Kickstarter: A Backer’s Perspective
I have backed quite a few Kickstarters over the years. Just looking at right now: I received 2 completed Irish comics in the last month (Between Worlds by Anna Fitzpatrick and Valerie by Rebecca Mc Nalty), one is in production (Soul Of The Sea by Roddy McCance), one was just funded (Actors by Stuart McCune) and two are ongoing (Plexus by Paul Carroll and Black North by Mark McCann). So you could say that I have some experience of how things should be done. Here’s some notes:
Basic Tiers (ones that I see most often and that I think work)
- Digital Copy – I think this needs to be the bear minimum offer. If you are providing a single issue, I would veer towards a price of €3.
- Physical Copy – You may not believe this but I have heard of campaigns that didn’t have this at all. A single issue should garner a price of €5 (before postage but more on that later) unless the page count demands more.
- Thank You – Most bigger sized (I’m talking TPB sized) Kickstarters have a tier where you get your name into the book on a thank you list. I always think this is kinda cool.
- Prints / postcards / t-shirts – Pretty self explanatory really
- Extra Books – Offering your backers some of your previous books (especially if the project is backing an issue number two or higher) is a common one that enabled me to get some stuff I had missed. You could also offer multiple copies for those who want to get the book for a friend
- Variant Covers – Pretty self explanatory. You could offer a Kickstarter exclusive if you are planning on selling the book after the project so backers feel like they are getting something special
High End Tiers (Some higher priced tiers open to a smaller number of backer)
- Getting drawn into the book (could include a sketch of the character you portray in the book)
- Original art from the book
- Retailer Tier – This is NOT a common tier that I see but I think it is something that creators should consider. Comic Shops sell your stuff outside Kickstarter so why not give them the opportunity to sell this book. You can still limit the number of books or give them a different cover so that the other backers still feel that they are getting something exclusive. As producing more books will be more work and cost more, I would suggest a limit on the number of backers for this.
- Backers get an extra item for their existing pledge
- Extra pages, maybe prose or process pages
- A book plate
- Book becomes a hardcover or another physical change
- Pricing – Try not to price yourself out of contention. I have given suggestions above on single issues but look at other projects to gauge the right price for yours.
- Postage – I think Kickstarter have sorted this issue out but postage can really eat into your money so be sure that it is set up properly for the size you’ll be shipping. American postage can be particularly costly.
- Timing – Again I think Kickstarter may provide guidance on this but it appears that launching in December is a bad idea (Christmas and all that) and spring / summer is the way to go. Also, as it is a comics project, you are better off not launching it on a Wednesday due to competition of regular books.
- Communication – You should provide backers with regular updates of how the project is going and encourage them to spread the word, especially if you are meeting stretch goals. Once funded, you should provide updates on the progress of the project, including if you run into delays. You gain more by being honest with people. I had one project where I forgot I backed it as the communication just wasn’t there. Also, it is great seeing progress art!
- Ask For Advice – There have been a LOT of Irish projects at this stage, with some people having successful projects on multiple occasion, and Irish creators are very good at sharing knowledge.
- Black North https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/338794091/black-north
- Plexus https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulcarroll/plexus/
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