When a Kickstarter fails

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201206210251 When a Kickstarter fails

Lea Hernandez’s Kickstarter for The Garlicks is ending today and it doesn’t look like it’s going to make it—it’s currently only $15000 in to a $40K goal. We’re not Kickstarter experts by any stretch of the imagination but in this case, it is a clear case that just being good isn’t enough to get funded, because this was clearly a great-looking project.

Johanna Draper Carlson has some further thoughts, pointing out that the basis of the project wasn’t for everyone: the $40,000 was primarily to fund production of the strip, although there were the usual premiums. Johanna feels these kind of projects aren’t at an advantage:

I am more comfortable funding a project where the work already exists, one where the creator needs print costs. This doesn’t apply to Lea’s case, but one of the reasons why is that, if rewards deliver within a couple of months, I’m protected if something happens and I don’t get what’s promised. Within 3-6 months, I have the ability to do a credit card chargeback in the worst case, if the provider flakes out. On a more personal level, it’s more rewarding to get a book or other rewards within a couple of months, as though it was similar to a preorder. Otherwise, it feels like throwing money into the wind.

Of course, if you have the resources to be charitable and make donations, supporting favorite artists without concern for what you get in return, then this isn’t a worry for you. But at that point, Kickstarter reminds me of a popularity contest.

I would advise those planning Kickstarters to note that something in the range of $4-8,000 is more likely to be achieved than asking for multiple tens of thousands of dollars. Sure, there are plenty of success stories, but they’ve been run by people with huge followings and a long-term track record of delivering products of known quality. Also, anthologies, which have a much bigger crew of contributors working to get the word out. A Kickstarter is, on many levels, a measurement of trust, and if you don’t have enough dedicated followers and a solid, substantial track record of doing what you say you will, you may not succeed.


Hernandez shows up in the comments to clarify that the money wasn’t just for living expenses:
As for supporting me for a year: well, yes. I’m not asking for backing for JUST that. The amount covers production AND printing AND fees AND taxes AND the cost of incentives AND postage.


There’s a breakdown of where the money goes on the front page. A later update details where my money I earn monthly (in the form of a page rate, not a lump sum) will be spent. It’s a modest and responsible budget that ensures THE GARLICKS doesn’t go off-track because I’ve under-funded and have to stop working on it to take other work or a job in case of an emergency.

Also on the front page, I mention that the money is to be put in a protected account that is ONLY drawn on when tasks are finished or bills must be paid. I worked this out with a respected financial adviser, Liz Schiller (former president of Friends of Lulu), to ensure that money would be spent ONLY when it was time.


Alex de Campi and Bradley Schenk also show up with interesting comments, but perhaps the bluntest is from someone known only as Rose:

I didn’t contribute to the kickstarter, because when I saw the $40,000 goal, I could tell it wasn’t going to reach it, and I didn’t want to get invested in one that I knew would. (Though if it did get up to like 80% of it’s goal, I might have kicked in a few bucks).


LIke we said, we’re not really part of the Kickstarter movement, but this does seem to make a lot of sense. Many comics projects have been funded well into five figures, but they started out at more modest levels. And there’s quite a conceptual shift between “getting paid to do something” and “Raising money to print something and create a community by sending out postcards and premiums.”

We know several people whose great projects haven’t been funded; increasingly, it seems to be because they are more grounded in the former income model than the latter.

Comments

  1. If THE GARLICKS doesn’t make it, another way will be found.

    I’m determined to get this book. I’m selfish like that.

  2. If you’re interested in this phenomenon, definitely check out the lastest “Funding the Dream” podcast with Seth Godin. Great insights.

    We’re seeing Kickstarter shift to a marketplace…those are the projects that go nuclear.

    People want to back a winning horse…

    Unfortunately, Leah’s current platform just did not seem to be large enough to get her to her goal…and because of that she never got on the radar of the people not looking to support, but instead looking to shop. (See Sullivan’s Sluggers for what that looks like.)

    The good news is that the phenomenon of projects going dead once they hit their targets has gone away…with savvy creators realizing that the way to keep the funds coming in is to make the product already funded EVEN BETTER.

    The bad news is…Kickstarter is becoming less about Kickstarting ventures and more about a being a great way to sell a finished or nearly-complete product directly to your audience…with a viral potential not available elsewhere.

    As Godin smartly summarized, “Kickstarter looks like a shortcut. It’s not. It’s a maximizer.”

  3. Admit it, Kurt, you just really like eating bugs.

  4. Talented doesn’t correlate to having a following. I think sales on Hernandez’s books show this.

    For instance.

    Amazon sales ranks on Hernandez’ books.

    Rumble Girls – 2,417,596 in books. Available used for $.01.
    Manga Secrets – 1,101,263 in books. Available used for $.01.
    Cathedral Child – 3,383,481 in books. Available used for $.48.
    Clockwork Angels – 3,610,148 in books. Available used for $4.15

    The sales position shows there isn’t much demand for Hernandez’ books. The used price shows that a lot of people are trying to get rid of these.

    Succeeding at Kickstarter funding isn’t based on some financial trick. It’s succeeds as a result of one of two things. One, the creator has a big following. Two, the idea is something people who don’t know the creator want to see. The second one has to entail some good marketing besides just posting a Kickstarter page.

  5. arnold rice says:

    The Amazon ranks and prices aren’t always a fair gauge. Older books have lower rankings, and books in poor quality or used library copies go cheap.

    You can get Neil Gaiman books cheap in used or bad condition. There’s Anansi Boys for a penny on Amazon, too. It’s more fair to compare prices on new conditions books, not books with library stickers on them.

    Unfortunately, in the case of Hernandez’s body of work, not much demand out there.

  6. Chris Hero says:

    I’m totally on board with everything in Tyler James’s comment above, but I wanted to add my own observations.

    I’m pretty active with Kickstarter, both contributing to a lot of projects and talking with people who both succeed and fail and I think I’m finding some commonalities in successful projects.

    The biggest is that the comic and board game projects that are successful are already completed works that just want to raise money to print/produce.

    Another is, generally speaking, the comic projects that work are by people that have already built an audience through years of hard work. This isn’t always the case, but generally speaking, as can be seen with Ms. Hernandez.

    I will say I’ve never seen any project where the creator asks for any kind of living expenses work out. Not saying they’re not out there, just that I’ve never seen it. My opinion is people don’t feel comfortable backing a project where a portion of their donation could go towards living expenses. All the board game projects I’ve looked at were made by people in their off-time from their day job.

  7. It’s hard to have faith in your fellow sapien when Kickstarter projects like ‘Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games’ and ‘Bronycon the Documentary’ get their funding several times over while projects like these go largely ignored.

  8. A pledge is not an investment.

    The hardest concept that people like “Rose” can’t seem to get around their head is that pledging to a Kickstarter doesn’t require ANY investment. It’s a pledge. You can put in any amount you would theoretically want to invest if the project had succeeded.

    Kickstarter only takes money from your account once the campaign is fully pledged.

  9. I kind of feel that “providing living expenses, etc” is the work of an investor. And honestly, if I’m becoming an investor, I want a cut of the profit, or at least a return on my investment.

    I’m all for using Kickstarter as a method for pre-ordering works that are finished (hey, maybe Diamond should have invented it), but as a method of investing in projects yet to be completed, I can’t get behind it.

  10. Indie-a-go-go is similar to Kickstarter, but you still get paid even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal. The psychology of giving to it is quite different than to Kickstarter. You aren’t making a bet with Indie-a-go-go–you’re just paying for something you want to support, period.

  11. >> Admit it, Kurt, you just really like eating bugs. >>

    Or claiming to, at least.

    kdb

  12. I got my inspiration for a $40,000. goal from none other than Keith Knight, who successfully funded a two-year project, I Was a Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator.

    This isn’t a matter of supporting a lifestyle, but of an artist who’s set a responsible goal and budget to get the job done, rather than engaging in the false modesty of under-asking and gambling that the project will overfund, or not having a realistic budget for their project.

    If nothing else, perhaps people will see that making a graphic novel isn’t inexpensive.

    Something that seems to have been entirely missed is that I’m trying to do a -job-, and writing and drawing a book is a JOB, not a lifestyle.

    I’ve been unemployed for over 1.5 years, and I need a job with a high degree of flexibility, because I have an autistic kid whose needs don’t always fit within the confines of a typical work day (or night).
    I decided to marshall my resources (a project, a following, skills and a platform), and get myself employed for a year.

    I could either continue to struggle to make my bills and get further behind on my rent and choose which two of three prescriptions I’m going to buy when I finally see the doctor after I’ve been sick for two months (that was just last month), or I can DO something about it with the resources I have at hand.

  13. People like Rose frustrate me. She was speaking of emotional investment (not financial), but it’s still a neurotic and selfish reaction, saying she’ll only get involved if she’s guaranteed success for the campaign. It kicks in even if the financial risk of disappointment is zero. It’s the same vicious-circle mindset that strangles new series in their cribs and condemns older series if there’s a rumor they might be cancelled.

    But apparently it’s a fact of human nature: needing the emotional validation of backing a “winner”. So the challenge is to find ways to give backers that. One is to set the goal low enough to reduce that risk to a minimal level, but that undercuts the balancing tactic of giving backers a goal to strive for. How do you appeal to both people who respond to challenges by rising to meet them, and those who respond by scurrying away afraid to try?

  14. Chris Hero says:

    “Something that seems to have been entirely missed is that I’m trying to do a -job-, and writing and drawing a book is a JOB, not a lifestyle.”

    I’m not trying to be mean or rude, but I know people who have full-time jobs working 60+ hours a week and they’ve used Kickstarter only for the production costs of fully designed and prototyped board games. All the art was done in their personal time; all the prototype sculpting was done in their personal time; etc. They also have family members in need.

    You’re a phenomenally talented person, but you’re not the only one with family troubles and a full time job. And if you’re asking people to provide you employment without participating in the revenue, then don’t expect a lot of people to support you.

    I work with a woman who’s daughter suffered a stroke when she was a baby and the girl has a lot of other things failing on her. The woman is a wonderful illustrator. She’s still going to her day job everyday and taking care of her daughter and the rest of her family and drawing stuff when she can.

  15. That’s harsh, Chris.

    In the video game side of Kickstarter, projects are funded all of the time that are just ideas. I have even supported some because I want the final product. These are funded with the intention that we are going to get the product, not a piece of the profits. Nothing wrong with actually funding the whole thing from the beginning. But in that case, it comes down to the two things I mentioned earlier as to whether it is successful.

    Does the creator have a big enough following or is the book something that others really want to see?

  16. The one that comes to mind to me is Wasteland 2. It raised to $2,933,252 of it $900,000 goal. It was just an idea. Part of that money will pay the salaries of many people. Seems like a good use of Kickstarter to me.

  17. I think for a comic or graphic novel project, it has to be completed or at least 75% in progress before i even consider pledging to it. I know how hard it is to create things in your free time, and how long it takes. I really don’t want to give someone my money and wait a year to see something.

    Talent means nothing if you don’t have the drive to follow through and deliver in a timely fashion. As well meaning as some indie creators are, i’m only interested in supporting the work, not their lifestyle. We all have money problems. We all make sacrifices.

    I have so much more respect for someone who holds a day job with family responsibilities, but can still find the drive to produce finished work…that’s the kind of hustle and passion that gives me confidence in backing that artist.

  18. It’s not like she was charging more. $10 for the pdf or $25 for the hardcover.

    So the concern is whether they will actually finish the project, that you don’t want to wait, or both? Or is it some principle that you don’t want to support an artist actually being freed up to do the job?

    If Kickstarter will only give us the projects that we would have already seen, then what good is Kickstarter?

  19. Chris Hero says:

    @Regan

    It’s harsh, but it’s life and life is harsh. Being an engineer, I know a LOT of people who have made complete video games in their free time. They’ve worker nights and taken vacation days just to work on their creative projects. Very, very few things will ever get funded just because someone has an idea. If you have a finished product and you’re asking for funding to mass produce or mass distribute the finished product, you’ll find a lot more success.

    And really, I take offense to anyone coming with a sob story and saying making a prototype of their idea is a job. I know too many people with day jobs they hate working on their ideas in their personal time.

  20. Chris Hero says:

    @Regan

    I’ve always thought the point of Kickstarter was to raise money for fully developed products that need the means to be mass produced. The return on the investment is a gift of the completed project.

    Everything’s an investment. I’ve been doing ok so far with investing and I like investments that are definitely going to market…not things that hope to make it to market if I’m asked to pay their wages.

    But, hey, I’m an engineer and I live in a different world than artists, so maybe I’m being overly pragmatic?

  21. Wow, was not expecting that comment to end up here. Um, yeah for bluntness?

    In response to Jason A. Quest up above, I do support new series, and my kickstarter page has several series that I only just discovered and then immediately pledged money to so I could get a print edition.

    From what I’ve noticed is lots of Kickstarters that work is the low number in the kickstarter is for one part and then there are goals above that. For example David Willis’ kickstarter to get one of his webcomics into print. Originally only 11,000 was asked, but if 20,000 was raised an out of print edition of another webcomic would be reprinted.

  22. @Chris Hero
    I think you made some good points
    @Regan
    You can’t compare comic and video game projects directly, they operate at completely different economic scales even if they get a lot of crossover in contributors.

    40K is a lot to ask for. So that fact that it wasn’t reached isn’t surprising and shouldn’t be taken as a sign that no one wants this book. This Kickstarter was reposted in a lot of places so there is definitely a lot of interest in it. If I was her I would wait 3 or 4 months so I had more pages in the can, then I would do a new Kickstarter with a much lower goal and have stretch goals if she really wants to get to 40K.

    And on a personal note, I would get some health insurance. Every freelance artist should have that. It’s frustrating to see so many artists with health problems that need a large amount of money at some point in life because they don’t have insurance. Drawing comics can be a hard life, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a good day job or diversify your skills and merchandise. Being a freelance artist is running your own business, and part of running any good business is making sure you have a sustainable business model. Getting health insurance is just like buying car insurance, get online, look around, compare deductibles and pick a plan. Yes, it sucks to pay $60-120 a month for the monthly payment but it’s much better than the alternatives.

  23. There is a definite psychology behind wanting to back projects that are almost at or have surpassed their goal. I have to wonder what the success rates would be like if the running total amount backed was hidden from the public and only the campaigner knew where it was at.

    Similarly, I don’t think news should report on elections until after all the polls have closed.

  24. It may just be a matter of asking too much for a comic project too. I’ve watched multiple comic projects fail at this level. Tyler Kirkham recently failed to get $25k to get his graphic novel off the ground too. Ernie Reyes Jr and Jim Lawson are looking for $25k right now and haven’t broke a thousand yet.

    I look at the successful comic projects I’ve backed recently and they haven’t asked for nearly as much while being arguable from better known creators than Lea (and none of them have made 45k yet). David Willis is a webcomic superstar, but he only pulled in 30k for the first volume of Dumbing of Age. The Cerebus digital conversion is considered a runaway hit right now and still hasn’t reached $45k yet.

    It may just be unrealistic to expect a market as limited in size as comics to really be able to fund a $45k book. I’m a backer and I backed it straight up expecting to never pay the money.

  25. Charles Ranier says:

    just pointing out, this turned me off too: I kept seeing tweets and messages from Lea like “hit up four of your friends to donate!” and “you donated, but you should really increase her pledge?” that seemed really tacky. Like YOU are just not working hard enough to fund HER project. I know someone who actually took back their pledge after they got one of those messages. They told me it was the least gracious acknowledgement of backing a total stranger’s project ever.

  26. Chris Hero says:

    BTW – I just wanted to add I love Ms. Hernandez’s work and I would love to have her comic, but when I think about investing in anything, I consider what my funds are going towards. Production costs, with anything above and beyond as a bonus to the person presenting the idea, is what I personally like to invest in. But that’s merely my preference. People should be free to invest their money however they prefer.

  27. Thanks for the kind comments and interesting analysis.
    My last video for THE GARLICKS is up on the front page of its Kickstarter:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/divalea/the-garlicks-pandora-orange-fail-vampire

  28. Adam S. says:

    Kickstarter ultimately is just a self-publishing tool, and self-publishing entails all the same problems and risks as standard publishing.

    How many independent cartoonists out there can demand a publisher advance high enough to cover their living costs for producing an entire graphic novel? VERY few — and we’ve already seen the back-tracking from the NYC publishing houses who tried to jump into the OGN game 2-3 years ago.

    We can all point to Rich Berlew’s success but his Kickstarter also generated months of extra work for himself on top of the content of the books, which had already been completed.

    Hopefully this book still gets made, because there’s all the potential beyond-Kickstarter revenue of selling this book through Diamond, at cons, and so on — maybe for years to come if the book proves successful enough.

    No disrespect, Lea, but I’m not familiar enough with your work to contribute to the Kickstarter — not that I wouldn’t buy the book once I can hold it in my hands if the final package comes out as beautiful as the sample artwork.

  29. I think that a lot of these reactions may be a matter of perception. Here’s why I think so:

    We have seen successful projects that included a page rate – but the projects were started by writers who had to pay an artist to draw the pages. Nobody seemed to object to that arrangement.

    A writer who needs to pay an artist is listing that page rate as a production expense that feels pretty much like a printer’s bill, or like shipping. It’s a cost that has to be paid to somebody else.

    Ms. Hernandez is trying to allocate the exact same funds for the exact same task. The only real difference is that the page rate would be paid to her, not to some other person. She included safeguards in the form of milestones so she’d be paid only as tasks were performed.

    The two cases are not really different. But they’re perceived in very different ways. I don’t think that’s fair, myself, but your mileage may vary.

  30. P.S.: Kurt really DOES like eating bugs. So. Much. You have no idea.

    PROOF:

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7128/7415615850_cac45cc797_b.jpg

  31. “Kickstart – To get going or set in motion”

    I think the website is called Kickstarter, and a lot of you are missing the point. Last time I checked it wasn’t called “90% done with the project and just need a couple of bucks to wrap things up so you get your exclusives” dot com.

    It’s about investing (and yes, it is investing) in someones dream and project.

    Just my opinion, mind you.

  32. I will now kiss Bradley Schenck,in a purely platonic I Have a Wonderful Boyfriend But You Made My Day kind of way.

    But Kurt, no way. Dude eats bugs.

  33. Here in the Secret Laboratory we takes our kisses as we finds ‘em. :)

  34. As Lea’s kickstarter campaign winds down today, I have mixed feelings. Nobody wants to be the poster child for the unsuccessful comics kickstarter campaign, and some of the comments have been brutally honest, sometimes borderline unnecessarily hurtful about lea’s approach to this campaign and her career as a cartoonist.

    However, on a positive note, it has spurred the comics community to have a conversation that needs to be out there: that Kickstarter isn’t / shouldn’t be a substitute for a functional comics economy that can support new projects that don’t fit in the usual comix mold.

    Do i know the answers? No. But this example certainly gave a lot of us (creators and comics consumers alike) food for thought about this business model. Kickstarter has opened up a lot of possibilities for creators — but we can’t pretend that it’s the answer to everyone’s self-publishing dreams.

  35. I want to read this comic so much. This is the kind of book the comic industry needs badly.

    I think it’s really hard to draw conclusions from this. Some not very good projects have been over funded some amazing projects never reached their goals. This isn’t Warren Buffet buying rural newspapers. This is more to do with chance and reach and a billion other factors. Lea’s work is brilliant and she’s an important cartoonist. If you argue against that you’ve already lost all credibility.

    I think an IndieGogo campaign is in order. And a brand new all bug diet .

  36. Same thing happened with TOny Harris who wanted 60k but had to adjust 2 times to just 25k ?

    I guess Kickstarter people do not want fund your pagerate where the the finished product won’t be available for at least a 1,5 years away

  37. Greg Hinkle says:

    I almost hate to say it, but I agree with Charles Ranier. It was the constant deluge of tweets and posts that turned me off. I completely understand that publicity is necessary for a campaign like this, but hearing about it every single day was a bit much for me. And I don’t know if I could offer an alternative to the non-stop advertising. It was successful in getting my attention and I definitely checked out the Kickstarter page, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  38. Some folks have pointed out that too many backers get tied up in the emotional aspect of backing a project, but they forget that every single purchase spent on entertainment and media is an emotional purchase.

    People will back a project if it hits an emotional pressure point for them. Whether its because they have an emotional attachment to the concept of a story (I backed Anathema because this), supporting a completed story they’re already attached to (Order of the Stick has a massive following attached to its characters), or because they want to support the creator themselves (The Oatmeal fundraiser to troll legal threats). Unless a creator can hit an audience’s emotions in any of these areas, the Kickstarter funding might not succeed.

    Given these three points, which one could this project hit? I’m not sure what Ms Hernandez’ online presence is, but I don’t think it’s on par with say, Scott Kurtz or Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Was the concept incendiary enough to get attention? Vampire sitcom family sounds cute but it doesn’t have this same punch as “showcase otherwise marginalized female talent in ALL the comics” as Womanthology did. So, what’s left? Build an audience for the comic by getting people to read the thing up front, as many webcomics have done already. This gets your audience invested in your characters and storyline. However, very little of the comic was available for audiences to read, so how could they get invested?

    I’m not saying this project isn’t worthy of backing, but I am saying that a Kickstarter is something to market like anything else. Kickstarter = Asking for money = Making a sale. Perhaps this project will do better next time if there was a preview PDF for readers to check out or if it was released as a webcomic. It’s all about hitting readers in that soft spot that makes them hit that pledge button.

  39. Addendum: if I were to start up a Kickstarter to fund, say, printing my webcomic, I doubt I’d get the support I’d need to make it happen. I have nearly zero Internet clout and while my readers are really great and dedicated, it is still a very small audience as my comic is still fairly new. This may change in the future, but as it stands I’m holding off for now.

  40. @Chris Hero: “I’ve always thought the point of Kickstarter was to raise money for fully developed products that need the means to be mass produced.”

    No, it is simply a “funding platform for creative projects”. Some just need a little money to finish, others need money to even get started. Hence the name “kickstarter”.

    “The return on the investment is a gift of the completed project.”

    No, no, no. It is explicitly not about investment. It is a request for contributions. The only “return” is the satisfaction of having contributed, and whatever perks the creator offers as thanks. If you look at it as a simple quid-pro-quo preordering system, you are definitely missing the original point of it.

  41. I watch every one of these post-mortems with interest, because I plan to turn to Kickstarter later this year with a project of my own: an adult-readers graphic novel told through short anecdotes. In case it’s helpful to anyone else to reflect on or pick apart:

    I lack any significant fan base or internet presence, though I have a somewhat similar collaboration in progress with an established creator, which may change that a little in a few months. It’s a project I’ve already spent a substantial amount of time on, both writing episodes and illustrating some of them myself, and I’ve spent some of my own money hiring artists to illustrate a few more of them.

    What I’ll be asking for is money to hire more artists, which another patron I’ve already approached will match 1:1 (up to a point). I plan to set the goal fairly low (even if it only pays for one 5-page story to be illustrated, that’d help) but set out rewards for substantial donations that will hopefully entice people to contribute more.

    It’s a project with a rather Queer angle to it, so I’ll try to promote it to that community, and whatever segment of the alt-comix crowd I can bend the ear of. I’ll use the work in progress as a teaser for what’s to come if the campaign is successful.

    And when it’s done, we can all come back and do a post-mortem on why it didn’t work. ;)

  42. Barna says:

    I use KS exclusively as a preorder mechanism. I know far too many creatives to just start handing out donations.

    “I like it” loosens a hell of a lot more wallets than “I hope I like it.”

  43. Jackie Haas says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that maybe the general, indie comix crowd just doesn’t want to read a comic about a stereotypical screaming Hispanic woman and her kids?

  44. I was sorry to see the swing-‘n’-a-miss. I pledged; I later increased my pledge; and I even wrote a short piece about it that Ms. Hernandez was gracious enough to share with others.

    That being said: I’m sure I’m in an extreme minority when I say, IMHO, the project would’ve drawn more attention if it’d just had a better, catchier, even readable name. It took me a while even to give the Kickstarter page an initial look-see because all the words looked garbled and out of order. Was “The Garlicks” a preexisting series? Who names a kid “Pandora Orange”? And did I miss the day when “fail” graduated to being an adjective as well as a noun? I was so lost.

    Eventually I parsed it and got on board, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it made other casual, would-be donors cross their eyes and move on.

  45. >> Has it occurred to anyone that maybe the general, indie comix crowd just doesn’t want to read a comic about a stereotypical screaming Hispanic woman and her kids? >>

    Try to imagine they’re Italian vampires instead. Maybe that would help.

    All those Hispanic kids, turning into fish-bats…

  46. @Jackie Haas: Agreed with Kirk. She’s speaking Italian. Hispanics are those descended from the Iberian peninsula, which incidentally, does not include the country of Italy. But, hey, don’t let a little thing like geography get in the way of your awesome opinions.

    Keep up that attention to detail, bro!

  47. I’m sorry to see the campaign fall short. From the sample art I’m suspecting this could be one of the great kid-friendly graphic stories of which the market could use a lot more.

    I’m also hoping Kurt has some cattle to back up his hat. I want to see this book made, but my barn door broke and all my cattle have run away.

  48. I think Lea’s artwork is attractive & interesting, & the concept is fun. I did have to explain to a couple of friends of mine that it wasn’t a cooking comic (um, they could have scoped out the info presented more thoroughly). Greg Hinkle’s (hi Greg!) comment was one I heard from a couple of people after I boosted the signal/RT’d the Kickstarter. But I don’t have a good answer for that. There are folks I’m friends w/ IRL who kinda “tune out” my FB or my Twitter feed when I get overly “promotional”. Wonder how it’ll go over when I have something substantial to pitch. What other tactics ARE there, other than being your own best & loudest cheerleader?

    I’m sure Ms. Lea is mulling her next move. She has a lotta support in the comics community – hells bells, were I to put together a Kickstarter for the so so new story I’m writing, I don’t think *I’d* be able to raise 15K. 15K! It’s a lotta money. It’s not enough to live off of for a year while working on it, but it’s some serious cash, & I hope the input above is thoroughly scrutinized & put into another, successful Indiegogo or other promotion.

  49. & Lea..I don’t have anyone famous willing to eat a bug for *my* nascent works. ;) Having Kurt in your corner will also help whatever direction yer gonna go next (obv).

  50. I’ve been granted access to stats that show of the comic book-based kickstarter accounts only something like 5% reach their goal. I’m trying to get more info to go further back, and awaiting similar info from two other crowdsourcing sites, gofundme and indiegogo. I intend to do a piece at my site, but only if I get more datum. It really does not look good though.

  51. >> I’ve been granted access to stats that show of the comic book-based kickstarter accounts only something like 5% reach their goal.>>

    More like 54%.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/12/tech/innovation/mashable-kickstarter-projects-fail/index.html

    kdb

  52. Wait and see.

  53. Alan AKA Sparky says:

    Curses. I gave it a last minute push.

    What was the difference needed? Lea? How about tees? Could you sell tees and coffee cups of Garlicks to fund the project?

    There has to be a way to brainstorm this to work.

  54. We had a project posted for an App based on our comic property and cancelled funding about a week in. We were at around 12% of a $10,000 goal.

    We *might* have made it, but we had some other funding options available and decided that since this thing obviously wasn’t catching fire on Kickstarter — let’s just save ourselves and potential backers the stress.

    Even though we have a pretty solid readership, many of the ‘regulars’ weren’t backing the project. Why? Well, some said it was as simple as they didn’t own an iPad. Some said they just didn’t ‘get’ what were were trying to do vs., say, a book. Some said that even though a third-party was developing the app, *we* have never put out an app before and they didn’t know what to expect, etc. etc.

    We may try another fundraising campaign in the future but will keep it lean and mean. And it’ll be a for a print project, eliminating that iPad barrier.

    What we took away:
    1) Keep it simple
    1) Set a realistic goal
    2) Make sure your readers actually *want* what you’re trying to get funded

  55. if your web comic has 1000 devoted fans that average a $20 donation each (that would be huge!), you’re not even halfway there…

    when looking at some kickstarters and the amounts of money they are asking for to print a book, it becomes a bit apparent that some creators got taken for a ride with the printing quotes. Paying $35 for a $2 hamburger kinda thing.

    Every little move you make with paper choice, dimensions, binding, turnaround, delivery and finishing can add or save you thousands of dollars. I once saved my client 5k on a printing job by requesting a different brand of paper that looked almost identical. You just have to know what to ask.

    Every single creator who has any desire to self publish should find themselves an experienced graphic designer/production artist that has experience bidding print projects with foreign and domestic commercial printers, or you’re just wasting money.

  56. Here are the Kickstarter stats for completed projects: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats

    Of the 601 successfully funded comic projects, only 100 are for more than $10,000, and only 39 of them are for more than $20,000.

    There are also 719 failed kickstarters. Less than 8% of comics projects on Kickstarter successfully raise more than $10,000.

  57. Herb Finn says:

    People forget the most important fact – you need to PROMOTE your Kickstarter project!

    A lot of people just throw projects up and do little if any promotion for it.

    Good promotion and a little viral will go a long way!

  58. Chris Hero says:

    @Jason A Quest

    I disagree with you about my opinion of what KS is or how it works because it’s my money. (Polite emphasis on the “my” part.) It doesn’t really matter how it was conceived because people are asking me for my money and I want something in return. And really, it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong because it’s still my money people are asking for.

    I think that’s what people miss with KS. A person pitching a project can’t tell backers they’re conceiving it wrong; they have to sell their project to potential backers and why it’s in the backers interest to contribute. And selling a dream in return for cash? That’s never had a high degree of success.

  59. trueblue87 says:

    @Herb Hernandez got more publicity than any KS project I’ve ever seen, and tweeted it so aggresively, friends of mine cheered when it was over because it was no longer spamming inboxes. It was really annoying. Even though there is no book yet, it got promoted by big names and on popular websites. It must have been seen by millions of people, just by Gaiman’s tweets alone. Which makes the 400 supporters look pretty sad. A few hundred people liked what they saw, millions didn’t. End of story.

  60. horatio weisfeld says:

    Here’s the problem and one solution:

    Problem: artists and writers say they are unable to produce a whole GN before asking for KS funding first.

    Funders don’t want to pay for something that might never get finished or seems otherwise based in (dreaded) altruism – as the price for the item far exceeds any rational market value that might be otherwise paid.

    Solution: Artists and writers need to begin producing (& KS –or somebody – needs to invent a system to deliver) much smaller story segments (say 6-12 pages) to a wider audience (say 5,000+ regulars) – the bottom line would be an Immediate digital delivery of that which is funded (or outright purchased). The creators could then, having been paid for the work (6-12?) completed, go onto the next segment of the story — while readers would have what they paid for promptly in their hands.

    Artists and writers have no excuse for not being able to produce on spec, say, 8-12 page installments, of whatever story they are telling, be it self-contained or a portion of a larger structure — and funders should have no problem w/ short segments (priced at say $1-2, as they will know the work is already done and they will receive it at once — paying a fair market rate.

    This could become an explosive new way.

    The big questions: can KS become more of a mass market platform (and acquire the additional needed funder/buyers for this sort of module) and can this generation of writers and artists deliver short segments that satisfying and leave the reader hungry to fund or buy the next one. Eisner did. Kurzman did,
    Folks in france were certainly happy to pay for Dickens in serial form (by the millions) — and I certainly would have been happy to have paid $1-2 for each segment of V in Warrior (back in the 80s)

    Here is a module I suspect would be truly sustainable — where I fear the present KS model is not.

    Time will tell.

  61. Al Cook says:

    Lea always had attitude on the old WEF. You can tell she had a chip on her shoulder because her stuff did not sell and even worse did not generate any discussion.

    No one cares about her books and the failed kickstarter campaign proves it.

    So what does she do? Whine some more online and blame people for ‘not getting it’.

    This project just sounded cliche and dull. That is why it failed.

  62. horatio weisfeld says:

    This article discusses a single KS offering and so gives me very little information about what is really going on in the KS world in regard comics.

    I would still like to see an article about the general failure rate of KS comics project; How many failed — funding desired for each – funding received foe each – nature & name of project.

  63. james hodgkins says:

    The issue of fraudulent and dishonest campaigns needs to be addressed. For example, the highly successful and much trumpeted Ashes book, which was a tissue of lies from the start, the original artist was never going to be allowed to draw that book, but a lot of money was pledged in good faith with his name attached. He was fired by the writer as soon as (and most importantly) not before the money was transferred into her bank account. The money was subsequently used to bring in friends of the writer, by her own admission and other high profile creators who were on her wish list, but who would never have been able to commit to produce work speculatively, (she got Broxton to do that for her). There are no checks or rules in place to prevent this kind of fraud at Kickstarter. I think there should be. Don’t you?

  64. Charles Ranier says:

    for those playing at home, Jimmy Broxton is the pen name of James Hodgkins.

    link to article: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/01/14/ashes-drops-jimmy-broxton-shows-up-problems-kickstarter/

    and

    http://comicsworthreading.com/2012/01/15/what-happens-when-the-kickstarter-creative-team-changes-before-publication/

    Not taking sides, just facilitating transparency.

  65. Charles Ranier says:
  66. james hodgkins says:

    Thanks for that Charles, transparency much appreciated (I just assumed all who could be bothered to comment here would be well aware of who Jimmy Broxton is, I simply continue with the third person stuff for the sake of consistency, I can assure you no subterfuge is intended . Seeing as I now have your unbiased attention, would you care to venture forth with an opinion on the substance of my factual comments and general question?

  67. Charles Ranier says:

    @jameshodgkins actually, I didn’t know until I googled the Ashes book, which I had not heard of. But when your handle came up in the first paragraph of the coverage, I thought I might not be the only one without a program book of concerned parties.

    That being said, without my having a canine in this particular imbroglio, I do have concerns about Kickstarter’s platform with regards to accountability. However as a platform they are free to argue that they are no more responsible for campaigns keeping their end of the bargain than, say, an Ebay auction. After the usual “we’re not responsible for people who can’t play nice in our sandbox” it ends up all courts and contracts and the inevitable Paypal chargeback. They raise their hands and go “not me, settle it outside.”

    With regard to the current article, one of the things that rang the warning bell with me on the Garlicks setup was that right off the bat she was talking about “money in a managed account.” People don’t talk like that unless they assume other people do. To preemptively just put right out there “it’s all honest and financially aboveboard!” is like that big old “trust me” sign at the car dealership. Trustworthy people assume other people are too. It would not occur to me to come out right off the bat saying “don’t you worry about where the money is going.”

    That may have no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the project, but that was the impression I got, and it decided the matter with my wallet.

  68. Charles Ranier says:

    actually, rereading that last bit I wrote, let me clarify:

    listing how the money is used is important. So much goes to printing, so much for backer fulfillment, so much for hiring assistant/help/coloring/editing/what have you, etc. This is transparency. It’s good.

    saying outright that the money needs management implies either you’re not good at handling money (yellow card) or you have a history of not coming through on promises (red card).

    In either case, since once you back and the project is successful, your money is GONE, that is not confidence inspiring. Particularly in this case when you’re fronting money for a what amounts to not the proverbial “pig in a poke,” but the PROMISE of a pig in a poke.

  69. >> saying outright that the money needs management implies either you’re not good at handling money (yellow card) or you have a history of not coming through on promises (red card). >>

    Or that you know people who are, or you’ve seen people concerned about chipping into projects because they don’t know whether the money will be managed well, or whatever.

    That you assume those things does not mean those are the only possible implications. Me, I thought it was a smart way to handle it.

  70. @Chris Hero – You’re absolutely right: It is important for someone doing a Kickstarter campaign to address the likelihood that many potential donors won’t understand how it works.

  71. Charles Ranier says:

    @kurtbusiek, I did consider the possibility of interpreting it that way too. That in fact that was probably how it was meant.

    But there are instances when you see one thing and your brain flips the “JDLR” switch and you can’t see anything other than the other thing. That for me was one of those instances.

    I could be wrong, but I’m not about to bet money on it. Which is what supporting this project against my gut instinct would be, basically.

  72. bad wolf says:

    Jimmy Broxton: maybe you could take a moment to discuss/rebutt Alex di Campi’s subsequent account, which i must say immediately devolves into gender issues:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/01/19/alex-de-campi-responds-jimmy-broxton-over-ashes-kickstarter/

  73. james hodgkins says:

    Bad wolf, I did address this in my final word on the topic, which should be archived here on the Beat somewhere.
    Bottom line, I’m telling the truth, she is lying, it’s up to everyone else to decide who to believe. I only raised it again as I feel her actions are relevant to the topic; “when Kickstarter fails” I hope that’s OK, I really prefer not to go over old ground.

  74. bad wolf says:

    Thanks for the response and good luck to you sir!

  75. Wow, this totally got derailed since I last popped in.

    So what DO you do when a Kickstarter fails and people take to the internet to tell you how misguided your campaign has been? (See THIS for a brutally honest assessment of our last campaign > tmblr.co/ZdFoSxMVy-nE)

    You LISTEN.

    Then you dust yourself off and get back up on that horse.

    (Which is what we’re doing right now, actually.)

    I hate to say that The Internet is usually right. But The Internet is usually right.

    And Kickstarter seems to adhere to its own unwritten rules. Rules written by The Internet.

    * Sometimes a really unique something will be funded. Sometimes.

    * More often than not people want a physical thing — preferably one that’s already done.

    * You get bonus points for already being popular online.

    * If there’s even a whiff that their hard-earned money will be squandered or misused in any way, you’ll scare away potential backers.

    So my final advice to Ms. Hernandez, should she still be following this is:

    Rethink your game plan. Dust yourself off. Get back on that horse. I don’t think you’d have *any* trouble whatsoever getting a *completed* GN funded through Kickstarter.

  76. Lea Hernandez says:

    Hey all, impressive thread. Thanks for the various and sundry insights. Here’s my final video from The Garlicks Kickstarter, talking about my future plans:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd0xaH6W31g&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    And here’s a comic I drew two years ago summing up how feel about failure:

    http://nearlifeexperience.nerdstock.net/?p=92

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