One of the biggest changes we made going from our first Kickstarter campaign to our second was the decision to bundle issues 2+3 together into what we termed the ‘mega-issue.’
Initially, we considered trying to fund the entire Code 45 project all at once, bundling each of the five issues together in the graphic novel format in which the book had originally been conceived. There were more than a few problems with this approach, however.
As newcomers to Kickstarter, with no track record as established creators, it was unlikely we could have raised the level of funds necessary to produce the entire book using a single campaign. Waiting to do the entire book at once would have also seriously pushed our publishing timeline back, which was problematic for us because we wanted to provide Scout Comics with the issues they needed to get Code 45 into retail stores in a reasonable period of time.
We modified our plans to do a single Kickstarter for each issue, and lead off with Issue 1. This allowed us to gradually build an audience over time that would offer better support for each subsequent campaign, growing in a more organic fashion that would rely less on friends and family to support us and instead create a community surrounding Code 45.
When it came time to plan out our second Kickstarter campaign we were excited to get more of the story into the hands of our audience. We were also way of ‘crowdfunding fatigue,’ concerned that if we kept coming back to our supporters five times in a row they’d eventually get tired of the constant onslaught of Code 45 promotion.
Enter The Mega-Issue Bundle
Our compromise was to combine Issue 2 and Issue 3 into the mega-issue, and then offer Issues 1-3 together in a Kickstarter timed for the second week of July. We had been working on the second issue as soon as our campaign for the first had ended in early April, and by setting our delivery date in October we figured this would give us enough time—roughly six months—to get both completed and printed.
Doing a mega-issue helped us with our print inventory. Yes, it was more expensive to print a book with over 50 pages as opposed to a 28-pager, but it would streamline printing runs down the road when working on the final Code 45 campaign. By reducing the number of Kickstarters from 5 to 3 (Issue 1, Issues 2+3, Issues 4+5), we could also focus on offering great rewards and put a ton of promotion behind each one, rather than spreading that out and repeating again and again.
Finally, our contract with Scout Comics required us to keep our Kickstarter offerings unique and different from what would be later offered at retail. The mega-issue was something that would be exclusively to our campaign, which helped us help Scout down the road when marketing our book to a new audience.
As with all things, however, reality got in the way of our best-laid plans. Our second campaign would prove to a be a challenge for a variety of reasons, and by the time it was over we’d learned a whole new set of lessons about Kickstarter and comics creation.