He'd heard the advice to stick with one thing until it was successful. To pick his genre and focus his efforts there as a specialist.
But that's not where his passion lies, and he knew if he faked it, his audience would sense it.
So the question nags him every time he launches a new project:
"Will my audience show up?"
One way Frank mitigates this fear is by constantly looking for ways to grow his audience. He's tried viral giveaways to varying success, but ultimately decided his efforts would have better results elsewhere.
So, like many comic creators, he turned to Facebook ads. Frank freely admits he's not an ad man, but over time, something about ads clicked--in more ways than one.
“There’s a lot of psychology that goes into getting someone to click that link. But I think the key starts with a niche product or hook. You can have a great story, but if it’s overly complicated to explain, it’s not going to catch someone’s eye. So simpler is better.”
With that philosophy in mind, Frank got to work crafting an ad with a few simple ground rules:
“Strong, singular image with a limited amount of words. Just enough to deliver the hook and explain what you’re selling. The idea is to deliver just enough info to make them click the ad, where your landing/Kickstarter page is designed to close the deal.”
Once he took that point of view, Frank felt like the Facebook ads were finally working.
He takes that same thoughtful approach to building his campaign pages.
Thanks to good time management and preparation, Frank is able to juggle multiple projects on the platform.
“I start building my Kickstarter pages months in advance. Comixlaunch has been invaluable in creating a formula for page design. Once you have that down, it’s just a matter of finding the time to make the images and write the copy. I do a little bit at a time. Every night I might work on just one aspect of the page. And everything is completed in just a few weeks. If I waited until the last minute to get everything done I don’t think I could handle so many launches.”
Thanks to Frank’s disciplined approach, he always has something in the pipeline. But when it comes to launching, he also allows room for improvisation.
“Take right now for example. I don’t know what my first launch of 2022 will be. So many projects are on so many different timelines that I have three possibilities. So rather than wait, I decided to just slowly build the pages for all three. January is still three months away, but if I handle a little bit at a time there’s no reason why they all won’t be done and ready to launch by then. That way I’m not panicking if any one project fails to be completed.”
As of this writing, he has funded eleven campaigns across multiple genres. Having so many projects keeps Frank engaged as a creator.
But genre-hopping does come with some danger.
“I launch different properties all the time, so there's a good chance that I'll launch something new that just won't resonate with people. That's always a risk for all creators, but as I focus on one-shots and two-parters, I'm rolling the dice a lot more than most in that regard.
“The reason I started doing [shorter projects] and the reason I continue doing them are two different things. I began working on one-shots and two-parters because writer/artist relationships can be shaky. Working on something short limits the possibility of the relationship falling apart. There’s a tangible end in sight, so we can work towards it rather than some far off conclusion.”
Ever practical, Frank says once he started working on shorter projects, he saw the benefits right away.
“If I work on a 5-issue story, that’s five launches for just one title. That’s a lot! I like telling different stories, exploring different worlds, and challenging different characters. Those five launches could instead be used for three one-shots and one two-parter. That’s four different titles as opposed to one. That’s just me, though. Other creators might prefer to have just one baby they work on rather than a litter.”
And some creators might be overwhelmed with worry that readers won't follow them from one project to the next.
But Frank has a great way of dealing with that fear.
So far, Frank is encouraged by the fact that backers from past campaigns seem to be willing to try his new stuff, regardless of the genre. When asked why he thinks that is, Frank shrugs.
“I honestly have no idea. I think it might be because I don’t really care if they do or don’t. That might seem like a weird thing to say, but I don’t write for an audience. I write for myself. My job is to first and foremost write a good story that I would enjoy. A lot of creators chase an audience or a demographic with their ideas, but readers can sense when that happens and get bored by it.”
Creatives of all stripes have long cited the ability to “not care too much” about the results as a key factor in their success. On the “Smartless” podcast, actor Jason Bateman calls it “sexy indifference.”
It’s a philosophy that has served Frank well.
“Backers have told me they will keep coming back to my launches regardless of genre because they trust I put the story and characters first before anything else. I don’t write to hear that praise, but I cherish and appreciate it because it gives me the confidence to pursue the stories I want to tell rather than an audience to read them.”
As always, Frank has multiple projects in the pipeline, and he’s eager to continue playing with Facebook ads—and refining those strategies that haven’t been working as well.
“I’m of the mindset that there’s always a way to do something better. So rather then just quit a strategy I would find a way to improve upon it.”
He’ll do just that as he ramps up for one of his three possible launches for January of 2022. But first? Frank has yet another project to get off the ground.
“Grimm Space! A sci-fi retelling of classic fairy tales starting with a one-shot adapted from Jack and the Beanstalk. Set to launch on Nov. 2nd.”
More power—and projects—to you, Frank.
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