Friday NYCC Report: MAKING COMICS WITH KICKSTARTER panel with Cindy Au from Kickstarter, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jeremy Bastian, Renae deLiz, Laura Morley, Joey Esposito.

Cindy Au gave some statistics on the progress of the Kickstarter crowdfunding program:
over 1 million backers
over $100,000,000
over 13,000 successful projects

Tips were given on why these panelists felt their campaigns in crowdfunding were successful in creating comics. Except for Womanthology, all of them suggested showing off the artwork in the campaign video. Palmiotti warned that shipping costs especially overseas shipping was something he didn’t know how to accurately gauge.

In most cases some extra money is raised beyond the kickstarter goal. Palmiotti is using his surplus on QUEEN CRAB to print hard cover editions. His book will be out in February.

Jeremy Bastian had his book CURSED PIRATE GIRL started so he could show off the art early. Now that it’s in trade paperback and reached a level of success, it’s been picked up by Archaia. His crowdfunding campaign was handled completely by the publisher but with that burden not being on his shoulders, he was surprised to see that some of the rewards offered up were going to require more work on his part such as original sketches. He hadn’t been consulted on that decision when the rewards were announced.

Pro Tip: Tweet twice a day to announce your Kickstarter project because you don’t know what time people will be looking at their feeds.

WOMANTHOLOGY (Renae deLiz and Laura Morley) is basically considered the comic book campaign of the century. In 19 hours, they reached their $25,000 goal; by the actual end of the campaign they were over $109,000. Both women originally thought this would be a fun project about creating comics by women that would be done in their spare time. The support was a surprise and overwhelming. They had 150 contributors which means there are 150 people with a vested interest in seeing it become a success so that propagated more tweets and generated more buzz. The publishers said that Kickstarter may be low overhead but it’s an awful lot of time.

The first issue of Joey Esposito’s FOOTPRINTS was paid for out of his own pocket. He offered it for free on Kickstarter so people had something to review. His $8,000 raised through Kickstarter still requires him to bear some of the financial burden. He offered up a special variant cover for the Kickstarter backers only. FOOTPRINTS was featured in USA TODAY which Esposito says wouldn’t have happened without Kickstarter. He also credits “the PR of Mom” as the best you can ask for. Asking your family to kick in and spread the word is the first place to start and should garner good results.

Palmiotti calls this kind of family/friend support his “soldiers.” Let them do the announcing and reminding for you so you look like you’re being an internet pest. He took the rewards to a whole different level and also offered retailer incentives including store appearances and large packs of signed books. He didn’t think anyone would actually consider those rewards based on the financial level they were defined but people did it.

Pro Tip: Cameos work well as rewards. People like to have characters named after them even if they end up being a victim or a villain.

Average goal on a Kickstarter project is $4,500.
Average amount raised is $6,000.
Average number of backers on successful projects is 85.

Palmiotti knows that once a person backs a project, they are more likely to back another project by the same creator. Here’s a bunch of his personal tips in making the project’s video:

    • * be funny; you need humor in it whether it’s kids or cats or just an appropriate level of snark.
    • * keep it to around 2-2.5 minutes or people will lose interest.
    • * be clear about the project and the rewards.
    • * you can do it with low production easily; you don’t need anything too elaborate other than a flip cam and basic editing.
    • * thank everyone in print in the book.

The Womanthology creators said you always explain how Kickstarter works in your video. The key point being that people are not charged unless the project reaches its goal. The other creators who did have art said that’s what they choose to have in their videos and voice over the images with explanations.

If you don’t reach your Kickstarter goal, there’s no fee; when you do, it’s 5% to Kickstarter plus Amazon checkout processing has its own 3% fee.

The most common pledge is $25.
The average pledge is $70.

Pro Tip: Offer five to seven different reward levels.

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