Yo! Today on comicalfoods we have a special guest chef by the name of Curtis Clow! Curtis will share his story and recipe for how he successfully pitched his comic books on Kickstarter with juicy examples from his most current project “Beastlands #1-3: A Heartful Fantasy Adventure” which is still cooking now on kickstarter! If you’re hungry for a Heartful Fantasy Adventure full of fantastical animals check it out now!
Hello my name is Curtis Clow and I’m a comic writer.
Crowdfunding is an important part in me being a comic writer. I’ve successfully ran six Kickstarters, four being this year. I have a Kickstarter that is currently live for issue 3 of my series called Beastlands. It was funded in three days. One factor in running a successful Kickstarter is pitching your comic well. Here are some steps I take to accomplish that!
Step 1: The first impression
1. IMAGE – The first thing most people will see and what could convince potential backers to click on your project. Keep your image simple. Something striking and intriguing. We kept our Kickstarter image for Beastlands #3 simple by only showing one character inside of the silhouette of his beast. For Beastlands #2 we actually used a comic spread for the image and for Beastlands #1 we made a image with the main characters and the beasts off to the side, keeper lots of negative space to the left. Remember that the “play video” button will be covering the center of the image. So try to keep most of the good stuff to the side. No logos or other graphics. Don’t reuse a cover or comic page (unless it’s a wrap around cover or spread). The image has to 16:9, so most covers or pages won’t fit that well.
2. TITLE – Kickstarter gives you 60 characters to play with when titling your project. USE ALL 60 CHARACTERS. For example, my current Kickstarter thats live right now, I could’ve named it “Beastlands #3”. But instead it’s “Beastlands #1-3: A Heartful Fantasy Adventure”. See the difference there? You’re giving any potential backers more info on the story and that issues 1-3 are available.
3. SUBTITLE – Kickstarter gives you 135 characters to write in the subtitle section. Again this is stuff backers will see before even clicking on your project. Try to fit a version of your logline here. Who’s in the story? What’s the protagonist’s goal? Here’s my subtitle from the Beastlands #3 Kickstarter – “In a unique fantasy world, a boy must journey to save his companion beast and get his friends back, before he pushes them all too far.”
Step 2: Kickstarter Page
1. STORY – Give some more info on the story here. You’re quite literally pitching it. Who’s working on it? How long is the series? How many pages is this issue? What’s the genre and tone? What age readers is it for? What’s the logline and short summary? Who would love this story? – All of these questions are important. The more info the better! For Beastlands #3 I started the pitch by showing an image of the cover. This cover shows the main characters in the story. Then I gave a history of the first two issues that we funded on Kickstarter (the fact that the first two issues funded on Kickstarter already is a huge pitch in itself!). And lastly I started giving a small summary of the story.
2. ART PREVIEW – One of the biggest mistakes unsuccessful comic Kickstarters make is not showing ANY art. I for one would never back a comic Kickstarter without seeing what the art looks like or even reading a couple page preview. I want to see if the art is something attractive to me, if the lettering is professional or amateur and if the writing looks good. Every potential backer will want to see all of this as well. I recommend showing at least 5-10 preview pages. 10 if you’re a new creator and this is your first rodeo. It’ll help you a ton. For Beastlands #3 Kickstarter I showed 4 pages from issue 3, plus pages from the first two issues.
3. WHY – The “why” of your story is almost just as important as the story pitch itself. WHY is this story important to you? What is the personal message that you HAVE to tell in this comic? This all gives people a reason to want to back and support you, besides wanting your awesome comic. My why for Beastlands is –
“…about friendship – but also about owning, caring for and loving a pet. In my mid 20’s I finally got a dog of my own, a beagle named Ellie…She’s already taught me more than I could’ve expected. This is a story about appreciating what you have, before it’s too late. This is a story for Ellie.”
4. REVIEWS AND PULL QUOTES – For a little extra credit having some reviews and pull quotes are nice. I don’t use them for every campaign, but I do on my current Beastlands Kickstarter. It only adds to the pitch and helps reassure that this product is worthy to any backers. That’s why most books have pull quotes slapped on them or people look at reviews before watching a movie or playing a game. They want to be sure that this is worth their time and money. Reviews and pull quotes do just that. This is something you’ll have to be on the ball about months before Kickstarting. And your comic will have to be finished. Send out your comic PDF to as many review sites as you can and post the best ones with a link right on your Kickstarter page. Same goes with pull quotes. Reach out to many professionals in the industry. Even creators that are just big on Kickstarter. Ask nicely if they have time to check it out and if they like it to give a quote. Most probably won’t have time (don’t take it personal). But a few might be nice enough to help you out!
For example when I reached out to writer Ryan K. Lindsay for a pull quote, I firstly told him how much I look up to him and love his work (which was sincere). Then I attached a copy of the full comic PDF and explained some info about the series. I told him it’d mean a lot to me that if he likes it, if he could provide a pull quote. But if it’s not his cup of tea or he doesn’t have time, that I completely understand. He was nice enough to take the time and read the comic and provide a quote.