By Travis Gibb
November 26, 2023
Metal Ninja Studios is dedicated to providing free, high quality education about the comic book creation process. Topics include writing, lettering, production, print prep, and more!
People ask me all the time for Kickstarter advice. I get asked about page layouts, pledge tiers, cover recommendations, and podcasts. You name it, and I’ve been asked about it. People are always trying to find new ways to raise funds and help get their comics more exposure. I recently spent the whole day on Twitter/X giving this type of advice to creators from all levels of the business. I have personally raised over $200,000 and ran over 25 successful campaigns in the last five years. I have been blessed to learn a few tricks along the way on what it takes to make a successful campaign.
The Kickstarter landscape is changing every day. If you follow Kickstarter trends you will see a bunch of people speaking on what is and isn’t working. I have my opinions on that, and I will more than likely speak about that in some depth really soon. However, all those trends don't matter if you have a product that you aren’t ready to launch, so here are 5 of my tricks to raise funds on the Kickstarter platform.
Before I do that let me chat about a little bit of the basics to make sure we are on the same page. It's important to know that a successful Kickstarter campaign requires careful planning, effective execution, and engagement with your audience. Every Kickstarter campaign is unique, and success can vary based on the type of project, target audience, and market conditions. Thorough preparation, effective communication, and a compelling offering are key elements that can help you achieve success on Kickstarter.
Basically, make a good product that people want, and people will buy it.
I am going to assume you have a good product that people want. With that, let me give you 5 tips on how to get the most funding you can for your amazing comic.
TIP 1: Create a basic and digital deluxe tier.
The basic tier will be the same as the print file. However, the digital deluxe will have extra stuff like covers, inks, or even scripts. This is very little work for the creator but gives people behind the scene tricks to help increase funding. My pricing for a 24-page issue is 4 dollars for digital and 8 for digital deluxe. This allows people various options to invest in the book without having to pay shipping and increases the amount you can get in the digital category without breaking the bank.
COLLECTORS KITS - The Kickstarter community is full of collectors. They are counting on this book being published by a direct market later, and the issue they get now will increase in value. Collector kits tend to be the most expensive tier on the campaign, so you want to make them worth it. However, people are scared to do this because if you add a print, sticker, button or any other extra thing, the cost can be crazy due to the minimum print order of these items. However, I have a trick to lower that cost.
TIP 2: Keep the collectors kit limited and special.
What I normally do is go to Sticker Mule and order a few things. Sticker Mule has a section called Samples [https://www.stickermule.com/samples]. Within these samples are 8 items you can use to increase the value of your collectors kit. I recommend buying the polybag and 3 other items: shiny or regular stickers, coasters and magnets. This will cost you $40.00 for 10 sets (they also tend to ship more than 10, but you can't count on that). This can significantly increase the value of your collector’s kit, and by including all your covers, you now have a high value ticket item, which you can also brand as a limited tier for a low cost.
BONUS Sticker Mule Tip: I recommend signing up for Sticker Mule and ordering things that go on special. Every Tuesday, they have a deal and can save you tons of money on stretch goals.
STRETCH GOALS - The biggest mistake a new creator makes is overdoing it, or not doing enough, with stretch goals. An example of overdoing is having large items added for every $200 - $500 that will cost you tons and, often, makes your book no longer fit in a normal mailer. An example of not doing enough is giving a cover reveal, or something similar, for the next book. The reason why these are bad is because one costs you tons of money and can reduce profit. The other isn't something people want. They haven't got the current book, so why would they be interested in the next one?
TIP 3: Always start your stretch goals with a digital reward.
You can give other digital comics you, or your fellow creators, have made, or you can even do a commentary on your current book. These are great rewards that help profitability and also give you a buffer protecting against dropped pledges. After that, you can add physical rewards. I tend to alternate between digital and physical every $500 dollars after the campaign’s goal.
At the end of the day, money is great, but readers are better and, in the long run, crucial. At no level of the creative process is increasing your fan/readerbase bad. More fans leads to more funds, but how can we encourage more backers during a campaign?
TIP 4: BACKERS GOALS!
With a small reward, you can turn backer goals into another highlight of your campaign. When someone sees that you are close to a goal, it is very easy for them to take part in the achievement by pledging. If throwing 4 bucks in for your digital unlocks 5 other digital comics for everyone or, say, a brand new cover, they feel they were part of something bigger than the campaign. I recommend doing this for every 25-50 backers to increase engagement and encourage people to keep checking out the campaign page.
UPDATES TIE IT ALL TOGETHER - One of the easiest ways to gain new backers on Kickstarter is by sharing other campaigns. Normally, for every 100 backers someone has, sharing your campaign nets an additional backer. Results vary depending on how closely the genres are related. For example, two horror titles, two superhero titles, etc., will more than likely get you more than one backer, but mixing a NSFW title with an all-ages one, or trying to match a manga with crime noir, or other genres that don't seem to fit with each other, probably won’t increase your backer count. Find creators with similar books. Don’t just look at their numbers.
TIP 5: Communicate with your audience via updates!
We talked about stretch goals and backers goals and, yes, they are used to increase your campaign's profit, but they are also used to give you an excuse to talk to your audience via updates. This allows you to do more update swaps with other creators. When posting, it's not just about promoting people. It's about giving backers their next unlocked tier and keeping people excited about your campaign. Engaging with your audience also gives you time to, hopefully, turn those digital backers into physical backers. The more engagement you generate, the more likely the Kickstarter algorithms will share your work.
I hope these tips result in the best possible launch for you and your campaign. I am rooting for you and wish you all the best in your creative endeavors. Also, if some of this was a bit overwhelming, I am happy to tell you that Metal Ninja Studios is here to help. You can book a free consultation with the team to help catch you up. As a Ringo-nominated production company, Metal Ninja Studios is your resource for all aspects of the comic creation process. A great team of writers, editors, project managers, letterers, designers and Kickstarter experts are at your disposal to help make your comic book dream come true!
Keep Creating! We've got your back!