Order of the Stick Breaks the $1M Barrier

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By Todd Allen

Icon Comics OOTS Order of the Stick Breaks the $1M Barrier
Well, that went faster than I was expecting.  At 2:50 PM PST, the Order of the Stick Reprint Drive is over the $1M mark.

$1,000,976 pledged by 12,101 backers.  For print comic comparison, ICV2 estimates the January issue of Chew sold 12,012 copies.

Rich Burlew has released a few thoughts on where the extra money will be going:

From now until the end of the pledge drive, all money raised (minus the cost of the shipping rewards pledged during that period and the related Kickstarter fees) will go into a new general operating fund for Giant in the Playground. What will I do with it? I don’t know yet. I think I’ll need to recover from the drive for a few days before I even consider it. Here are some possibilities, though:

  • Paying for warehouse space for the increased stock levels.
  • Paying for any surprise expenses associated with fulfilling these orders because I am bad at math.
  • Funding the next new OOTS book, whenever that is (it is not now).
  • Funding a new selection of screen-printed t-shirts for Ookoodook.
  • Prototyping fees for potential OOTS products that couldn’t be developed quickly enough for this pledge drive.
  • Paying for secret projects that may or may not pan out but would be totally awesome if they did.
  • Paying for the IT time needed to make long-overdue improvements to the Giant in the Playground website.
  • Buying the most recent version of Adobe Illustrator.
  • Buying a computer capable of running the most recent version of Adobe Illustrator (mine topped out two versions ago).
  • Buying a Cintaq to speed up drawing time.
  • Buying new crayons and Sharpie markers.

He might end up with a LOT of new crayons.

In all due seriousness, this jumped over the $1M point very quickly and with 42 hours to go, I’m not even going to try and guess where this ends up.  I suppose the next question is whether someone else can duplicate this kind of response?

Comments

  1. Chris Hero says:

    This is just proof the world of comics is much, much more diverse than people generally think. And it’s proof there’s still money in comics. It’s just a resounding vote of confidence for the world of comics going into the future.

    I’m *really* hoping the Diesel Sweeties Kickstarter picks up some more steam soon. That’s also a phenomenal comic.

  2. Chris, Diesel Sweeties definitely an awesome comic and while it’s no million dollar project, it’s currently $32,717 when the goal was $3,000 for what will be a free e-book which is pretty damn cool.

    Note that The Order of the Stick is only the 3rd Kickstarter project to make over $1 million. The first 2 passed the $1 million point just 9 days ago on the same day.

    I think a lot more people are becoming aware of KickStarter and how it works and are now a lot more comfortable with using it.

  3. Mikael says:

    Don’t forget *pay taxes.

  4. Chris Hero says:

    @Matthew

    I’m hoping Diesel Sweeties gets up to $50K. But maybe the fan base won’t mobile for flash drives?

  5. I’d love to hear thoughts from the people who supported this Kickstarter. I’m curious for analysis on why this comic did so well, so we can learn what the creator is doing correctly.

  6. Monique says:

    @Jose-Luis: I got in on this project about 2 weeks in, and I can tell you what got me to max out my credit card – Rich (Burlew) got me (and judging from the comments forum, everone else) really excited to just be a part of it. There’s a real sense of community, with Rich at it’s center-he’s right in there, keeping everyone up to date, always giving us another milestone to be rooting for, talking with us fans in the comments. In fact, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t slept in a week. :D There’s never been a sense of, “oh, I guess we’ve done it now”. In fact, I’m excited enough that I’m gonna go back and hit f5 a couple more times, just to watch the pretty numbers go up. :P
    Oh, and he makes *great* comics.

  7. Xentropy says:

    As one of the supporters, I’d say there are two major things he did that helped push the support levels to where they went (besides just generally having an awesome fanbase willing to provide that support):

    1) Turning the drive into a sort of dual-purpose between just pure support for future production of the comic and print runs, as well as a sort of preorder system for those who wanted full runs of the books but weren’t able to buy a full set all at once in the past due to various editions being out of print all the time. You’ll notice the lion’s share of the money is going toward rewards packages that are very beefy, and functionally amount to how much it’d cost to buy a full set of books and get them shipped anyway, with a few bucks tacked on for other bonuses and to help leave plenty of books in stock after the rewards are all fulfilled.

    2) Updates, updates, updates. The drive started out strong, but showed signs of slowing about a week in, as most drives do. The addition of new rewards over time as well as constantly keeping people apprised of what further funds were going to be used on kept the momentum going, and even *increased* momentum as certain goal lines neared. I have no doubt that had Rich just updated once a week instead of every day or two, the entire drive may have stalled out at closer to half a million. The addition of fun little mini-comics in the form of graphs didn’t hurt either.

    Basically Rich kept the backers *involved* in the drive every step of the way. This kept the drive fresh in people’s minds all month long, leading to better word of mouth for more numerous backers, and possibly even folks increasing their pledges multiple times over the course of the drive, increasing the average pledge per backer. Most Kickstarter drives I’ve seen before this one rely on folks stopping in, throwing in a few bucks, and then forgetting all about it until the drive is over. That doesn’t allow for as much viral marketing as this thing got.

  8. Thomas says:

    I’ve been reader of OotS for years and a supporter of the kickstarter for a couple weeks. I was hitting refresh every few minutes this afternoon as it approached that magic $1 Million number. You asked for our thoughts on why Rich did so well with his fundraising campaign.

    1) A long track record of publishing good comics, producing quality print compilations and boardgames, and generaly do right by the fans. Aka we know this is a person we can trust to deliver what they promise.

    2) Well defined statements of where the money was going to be going at each fundraising goal along the way, at least until the quoted update when he finally ran out of definite plans as we approached 1Million$ :) Makes you feel like your $$ is really going to help with something important.

    3) Rich also has years worth of good will built up with his fans. A lot of folks would have liked to give him money as thanks for the hundreds of pages of free comics on his website but felt embarrassed about it. This drive and its rewards made them feel like they are meeting a need for the creator (see #2) and getting some sort of thank you from him in the form of swag and other rewards. Breaks a Psychological barrier to start the money flowing.

    4) Rewards at multiple price points that all feel worth the $. No matter how much $ you can afford to pledge you can get something cool that feels well priced.

    5) Adding new rewards throughout the drive at different price points, many of them limited in number. Folks kept coming back to see if there was an even better reward they could upgrade to, freeing up lower level limited rewards, lather, rinse, repeat. This fed the semi random rewards for repeated actions methodology that makes games addictive. And much of his audience is gamers.

    6) Adding goal lines for cool but cheap to produce swag (stickers, pdfs of new stories, coloring books, etc) to be given to everyone donating above a certain level. “hey, if i up to that slightly higher pledge I wasn’t quite sure if I could afford I help get this cool neat thing for Everyone, AND I’ll qualify for more cool swag and that signed book I’ve always wanted…”

    7) His nearly daily updates with good information on new rewards, what new projects were becoming possible, and a graph of the funding progress, goal lines, and some humor.

    The first Three points helped get things started. The later points are how he turned the fund raiser itself into a game for the backers. “Can we keep that line going up at that rate?” “Hey if I can get a few of my friends to all pledge we can all get some new swag level” “I’ve been thinking about buying all those books at some point and now I can get them _signed_!” “Wow, Rare item X that hasn’t been on sale for years, only 3 left IT MUST BE MINE!”

  9. Best part: it’s a webcomic about D&D

  10. Zoomy says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of OotS for many years, and I’m not even particularly interested in D&D. It’s just that clever and funny!

    For me, I’m not really ‘supporting the drive’ so much as buying some new products at a reasonable price – I’ve already got the books, but there are plenty of other desirable things to be had.

  11. Mario Boon says:

    Just think what the Penny Arcade guys could raise…

  12. It’s webcomic about D&D that appeals also to non-D&D people . . . yeah the at start it’s just parody of D&D rules and not much else, but even there are some good jokes. With time it gets more about story and less about D&D parody, while still being funny comic.

    If you ever heard about D&D, or even just played some D&D-based PC game I bet you will enjoy OotS. If you like not-too-serious fantasy but have no idea about D&Đ rules first 100strips might be not so awesome, but you can skip to like #112 where the original line finishes and see if you like it from there.

  13. Thanks very much to the OotS supporters for posting their analysis here. I think this campaign has pretty much gobsmacked those of us from Old School Comics. Comparing this to the other huge comics news of recent weeks — poverty stricken cartoonists of the past and present — and we see there are many paths to the same goal.

  14. AndyG says:

    The gaming market is also larger than the comic market by an order of magnitude or two.

  15. Chris Hero says:

    It’s the perfect example of a comic just hitting a niche perfectly. I don’t think most people who read OotS even think of it as comics, just as something fun to read.

    I’ve been reading OotS for a long, long time…since somewhere in the second arc. This has just been awesome!

  16. Calvin Reid says:

    I think Burlew should offer a kickstarter seminar on raising money for comics. Congratulations and Wow!!!

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