caricature / children's books / convention

What mistakes have I made?

Well, I’m officially 13 days into my latest Kickstarter for my children’s picture book There’s a Zombie in the Basement (ZIB), and I’m already finding some dramatic differences between the progress of this campaign versus my first campaign from earlier this year for Vincent Price Presents: Zombicatures (VP).



A time lapse of my zombie girl from a photoshop coloring demo I did for Arapahoe Ridge High School

Now, while I was ultimately confident about my ability to fund a campaign for a children’s book that I’d been creating and promoting for over a year to a very receptive and enthusiastic audience (folks I’ve been drawing at conventions), for what I think was a very conservative, low campaign goal, as current trends go, I fear it might not happen.

So, I’ve been left to ask myself, “Why?”

I’ve learned and observed that most campaigns start fast and end fast, and you get a bit of a lull in the middle. Unfortunately, this one started slow, followed by 4 days of no new backers, and I fear it’s partially my fault for launching it on a holiday weekend, when people are preoccupied with their families and parties. But, it probably goes beyond that, and I think those of you who are planning to launch campaigns can learn from my experience.

Here are some things I did with BOTH of my campaigns:

  • I sent out press releases to both comic and local mainstream media outlets. Resulting in articles in the Westword and this time, 5280 magazine!
  • I did podcast interviews with Girls of Geek 12, and this time IMHO Podcast.
  • I created what I feel were compelling videos with compelling and meaningful reward levels. But, I do suspect I made both videos too long. So far, only a bit more than a quarter of the video plays are all the way to the end.
  • I spent over a year talking to folks I was drawing at conventions about the upcoming campaign, getting folks to sign up for my mailing list.
  • In both cases, visitors to my campaign got to see ALL of the story for free. Last time, it was via the story page images, and this time it’s in the video (which is part of the reason it’s so long)

Here are some things that I did DIFFERENTLY:

  • Unlike with the VP KickStarter, I didn’t have a campaign launch party for ZIB. I tried to connect my appearance at the Colorado Horror Con with the launch, but the event wasn’t as well attended as I had hoped, even though business was good for my zombicatures. My customers couldn’t be bribed with zombie girl refrigerator magnets and artist cards (Noodlecards by Avanti Print Graphics Ltd.) to back ZIB… yet.
  • I launched this one late in the year instead of early in the year, which without the assurance that I’d be delivering rewards by Christmas probably isn’t a good thing. To boot, anything that funds at the end of the year WILL generate taxable income without any time to incur offsetting tax deductible expense offsets. So, at the very least, I’m gambling with my 2016 earning potential and maybe eliminating a big chunk or all of my April income tax refund.
  • I only have one reward level that involves someone’s vanity. With VP, I provided around 70 different opportunities for folks’ likenesses to get drawn into my book, including many characters that had critical roles in the plot of the story. With ZIB, I only have one level, the top one, where someone can have their pet drawn into the book in a more background capacity (although a chance to be drawn in up to 15 times, including the cover).
  • Well, at no fault of my own, I don’t have the benefit of Vincent Price’s name or cover likeness to promote this campaign. Nothing I can do there.
  • I’m doing a series of crowdfunding talks to benefit those who are considering running their own campaigns, so they can learn from my experiences. Here are some of the remaining ones that are upcoming:iwmc
  • I launched a Twitter campaign this time. I haven’t had a whole lot of success with or love for Twitter in the past, but I figured I’d give it a shot to see if I could create some sort of viral advertising campaign.
  • I’m running an ad during Dan Connor’s My Gal the Zombie TV show on channel 10.1 (antenna) in Denver

Here are some other considerations that have been mentioned to me:

  • It’s my second campaign in less than a year. Am I going back to the well too often? I thought my projects were different enough that it wouldn’t matter, but I certainly could be wrong. So far it appears so.
  • Thanks to a horrible experience with the printer that was printing the VP book, rewards that I was ready to send out in September didn’t get sent out until the ZIB campaign started for the most part. Not what I planned to do, and not a good way to promote my campaign to those who backed me before who are still waiting for books from me.
  • Finally, my <bleeping> e-mail. I spent a whole lot of time getting folks to sign up for my mailing list just to find out that a bunch of them are going to people’s spam folders. In fact, the e-mail sent to my OWN e-mail address ended up getting funneled into my spam folder. Blah.

Well, I haven’t completely given up hope for this campaign yet, since it can still have a push due to these appearances and the Girls of Geek 12 video podcast has yet to be published to their site. And, I really wholeheartedly believe in my book’s appeal to people, and I just need to get people to see or read the book to fall in love with it the way all of those folks on my miserable excuse for a mailing list did.

I hope you are or can become one of those people. Please at LEAST visit my campaign, watch my video, see my story cover-to-cover and decide for yourself whether this project is worth sharing with your family or friends with children or child-like adults. You’re doing me a great service in helping me let this project see the light of day.

One thought on “What mistakes have I made?

  1. Pingback: We made it: A REAL post-mortem! | Stan Yan

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