EVERYTHING I LEARNED ABOUT MAKING MY FIRST SUCCESSFUL MANGA (ON KICKSTARTER)... SO FAR...
Buckle up, there's a ton of great info here for you to dive back into. Bookmark, share, and comment if this article helps. It's written as a reference guide.
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This takes place back to early 2022. I just got back from a trip to Europe for over a month and feeling more focused, I knew I needed to move forward on getting the Apeiros World Manga created.
A few things here…
I had no team. I had nowhere near the amount of visual content for this part of the project. I had no main artist for volume 1. I had no clear direction on making a Kickstarter at this point. And I didn’t have my key/core audiencefigured out or what the messaging was to newcomers.
I’ve known all along I’ve had greatness with Apeiros World as an idea and IP (intellectual property), but after having a conversation with a “consultant” they mentioned why not a Kickstarter? I was hesitant because I knew from prior experience that in order for ANY Kickstarter to be successful you need to pre-build an audience.
I figured I would have the audience piece in place before the Kickstarter, THEN move onto launching a campaign. It turns out I only found and discovered parts of my core audience AS I was building the campaign (this happened via social media ads testing.)
Let me repeat…
If you want to have a successful Kickstarter you need to pre-build your audience at least 3 months prior to launch. Ideally, for the best scenario, 6 months to a year if you’re a solo creator. This includes a marketing funnel: Initial touch point (via paid ad or in person event > send to email list capture > nurture via valuable emails > ask for pre-sale sign up at early discount/nominal deposit, make it exclusive and special for their trust > and then freaking deliver!
As a Writer/Creative Director, our biggest limitation is not being able to bring our visual ideas to life via our own volitions. We need illustrators or designers to help us, whereas visual artists might get by with crappy writing if they’re not strong in that arena; they can at least do everything 100% themselves —I owe it to everyone who's helped so far on getting to this point.
The lionshare of the work will need to be done in the pre-launch phase, it’s often the most ugly, rewarding, and semi-annoying part of the crowdfunding process because of 3 reasons:
It’s A LOT of guesswork and discovery. When it comes to figuring out numbers and the messaging. Simply put… it just takes time to test and gather data
Logistics. This part is 90/10 logistics (business) to creative (the fun stuff)
What you fail to do here, makes it harder in the end
Here’s a not-so-short list of things to keep in mind during pre-launch:
Design & Dev - start gathering video and ad assets, campaign page details and rewards, pitch video
Think as CEO, not a fan - You're building a business, not merely catering to your inner fandom. The idea needs to showcase value, but also be sexy enough to get people interested. So understand your unit economics here and plan accordingly
Think as your buyer - Be clear and concise, not clever when it comes to writing adcopy/content. Also… read this
Ads & ad testing - a nominal budget of $100 should be easy enough to maintain monthly, or $20 per ad set when running Meta ads
Audience building - it’s all about presales, ask for a small upfront deposit for a later discount via email capture
Messaging - keep it focused to: why, how, and what in your positioning of product
Economics and financing - know your costs, revenue, profit, cogs/unit economics
Consultants - crowdfunding management, seek good advice
Marketing funnel & presales - remember, it takes 7 touch points before a person buys your product/service
Congrats! Hopefully you were able to put in place everything mentioned previously… but now.
The real work is here. Luckily, this should be the fun part of the process and know that you’re halfway done, but you still need to double down on driving new and unpledged/non-purchasers to your Kickstarter.
A few quick ways:
Ads and optimization, scaling - simply put, you should have discovered which ad creatives and copy are driving the most engagement. Now you just need to add more budget
Communication - Talk. TO. EVERYONE. If it’s email/social media communication, having a predictable posting schedule is best
PR and outreach - This is something to do in pre-launch, but if it’s something you couldn’t get to, then leverage writing a press release, blog sites, or podcasts. Anywhere that will let you share your story
Leveraging partnerships - Find value and product aligned creators/brands that you have a good repertoire with and seek ways to create some synergy. Maybe offer a product of yours as a reward/upsell
Feedback - at every stage of the game you should be leveraging feedback (why did you purchase, what did/didn’t you like, if you had it your way..etc) there’s tons of UX feedback and survey questions you can find online to help send people to a quick 5 question survey (think Chick-fil-a here)
Post-Launch (To Be Continued… つづく )
Feedback & reviews
It’s bigger than comics or art….
Updates on Cons
The Apeiros World Project was accepted as a vendor at two upcoming conventions. If you’re in Philadelphia or Charlotte. Come say hey, details below.
Located at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
May 26th -28th
Books, prints, stickers, and exclusive merch will be sold
Great conversations with the creator
Located at The Charlotte Convention Center
Books, prints, stickers, and more special convention merch will be sold
Even more, great conversations with the creator of Apeiros :)
The first step in any successful marketing & sales endeavor of a product, service, or brand is #1 positioning/messaging and #2 knowing your key/core audience.
There’s so much to dive into here when it comes to ads, which I’ll save for another post
The longer you give yourself to get upwards of 300 to 1000 signups, your odds stand at 70%
Google: crowdfunding management and fulfillment/inventory companies and get advice on how best to handle a project front to back