Surfing the social media, I came across Honor Brigade’s Kickstarter page and posted it to the BuyIndieComics.com Facebook page in hopes of it getting some additional views. The book’s writer, Tom Stillwell reached out to me in thanks for my reposting of the link. We got to talking and I eventually asked him to drop us an article about his thoughts on the Kickstarter phenomenon. Here it is with much thanks to Tom Stillwell.
Howdy! My name is Tom Stillwell and I’m the creator/writer/publisher of the independent comic books Honor Brigade, Toy Boy and Underneath. I’ve been creating comics for the last seven years and have sold thousands of books worldwide during that time.
I’m here today to talk about the most powerful new tool in the small press publisher’s toolbox…Kickstarter. If you’re unfamiliar with Kickstarter, let me get you up to speed. Kickstarter is crowdfunding or in other words, people collectively coming together to fund projects that otherwise would have a difficult time getting funds through traditional means like a bank loan or investors. Kickstarter handles creative projects…film, literary, music, theatrical production, new products, and in my case comic books.
Kickstarter operates on a pledge system. Approved projects must offer a tiered system of pledges for each level of funding an individual makes. For example, if I were making a movie I might offer a reward of a walk on speaking role for a $1000 pledge. You don’t donate to campaigns. You are getting something in return and usually it’s something you’d want to own.
Kickstarter is an all or nothing endeavor. People running a campaign set a monetary goal and a timeframe in which to reach that goal. If they reach that goal during the set timeframe, they will receive their goal plus any funds above and beyond. If they don’t reach their goal, they receive nothing.
Kickstarter has become an important resource for independent creators because producing comics without the help of a major publisher is very costly. I speak from experience having published twelve of my own books over the years. I’m a writer so I need to hire a whole team of people to make a comic. This includes an illustrator, colorist, letterer, pre-press, etc. These freelancers all need to be paid for their hard work. Printing costs too add to the overall expenses in creating comics.
Needless to say, Kickstarter has become invaluable to small press guys like myself. I mentioned earlier that I published a book called Underneath. Underneath was funded by Kickstarter. I couldn’t have afforded it otherwise. People liked the book’s premise (trolls vs. homeless people), thought the rewards were cool, and they ended up pledging to the tune of about $4000 for the four issue mini-series.
My newest Kickstarter campaign is for Honor Brigade: SPACE FIGHT, an all-ages superhero two issue mini-series. Most of my work is all-ages because I believe strongly in making comics accessible to kids. I’m asking for $2000 to publish the mini-series. Any funding beyond the initial goal will go towards making Honor Brigade a regular monthly title.
I encourage you to give Kickstarter a look if you’re interest in finding some cool projects to back and get some cool swag in return. If you are a creator, you’d do well to consider Kickstarter as a funding resource.
If you’re interested in backing SPACE FIGHT you can check it out at the following link. Thanks for listening.