5 Tips for Running a Successful Comic Kickstarter

Have you ever thought about writing a comic? Well, thanks to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, anyone with a bit of marketing savvy can raise the cash they need to make their book a reality.

My Edinburgh-based comic studio, Card Shark Comics, has run six successful Kickstarter campaigns since 2015, and although our new cyberpunk book, Killtopia, recently raised over £16,000, the process can still be really tough.

Thankfully, we've learned a lot about crowdfunding in that time, so here are five quick and useful tips I wanted to share with you on how to run a great Kickstarter campaign.

Start early and make a marketing plan

You need to build a fan base of backers

I started marketing Killtopia a year before the Kickstarter launched, and it really helped our chances. Basically, you need to build a fan base of backers and let them know your campaign is coming.

Start a list of all the things you could do to get the word out, and keep it creative. You could build a press list to get coverage, publish a series of blogs or video journals about your comic, drip-feed some lovely art reveals and much more. Look at other successful campaigns for inspiration to get started.

Make a super-solid pitch

There are a lot of Kickstarters launching each week, so you need to make a solid campaign page and a snappy pitch video as well as finding interesting ways to hook people in quickly. Most importantly, figure out your elevator pitch.

For Killtopia, our tagline was, “Blade Runner meets Battle Royale for the video game generation,” which captured our influences of cyberpunk, Asian cinema and Japanese gaming all in a single sentence. Think about what makes your own project stand out, and what popular things would you compare it to? Get all your important points and best artwork at the top of your campaign page to really knock peoples' socks off quickly.

Break through the echo chamber

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I see lots of comic creators posting about their Kickstarter to their social friends lists, and wondering why they aren't getting many backers. It's because you have to build awarness with new people, not just those in your own friend circles. For Killtopia, we politely asked the admins of some Cyberpunk Facebook groups if we could share teasers of the book there – and thankfully, they said yes.

We got a lot of passionate cyberpunk fans to back our book this way. We also spoke with cyberpunk and comic sites, ran Facebook and Instagram adverts targeted at fans of Manga, Japanese video games and cyberpunk movies, and more. Think about where your potential fans hang out and get their information online so you can try and get your project in front of them.

Don't stop marketing

I always say that running a Kickstarter is like having a second full-time job, and it's so true. But as much as campaigns can be stressful, you have to keep on marketing them until they're over. Don't be spammy, just be smart about Kickstarter updates, social posts, press pitches and other activities.

It helps to keep your backers and fans informed about how the campaign and book is evolving over time, showing behind-the-scenes teasers, work-in-progress art, sample script pages and more. Trust me, anyone who cares enough to gamble by backing your campaign will care enough to see these exclusive little sneak-peeks.

Stay positive

Treat every little victory as a big win

Sure, this one's not really a prescriptive tactic, but it's so important. Kickstarter is tough, and many of them fail – and not even because your book or campaign was poor. It could just be that some other, more prolific creators are dominating Kickstarter with their own higher-profile campaigns, or if your campaign's late in the year, it's likely everyone's saving for Christmas.

There're so many factors that dictate whether your campaign works or not. But it helps to treat every little victory as a big win. For example, lets say you do a Facebook blog post about your work, and it only gets you two new backers – well, that's still two more than you had, so it was worth it.

By doing your homework on marketing techniques, checking out a lot of other mega-successful campaigns, seeking advice and staying positive, you'll boost your chances of running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Stay tough, keep it chilled, and best of luck!

 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our other writing for comics posts.

Dave Cook

Dave Cook portrait
Based in Edinburgh, Dave is multi-award winning video game journalist who launched his comic studio, Card Shark Comics, in 2015. His latest comic book series, Killtopia, is signed to Glasgow publisher BHP Comics. His previous works include the dark fantasy saga Vessels, and the post-apocalyptic road trip series, Bust.

His 9-5 career is in digital marketing, and he continues to crowdfund his comic projects on the side. You can find him exhibiting at comic cons up and down the UK each year. Check out his site for more helpful “How to Make Comics” guides, and visit the Killtopia Facebook page to check out the series.