I’m an early Kickstarter adopter. I was the 3rd person to do a comic related kickstarter. While, using kickstarter for preorders has become pretty standard, in my 15 kickstarters I’ve tried to experiment a little. Like my Sorcery 101 books came out the usually kickstarter preorder system, but the City Between books funded books that aren’t done. My newest experiment was doing a kickstarter that is all digital.
There are a few digital only kickstarters in categories outside the comic section. Like it makes sense for a video game to be digital rewards only. But there haven’t been many digital comic kickstarters. There were some help me start my webcomic kickstarters like Lexy’s Cloud Factory. The closest to what I wanted to try was Fresh Romance, which is an anthology with big names attached. Even then they still sold some physical rewards like postcards.
When Kara Leopard and I started talking about [Super]Natural Attraction, we pitched it a few places first and didn’t get much a response. I suggested we try doing a kickstarter that was all digital. The goal would cover our page rates, some promo costs, hiring an editor, and kickstarter fees.
So how did it differ from other kickstarters I’ve done?
The big one is no shipping definitely made fulfillment a lot easier and cheaper. People don’t realize how pricey shipping can get. For Better to Find You With, shipping cost a little over $1700. Sorcery 101 vol 1, shipping cost 2700. And for volume 2, shipping cost 3600. So having no shipping definitely kept our goal small. Once we had everything done, I just had to send each backer a download link through their kickstarter messages.
Thing of rewards was harder. I couldn’t go to my standards of giant comic packs and original art. Sure, we could have made some postcards or pins but sending those out would defeat the point of the no shipping Kickstarter. Wallpapers was a easy one to think of as were Kara’s commissions. Whitney Cogar, our colorist, agreed to make a coloring tutorial and I put together a development PDF. Other comics have had success with cameos so I thought that would be a good fit too.
But promo became a lot harder. While, being fully digital cut down our expenses, people do like stuff. Having a digital only kickstarter didn’t generate as much autobuzz as my other kickstarters. Usually my kickstarters make ⅓ of their funding in the first 3 days, ⅓ in the middle, and ⅓ in the last 3 days. This kickstarter didn’t get that big immediate surge, I usually expect. I had to work harder to promote [Super]Natural Attraction. But that seemed like a fair trade off for not having to ship something. It turned out to be a good thing that we were only funding a 22 page chapter at a time. We probably wouldn’t have made goal if we had shot for 100 page book.
I’ve done two other digital only kickstarters. One didn’t have a video and was only up for a week. The other was a sequel to [Super]Natural Attraction. After the second [Super]Natural Attraction, I talked to Kara and we agreed that the pay out for [Super]Natural Attraction isn’t quite what we hoped. Mostly because making the video takes so much time. We are currently testing it out as a Patreon/Drip exclusive comic to see if works as a draw on those. I’m not against doing another digital only kickstarter, but I think I’ll only use it for small on shots. As an ongoing, I don’t think [Super]Natural Attraction is cut out to be funded this way.