left nearly 800 books that I would otherwise not have known what to do with. And that’s a very small print run, just 1000 books. But 1000 books is a lot of books to store.

    So while Kickstarter has created a small publishing revolution, and a small number of creators are getting well compensated for that work by selling original art and other extras, many of those books aren’t recognized by the comics industry as a whole, both critically and commercially. It’s a short tail market phenomenon that works for some creators, but I would love to see more of these books gaining visibility outside of their Kickstarter campaigns.

  2. But it’s success stories like these that skew the commercial and critical significance of the numbers Heidi is quoting, the exceptions that prove the rule. The majority of these books aren’t on the radar.

  3. As someone who is currently running a kickstarter, I can speak from my specific approach to the idea of crowd-funding.

    My project is indeed oriented towards a very specific, small-size digital print run, with the plan to be entirely self-distributed. From shipping rewards to selling books at the table, my goal from the outset was to produce a small run I can keep under control, and of course reach my funding goal.

    As for “being on the radar” my book is aiming for such a specific group of fans that I almost have to handle the promotion and distribution on a personal level. It’s made for them, adding that personal touch only further helps the campaigns progression through my selected channels. I have had quite a few random discoveries our of the blue or word-of-mouth donations, but for the most part it’s the people I’m reaching out to directly and their closest friends/family etc that are funding my book. I get the feeling the majority of comics kickstarters are funded this way.

    Obviously I’m just starting out but someone like Spike, who already has an enormous following, yeah…her projects are gonna go off-the-chain with success like Smut Peddler currently is. KS for popular series might even represent a way to catch the attention of a much larger distribution/sales option.

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