This week on ComicLab… Brad turns fifty and runs away to Mexico. We’re going to be at NCSFest. Nominations for the ‘Ringo Awards are now open. Working with a collaborator Kickstarter for commissions Winning strategies for selling original art on […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
It’s tax day. Federal and State income taxes must be postmarked today — and estimated taxes for the first quarter of 2019 are due as well. If you’re having trouble, here are some handy resources from Webcomics.com.
We all hate the Facebook algorithm. Why? Because it keeps our messages from going out to all of our followers. What if I told you that the Facebook algorithm — in fact, nearly any social-media algorithm — is your friend. […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
Cartoonists Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar are talking shop! On this week’s ComicLab the fellas talk about writing yourself into a corner. NEXT a question-asker asks “is my Patreon reward tier too high?” And FINALLY, they grapple with this — […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
The tax deadline is a week from today. You must file your federal income tax return Monday (along with any state and local taxes that are due). But what if you owe money and can’t pay? Don’t make a bad […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
Cartoonists Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar are talking shop! On this week’s ComicLab we have an interview with Tony Cliff, creator of DelilahDirk.comBrad has a failed attempt of a formal introduction. DURING the interview with Tony, the guys all answer […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...
I attended the Patreon On Tour conference in New York City, and I strongly advise you to take advantage of this opportunity if it comes to a city near you. It was packed with great data-backed information, like information on which Patreon rewards work best.
At one time in the presentation, the topic of promotion came up, and the data they had gathered floored me. I’d been thinking about patron-acquisition all wrong. Here’s what I learned…
It’s Not All About Social Media
According to their research, about 40% of new Patreon backers arrive through social media — less than half!
Think about it. If you’re focusing on social media to spread the news about your Patreon rewards, you’re missing sixty percent of the other avenues! Here are the other ways patrons find out about the Patreon campaigns they back:
The creator’s website itself
Newsletter / e-mail marketing
Events (conventions, etc.)
Let’s talk about a few of those…
If you’re like many of us, you’ve seen your advertising revenue decimated by ad blockers. You may have even removed advertising from your site entirely. But that space is still has value — even if it’s not currently delivering on that value. House ads have long been promoted on this site as a way to bolster that undervaluation. The application to this instance is simple: Replace the paid-advertising space with self-promotion space. If you code it directly into the page, you can even bypass ad blockers. There’s no better place than your site to find the people that are most likely to back your Patreon campaign. Use that old advertising space for outreach.
This is a great way to promote a Patreon campaign. Consider this post from last October for one way you could approach this:
Sending out a monthly e-newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with readers — and an awesome way to get the word out on new information about your webcomic. It takes a little time to prep, but it’s a well-targeted message to an interested audience is incredibly valuable as you build your community. Webcomics.com has tons of handy resources to get you started.
This is a reminder that on April 2, 2019 we’re shutting down consumer Google+ and will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted.
Downloading your Google+ content may take time, so get started before March 31, 2019.
No other Google products (such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, YouTube) will be shut down as part of the consumer Google+ shutdown, and the Google Account you use to sign in to these services will remain. Note that photos and videos already backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.
You want to write longform stories that are brisk and engaging, and yet you also want to optimize your comic to use social media to build an audience? It feels impossible to write a quality story and succeed on social media at the same time, doesn’t it? It’s not. Welcome to a publishing method I’ve developed called Mutli-Channel Publishing. MCP helps you to do both.
Here’s how it works…
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Cartoonists Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar are talking shop! Going back to the discussion of publishers vs crowdfunding: What really brings you success? THEN, selling Patreon rewards on different platforms. ALSO, answering questions about background and comic structure WHILE bringing up the more modern characters seen in comics today compared to years ago. FINALLY, figuring out when it is beneficial to hold on to old domains or cut loose.
BUT FIRST, “F*** Voltron!”
• 00:00 — F*** Voltron • 6:33 — “Artisanal Success” • 23:17 — Is it OK to sell Patreon rewards elsewhere? • 28:29 — Stretch Break! • 29:19 — Backgrounds • 43:35 — What is an idea best for? Longform? Shortform? • 50:43— 4 panels comics, then and now • 52:48 — New-age characters • 01:00:55 — DAVE! See a doctor! • 01:01:42 — Holding on to old domains
During the recent Patreon on Tour conference in New York city, a discussion arose about promoting Patreon at personal appearances. It was tough, one creator complained, because setting up a laptop to process pledges was cumbersome — and expensive. And, it didn’t always work so well.
“Why are you bringing a computer to a show when literally every one of the attendees is walking around with their own in their pocket?” replied another creator.
Let’s talk about two ways to convert Patreon pledges at comic conventions and other personal appearances…
Simply build a QR code to point to your Patreon page. When an interested person uses their digital device to read the code, they’ll be taken directly to your page. If they sign up, you can even give them a reward on the spot — in person!
Think of what a powerful enticement to drive Patreon pledges this could be at a comic convention!
NFC business cards
Some printing companies — like Moo — are offering NFC business cards. This is a business card with an NFC chip embedded in it that will trigger a digital action when it is tapped on the user’s smartphone. Android phones have had NFC capabilities for a while now, and Apple’s iOS 11 has finally brought iPhones into the game.
They’re expensive, but remember — you don’t have to give these away in place of regular business cards. You can keep one or two at your table and re-use them. Best of all, the chip can be programmed and then re-programmed. So, you can use them in several different ways — from opening up your Patreon page on the smartphone’s Web browser to, say, downloading an app.
Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar are talking comics! In this episode, they discuss the secrets of Instagram tagging. THEN … if a backer asks you to add a crowdfunding platform to Patreon, should you? ALSO… what’s the danger of waiting too long for success? AND FINALLY… Rob Salkowitz from Forbes drops by to discuss the changing comics industry.
BUT FIRST… Dave tells Brad about the time he ate his whole wedding cake.
00:00 — The time Dave ate his whole wedding cake
04:15 — Instagram tagging
08:18 — Crowdfunding – Diversifying vs Duplicating
18:31 — Waiting for success
29:25 — Managing multiple projects
45:56 — Copyrighting digital rewards
1:00:36 — Interview with Rob Salkowitz on the changing comics industry
A federal court ruled in favor of ComicMix in a case in which their Star Trek / Dr. Seuss mash-up book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go” was claimed to have infringed upon the intellectual property of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. The ruling has many people claiming that similar creative projects — like mash-up shirts and books — are now legally protected.
It’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s talk about what happened and what it means for creators…
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Let’s pretend you’re a biscuit baker. Your potential customer is a person who is sitting in front of an all-you-can-eat buffet. They don’t even have to walk from their table to the smorgasbord. They’ve pulled their chair directly to the serving station! And they’ve already started filling their plate with food. You’ve got a plate of biscuits you’d like them to eat, so you devise an ingenious plan to entice them…
You tell them that you’ve hidden biscuits somewhere in the next room.
If you’re posting teaser images on social media, you, like the biscuit baker, have a lot to learn. And here’s why…
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Within moments of launching your Kickstarter campaign, you will become inundated with spam. Marketers, third-party facilitators, printers… they all want to talk to you. But perhaps the most cringeworthy and pathetic of all of these is the request for a pledge swap.
The Big Plan
The Kickstarter Pledge Swap scheme works like this. You agree to pledge to the other person’s Kickstarter in exchange for their pledge to yours.
Kickstarter has no official stance on the Pledge Swap except to say that sending unsolicited messages through their service is against their rules. And, according to a Consumerist poll, pledge-swapping is overwhelmingly unpopular. (87% oppose it.) So, why is it still being attempted?
Some people claim that this tricks Kickstarter’s algorithm into perceiving your campaign as more popular. However, I think you’d need to exchange an awful lot of pledges to have that effect. And that would end up being awfully expensive (unless you ghosted on your swap partners at the last minute).
The truth is simple. If your strategy for pulling off a successful Kickstarter depends on pledge swaps, then you’ve failed already. Kickstarter’s greatest strength is in its function as free market research. If your Kickstarter doesn’t meet its funding, then you know that your product isn’t ready for the market (or vice versa). That’s valuable information. It’s information you should be eager to receive. And it’s information that you should be willing to act upon.
A pledge swap reeks of desperation and amateurism.
Kickstarter strategies that work
So, let’s talk about Kickstarter strategies that really work well.
THE PATREON SECRET LAUNCH
Dave Kellett shared this strategy during a recent episode of ComicLab. It’s very simple. You set up a number of Early Bird specials offering enticing rewards. For example, you might offer free shipping at these levels. These must be limited — only about 10-20 backers per reward.
And you alert your Patreon backers that you’re about to launch a Kickstarter and that you’ve set up rewards just for them. This is a bonus reward to their patronage. After giving your patrons advanced notice, you open your Kickstarter without a public announcement. Make it clear to your patrons — they have 24 hours to snap up the Early Bird specials. After that, you’re throwing open the doors.
Using this strategy, my Kickstarter earned nearly $2,000 in pledges in the first 24 hours.
And that got noticed by Kickstarter’s algorithm, placing my campaign in the Popular category, and boosting its prominence in internal Discovery mechanisms.
I can’t stress enough the importance of a good video. Two minutes — maximum. I’m a strong proponent of delivering the pitch in person. If you’re going to ask someone for money, you should have the courage to look them in the eye. But avoid posting a video that’s two minutes of talking-head blather. You should insert visuals of the product you’re Kickstarting — as well as rewards — too keep the video engaging and interesting.
And include subtitles! This is important to your potential backers who might have hearing issues — as well as those who are scrolling on their smartphones with the sound disabled.
Finally, learn how to do Kickstarter math.
The first step in running a successful Kickstarter is to correctly determine all of your costs. The rookie move is to determine the cost of the thing and set that as your goal. The seasoned Kickstarter campaigner knows that there’s a lot more than that! For example:
Shipping all of the items from the vendor/printer/producer to you
Shipping the individual items to your backers
Shipping supplies — boxes, tape and padding, etc.
storage for the merchandise
insurance for the stored merchandise
And… if you’re smart, you’ll building a buffer for all of the little things that always come up. Whatever my rough goal is, I usually add in an additional 1-2% for incidentals.
Just remember to keep your receipts on all of those costs. Kickstarter income is taxable income. This is especially important to remember in the happy circumstances of running a campaign that goes beyond the goal.
Once you have your total costs, use this formula…
COSTS / 0.90 = GOAL
Or, simply worded, take your total costs, and divide that number by 0.90.
That will give you a final goal that is large enough to cover those total costs after 10% is deducted by Kickstarter.