A Digital Comics Kickstarter? That'll Teach Us!

Thom Pratt writes for Bleeding Cool:

www.shadowbinders.com

A few days ago, my wife Kambrea and I launched another Kickstarter campaign.

And we’re doing it all wrong.

We’re attempting to Kickstart a family-friendly adventure graphic novel in the vein of The Goonies and Mark Twain.

And it’s not even done yet. In fact, we’ve barely started on the artwork.

The rewards are almost entirely digital, yet we’re asking for pledge amounts that are comparable to most print drives.

And those rewards? Well, they get trickled out over the course of a year.

The amount of funding we’re asking for? $25,000 minimum.

I know, right?

Let me backtrack a little bit and tell you why we decided to do it this way.

We knew we were going to launch another Kickstarter campaign this fall, and we had a tough choice to make.

crimson_rhen_logoAbout a year and a half ago, we had a successfully funded print drive for a graphic novel collection of our webcomic Shadowbinders. Our webcomic is fairly popular, and our readership has grown substantially since the first book was produced. A follow-up would likely be a sure thing.

So naturally, we’d choose to go that route, right?

No.

Because we want to to tell a story more —  a new story that has some ties to our webcomic, but it still very much its own thing.

And crunching the numbers, to free up our time and cover any miscellaneous production help, we’re looking at $25,000 and a year out of our life. So we can’t budge on the amount we’re asking for because it simply won’t be enough. It’s all or nothing.

So we’re asking for $25,000 just to tell a story.

However, video game developers, musicians and filmmakers do it this way all the time. They use Kickstarter to bring something new into the world based on a pitch and a dream, and give their backers a sneak peek into the development process along the way.

crimson_rhen_conceptAnd at the end of the journey — be it months or even years – those backers are rewarded for their faith and patience, often with nothing more than a digital download of the finished product that they helped create.

And that’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with this comic project — let people get a feel for the story we want to tell, and let them partake in the journey of creating that story over the course of a year.

Pledges have been steady, but not gangbusters. We didn’t expect them to be. And we’re pretty sure we know why — the rewards are mostly digital.

We know that backers of comic Kickstarters usually want physical stuff, as at some point Kickstarter became less of a place to make the unmakeable get made, and more the place to “pre-order” your books and tchotchkes.

It’ll be a challenge, for sure.

And if we fail? Well, that’ll teach us!

rhen_sampleAnd if we’re somehow successful? That’ll teach us that comics projects can follow the lead of video game and film projects, and that creators can Kickstart that dream story first and foremost… and fret about all the physical merchandise later.

Either way, it’ll be a lesson learned.

[Crimsom Rhen of The True North on Kickstarter > http://bit.ly/crimsonrhen]

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