Sunday, 10 July 2011

In Praise of Kickstarter, or how I learned to stop worrying and learned to love the online convention floor/pre-order community

It's no secret that I have a project on Kickstarter at the moment. I've spent the last two weeks posting regular updates about the project, and have all but drowned social media sites and friend's email addresses in requests to help get The Hero Code started.

What may be less well known, however, is how much of a fan and supporter I am of the idea of crowd-sourcing projects. I have backed many projects in the year plus change that I have been on Kickstarter, and have seen my faith rewarded in some incredible books.

Kickstarter is very much like an online convention, where people can pre-order titles that they like (I know Kickstarter is about more than comic books, but for the sake of this posting, I am going to focus mainly on the comic creator side of things). I like conventions. As a creator it is a great way to meet and talk with people, and to gage responses to things like pitches, comic work, art work and so on. You can really get a sense of what works in certain places.

I spend a fair chunk of my time at conventions walking around the Artist Alley and looking at new works. I've found some incredible books doing this.

Kickstarter allows me to do this with regularity and while casting a much wider net. I haven't been to too many conventions, and have been restricted to the West Coast for the most part. With Kickstarter I can check the works of artists and creators from much further afield (note: Kickstarter campaigns can only be started by US based creators at the moment).

I should also point out that I am a big Indie Comics fan, and do spend a lot of time checking new small-press titles out at stores, conventions and online.

One incredibly successful project which I backed was the reMIND graphic novel, by Jason Brubaker. Jason put together a wonderfully simple campaign, and wrote very openly about his process on his blog. An important thing to note at this stage though is that he had something of very good quality to sell.

Of the current campaigns I am backing I'd like to link to and recommend the following:

Meatspace - written by Josh Gorfain with art by Andrew Ross MacLean. I am a big fan of Andrew's art work, I think he is an incredible designer and fascinating talent. I've also had the pleasure of reading a preview of Josh's new series, Sterling, and think he is one to watch.

The Package - A book which I would snap up at a convention. A great sounding book, and a video which pitches it in an incredibly fun, charming way.

Nix Comics Quarterly - an anthology book featuring art work by two incredible talents I know of, and several others I want to find out more about, was a bit of a no-brainer for me. This is again exactly the kind of book I would snap up at a convention, and what I love Kickstarter for - a way of discovering new books.

Super - A second-time-around project which I backed first time, and am happy to re-back. A really good campaign which uses the simple is best model of offering a copy of what is being campaigned for at the entry point pledge.

Another project I would like to mention is Womanthology - which has been incredibly successful. It made it's backing amount in two days, and continues to receive pledges. It's an incredible looking project, too.

Once again, quality is the key.

All the best to my fellow campaigners!

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