Comic Book Diner Discusses Kickstarter

Comic Book Diner Kickstarter

Wondering whether Kickstarter funding is right for you and your project? You may want to listen to this episode of the Comic Book Diner podcast, where they discuss their Kickstarter listing.

The CBD folks are attempting to raise $10,000 for a boxed set of three graphic novels, one by each creator in the group. At the time of this writing, they have 24 days to go, and they are almost a third of the way there. The money goes to designing and printing the volumes (since at least two of the books contain at least some material that’s already been released in comic periodical form). To get all three print books requires a $40 pledge, while to get the slipcased set, you have to pledge $50.

I’m curious as to how readers think about pricing when it comes to Kickstarter. (If you have thoughts, leave them in the comment.) $10K sounds like a lot, but book creation (even of previously published material — and if they break through with audience beyond existing fans, the content is new to those readers) is likely more expensive than first suspected, and we don’t know how many they’re planning to print beyond these preorders. Three graphic novels for about $15 each seems like typical pricing, comparable to buying at a bookstore.

The podcast covers, in a conversational way, much of their thinking behind raising funds using this mechanism. The part I found most insightful was when they discuss how their first listing was rejected because it wasn’t personal enough. I didn’t realize Kickstarter took that much control. They even made a comic about that part!

Comic Book Diner Kickstarter comic strip

The goal is to find a way to produce comics without having to rely on Diamond preorders, since enough of the remaining comic shops have had to cut support for independent and small publishers to make it difficult for this kind of material to make it to shelves. Based on discussion with John Gallagher, I know that they were trying to keep retailers in mind with this project. Since Kickstarter doesn’t allow for different levels of rewards for different groups, though, you can’t do a “retailers half off” listing or anything similar.

The books are due out in August, and the team have stated that they “are prepared go forward no matter what,” even if this funding method doesn’t succeed. If you visit their update page on Kickstarter, you can get a previews of the Buzzboy book, plus comic strips created just for the promotional effort. Backers get access to additional new comic strips.

The Comic Book Diner guys have a good attitude, seeing this as a 45-day virtual comic convention (at least in terms of selling or running a table). Near the end of their podcast, they ask, “Why wouldn’t any independent creator want to go this route?” You control your own funding, going direct to customers instead of using retailers as gatekeepers. The only flaw in this approach is that not using “real” publishing may lock you out of certain venues. For instance, they talk about reaching out to teachers and librarians, who love their work, but I suspect some have to use a purchase order process to buy only from certain distributors or stores. I’m not sure an organization will cut a PO to a Kickstarter. Still, if they print enough, they can list the volumes through more established venues later.

3 Responses to “Comic Book Diner Discusses Kickstarter”

  1. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    i have become somewhat fascinated with kickstarter, but have primarily been working with documentary and music producers. I knew that there were comics in their system, but hadn’t really investigated that part yet.

    The only potential negative is that you commit to the funding and then are only charged if it goes through. So you do have to remember how much you pledged and when it will come through!

  2. takingitoutside Says:

    I wonder if they could do bulk orders for retailers instead of a “retailers half off” type listing. A $250 donation gets you ten slipcased sets, for example, rather than having to donate $50 ten times. I doubt there are many groups of fans organized enough to get together an order that large, but it would provide an option for retailers.

    That’s a blunt instrument though. Kickstarter clearly wasn’t designed with separate groups of supporters in mind.

  3. Johanna Says:

    They do have an extra discount if you order more than one set, so I think that’s an attempt at what you suggest.




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