Crowdfunding a Comic Book on Pozible: Experience by James Leong

This article is part of the Internet Marking for Artists series that you can follow at http://www.parkablogs.com/tags/internet-marketing-artists.

Just a few hours ago, I was at Toa Payoh Library for a talk by my friend James Leong. He talked about his crowdfunding experience with Pozible for his comic book Perfect World Saga. He launched his campaign in November 2015 and managed to reach his target of SGD $1,000 with 41 supporters.

I just want to share some details that he mentioned in the talk.

First of all, note that his target isn't a big amount, so the statistics that he shared may be skewed. I'll explain some of the numbers.

Preparation

The project started in September before the actually crowdfunding was launched in November. James had planned the launch after the 24 Hours Comics Day in Singapore so that he could market to comic creators there. It was a good move because that's marketing to relevant people. When it comes to selling stuff, especially a new product no one as seen before, it's importable to network and market to relevant people.

Kickstarter vs Indiegogo vs Pozible

There are other crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo but he eventually went with Pozible because they had a local office in Singapore. He was able to speak to someone at Pozible and get tips whenever he has any questions. Kickstarter and Indiegogo just ask you to refer to their FAQ.

Transaction fees for Pozible is at 4.58% and service fees are at 5%. Pozible was able to collect in Singapore Dollars so that meant that there would not be any loss in currency conversion. Most supports are going to be from Singapore. So if USD is set, the money would be converted to USD and back to SGD.

Who are the supporters

Here's the breakdown:

  • 68% friends
  • 15% Acquaintance
  • 10% Family
  • Strangers

It's not surprising that main bulk of support comes from friends. The thing is, when it comes to supporting such campaigns, people won't know exactly what they are buying, so essentially they are supporting the campaign because they want to support the person.

If you have a huge fan base, that's where you're going to get most of your support. Which also brings me to the next point, you should start marketing way in advance before your crowdfunding campaign. You're doing two things essentially. You're building a fan base and you're marketing your upcoming campaign.

To do all the marketing during the crowdfunding period is incredibly difficult. You're trying to convert a stranger into a fan during that period of time when he/she has neither heard of you or know what to expect from your product. Tough.

James spoke about asking family to help only when there's possibility of reaching the target. Sometimes it just needs a tiny push at the end to reach the goal.

Promoting on Facebook

Facebook contributed more links to his campaign than other platforms. Not surprising because that's the primary platform where James has an active presence.

I actually asked him to post some of his timelapse video on Youtube and share that video on Facebook. From what he gathered, videos that are uploaded natively on Facebook perform much better than those Youtube videos that are linked over. Facebook's bias towards their own video content is clear. They don't give emphasis to promoting videos from other websites like Youtube, Vimeo, which is not surprising because they are competitors. In other words, Facebook is censoring how people are consuming content on the platform but this is nothing new. Organic reach for his Facebook posts are also not very high because Facebook wants you to pay to boost the reach, otherwise they would censor your content. This is something I personally experience when sharing Parkablogs content on Facebook as well.

By the way, Youtube contribution is negligible in this campaign. Youtube is a discovery platform. When you're putting content on Youtube, you're using it more as pull advertising. With Facebook, you can choose to use it as push advertising (paying money for ads) to push ads to people who may not even want to see your content. With Youtube, you're relying on search engine traffic and your fans. If you're only starting to market your content close to your campaign, you're not going to get significant support from Youtube. However, if you have been consistently putting out content on Youtube, at least you'll have an audience to count on helping you in time of need.

Parkblog's contribution

From the slides, I saw that my blog contributed 3 pageviews.

3?!??!

LOL. Wow. Note that I have around 2,000 readers visiting the homepage daily and to have that kind of click-rate is shocking.

Which brings me to another point. You have to market to relevant people.

My blog features artbooks and art products. People who are interested in artbooks and art products may or may not be interested in comic books. Even if they are interested in comic books, it takes a lot to get them to put out money for someone they have not heard of.

That's also the reason why I seldom share comics related crowdfunding campaigns on Parkablogs. I just don't see how sharing news of an upcoming indie comics campaign is going to be relevant to my readers.

James is also part of the Urban Sketchers Singapore group. Even support from Urban Sketchers Singapore did not amount to a lot even though the group is quite large.

Content sharing

James also said that his FB posts weren't shared much.

I've read in some other article on the mentality of sharing posts. When you're sharing posts, you're also endorsing the posts. Your act of sharing also says something about you. You may not know it but people are silently judging you whenever you share something. Interestingly, someone who shared his posts and that post received more likes than Jame's own posting.

Another thing to note is having FB likes does not equate to getting their support on the project.

Conclusion

Market yourself early even if you have nothing to sell yet. When you do, at least you have people already there to sell to.

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