Live @ Palm Springs Comic Con: Having no Fear of the Walking Dead with Lincoln Castellanos

December 1, 2016

I was asked to participate in four panels at Palm Spring Comic Con this year. This is the second of those panels. This time with Lincoln A. Castellanos, who plays Tobias on Fear the Walking Dead. This is by far the most traditionally famous person we’ve had on the program before. Previously, we’ve had people who were well-known, even famous, in a specific field, but Lincoln is known by the general public like none of our previous guests.

If you like this show, please subscribe, rate, and review it on iTunes. It’s the best way for us to find a bigger audience to help.

For those that don’t know, here is the first paragraph from his bio on Wikipedia:

Lincoln A. Castellanos is an American actor perhaps best known for his work on such television series and films as Fear the Walking Dead as Tobias, The Mentalist, and I Am Gangster.

If you want more of his credits, head on over to his IMDB page by clicking here.

On top of that, he’s an actor. This is the first time we’ve had an actor on the program and I was a bit nervous on whether all my research on how to build a creative business would translate to acting as it has to both visual arts and the written word.

Luckily, from our hour-long conversation, it seems like many of the same principles apply to acting as they do to other creative fields. It was refreshing to hear somebody in a wildly different field from mine talk about the process of building their career and hit many of the same notes as other past guests on our program.

Mainly, the idea of doing the work was something Lincoln hit on again and again. Through college, Lincoln spent his time making films and completing projects, so that when he graduated he had a demo reel full of great samples which helped him book roles.

Another thing he talked about was making yourself saleable to an agent before you ever get one. There’s a great anecdote Lincoln talks about, which basically boils down to him not being able to get an agent for years until he stopped looking for one. Once he stopped looking for an agent and started to focus on making himself marketable, an agent found him in the most unlikely of places.

I loved hearing about that because it’s something I talk about all the time. Until you are saleable, nobody is going to want to represent you. People want to represent those who can make them money. If you haven’t proven you can make somebody money, they are not likely to take you on as a client.

That is true as an artist, as a writer, and as an actor.

I hope you enjoy this one with Lincoln. If you do, make sure to find him on Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube @lincolntheactor.

And if you liked this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it on iTunes. It’s the best way for us to find a bigger audience to help.

 

00:0000:00

Live at Loscon: GLAWS presents How to find and work with an editor with Leslie Ann Moore and Deanna Brady

November 29, 2016

The Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society (http://www.glaws.org/) asked me to participate on two panels at LosCon this year. One of which I moderated and the other I participated as a panelist. Loscon was the first con I ever heard about when I came to LA, and I always wanted to check it out, so I’m thrilled I was finally able to get to the LAX Marriott this Thanksgiving weekend to see if for myself.

If you don't know GLAWS, they are one of the biggest writing groups on the West Coast. They host events, master classes, and conferences to help writers get ahead in their career. I've spoken at the last three of their conferences and can attest that it is a fantastic group. 

The first panel I’m sharing is the one I moderated, which was on how to know if your manuscript was done and then find an editor for it, with panelists Leslie Ann Moore (http://leslieannmoore.com/; @leslie_annmoore), a fantastic writer of many books and VP of GLAWS, and Deanna Brady (getwords@gmail.com), a wonderful editor.

This was a lot of the nitty gritty of how to edit a manuscript, and the importance of hiring an editor. I think we really hammered all of the reasons paying for an editor is one of the most important things you can do to move forward in your creative career. If you were on the fence about hiring an editor, or you wanted to know what to look for in an editor, or even if you just wanted to know how to get off the fence and write your book, this panel covers a whole lot of ground to help you on your way.

If you like this episode, please head on over to iTunes to rate, review, subscribe today.

00:0000:00

Kickstarting Comics and Books with Melissa Kirkman and Madeleine Holly-Rosing

November 24, 2016

Palm Springs Comic Con asked me to be involved in four panels at their November show, which I was thrilled about. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be releasing the live episodes from the event. 

The first one I am releasing is my Kickstarting Comics panel. Melissa Kirkman from Cali Comics moderated this panel, which was just me and Madeleine Holly-Rosing. Madeleine is a favorite of the show. This is her third appearance. She was also on the show here, and part of my How to Build an Audience from Scratch panel here. The was the breakout show for Cali Comics, who I've known for years and released their first slate of books at the show. You can check out their books here.  

This is the most pointed Kickstarter discussion we've had on the show, as it related specifically to comics and books. We touch on other types of crowdfunding campaigns, but 90% of this episode is about using Kickstarter for books, and specifically comics. 

Aside from just Kickstarter, we also talk about when to find a publisher, and how to find a publisher, the advantages of self-publishing, and many other topics, but Kickstarter for comics is the #1 focus. 

I hope you enjoy it! 

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: What are you trying to say?

November 22, 2016

One of the questions most often asked by customers is “what are you trying to say in your work?” and one of the most oft laid criticisms at the feet of artists is “it’s pretty, but it doesn’t have a point.” Both of these criticisms come back to a critical aspect in any art career, your point of view.

Point of view is more important than talent. I’ve seen the most technically proficient artwork in the world do nothing for audiences while a simple mixed media piece has brought them to tears due to its point of view.

Point of view is why you can tell Frank Miller’s work from Skottie Young’s, and Mike Mignola’s from Rob Liefeld’s. You might not like all of those artists, but you can tell their work apart from the pack the moment they put pen to paper. More importantly, their fans flock to their work because it speaks clearly to them.

In order to make great content, you need a strong point of view. You need a slant on the world. You need something that separates you from the rest of the creatives on the planet.  

Let’s do a thought experiment. Think about Tim Burton for a moment. Now think of the kinds of projects that would be perfect for Tim Burton’s view of the world. Can you imagine a couple?

Of course you can. His distinct style has been developed in the public zeitgeist for decades. 

That clarity of vision makes a good point of view. Tim Burton won’t be a good fit for 99.9% of movies, but point of view is not about that. Your goal is not to be on everybody’s list of candidates, it’s to be the number one candidate for the right person. Those projects you thought of, could you imagine anybody else directing them except for Tim Burton and doing as good a job? Probably not.

That is the power of a strong point of view. With a solid point of view, you don’t have to pitch yourself. Your ideal audience comes to you.

Point of view is the hardest part to nail down in a creative life because it takes life experience and practice to figure out. It’s why you need to make a lot of different things and finish them.

Once you’ve done a body of work, you can look back, think about your point of view, and figure out what it is you are trying to say. You can connect the dots much easier after completing several projects than you could before you began your work. Then, when you go to make a career, you can tell people exactly what you stand for and they can make a decision whether they want to stand with you or with somebody else.

If you don’t have a point of view, it’s a bit like making plain white socks. Nobody hates plain white socks and we all buy them, but we don’t care about what brand we buy. Most of us buy whatever’s cheapest. Every time we buy, we buy a different brand because we just don’t care about plain white socks. You don’t want to be plain white socks. 

On the other hand, a point of view is like having the brightest, pinkest, dragoniest socks on the planet. They won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but those who love bright pink dragon socks will flip their lid and buy ten pairs. They’ll look through the designer’s collection and buy up all of their stuff. They’ll sign up to receive updates for when the new dragon socks come out. Nobody has ever signed up to find out when the next pair of plain white socks launches.  That’s the power of a point of view.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a point of view yet. That’s normal when you first start out. The more you create the more connective thread you will find between your work, and the stronger your point of view will become.  One of the reasons artists become more successful later in their career is because they’ve developed a strong point of view.

If you already have created a decent body of work, it’s time to look back on it and ask yourself, what am I trying to say here?

 

00:0000:00

Interview #38: The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink

November 17, 2016

This week on the show we have Sheri Fink. She’s an inspirational speaker and writer I met at Los Angeles Comic Con, and a fantastic interview.

If you like this show, please rate, review and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here is her massive bio straight from www.sherifink.com

Sheri Fink is an inspirational speaker, a #1 best-selling, award-winning author, and the creator of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” inspirational brand.

She creates books, products, and experiences that inspire and delight kids of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem. All 5 of her children’s books were #1 best-sellers, including The Little Rose which was a #1 Amazon Best-seller for over 60 weeks, became the #1 Top-Rated Children’s eBook on Amazon, and was adapted into a stage play.

Sheri has expanded her brand with books, live experiences, beauty items, and music all designed to create magical experiences for her Fans. Sheri became a #1 best-selling recording artist on Amazon with the 2014 release of her first inspirational album, Love Notes.

Frequently asked about the secret to her success, Sheri released her daily practices that enable her to achieve her dreams in My Bliss Book, a daily journal designed to help you create more magic, passion, and aliveness in your life while achieving your dreams.

In 2013, CBS Los Angeles selected her as one of the top 3 authors in her local area, a distinction she shares with Dean Koontz. Sheri’s books have been honored with several awards including 3 gold medals in the Readers Favorite International Book Awards, and is a recipient of the prestigious Gold Mom’s Choice Award honoring the best in family friendly entertainment.

Sheri was honored with the 2013 Extraordinary Inspiration Award for her long-lasting commitment to spreading inspirational messages of hope and self-esteem through her books, her moving life story, and her brand.

In the words of Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul and New York Times Best-selling author of The Success Principles, “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink children’s brand is an excellent resource for award-winning and quality children’s books that encourage actions of tolerance, acceptance, and, perhaps the hardest lesson to be learned of all, staying true to the core of one’s self.”

Sheri is an empowering speaker who shares her strategies on overcoming adversity and living life with passion and aliveness as well as her inspirational journey. Her talks focus on authenticity, confidence, and personal empowerment. In addition, Sheri speaks to elementary school students about the importance of kindness, what it takes to be a successful author, and the behind-the-scenes of transforming an idea into a book.

Sheri has spoken to and inspired thousands of people throughout North America including events for PBS, Barnes and Noble at The Grove, USC, and UCLA, corporations including Macy’s and California Pizza Kitchen, and has keynoted for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Southern California Writers Conference, the American Association of University Women, and the South Bay Women’s Conference. View testimonials of Sheri’s motivational speaking.

Sheri and her books have been featured in hundreds of articles, programs, websites, and shows, including on NBC’s The 10! Show, CBS Los Angeles, The Huffington Post, Life After 50 Magazine, The Good Life with VeegMama, and Publishers Weekly. Sheri has appeared on the cover of several magazines along with feature articles that inspire readers to believe in themselves and take inspired action to transform their lives.

Sheri has been honored to participate in pop culture events including Comic-Con, the MTV Movie Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, Book Expo America, and the People’s Choice Awards.

Sheri is proud to serve as a spokesperson for Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a non-profit organization that provides free books to underprivileged elementary school students, and to volunteer in the Pediatric ICU at Children’s Hospital.

In addition, she is a founding member of the Evolutionary Business Council, an international, invitation-only council of speakers and influencers dedicated to teaching the principles of success in order to make the world a better place, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Sheri’s newest adventure is a contemporary romance. She was inspired to write Cake in Bed, her debut novel, to empower women to be their authentic selves and to not settle for less than they deserve in life or in love, because everyone deserves to have their cake and eat it too … preferably in bed!

I didn’t know what to think of Sheri when I met her at Los Angeles Comic-con, clad in a Harley Quinn outfit, but she immediately impressed me. The fact that she friended me on Facebook before I could add her was even a better indication of her legitimacy, but then I saw her website and it blew me away.

I loved talked to Sheri because she perfectly balanced the whimsy and inspiration that pumps you up with the tactical and practical information that can help get you to the next level. The thing that really resonated with me from our conversation was the idea of becoming a magnet for the right people.

Right now Wannabe Press and this show are working very hard to push our message to as many people as possible, but her message was to create a brand where the right people find you. It’s not easy to do, but I’ve been working very hard over the past year to magnetize ourselves to the right people, so Sheri’s message really hit home. Make sure to check her out on Instagram or twitter @Sheri_Fink.

I hope you enjoy this one with Sheri Fink. If you do, please rate, review and subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.

 

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: Dealing with Criticism

November 15, 2016

Whenever somebody creates, there will always be critics. Most of those critics will be people you don’t know, and that will be hard enough. However, some of those critics may be your family or even your friends. It’s incredibly hard to continue going in the face of intense criticism, especially from people you love.

Even to this day, I take criticism 100 times harder than I do praise. Nice things roll off my back, but no matter how many people praise my work, if even one person criticizes it my entire day is ruined.

And that’s massive improvement!

It used to be that my entire month was ruined. Then I cut it down to my entire week and I eventually got that down to a single day.

I’ve gotten exceedingly good at dealing with criticism, but it took a lot of work. There are several tricks that I learned in my career that allow me to keep going even in the face of extreme criticism and negativity.

  1. Surround yourself with positivity. The first step in being able to survive criticism is to surround yourself with other people who are as crazy as you, who believe in you, and are working toward the same goal as you. For work to be good it can’t be for everybody. Work without a point of view doesn’t resonate, and if you have a point of view some people won’t agree with it. That’s natural, but it’s incredibly important to have some people who believe in your point of view if you want the energy to keep going.
  2. Cut out negative people. There are certain people in your life you can’t cut out, such as family members. However, we can mostly silence them by unfollowing their profiles on social media and being around them as little as possible. This doesn’t mean cut out people because they raise valid and helpful criticisms. These are spiteful and negative people we are talking about here. There is a big difference from somebody giving constructive criticism of your work and somebody that is just negative to be hurtful.
  3. Don’t rely on others for validation. Part of why we create is so other people can experience what we do, and on some level love it. However, there is a difference between wanting other people to experience your work and needing them to like it in order to validate your creation. Relying on other people for validation means that if they don’t like it, you won’t do it. That is a very negative viewpoint and it has stopped thousands of talented artists. If you can validate yourself, then criticism with sting and rejection will hurt, but you will still be able to move on from it.
  4. Understand that showing your work brings more positive than negative. Most artists hole up in their studios unable to show their work for fear of criticism. However, the positives of showing work far outweigh the negatives. Even if your work gets a universally bad reaction, if you ask the right questions then you can understand why it was reviled and improve for next time. That’s never the case, though. You will be able to find some people that like your work, and if you can find those people it will give you the strength to carry on. Each time you release a piece more and more of those quality people will find your work, and you will be able to build a following. The more positive reinforcement you receive, the more likely you are to continue.
  5. Know that because one person didn’t like your work doesn’t mean everybody won’t like it. One person is only one person in a world of 7 billion people. For every person that dislikes your work, there is probably one that loves it. If you focus your efforts on finding those people that love it and away from people that don’t, you will be better able to survive criticism.
  6. It’s usually not personal. Just because people don’t like your work, doesn’t mean they don’t like you. I have plenty of friends who don’t get my work, don’t buy my work, and don’t care about my work. That’s okay. Those people can still love me without financially supporting me, just like I love them without supporting their work as an accountant or lawyer or whatever they do. Sometimes it is personal, and those people need to be taken out of your life, but usually criticism or lack of interest has nothing to do with you as a person.

It is always hard to deal with criticism no matter your age or success level. These tricks have worked for me only because I was willing to get out into the world and try things.

That’s the most important part of dealing with criticism, you need to get out into the world and show your work to people because it’s in the showing that you build a thick skin and develop the resilience to carry on.

00:0000:00

Live @ LACC: How to Build an Audience even if you don’t have a product…yet

November 10, 2016

This is the second live episode I recorded straight from the How to Build an Audience even if you don’t have a product…yet panel I moderated at Los Angeles Comic Con.

For this panel, we had Bryant Dillon (www.fanbasepress.com; @comicbookslayer on Twitter, Joie Foster (www.heyjoiecomics; @joieart on twitter, Mom (www.momcomics.org; @momcomics on twitter), Lynly Forrest (www.hexcomix.com; @hexcomix on twitter) and Neo Edmund (www.neoedmund.com; @neoedmund1 on twitter).

Each and every member of this panel have launched products successfully in different ways, and it was a treat to hear them all talk about their experiences. Bryant through founding a press website. Mom through founding a community. Neo through networking and social media. Lynly through shows. Joie through connections.

I loved hearing each of their experiences and how unique they were. However, it ended up at the same place as before. Don’t be a dick and make sure your networking game is strong.

I hope you enjoy this one live from Los Angeles Comic Con. If you do, please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

And if you are trying to build your own audience, join our mailing list and you’ll get a free ebook on How to Build Your Audience from Scratch. Click here and sign up today. 

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: Luck is being prepared when opportunity presents itself

November 8, 2016

You won’t get your big break before your time. This is an unfortunate truth of being a creative. It doesn’t matter who you know until you are good enough to create mind-blowing content nobody is going to hire you.

So many creatives believe that meeting Stan Lee or Steven Spielberg will change their lives. The thing is that it just might. It might change your life, but not until you are ready for it. If you meet Steven Spielberg and hand him your piece of garbage short film, he’s not going to care.

If you meet Steven Spielberg with your earth-shattering movie, he might take notice. He might not, but he might if you catch him on just the right day. But that chance meeting is luck. You have no control over luck. What you have control over is your preparation.

If you prepare properly, opportunities will present themselves. If you put yourself in the right situations opportunities will happen. If you are prepared, then you will be able to make the most of those opportunities. The right opportunities can take years to cultivate, like pulling on a rubber band. As you pull back the tension grows and grows. The harder you pull on the band, the more force it has when you finally release it. 

The trick is to find these opportunities before you are ready and cultivate them until the tension is so tight that releasing it will send your career to the stratosphere. This is possible even if you are at the beginning of your career and haven’t created anything of import yet.

So how do we do that?  

There’s an old saying among creatives: good, nice and on time. You have to be two in order to succeed. If you are nice and on time, you don’t have to be that good. If you are good and nice, you don’t have to be on time. If you are good and on time, you don’t have to be that nice.

So it follows that if you want to find opportunities, you have to master two of those qualities.

At the beginning of your career, you aren’t very good; at least not comparatively to where you will be in the future. The only two things you have control over are being nice and on time. If you can master those two, opportunities will present themselves if you put yourself in the right situations.

The nicer you are and the more on-time, the more people will want to work with you. Then, your good will grows among those who matter to your career. In time, you will learn to be good, even great, at creating things. Then, you will have all three and be unstoppable.

I call this the holy trinity of success. If you can start out just being on time and nice, people will want to help you. If you keep working at your craft, you will eventually get good. If you can be good, nice, and on time, there will be no stopping you.

It’s important to note that when you get your opportunities by being nice and on time, these will be lower end opportunities. They won’t be hiring you into your dream career. They will be using you for grunt work.

If you can just do that work with a smile, you will build up so much trust with people they will assuredly want to help you at the opportune moment. You don’t want to ask for that help until you are ready. However, when you can create great content it will be a no-brainer for them to work with you because they know you are already a pleasure. 

00:0000:00

Live @ LACC: Kickstarter vs. Self-funding with DJ Kirkbride and Mike Wellman

November 3, 2016

Last weekend I put together two panels for Los Angeles Comic Con. The first one I’ll post next week, but the last panel I put together was a rematch of the epic Self-Funding vs. Kickstarter panel Mike Wellman (co-creator of Guns A’ Blazin’; @macafro on twitter) and I had at Long Beach Comic Con. Usually, I don’t rehash old panels without getting new guests, but since this had a boxing feel, it only made sense to do a rematch.

While this was a very similar feel to our first panel, which you can listen to by clicking here, there was a lot of new information that we gave this time that we didn’t dive into last time. The questions that DJ Kirkbride (co-creator of the Biggest Bang and Amelia Cole; Eisner award winner for Popgun; @djkirkbride on twitter) asked were much different than the ones that Mary Bellamy asked in our first encounter.

We aren’t going to do this panel a third time, at least not for a while, but the combination of these two panels should give you all the information you need in order to figure out whether crowdfunding is right for you. What's great is we rambled about completely different stuff than we did last time, so between the two panels you get a really complete and robust picture of the indie creator landscape. 

I really appreciate how thorough Mike is in his points and how DJ kept us on track. Both of them truly cared about the topic and I appreciate that. 

If you want to get more information on crowdfunding, I’ve made a resource that contains everything I’ve ever written on the subject from podcast episodes to blog posts and I’ve even linked every Kickstarter campaign I’ve ever run. You can find my Kickstarter Toolkit by clicking here.

If you like this show, please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes by clicking here, or by finding us on Stitcher or anywhere you get your podcasts. 

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: Don’t make your dream project first

November 1, 2016

There is a burning desire inside all of us to create amazing, earth shattering projects. Almost everybody has their ideal project, something they’ve been burning to do since they were children; something that will set the world on fire. Whenever I meet somebody like that, and they are at the beginning of their career, I tell them the same thing; wait.

Don’t do that dream project first. Wait until you are ready. Fail on smaller projects you don’t care about. Fail where it doesn’t matter. Fail where you don’t have a massive emotional stake in what you are making. Don’t fail on the project that sets your soul on fire.

Why?

Well, there are a couple reasons.

1. You aren’t skilled enough to make the project you want to make yet. You have a long way to go before you can make something amazing, and until you can make something amazing it’s useless to try to make your dream project. Making smaller projects will help you hone your craft until you are ready for your massive epic.

2. You can’t mount a massive project because you don’t have the cash. Because you are at the beginning of your career, you don’t have the ability to find the kind of money necessary to make your dream project with your dream team. Instead, you should be making small projects you can fund, and over time you will be able to fund bigger and bigger projects. Eventually, you will be able to mount that dream project.

3. You don’t have the clout to make your dream project happen. Usually dream projects involve massive scale and scope, something that requires people to buy into your dream. Because you don’t have a track record, you can’t convince anybody of import to do anything with you. Instead, focus on building up your career so that people will want to work with you. You build your career through smaller projects and finishing things.

A great example of this is my friend David Lawson Jr. Dave and I met years ago when I was the director of photography on a short film he was producing called Silent Lucidity. This wasn’t a big project. It was all set in one room and dealt with a guy slowly going insane as he tried to break the world record for sleep deprivation.

It was a small project. I think we shot it over one weekend. But he finished it.

Then we lost touch for a few years. When we finally reconnected in LA, he made a name for himself making incrementally bigger and bigger projects until he was able to fund the kinds of projects he wanted to make. But he didn’t make that dream project first. He made a solid project he could fund and then kept getting bigger opportunities as he proved himself.

This is the ideal way to build a career, through incrementally bigger projects. More often than not, though, creatives end up abandoning careers because they can’t get their dream project created right out of the gate. They push and push and push to get that dream project done, and at the end of the day it just doesn’t happen. They spend so much time, energy, and effort on creating one project, that they burn out.

Meanwhile, other people are creating, failing, iterating, and improving, while the person that tries to create their dream project first stays still. Remember, we improve from the finishing of things.

This is not me saying don’t ever work on your dream project. It’s saying that you should build up to it. Just like buying a starter home is not the end goal of home ownership, your first project isn’t the end goal of a creative career. You need to build up cash deposits and momentum to buy that dream home. If you buy it too early, then it turns from a dream into a nightmare.

The same way with your dream project.

00:0000:00

Interview #37: What to do in the First Second of your career with Gina Gagliano

October 27, 2016

This week on the show we have Gina Gagliano from First Second books, a fine purveyor of graphic novels for every reader.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it on your favorite podcast app, whether it’s iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or others. It matters more than you will ever know.

First Second has one of the best FAQs out there as far as engaging with their audience and building a unique brand identity. I recommend you check it out, but here is a sampling of what they are about from http://www.firstsecondbooks.com:

What does :01 mean?

Is it first? Or second?
 First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh.
 Pressing the reset button. A clean slate. A fresh start.
 Everything begins with the First Second. . .

FOR THE SCIENCE MINDED:

the first second

Imagine shrinking a proton down to a billionth of its normal size… Now pack into that tiny, tiny space about an ounce of matter. Bang. You are ready to start a universe.

And so from nothing, our universe begins.

In a single blinding pulse, a moment of glory much too swift and expansive for any form of words, the singularity assumes heavenly dimensions, space beyond conception. In the first lively second (a second that many cosmologists will devote careers to shaving into ever-finer wafers) is produced gravity and the other forces that govern physics…

A fraction of a moment after the dawn of creation, the universe underwent a sudden dramatic expansion. It inflated — in effect ran away with itself, doubling in size every 10(-34) seconds. The whole episode may have lasted no more than 10 (-30) seconds — that’s one million million million million millionths of a second — but it changed the universe from something you could hold in your hand to something at least 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times bigger. Inflation theory explains the ripples and eddies that make our universe possible. Without it, there would be no clumps of matter and thus no stars, just drifting gas and everlasting darkness.

— From Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything

I think that’s a brilliant way to build empathy with the right readers. It shows the kind of personality behind the books, and more importantly the personality behind the people behind the books.

We talked about that a little bit with Gina, but more importantly we talked about things that we’ve never talked about before. Most of our guests are indie, and First Second is certainly not that. They are owned by Macmillan, a giant in the publishing space. Even though they are small, they have the support of a massive brand behind them.

That’s what made my conversation with Gina so interesting. She was able to talk from a much wider and more longitudinal view of many, many projects. She talked about the three-year time horizon from signing an author to having a book come out. For most people in the indie world, that is an insane length of time.

First second does that several dozen times a year. So they have to think in the short and long term. First Second also has one of the most extensive networks of bookstore and library distribution, if not the biggest, of any guest we’ve had so far, so it was nice to talk about how to plan for that kind of growth. Gina talked about the shows she attends and the strategy she used to make each of them a success.

But we talked about so much more than just shows. Gina laid out a sample plan for how she brings a book to market. I think only Colleen Dunn Bates was so thorough in her episode. Listening to both in tandem would be a great idea. You can find Colleen’s episode here.

Gina went step by step through her entire marketing plan, and how to dissect the best methods for your book launch even if you don’t have a publisher. It was fascinating to listen to her break that down, and also break down the different target markets for books.

This is something I struggled with all year, but haven’t articulated on the podcast, so I’m glad she did. The world is not just split up into adult, YA, and kids. There are many gradations that must be met when you are planning your marketing. Nearly every age gets split into its own category, and the marketing changes depending on the target market.

That’s one of the main reasons why Wannabe Press abandoned the children’s market. It was just too much work to segment our small market in so small a way. It didn’t work for us. This is one of the most important concepts you need to understand before developing a marketing plan. Where is your market?

I really enjoyed this episode with Gina and she dropped knowledge bombs galore. If you want to learn more about First Second, check them out online at www.firstsecondbooks.com or on twitter @01firstsecond.

If you liked this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it on your favorite podcast app, whether it’s iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or others. It matters more than you will ever know.

00:0000:00

Sell your Soul: You suck at first and that’s okay

October 25, 2016

Ira Glass has one of my favorite quotes of all time. I thought about butchering it through paraphrase, but instead I will provide it here in its entirety, even though it’s long. It’s just that awesome.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

This is a very Ira Glass way of saying you suck when you start out, but you shouldn’t let it stop you. The sucking is what stops lots of talented artists from continuing on to greatness. Most people will try something for a while, get bummed out that their work is crappy, and just give up. What they put on the page just isn’t what they see in their mind’s eye.

I have a secret for you.

I’m an excellent writer and I know tons of amazing creatives, yet none of us can get on the page what we see in our mind’s eye either. All we can do is get as close as possible.

The flat out honest truth is that you aren’t very good when you begin and that’s okay. Nobody is very good when they start out. Stephen King, Picasso, and Beethoven sucked when they first sat down to fulfill their greatness. Some people advance quicker than others, but we all start out sucking. It’s only through practice and determination that we become great.

It’s important not to compare yourself to other artists who are further ahead on their journey than you. You don’t see the thousands of hours it took them to master their craft. All you see is the end result.

If you want to feel better about your own art, go and google your favorite artist and check out some of their first work. I’m not talking about first published work. I’m talking about the first work they ever posted online. Most of them forget about the first art they posted and never take it down. There are also whole threads on Twitter and Reddit where artists show their first works and how they’ve improved.

It’s startling how crappy your favorite artist was even a few years before they broke into the mainstream.

They sucked too, just like everybody does at first, but that didn’t stop them. They kept going. They completed projects. They finished things. They learned. They improved. And then they broke through. In that order.

00:0000:00

Interview #36: Becoming one of the Pros with Steve Stormeon

October 21, 2016

Welcome back Wannabe and Creators. Today on the show we have SteveStormeon, creator of the Pros and co-founder of Giles Corey Press.

I hope you enjoy this one with Steve. If you do, please head on over to iTunes,Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe, rate, and review us today. It takes just a couple seconds and helps more than you will ever know.

Here’s his bio straight from his website at www.stevestormoen.com.

It might sound ridiculous in a world holding seven billion humans on it, but I do still believe that we all change the world. We can’t help but change the world; we change it just by showing up.
The trick, I think, is to make sure your change is something you can be proud of. I’m trying.

And here is the bio for his publishing company, Giles Corey Press, straight fromwww.moreweight.net.

Giles Corey Press is a purveyor of fine fiction for the anarchist community. We create, print, and distribute works that in the mode of the best storytellers pass on history, feed our imagination, and create new myths while deconstructing the old. Our theory of change is that fiction is a collective practice — an exchange of stories, visions, and dreams — that builds community through conversation and empathy.

We are three friends hailing from a small town surrounded by a military base on three sides and a prison on the fourth, with a Walmart in the middle. We are each pursuing our Thing while trying to make it straddle the precarity of late capitalism and our spiritual belief in anarchism.

If you can’t guess, Steve is a political activist who has worked with non-profits most of his adult life. Even though we tried to avoid it, our political proclivities came out a couple of times. With the election so close and Steve being the kind of person that he is, we just couldn’t help ourselves, but we always tried to keep it short.

Otherwise, Steve talked a lot about creating SMART goals, how passion influences everything he does, the importance of having a plan, and knowing what you want to say before you create something. I love that Steve creates work with a purpose because that’s what we try to do at Wannabe Press. One of our important tenets is “entertainment with a point”, and that’s also something that Steve takes to heart.

Additionally, I love that he called his book a “ball of weird”, which is something that I’m going to use from now on.

I hope you enjoy this one with Steve. If you do, please head on over to iTunes,Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe, rate, and review us today. It takes just a couple seconds and helps more than you will ever know.

If you are considering your own Kickstarter, I created a Crush it on Kickstartercourse which is everything you need to know to create, launch, and fund your Kickstarter. If you click here, you can get the whole course for just $7.

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: Finish Things

October 18, 2016

When people ask me how I got to the place I am today, I often tell that it’s because I finished things. I finished novels. I finished graphic novels. I finished comic books. I finished podcasts. I finished nearly everything I set my mind out to do.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to our mailing list at www.thebusinessofart.us. Additionally, make sure to subscribe, rate, and review on iTunesStitcher, or anywhere you download your podcasts. 

Even when I didn’t like something, I still finished it. Why? Because it is in the finishing of something that learning happens. It’s not in the starting something. This is because it is very easy to take something to 90% completed. You can begin a novel today and have it finished in a couple of weeks if you are only concerned about a first draft.

However, for writing the true mastery is in the editing. It’s in discovering how everything fits together to make a cohesive story. Those synapses in your brain only fire once you have completed the first draft and started synthesizing all that gooey information into something that makes sense.

The same thing is true in all forms of art. It’s not hard to create a sculpture form that looks vaguely like a person and give up. It’s not hard to draw a sketch, or doodle in a sketch book. Those skills are found in many people. However, developing that raw form into a finished product is where the skill comes in.

And that first finished product is going to be awful, but you will learn so much about technique that your next finished product will be better. You will only get better with each successive finished project, and faster as well. That is the irony of finishing things. While it might take you 10 hours to finish a crappy art print today, next year, after finishing dozens of them, you might be able to crank out a masterpiece in only a couple of hours.

In finishing projects, you will strengthen the connective tissue in your brain that helps you figure out the whys and hows behind things not working, and that’s when you start leveling up quickly.

As you complete projects your respect in the creative community grows, as does your skill. By completing a project, you are seen as somebody that finishes things, and that is a rare quality. In finishing things, you start believing in yourself more as well.

The more projects you finish, the more professional you will become. The mark of an amateur is starting things. The mark of a professional is finishing them.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to our mailing list at www.thebusinessofart.us. Additionally, make sure to subscribe, rate, and review on iTunesStitcher, or anywhere you download your podcasts. 

If you want to check out our archives without any of the pesky commercials, click here and check out our entire archives, commercial free, for just $20. That's 74 episodes, over 8.5 hours of content, all for just $20. Click here to check it out today. 

00:0000:00

Live @ APE: How to Build an Audience from Stratch with Gwendolyn Dreyer and Norm Harper

October 13, 2016

This past week I put together another How to Build an Audience from Scratch panel for Alternative Press Expo 2016. While this is the same title as my panel from Long Beach Comic Con, I promise the information is very different. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could do this panel 20 times a year and get different information from every single one.

Of course, that’s because I keep mixing up the panelist. This time we have Gwendolyn Dreyer, business manager of editor of Monster Elementary (www.monsterelementary.com; @monsterelem on twitter), and Norm Harper, publisher of Karate Petshop (www.karatepetshop.com; @karatepetshop on twitter).

I specifically brought in Norm and Gwen because they are very different than my last panelists. Norm is a new publisher who has been in business for only one year. So we talked about how he is going about building an audience from scratch right now, today. His insights are very different than Gwen’s, who has been working on Monster Elementary for several years. Since she is not a publisher, her insights come from a singular product point of view. While they have multiple volumes of Monster Elementary, they are focused on a single product instead of a line of products.

Both Norm and Gwen gave fantastic insights on what they would do if they could wipe the slate clean and start again. Our conversation was very focused on new creators getting started today, but the tactics, tips, and strategies we talk about can be used for anybody at any stage of their career.

I hope you enjoy this episode with Gwen and Norm!

 

00:0000:00

Sell Your Soul: Make it Once. Sell it Forever.

October 11, 2016

Perhaps the most important concept when it comes to the idea of making great content is that you only have to make the content once, but you have the ability to sell it forever.

This is antithetical to the mindset of most creators, who try to find the cheapest way to make something so they can save a bit of money in the short run, foregoing the prospect of selling it for the next decade.

This is a dangerous mindset. Short term planning is only part of the equation of building a career. The true value of creating things is in the long term ability to sell it for the next thousand years.

Take something like Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll’s famous book was released in 1865. I have read that book multiple times in my life and owned several editions, yet I was born over 100 years from its release. It’s produced so well that it’s still printing money for publishers over a century later. That is the power of making the best product you can and then selling it forever.

Another example from the consumer product space would be the Big Mac from McDonald’s. The Big Mac was created in 1967, and is still sold to this day with the same “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun”.

McDonald’s spent millions of dollars testing, researching, and perfecting the Big Mac, and it only cost a couple of bucks to buy.

Why would they do that? Because of long-term planning.

That an initial investment of millions has led to billions of income in the ensuing decades since its release. They wouldn’t have created the Big Mac if they only thought in the short term, they knew investing in a slamming product could pay off forever.

That should be the philosophy we taking with our own content. Creators that cheap out on hiring artists, or book covers, or paper stock for their prints, or website design will always have trouble selling their content comparatively to those who don’t, and in the end they would not have saved much money, at least in the long run.

Let me give you an example with some hard numbers. If you don’t like hard numbers, just skip to the next section now.

The difference in paying an artist $50 and $100 a page in the short term is the difference of a few thousand dollars. On a 100-page book, the cost of a $50/pg artist is $5,000. The cost of a $100/pg artist is $10,000.

Upfront that seems like a huge difference, and initially it is. But that is short term thinking.

You see, the $100/pg artist will usually increase your sales by 10 times. So if that $50/pg artist can sell 100 books for you a year, the $100/pg artist can return 1,000 books a year.

On a $10 book, in one year that would be $1,000 of revenue versus $10,000 in revenue. Which means after one year on the market, the $100 artist has paid for themselves while the $50 artist still needs to recoup $4,000 to make your investment worthwhile and earn out of what you paid them.

That’s a dramatic difference, but on an even longer term time horizon there is an even more dramatic difference.

If we plot these two books out for ten years, the $100 artist has returned $100,000 on 10,000 sales while the $50 artist has only returned $10,000 on 1,000 sales.

Yes, they both have earned out, but the $100 artist cost you $1 per unit sold ($10,000 initial investment/10,000 units sold) while the $50 artist cost you $5 per book sold ($5,000 initial investment/1,000 units sold).

Isn't that incredible?

The more expensive artist is actually 5x cheaper on the long term time horizon than the cheaper one, which is something Marvel learned decades ago.

Now, I’m not saying every artist is worth their price, or that you can expect to get 10x more from every book you do, and you should certainly price compare everything, but I will say that the difference in sales is astounding when you invest in your product up front.

You see it with prints, and blog posts, and sculptures too. If you spend a little bit of time and effort investing in your product on the front end, your payoff can be dramatic. 

00:0000:00

Live @ SCVCC - How to Make a Career as an Artist with Dave Olbrich, Bobby Timony, and JD Correa

October 6, 2016

This past weekend I was asked to moderate a panel at Santa Clarita Valley Comic Con (http://www.scvcomiccon.com) about how to make a career as an artist with panelists JD Correa (@jdcorreasketchart on Instagram), Bobby Timony (http://www.twincomics.com: @BTimony on Twitter), and Dave Olbrich (http://spacegoatproductions.com; @DaveOlbrich on Twitter)

This was a great combination of talents. Bobby works on comic books as far ranging as Monster Elementary for Space Goat and the Simpsons. JD Correa does a ton of prints and sketch covers, and Dave has worked on the publishing side for 30 years with the likes of Malibu Comics. Together, this panel combined three very different viewpoints on what it takes to make a career as an artist.

This panel shows there is not one way to make it. There are tons of ways to have a sustaining and fulfilling career as an artist. At one point I ask everybody what one tip they would tell their former selves to cut a year off getting to where they are now. Their answers are both profound and funny.

We also talked about how to keep getting work, how to network better, and several secrets of success. As with all my panels, I tried to give the panelists equal time, and they worked well bouncing off each other. Because their careers have been so different it was great to see the insights each person brought to the table.

I learned a ton of valuable information from the panelists, but it really boiled down to two things. I would ruin what they are, but if you can just accomplish two things, as learned in this panel, you can survive as an artist.

Like I say at the beginning, this isn’t about a shortcut. Being an artist is a brutal struggle. Honestly, even when you “make it” there is still massive struggle. All this panel tries to do is figure out how to cut a little bit of time off your struggling.

I think we accomplished that. I hope you enjoy it.

00:0000:00

Sell your Soul: What Kind of Creative Do you Want to Be?

October 4, 2016

The first thing we must do to develop a successful career as a creative is to ask ourselves what kind of creative interests we want to pursue. This is called strategic planning. I know it sounds like a stuffy business term, but let me give you an example of why strategic planning is critically important to your career.

When I first launched Wannabe Press, I spent the first 14 months after its inception working inside my business, doing all of the day to day work to keep my business afloat. I didn’t worry about building for the future. I didn’t worry about branding. I didn’t worry about my ideal client. All I worried about was the next sale. And that is really unsatisfying. By November of 2015, I was floundering. There was very little growth in my business month over month and I was going crazy from stress.

That’s because I didn’t know what was going on in my business. I had no idea what was working in my creative life. I didn’t know why people were buying my books or even who was buying them. I just knew they were being bought. It felt like I learned nothing and was no closer to being successful than the day I launched.      

So what did I do?

I took the month of December 2015 off from my company. That might sound like a luxury, but I was willing to risk one month of sales to figure out what made my business function. I knew I didn’t want to stay floundering in my business, and the only way for it to grow was to discover what was going wrong and what I was doing right. I learned so much in that month about what worked and didn’t that by January I was chomping at the bit to get back to Wannabe Press.  

I went back to work in January implementing all the systems and hypotheses I discovered in December, fine tuning them, and building a brand identity. By February, we came out of the gate with a redesign and massive momentum. We more than double our growth year over year, and our audience exploded. Because of our new mascot, banners, and cohesive brand, people recognized us show after show and we were able to continue that conversation online. More importantly, we were able to target our message to the exact right people instead of shouting into the ether.

Did all of our assumptions work? No. Some of them crashed and burned. A couple blew up in my face. However, being able to start with a hypothesis allowed us to test to see if those assumptions were valid

In the same way, you need to start with assumptions about your career. You need hypotheses about what you want to do and where you want to go. They don’t need to be right. You could start out trying to be a cartoonist and realize you hate it, but it’s important that you have an initial hypothesis. Only then can you work toward testing that hypothesis. Without one, you are left sitting on the sidelines flailing in the dark.

So how do we start with our strategic planning? It’s as simple as asking a couple of questions:

1.       What creative field do you want to pursue? If you are on the fence, choose one field to start. Remember, we are just building a hypothesis here. You might hate the work you do after testing it, but at least then you will be able to cut something off your list. When narrowing your focus, cutting something off a list is often as important as finding your ideal career path out of the gate.

2.       What is your ideal company to work for in your chosen field? Even if you want to work freelance and build your own thing, it’s important to answer this question because it will give you a company structure and audience to emulate. One of the most important pieces of advice I ever got in business was to model success. Successful companies spend millions of dollars on marketing. With a little time investment, you can see exactly what works for their business. Those same strategies can work for you too, with none of the capital investment.

3.       Who is your favorite creative in your chosen field? This can be any creative you admire, but it needs to be in the chosen creative field you want to pursue. They don’t have to work for your ideal company, but they shouldn’t hate that company either. Then, you can emulate and model the career path they took and use it as a guide.

4.       If you were to pursue this field, where would you want to be in 5 years? In 3 years? In 1 year? In 6 months? In 3 months? In 1 month?  In 1 week? People over overestimate what they can achieve in one year and underestimate what they can achieve in five years. However, both short term and long term planning are incredibly important to your success. Short term planning gives you an immediate goal which is attainable. Long term planning gives you a vision for the future.

Now that you have those four questions answered, hang them over your desk, bed, or somewhere else that you can easily see them every day. You should be able to look at your long term goals and short term goals constantly and either validate them or realize your assumptions were incorrect.

If they were incorrect, that’s okay. You can always revise your plan midstream. Don’t do it every day, though. Make sure to only revise your plan when you’ve hit those benchmarks of 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and one year.

You should have at least one hour of strategic planning time built into every week. You should also have a longer strategy session every three months, about half a day, in order to reevaluate the assumptions you made from the previous quarter, reinforce or change your assumptions for the next quarter, and change your strategic plan as necessary.

Every year you should have an even longer session to analyze your entire year and plan for the next one. This is a living, breathing document and if it no longer fits with your goals, then it’s okay to start again. 

00:0000:00

Live @ LBCC: How to Build an Audience from Scratch with Barbra J Dillon, Nick Marino, and Madeleine Holly Rosing

September 30, 2016

How to Build an Audience from Scratch is the third and final panel I was on at Long Beach Comic-Con. I feel like I had the complete experience this year. I hosted a workshop, moderated a panel, and was a featured guest on a panel.

This is the panel that I moderated with Barbra Dillon from Fanbase Press (http://www.fanbasepress.com, @barbrajdillon on Twitter), Nick Marino from Holy F*ck (http://holyfckcomic.tumblr.com, @nickmarino on Twitter), and Madeleine Holly-Rosing from Boston Metaphysical Society (http://bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com, @mhollyrosing on Twitter)

Both Barbra and Madeleine have been on the show before. You can listen to Barbra by clicking here, and Madeleine by clicking here. Someday soon I hope to get Nick on too. Stay tuned for that.

I worked very hard to find panelists for this panel that had varying experiences building their audiences. Barbra’s Fanbase Press is both a publishing company and a member of the comic press. Madeleine built her audience through self-publishing and Kickstarter. Nick built his audience through zines and working with publishers.

Each of them has a unique point of view that can help you get to the next level. Our focus truly was how to build an audience from scratch. So often these panels fail to deliver actionable advice for the attendees. This isn’t one of those panels. We gave very specific instructions on how to build that audience, how to talk to the press, and how to present yourself at shows.

Even if you are not outgoing like me, you can find something in this panel which can help you succeed. I hope you enjoy it.

00:0000:00

Episode 35 - Going from a Stray to Working for Marvel with Sean Izaakse

September 29, 2016

Today on the show we have Sean Izaakse (pronounced Issacs). Sean is the co-creator of Stray from Action Labs. He also drew on the Pathfinder series for Dynamite. Recently, he was hired for two issues on Thunderbolts from Marvel.

If you like this episode, please subscribe today on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Even though the audio was janky, Sean was a fantastic guest. What I loved most about his interview is how he planned his career one step at a time with the end goal in mind. He knew he wanted to draw comics, but couldn’t make that happen while working a shitty job. So he made a plan to get a better job so he had more time for his art. That led him to become a graphic designer, which wasn’t his passion but still utilized his skill set.

What I wanted to crack with this interview was how he went from South Africa to Marvel. I am fascinated by people who can make it in the business from a remote location. Even though there is a comics scene in South Africa, it certainly it’s LA or New York. I love how Sean talked about growing his career over time. He talked about how your first 1,000 pages are shit and you have to get through them as fast as possible so that you can do good work.

I heard a similar statistic when I was coming up as a screenwriter. People told me the first ten scripts are garbage, so my goal became cranking out ten of my best scripts as quickly as possible. I don’t know if 1,000 pages is the right number for artists, but the 10 script mark was certainly the breaking point for me to learn what I was doing.

There is a concept of niceness that Sean brought up too that I want to touch on. Sean got his job on Thunderbolts from working with Jim Zub, who we just had on the show in the last interview. You can listen to that by clicking here.

He echoed what Jim talked about regarding niceness. Sean treated people like a human for a long time before he got his breaks, but because people wanted to work with him and he did good work, things started to happen for him. You never know where those breaks will come, and Sean talked about how editors from small projects went on to bigger companies, and thought of him because they liked working with him. I just can’t overstate how critical that is for your success. The old adage of nice, on time, and good has shifted. Now you have to be all three.

This was a fascinating look into an artist’s brain who knew where he wanted to be and plotted out how to get there. Hearing how Sean plotted from CD store to graphic designer, to Marvel was a joy to hear and I know you will get a ton out of it too.

If you like this episode, please subscribe today on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere you get your podcasts. We are pushing out a lot of content these days, and you will miss some if you don’t subscribe.

Enjoy the episode.

00:0000:00

Live @ LBCC: Kickstarter vs. Self-funding with Mary Bellamy and Mike Wellman

September 28, 2016

I had three panels at LBCC this year, and I’m bringing them all to The Business of Art so that the people who didn’t get a chance to be there can enjoy it too. There were tons of exhibitors on the floor and Wannabe that live outside of Los Angeles, or were too busy, that didn’t have a chance to get to the panel and this information is just too good not to share.

If you were at Long Beach, the Kickstarter vs. Self-funding panel was the one you were most likely to see since it was in the big Rumble Room instead of the Creator’s Lab. It was packed with people who wanted to see the advantages of each, and boy did Mike Wellman, Mary Bellamy, and I deliver.

Mike Wellman co-owns the Comic Bug comic book stores in Los Angeles and is the creator of several books, most notably Guns A’ Blazin’ (www.thecomicbug.com; @macafro on twitter). Mary Bellamy is a creator who draws and writes the Zorilita brand (www.marybellamy.com; @zorilita on Twitter), along with working for publishers on things like My Little Pony, among others.

Mary moderated the discussion between Mike and I. She did a great job reigning us in when we got off track. I was surprised at where the discussion took us, and we covered a wide range of topics about the benefits of self-funding, the pride you feel when you make a book from scratch and release it wide, and why Mike won’t ever use Kickstarter. We also talked about how to start getting data, building a business, and letting people in on the process with Kickstarter.

Nobody can ever get me to turn my back on Kickstarter. More than being the reason I even have a business, they are the way I learned how to run a business. They were the educational platform that taught me the mechanics of everything that I do with this podcast now. However, this panel gave me a fascinating insight why somebody would choose the self-funding route when it comes to both creating content and selling it.

If you like this episode, please subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher Google play, or anywhere else you download your podcasts. We’ve already got an archive of over 100 episodes and growing fast. If you don’t subscribe, you will miss something.

If you want to check out our archives, the best place to listen commercial free is by heading to our premium collection of every Business of Art lesson from the first 100 episodes. It’s over 8 hours of content, completely commercial free, for just $20. Check it out by clicking here.

00:0000:00

Hard Lesson 19: 12 Things I learned from running four kickstarter campaigns this year

September 27, 2016

I just wrapped up my fourth Kickstarter campaign in 12 months. Katrina Hates the Dead ran from September until October 2015. Then My Father Didn’t Kill Himself ran from February to March 2016. Then I Can’t Stop Tooting: A Love Story ran from April to May 2016. Finally, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs ran from August 2016 to September 2016.

Along the way, we also launched Gherkin Boy and the Dollar of Destiny Activity book without Kickstarter, but for the most part all our launches this year have involved a Kickstarter. We tried to run a Kindle Scout campaign for Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, but that was a disaster. You can check out my thoughts on that by clicking here.

I thought about talking about Spaceship Broken solely on this episode, but I would be remiss not to discuss what I learned from all the campaigns we’ve run this year. I thought I was an expert on Kickstarter after Katrina. Ha! That is just one category, we dove into the publishing category this year and it was like a whole different ballgame.

So what lessons did I take away from four Kickstarter in one year?

1. You better be damn well sure you have an audience who likes you and will buy your stuff before you plan a Kickstarter every quarter.

There’s a big difference between putting together one book a year on Kickstarter and doing multiple books a year. When you are doing one book, you can get a lot more money raised because this is your only book. However, if you are doing a bunch of books, people will just wait for the next one. You segment and fragment your audience because everybody knows the next one is coming along soon. So instead of raising $10,000 from one book, you may find yourself raising the same $10,000 but on a bunch of books.

If you want to do a bunch of campaigns, you must build an audience consistently that works their way down you funnel so that you can raise money consistently on each campaign.

2. Just because somebody likes your comics doesn’t mean they’ll like anything else you do.

This goes for anything, whether you are a fine artist or a novelist. When you move into a new genre of format, most people won’t follow you. We opened up into novels and kid’s books this year, and saw our total backers drop considerably from 294 with Katrina down to 155 with My Father Didn’t Kill Himself and finally down to 65 at our lowest, before rebounding back up to 75 with Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs.

With our comics, we could count on 200–300 backers, but by expanding into other genres and formats, those numbers went down considerably because people that knew me from comics didn’t trust me to make a quality novel.

3. A higher backer count does not mean more money.

Our Katrina campaign raised $8780 from 294 backers. Between the other 3 campaigns we ran this year we raised $7459 from 295 backers. Logically, you would assume we would raise almost the same amount from the same amount of backer, but we came up with a $1321 loss from roughly the same backers.

This also goes back to our previous discussion about splitting your audience. In 2016, we raised less than we raised in the entirety of 2015, from almost the exact same number of backers, but we raised it on three projects (MFDKH, SBNR, and ICST) instead of one (KHTD). This is a perfect example of how you can segment your audience into three projects but not make more at the end of the day.

4. You need to give your audience enough time to read your work.

It takes about 6–9 months for somebody to read a book they bought. I have people who’ve had my books for over a year and haven’t read them. If you want people to back your new work, you need to give them time to fall in love with your last work. One of the main failings of the Spaceship Broken campaign was that we didn’t give people enough time to enjoy My Father Didn’t Kill Himself.

This goes in tandem with allowing people to build a fervor for your books by dripping out information over time, giving people samples, and generally talking about your projects for enough time that interest is built. You can’t just drop a book, even to your existing audience, and expect them to froth at the mouth for it immediately.

5. You better be really good at marketing your books.

When you start doing multiple projects, you will be hitting your audience a lot. For the month leading up to the campaign you will be building hype, for the month of the campaign you will be slamming them with information, and for the month after you’ll be doing wrap-ups. That’s a three-month cycle for every campaign. If you launch 4 books a year, that means you are continuously in a launch cycle.

So you have to get really good at providing value to people, building your hype without it coming across as begging. You need to know your audience down pat.

6. You can’t assume everybody will buy from you.

When you launch one product a year, you can assume more people will back your project, even if they aren’t jazzed by it.

When you are launching multiple books a year, though, you have to become okay with people backing what interests them, and not everything you do. This is a huge mindset shift for most people because they are used to a massive swell of people backing their only Kickstarter for that year.

7. Not everything will be a rousing success just because you made it.

Just because you made it, doesn’t mean it will resonate with your audience. Maybe you made something that is a super niche, like Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs. Or maybe you wanted to test out a new market and it didn’t work, like I Can’t Stop Tooting. Or maybe you were trying to break into a new medium, like My Father Didn’t Kill Himself.

No matter what it is, you can’t assume that it’s going to be a breakout hit just because you made it. It’s the same with all mediums. Jared Leto isn’t going to get the same reaction to Suicide Squad as he does to his indie movies. Your products won’t be any different. Some will surprise you. Some will disappoint you.

And some will completely change the landscape of what you do.

8. Kickstarter is just one way to launch a product

I launch products on Kickstarter, but I also launch products at shows. I have launched products right to Amazon. Kickstarter is good for certain products, but it is certainly not the only way to launch a product. However, the principles of Kickstarter hold true on every campaign, from pricing to videos to sales letters, Kickstarter is a microcosm of how to launch any product. What you learn there can be expanded into everything you do.

9. Kickstarter can hamper your live show sales.

When you have multiple products, Kickstarter can stop people from buying books that already exist on your convention table. You are basically exchanging immediate sales for the potential that a product will launch successfully in the future. That’s a high-risk gamble.

When you have several products already, those become the focus at live shows. You have tangible products that can be sold, which becomes the focus of your table. Kickstarter works against you in that scenario, because you forego sales of your existing properties to make money for your launch.

That is just swapping operational money for launch money. All your money goes into the same pool at the end of the day. If you are exchanging convention sales for Kickstarter sales, it doesn’t net you any more money at the end of the day.

10. Kickstarter fatigue is a very real thing.

Even though you can launch products all the time if you want, there is fatigue that sets in with both you and your audience. With Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, I was already aware of this fatigue. I wanted to avoid yet another burnout from my audience, but the failure of my Kindle Scout campaign made launching my third Kickstarter of 2016 a certainty.

If you launch multiple products in a year, it’s best to vary your launches and do some on Amazon, some on Kickstarter, and still other straight from your site. The less you can rely on one platform the less burnout you will receive from your audience.

11. A campaign that didn’t raise much money might still work on your table.

None of my campaigns from 2016 have burned up the charts, but My Father Didn’t Kill Himself and I Can’t Stop Tooting: A Love Story both found audiences when I put them online and on the con table. Just because your campaign doesn’t do gangbusters doesn’t mean you can’t sell your books.

12. Kickstarter has to integrate with the other aspects of your business.

Kickstarter is a great way to build and maintain and audience, but it’s only a piece of your marketing and business strategy. It has to integrate with your con strategy and your Amazon strategy too. You can’t focus all your energy on Kickstarter to the detriment of the rest of your business, nor vice versa. You need to find a balance.

While Kickstarter still has a big place in my business, it’s becoming a smaller and smaller piece of it. As retail, Amazon, and my con table takes but a huge slice of my revenue, Kickstarter has become a way for me to amplify important projects and reach people who don’t live near me. It provides me with a base of funds for projects and allows me to get pre-orders to fulfill my print minimums.

Kickstarter is an essential piece of my business. However, it is now only a piece instead of the whole thing. Together, we’ve done almost $40,000 in revenue this year. $7,459 is a massive piece of that, but it’s only 25%. In years past it was 90% or more. I’m very proud of that.

00:0000:00

Live @ LBCC: How to Crush it On Kickstarter Workshop

September 26, 2016

This weekend at LBCC, I finally got my ish together and recorded all my panels. I moderated one, I was one of two guests on another, and the third was a workshop. I’m going to release them all because most of you weren’t in these panels and I want to make sure you can extract as much value as possible from them.

The first one I’m releasing is my Crush it on Kickstarter workshop. This was just me and a few devotees. I believe there was seven or eight people in total, so we were really able to dig deep. Instead of my previous workshops, I abandoned the slide show and improvised. I never thought I could have gone off script earlier this year. However, in expanding my mission into all business, and having this podcast, I was able to explain how to use Kickstarter to launch your career and use it as Business 101 for creatives.

I learned business through Kickstarter. It gave me the knowledge to understand marketing. Then, I grew from it. I still use Kickstarter as a piece of my business, but it’s not my whole business. That’s what we talk about in this panel. I use Kickstarter to cite how business really works. We get into some amazing mindset stuff in this panel along with practical advice on when to launch, how to launch, and how to use Kickstarter as a building block into creating an amazing business in the arts.

I hope you enjoy this panel. Let me know what you think. If you like it, subscribe on itunes, stitcher, google play, or anywhere else you get podcasts. We have some amazing stuff coming up that you don’t want to miss out. While you are there, leave us a review so we can help more people.

00:0000:00

31 Tips to help you crush it on Kickstarter

September 23, 2016

With our campaign over, I thought it would be nice to have a round-up of all our Kickstarter tip episodes while I worked on a retrospective of our latest campaign. I’m sure you’ve missed one in the past thirty-one days, and even if you caught them all it’s a great way to download the information into your brain noodle one last time and have a bookmark to return in the future as you plan your own campaign.

Below are all thirty-one Kickstarter tips we gave out during our mini-season. However, if you really want to hear some extra content, I highly recommend downloading the episode too.

Tip #1: Start early.

You should be building your audience for at least three months before you launch a campaign. You can’t be successful in crowdfunding without a crowd.

That means showing off your project, starting a Facebook group, beefing up your social media presence, making press contacts, and building a newsletter.

The more time you have to build your network and prep them for a Kickstarter project that’s coming, the more likely they will be to back your campaign when it’s time.

Tip #2: Send individual thank you notes to backers.

When somebody gives you their hard earned money it is only polite to say thank you. It’s easy for us to treat our backers as money, but they are humans and adding the human touch will improve your connection.

On top of being the right thing to do, it will also stem the loss of backers toward the middle of your campaign because you are making a connection.

Tip #3: Stretch goals should always make your core product better.

Most people have terrible trouble with stretch goals. Once a project funds the backers fall off because there’s nothing more to keep their interest.

You can change that by making sure your stretch goals always improve the quality of your project. For instance, if you have a book that is a 100-page soft cover comic, you can add extra pages at the end as a stretch goal, you can add an extra story, you can make your soft cover a hardcover, you could make your book a bigger size.

Meanwhile, the original backer is still paying the same amount for their pledge, and they are getting a better product. Nobody cares about the bookmarks and prints. They just want the coolest project they can get.

Tip #4: Keep your rewards simple.

There is no need to add multiple options for similar items. Each reward should be targeting a specific buyer, and have enough space in between to clearly delineate the right buyer for that product.

I recommend you start with a $1, $10, $25, $50, and $250 for a standard book. Certain products will not fall into this range, but for a publishing product like a book or CD these five categories should be your base. You can always add more later.

Tip #5: make deposits into the good will bank.

Good will is a finite resource, and you will use it up when you run a campaign. In order to make running a Kickstarter palatable to your audience, you need to add value to people’s lives for months and months before you ask them to pledge to your campaign.

This could be from a webcomic, or free pages from your book, or a podcast helping them fix their biggest problems, or anything you can do to help add value to your audience’s lives. The more value you add, the more trust you will have with your audience and the fuller your good will bank will become.

You can’t be a take with Kickstarter, you have to give 10x more than you ask. You should be delivering 10x value to your audience so they will gladly give you money. In fact, they will consider it the least they can do after all the help you have given them. 

Tip #6: Don’t overextend yourself on merchandise.

Especially once a project is funded, creators generally go crazy offering all sorts of merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and other very high priced items. The problem is that they are eating into their own profit margins and eventually end up in the red.

Merchandise is unnecessary in almost all instances until you have a well-known product. Just focus on making a great single product (unless your product is incredibly high priced like many tech products are). If you must make merchandise, don’t make anything with multiple sizes. Also note that if you offer merchandise you can no longer ship your product media mail.

Tip #7: Keep your video under three minutes.

Your video is a commercial, and nobody can stand a commercial for more than a couple minutes, no matter how amazing the commercial. You can say everything you need to say in under three minutes.

Yes, you will have to edit yourself down. There are plenty of free programs like iMovie which can take out all the ums and ah. You need to make your case clearly and succinctly so people don’t tune out.

Tip #8: Add lots of images.

The average successful Kickstarter has 11 images in it. Even if you have something with a novel, there are plenty of images you can add besides your cover. You can add a photo of yourself. You can add some quotes from your book overlaid on top of a royalty free image. You can add silly memes. You can have somebody draw some illustrations of your book.

In whatever the case, your book needs images. Humans are visual creatures and picture help improve the quality of your page and make your project look more professional.

Tip #9: Keep your text concise.

People on Kickstarter love to use huge blocks of text, but that is ugly to the eye. They also love to muddle their paragraphs. Remember in school where we learned how to write a paragraph?

You have a main sentence, 2–3 sentences that support the main sentence, and finally a concluding sentence that ties together everything you said. The same thing is true with paragraphs. You have a thesis paragraph with your main point, then 3–5 supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.

You don’t need much in order to get somebody to back, but it does have to make a compelling, clear, and concise case.

Tip #10: Send updates often.

Throughout the campaign you need to update your backers at least once every 3 days. The average successful projects have given more than 10 updates. These can be raffle giveaways, or stretch goal announcements, or just a great day that you had. I like to offer weekly challenges on my campaigns, so every week I upload a new video for backers.

The point is that the backers need to be involved in your campaign throughout.

Tip #11: You don’t have to do your dream project first.

If you’ve never raised money on Kickstarter before, then don’t expect to raise several thousand dollars, especially if you have no network. You are much better served doing a project you can complete and fund, even if it’s only $500 or less. Then you will have a baseline of your audience and be able to build from there.

Your goal is to get your feet wet and learn the ropes. It’s not to stress yourself out chasing an impossible goal. You have an entire career to build up to your dream project.

Tip #12: Pledge to other projects.

Kickstarter is a community, and people want to see that you are an active backer before you launch a project. Additionally, if you do back a lot of projects you can then email them during your campaign and ask them to introduce you to their audience. It might not work, but you are almost buying their time to consider your offer.

Tip #13: Consider your category carefully.

Some categories have a much more active community than others. Tech, design, and comics have very active communities. Publishing does not. You want to make sure you get a sense of the community

Tip #14: Start on a Tuesday. End on a Thursday.

Studies show that Tuesday is the best day to begin a campaign. However, Wednesday and Thursday are very close to Thursday. So much so to be within the study’s margin of error. However, Thursday is far and away the best day to end a campaign. Thursday blew all other days of the week away by a statistically significant margin.

Tip #15: Post more to social than you think necessary by a factor of 10.

Only about 3% of people see your Facebook posts. Twitter has a shelf life of 15 minutes. So the people you think you are going to annoy probably haven’t even seen your post. You need to post all the time in order to get word out about your project.

Post when people back your campaign. Post when you’ve hit a milestone. Post everything, but make sure to keep changing your imagery so it doesn’t get stale. It’s the same reason McDonald’s has 1,000 different billboards. The same image drowns into the background. People need new stimuli in order to keep engaged.

Tip #16: You need to raise 30% of your funding in the first 48 hours.

If you think you can raise $1,000, that means at least $300 needs to be raises in the first 48 in order to guarantee success. If you raise under 20% then your project will have a tough uphill battle. If you raise more than 50% it means your target was too low. 30% means you hit the nail on the head.

Tip #17: Convey the why.

Most campaigns are pretty good about describe what their product it. Some can even clearly discuss how they are going to bring it to market. Almost none convey why people should back their project or why they are uniquely qualified to bring the product to market.

The why is what makes people back, though. People are much more likely to back an unfinished product with a compelling why than a finished product that has none. The why is different for every product, but if there is no why you will suffer much fewer backers and risk your campaign not funding.

Tip #18: Bring the passion.

If you can’t show passion for your product, then nobody else will show passion either. You need to show extreme passion for your product to motivate others to get passionate about the product as well. Your passion is contagious, as is your lack of it. It needs to come through in your word, your social strategy, and definitely in your video.

Tip #19: Make sure to calculate shipping carefully.

Almost 10% of successfully funded products fail to deliver. The number one culprit in that failure is shipping. Sometimes rates go up, but sometimes it’s because stretch goals change the weight and size of the box. Still other times it’s because a product that was once media mail can no longer be shipped that way because certain incentives prevent it from being shipped in that way. Other times it can be because they didn’t properly check shipping rates to all countries, and international shipping ate into all their costs.

You need to be very careful with shipping. It can add an undue burden on the unprepared creator. However, with some planning you can make sure it doesn’t destroy your campaign and send you into debt fulfilling rewards.

Tip #20: Kickstarter takes 10% off the top.

Kickstarter takes 5% for their fees and 3–5% for all processing fees through their credit card vendor. Take this into account. Add a 10% buffer to your campaign to prevent failing to raise enough money.

Tip #21: Transparency is key.

If something is going wrong, or right, tell your backers. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hide anything. People are very forgiving if you are honest.

Tip #22: Schedule posts before your campaign begins.

Buffer, Hootsuite, meet Edgar, Tweet Jukebox, and many others allow you to schedule a base line of social media posts before your campaign begins. You will have other things to post as well, but you want to make sure you get the bulk of your updates out of the way early so that you aren’t fretting about them when your campaign is live.

Tip #23: Double check your rewards.

You can’t change your rewards when your campaign is live. If you accidentally charge the wrong shipping price, or you need to change the tiers in any way once even one person backs, you can’t. This often leads creators to creating new tiers to try to fix what they screwed up. An ounce of preparation is priceless.

Tip #24: Give an early bird perk to your first-day backers.

The first 48 hours is critical to the success of the campaign, so reward those people who back early. It doesn’t have to be much. Maybe the first day backers get a free wallpaper, or maybe they get the digital rewards before anybody else. It doesn’t have to be much, but that little gesture will help push people over the edge to back early.

Tip #25: Make your Kickstarter campaign a spectacle.

Kickstarter is the closest thing to an online comic-con that I’ve ever seen. You should be treating it as such by offering super cool, exclusive perks, doing live chats, engaging with your fans, and giving people something they can’t get anywhere else. You could offer daily giveaways through raffles, or weekly videos.

You can do a google hangout or an AMA, but the simple fact is that Kickstarter is an event and the more you can treat it as such the more success you will have.

Tip #26: Set up a launch and close event for your campaign.

You can do this at your house, at a local comic book store, at a park, or a restaurant. The key is not to spend a bunch of money on the event, it’s to get people excited about your project. If you are an artist, you can hold a show at a local gallery.

If you are a filmmaker you can hold a trailer screening at a local theater. You should hold these events the first and last day of your campaign to help drum up the most fervent enthusiasm possible during the most crucial times of your campaign.

Tip #27: Build press relationships early.

Emailing press contacts the day your campaign launches is too late. The press may have up to a six-month lead time on getting articles into their pipeline. However, if you aren’t building your contacts well before then the press won’t even write a story about you.

You need to be fostering these contacts for months or years before you launch. Offer to do articles for them, meet them at cons, find them on social media, and treat them like humans just like you would for anybody else. The real question you need to ask is “how can I provide value in their lives?” When it’s time to email about your project, then you need to make it easy for them to publish.

Tip #28: Your backers will be mostly people you know.

No matter how many emails you send to the press or how many cold contacts you make during your campaign, most people that back your project will be people you know for months or years before the campaign launches. That means you need the biggest network of energetic friends and fans before you ever hit the launch button. Remember, you can’t be successfully on crowdfunding without a crowd.

Tip #29: Pledge levels should include rewards from all previous tiers.

You don’t want people hesitating about backing a higher tier because they don’t want to miss out on something they really wanted from a previous tier. You want it to be very easy for them to increase their pledge level.

Increasing existing pledges is a crucial part of the middle campaign lull, and any hesitation will prevent you from getting that extra pledge money.

Tip #30: Model success.

Hundreds of other campaigns have done Kickstarter better than you in the past. They’ve succeeded and failed thousands of times. Use that to your advantage. Look through them all and find the points of commonality between them. Make sure to take note of the words they use, the imagery, and the reward levels that are consistent among the highest performers. Then, you can model that in your own campaign for the highest chance of success.

Tip #31: The right title is critical for success.

With hundreds of projects to choose from, you only have a second to catch a backer’s eye. With the way that Kickstarter is set up, you basically get an image and a title to make a backer click on your link.

So you want to make sure your title is catchy AND that is uses all 60 characters to fully explain the reason somebody should click on your project. Almost all hyper successful projects use a colon after the name of their project to state what the project is about. Make sure to utilize all 60 characters in order to give yourself the best chance for success.

That’s it for our mini-season. If you liked this, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts, whether it’s Itunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or any of the other wonderful podcast aggregators out there.

It’s the best way for us to find new people to help and to make sure you don’t miss any future episodes. We have some crazy stuff coming up that you won’t want to miss, so subscribe now.

Even though the campaign is over, you can follow the link of www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com to find great information about the book’s release and where you can order or other books online.

And head on over the www.thebusinessofart.us in order to join our mailing list and get our handy guide to help you build an audience from scratch.

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #31: The right title is critical for success

September 22, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that the right title is critical for success. With hundreds of projects to choose from, you only have a second to catch a backer’s eye. With the way that Kickstarter is set up, you basically get an image and a title to make a backer click on your link.

So you want to make sure your title is catchy AND that is uses all 60 characters to fully explain the reason somebody should click on your project. Almost all hyper-successful projects use a colon after the name of their project to state what the project is about. Make sure to utilize all 60 characters in order to give yourself the best chance for success.

That’s it for our mini-season. This is the last day to back our campaign, so please head over and check it out Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs today at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts. 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #30: Model success

September 21, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to model success there are hundreds of successful campaigns in your category. Look through them all and find the points of commonality between them. Make sure to take note of the words they use, the imagery, and the reward levels that are consistent among the highest performers. Then, you can model that in your own campaign for the highest chance of success.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #29: Pledge levels should include rewards from all previous tiers

September 20, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that pledge levels should include rewards from all previous tiers. You don’t want people hesitating about backing a higher tier because they don’t want to miss out on something they really wanted from a previous tier. You want it to be very easy for them to increase their pledge level.

Increasing existing pledges is a crucial part of the middle campaign lull, and any hesitation will prevent you from getting that extra pledge money.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #28: Your backers will be mostly people you know

September 19, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that your backers will be mostly people you know. No matter how many emails you send to the press or how many cold contacts you make during your campaign, most people that back your project will be people you know for months or years before the campaign launches. That means you need the biggest network of energetic friends and fans before you ever hit the launch button. Remember, you can’t be successfully on crowdfunding without a crowd.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #27: Build press relationships early

September 18, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to build press relationships early. Emailing press contacts the day your campaign launches is too late. The press may have up to a six-month lead time on getting articles into their pipeline. However, if you aren’t building your contacts well before then the press won’t even write a story about you.

You need to be fostering these contacts for months or years before you launch. Offer to do articles for them, meet them at cons, find them on social media, and treat them like humans just like you would for anybody else. The real question you need to ask is “how can I provide value in their lives?” When it’s time to email about your project, then you need to make it easy for them to publish.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #26: Set up launch and close events for your campaign

September 17, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to set up launch and close events for your campaign. You can do this at your house, at a local comic book store, at a park, or a restaurant. The key is not to spend a bunch of money on the event, it’s to get people excited about your project. If you are an artist, you can hold a show at a local gallery.

If you are a filmmaker you can hold a trailer screening at a local theatre. You should hold these events the first and last day of your campaign to help drum up the most fervent enthusiasm possible during the most crucial times of your campaign.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #25: Make your Kickstarter campaign a spectacle

September 16, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to make your Kickstarter campaign a spectacle. Kickstarter is the closest thing to an online comic-con that I’ve ever seen. You should be treating it as such by offering super cool, exclusive perks, doing live chats, engaging with your fans, and giving people something they can’t get anywhere else. You could offer daily giveaways through raffles, or weekly videos.

You can do a google hangout or an AMA, but the simple fact is that Kickstarter is an event and the more you can treat it as such the more success you will have.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #24: Give an early bird perk to your first day backers

September 15, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to give an early bird perk to your first-day backers. The first 48 hours is critical to the success of the campaign, so reward those people who back early. It doesn’t have to be much. Maybe the first-day backers get a free wallpaper, or maybe they get the digital rewards before anybody else. It doesn’t have to be much, but that little gesture will help push people over the edge to back early.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #23: Double check your rewards

September 14, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to double check your rewards. You can’t change your rewards when your campaign is live. If you accidentally charge the wrong shipping price, or you need to change the tiers in any way once even one person backs, you can’t. This often leads creators into making additional tiers to try and fix what they screwed up. An ounce of preparation is priceless. 

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #22: Schedule posts before your campaign begins

September 13, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to schedule posts before your campaign begins. Buffer, Hootsuite, meet Edgar, Tweet Jukebox, and many others allow you to schedule a baseline of social media posts before your campaign begins. You will have other things to post as well, but you want to make sure you get the bulk of your updates out of the way early so that you aren’t fretting about them when your campaign is live.   

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #21: Transparency is key

September 12, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that transparency is key. If something is going wrong, or right, tell your backers. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hide anything. People are very forgiving if you are honest.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #20: Kickstarter takes 10% off the top

September 11, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that Kickstarter takes 10% off the top. They take 5% for their fees and 3-5% for all processing fees through their credit card vendor. Take this into account. Add 10% more of a buffer to your campaign to prevent failing to raise enough money. 

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #19: Make sure to calculate shipping carefully

September 10, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is make sure to calculate shipping carefully. Almost 10% of successfully funded products fail to deliver. The number one culprit in that failure is shipping. Sometimes rates go up, but sometimes it’s because stretch goals change the weight and size of the box. Still other times it’s because a product that was once media mail can no longer be shipped that way because certain incentives prevent it from being shipped in that way. Other times it can be because they didn’t properly check shipping rates to all countries, and international shipping ate into all their costs.

You need to be very careful with shipping. It can add an undue burden on the unprepared creator. However, with some planning you can make sure it doesn’t destroy your campaign and send you into debt fulfilling rewards.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

  

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #18: Bring the passion

September 9, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to bring the passion. If you can’t show passion for your product, then nobody else will show passion either. You need to show extreme passion for your product to motivate others to get passionate about the product as well. Your passion is contagious, as is your lack of it. It needs to come through in your word, your social strategy, and definitely in your video.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #17: Convey the why

September 8, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to convey the why. Most campaigns are pretty good about describe what their product it. Some can even clearly discuss how they are going to bring it to market. Almost none convey why people should back their project or why they are uniquely qualified to bring the product to market.

The why is what makes people back, though. People are much more likely to back an unfinished product with a compelling why than a finished product that has none. The why is different for every product, but if there is no why you will suffer much fewer backers and risk your campaign not funding.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

It’s my birthday and I’ll have a 100th episode rant if I want to, rant if I want to, rant if I want to. You would rant too if it happened to you.

September 8, 2016

 Today is an extra special day. Not only it is my birthday, but this is also our 100th episode! Yay! As I hit both milestones simultaneously, I thought it might be nice to do another ranterlude talking about all the shit I’ve done in the past year.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere great podcasts are aggregated. You want to subscribe now because our RSS feed is only 20 episodes long and lots of people miss episodes when they don’t subscribe. We push out a lot of episodes and you don’t’ want to miss this content.

I’m going to warn you, this episode is basically just a list of my accomplishments and fails from this past year. There’s not a specific lesson involved.

If hearing specifics about a creator’s life isn’t for you. That’s okay. Maybe just skip to the next one. However, I will try to tie all my accomplishments into actionable lessons and takeaways you can use in your own life.

I’m very proud of last year because for the first time in my entire life I felt like I moved the needle forward in a significant way. Most years I get to my birthday and the think “What the fuck did I do with this year?”

Not this year. This year I thought “Holy shit. I did that much this year?”

My takeaway lesson: It takes time to build a head of steam. However, once that head of steam is built, things can happen faaaaast.

It’s all really happened for me since 2015 when I launched my first slate of books. Before then, I had a couple of publishing credits with Viper, Oaklight, and a limited print run with Allegory. However, it wasn’t until I launched Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter, Paradise, Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father, and The Little Bird and The Little Worm in February of 2015 that things really started coming together.

This was all happening before I left my last job. From 2006 to 2014 I built up a massive back catalog of awesome work. I pulled the rubber band back tight, and in January of 2015 it was ready to snap back and take somebody’s eye out.

The first half of 2015 saw a little bit happen, but nothing too mindblowing. It wasn’t until June when I left my job that I was able to devote myself full time to Wannabe Press. Honestly,I left my job so suddenly and unexpectedly that it took several months for me to get everything in order. Even through my first exhibiting experience at SDCC and the rest of the summer I struggled to right the ship. I was making good money at my last job, and having it all crashing down was hard.

It really wasn’t until even after my birthday where things started turning around for me. While I did a lot in the first half of 2015, it wasn’t until the end of 2015 and into 2016 where I felt like the ship righted itself and we hit calm waters.

My takeaway lesson: No matter how successful you are at your job, starting a business is a whole different ball game. You have to learn all the ins and outs of how your business functions and every business functions differently. It took me really about 9 months from launching my company to get a foothold on expenses. If you can’t weather that storm you will be in trouble.

This time last year, I launched my second Kickstarter campaign for Katrina Hates the Dead. I knew people loved this book, and I hoped they loved it enough to fund the print run…and they did! We were able to raise $8,400 to make this book happen and spent the rest of the year fulfilling rewards.

In fact, the end of 2015 was filled with new starts. We also started Kickstarter University, a training academy and membership site devoted to showing people how to run Kickstarters. I dropped $4,000 on building everything, only to watch it crash and burn in the first quarter of 2016. This was my first major disappointed of 2016. I had never put out so much money and watched it blow up in my face before. Even thinking about it now makes me bristle. But it wasn’t all bad. Out of its ashes came The Business of Art podcast and the Crush It on Kickstarter Teachable course. You can pick that up today for just $7 by clicking here and help me recoup some of that miserable loss.

Even though Kickstarter University was an abject failure, it led to two of the most worthwhile pursuits in my life, this podcast and creating courses.

My takeaway lesson: Just because something is a failure, doesn’t mean you failed. In fact, you might learn more in your failures than in your successes. I know that I learned more about online marketing and business principles trying to make Kickstarter University work than I had in the past 33 years combined. I would have spent much more on a business coach and not had the products at the end to be able to sell.

Additionally, I didn’t have a good sense of my strengths in 2015. I wanted to try all types of business, and by working through my failures on Kickstarter University, I learned that I am really great at making products. I love making something once and being able to sell it forever, which has become my slogan.

After our successful Kickstarter campaign for Katrina Hates the Dead, we followed it up with another one for My Father Didn’t Kill Himself, my second novel. I didn’t know what to expect from this campaign. After all, I was known for doing comics about monsters and this was a very intimate book about a girl struggling with the loss of her father. We set it as a $1 goal and prayed. To our surprise, we ended up with $3,400 from 150+ backers.

I was so proud and honored by that launch. It was probably the proudest I’ve been at a launch because that’s me laid bare on the page. There was no art to prop me up. It was all me and an editor. It was in doing that launch that made me discover what made my company different from every other company in the world.

Before I could lay my hat on making monster books, but with a novel I had to rediscover why people liked my books, and what type of person would like all my work. I found my ideal customer profile and built my messaging around it. We made a mascot and changed the wording of our website to target a specific kind of person. It was during that time that Wannabe Press really took off.

My takeaway lesson: You need a couple of products, or at least planned products, to figure out who your customer will be. You need to put things into the marketplace and see who responds to them. I needed three. I needed to put out Ichabod to see who bought that book. Then I needed Katrina to see who would buy both. Then I needed My Father Didn’t Kill Himself to make the connective thread between all three of those books and really determine my ideal customer.

Most people build their brand first, and I think that is a mistake. You are best to put out some product and see who gravitates toward it. Then, once you have some product you can much better define your messaging and build something that will last forever. If you spend time branding early, you might be sorely disappointed that you guessed wrong.

At the end of 2015, I sat through my finances and figured out where my company was strong and weak. I found out that we made almost all our money on Kickstarter and through shows. So in 2016, I vowed to do as many shows as possible, as often as I could. I did a lot of shows in the past year. It felt like every weekend I was at a show, and I became exceedingly good at it. I learned my messaging. I learned by brand. I learned how to speak to people the right way, and the wrong way. I helped other artists and found their biggest areas of strength. I was able to develop a strong community going to so many shows, and it helped us grow the brand exponentially.

Before heading to shows, I was spending tons of money on advertising and it went nowhere. When I started going to shows I actually got people onto my mailing list AND made money. It was a complete 180 from where I was in 2015.

My takeaway lesson: You need strategic planning. I took the month of December 2015 off from doing anything except figuring out what was wrong with my business. I made plans and assumptions for 2016. I found where we were weak and where we were strong. Then, I focused on our strengths. Some of those strengths bore out with excellent results. Some of them didn’t. However, going to lots of shows skyrocketed our brand recognition and helped us explode in popularity.

The final piece of my 2016 explosion was this podcast, the Business of Art. I went into 2016 wanting to make 20 episodes of this podcast, and we’ve made 100. Along the way we’ve been able to talk with artists of all types, sizes, and experience levels. We’ve been able to help people make their business stronger. I didn’t know if I would even like podcasting, but I’ve found that it’s saved my life, really. I was massively depressed earlier this year and I work at home, alone. Having this podcast has allowed me to reach out to other people in ways I’ve never imagined. It gave me a sense of community. It helped me cope with my life. I’m so grateful for it.

To wrap this all up, I can’t believe how wonderful the last year has been to me. Yes, I still struggle most days. No, our revenue isn’t where we want it to be, but I am doing what I love and we grow stronger every day. I can see the point in the distance where this all comes together. I don’t know how far it is from where I am now. I don’t know how many steps it will take to get there, but for the first time I can almost touch it in my hands. There is hope in that. There is hope that next year I will be able to say I reached that point in the distance I’ve been dreaming of for so long.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere great podcasts are aggregated. You want to subscribe now because our RSS feed is only 20 episodes long and lots of people miss episodes when they don’t subscribe. We push out a lot of episodes and you don’t’ want to miss this content.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #16: You need to raise 30% of your funding in the first 48 hours

September 7, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that you need to raise 30% of your funding in the first 48 hours. If you think you can raise $1,000, that means at least $300 needs to be raised in the first 48 in order to guarantee success. If you raise under 20% then your project will have a tough uphill battle. If you raise more than 50% it means your target was too low. 30% means you hit the nail on the head.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #15: Post more to social than you think necessary by a factor of 10

September 6, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to post more on social media than you think necessary by a factor of ten. Only about 3% of people see your Facebook posts. Twitter has a shelf life of 15 minutes. So the people you think you are going to annoy probably haven’t even seen your post. You need to post all the time in order to get word out about your project.

Post when people back your campaign. Post when you’ve hit a milestone. Post everything, but make sure to keep changing your imagery so it doesn’t get stale. It’s the same reason McDonald’s has 1,000 different billboards. The same image drowns into the background. People need new stimuli in order to keep engaged.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #14: Start on a Tuesday. End on a Thursday

September 5, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to start on a Tuesday and end on a Thursday. Studies show that Tuesday is the best day to begin a campaign. However, Wednesday and Thursday are very close to Thursday. So much so to be within the study’s margin of error. However, Thursday is far and away the best day to end a campaign. Thursday blew all other days of the week away by a statistically significant margin.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #13: Consider your category carefully

September 4, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to consider your category carefully. Some categories have a much more active community than others. Tech, design, and comics have very active communities. Publishing does not. You want to make sure you get a sense of the community before you choose the category and subcategory of your project.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #12: Pledge to other projects

September 3, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to pledge to other projects before and during your campaign. Kickstarter is a community, and people want to see that you are an active backer before you launch a project. Additionally, if you do back a lot of projects you can then email them during your campaign and ask them to introduce you to their audience. It might not work, but you are almost buying their time to consider your offer.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #11: You don’t have to do your dream project first

September 2, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is that you don’t have to do your dream project first. If you’ve never raised money on Kickstarter before, then don’t expect to raise several thousand dollars, especially if you have no network. You are much better served funding a project you can complete and fund, even if it’s only $500 or less. Then you will have a baseline of your audience and be able to build from there.

Your goal is to get your feet wet and learn the ropes. It’s not to stress yourself out chasing an impossible goal. You have an entire career to build up to your dream project.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #10: Send updates often

September 1, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to send updates often. Throughout the campaign, you need to update your backers at least once every 3 days. The average successful projects have given more than 10 updates. These can be raffle giveaways, or stretch goal announcements, or just a great day that you had. I like to offer weekly challenges on my campaigns, so every week I upload a new video for backers.

The point is that the backers need to be involved in your campaign throughout.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Woohoo! We Funded! Now what?

September 1, 2016

It took us 9 days, but we are now over 100% funded. Get in on the fun @ www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes, stitcher, google play, or anywhere you get your podcasts. We have tons of episodes coming up soon and we only have an RSS feed of 20 episodes, so you will miss content if you don’t subscribe.

It took 45 backers to get us over the hump, and I want to thank, thank, thank them so much. Phase one of any launch is people that have backed you before, and of 45 backers, 43 backed from a previous campaign.

That’s what you need to survive people. You need returning fans. You need people who will back your play across multiple genres and formats. You need people who believe in you, and I’m so lucky to have people that believe in me.

Now the question is, where do we go from here? Most people get stagnant after they fund, and this is certainly something that has happened to me before. What are we going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen to us?

For one thing, we are going to start an affiliate program, wherein anybody that refers a backer will get 10% of that backer’s pledge. I use a service called Kickbooster for this. When somebody signs up for Kicksbooster they are given an affiliate link. If anybody that backs my project using that affiliate link, the affiliate receives 10% of the funds raised.

This is something that I use every week for my mailing list. I go to Kickbooster’s marketplace and find 2-3 awesome projects for me to add to my newsletter. However, I only use links from people who are funded. Why? Because space on my mailing list is precious and I don’t want to waste it on a project that’s not going to fund.

Since I always believe that you are your best client, I believe that is how most people feel, so I didn’t want to set up this affiliate program until I knew we would fund. Now, it’s a no-brainer for people who like the project to help us. Even if they don’t back themselves, they can make money by referring a cool project to their audience.

Additionally, we can now think about ad spend. Until we funded I wasn’t willing to consider ad spend, because it might have gone into a black hole. Now that we are funded and I know we will make some money, I can consider a small ad campaign. That ad campaign can be targeted to people that love sci-fi or psychology, and I can be sure that I will not waste more money than I can afford to lose.

Again, now that we are funded people are more likely to come on board because everybody wants to back a winner.

The third thing we can do is go to press sites and offer them an affiliate link if they help us promote the book. Blog sites live on affiliate links and the ability for us to show that our project is funded, so they are backing a winner, and they can make money is very appealing to most blog sites.

Aside from that, it’s just more of the same. We have to keep showing value to our existing audience so they will back and additionally show our success to people outside our audience so they will back too.

It feels great to fund, but our goal is $5,000 and we are a far way away from that number. If you want to help us, head on over to www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com and pledge today.

And if you like this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes, stitcher, google play, or anywhere you get your podcasts. We have tons of episodes coming up soon and we only have an RSS feed of 20 episodes, so you will miss content if you don’t subscribe.

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #9: Keep your text concise

August 31, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip to keep your text concise. People on Kickstarter love to use huge blocks of text, but that is ugly to the eye. They also love to muddle their paragraphs. Remember in school where we learned how to write a paragraph?

You have one main sentence, 2-3 sentences that support the main sentence, and a concluding sentence that ties together everything you said. The same thing is true with paragraphs. You have a thesis paragraph with your main point, then 3-5 supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.

You don’t need much in order to get somebody to back, but it does have to make a compelling, clear, and concise case.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts.

 

00:0000:00

Kickstarter Tip #8: Add lots of images

August 30, 2016

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to our special Kickstarter mini-season sponsored by Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, our new Kickstarter. You can check it out at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

These are short tips we are running every day during the course of our campaign. It’s not a full show. It’s just a great actionable tip you can use to run better Kickstarter projects today.

Today’s tip is to add lots of images. The average successful Kickstarter has 11 images in it. Even if you have something with a novel, there are plenty of images you can add besides your cover. You can add a photo of yourself. You can add some quotes from your book overlaid on top of a royalty free image. You can add silly memes. You can have somebody draw some illustrations of your book.

In whatever the case, your book needs images. Humans are visual creatures and picture help improve the quality of your page and make your project look more professional.

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another quick Kickstarter tip, and check out our new Kickstarter, Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs at www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you download your podcasts. 

00:0000:00