With two campaigns running at once, he felt pressure to make both succeed. But as a collaborator on one project and "just the writer" on the other, Travis wasn’t fully in charge of either.
How was he going to get through this month?
Both of Travis’ campaigns were a challenge—for very different reasons.
“One of those campaigns (DOG DAYS) was run by another publisher. It was challenging because I couldn’t build the campaign as I saw fit. I didn’t have complete control of how much we needed to raise. I didn’t know all the backend numbers, and I didn’t get a lot of pre-campaign planning in. I also couldn’t make decisions to add more benefits to potential backers.
“The second (THE ADVOCATOR) was run by a group [of creators], so there were a lot of people who had a say in how the campaign would be run. We also wanted to make sure that everything was above board. We wanted to use a fulfillment company and that made us keep the campaign very basic, because we didn’t want one person to not do their part and hurt the integrity of the project.”
By giving up control, Travis knew he had to rely on his collaborators to do their part. But as a ComixLaunch course member, he also knew he couldn’t just sit back and hope the projects fund.
So, Travis did the only thing he could:
He got proactive.
Travis credits his success to one thing:
“Working hard. I know that sounds pretty basic, but it really isn’t. I earn every one one of my backers from doing podcasts and youtube chats. I join tons of groups to build relationship with fans and creators. I work really hard to find a new opportunity to connect with fans.”
As a ComixLaunch Course member, Travis knows it's his responsibility to bring the crowd. By constantly putting himself out there, connecting with potential readers, Travis is building his fanbase step-by-step.
Still, this is easier said than done, and simply connecting with a potential reader isn't enough.
After all, once he had that person's attention, Travis faced another challenge:
What to do with it?
Because comics is a visual medium, Travis knew he needed to show off as much of his books as possible. And with social media sites promoting video over other content, Travis had an AHA moment:
Make a series of video trailers.
“You need trailers for story aspects and you need them to showcase the pledge options. This is a great place to highlight the art and give social proof for the story. What I did for [DOG DAYS] was create a trailer to show you the basics of the story, but then showed some of the more complex parts of the story later on. [For THE ADVOCATOR], I also used trailers to highlight each of the creators in the anthology.”
This last point is key--highlighting other creators--because one of the secrets to Kickstarter success is learning to leverage other people’s fanbases. Travis says he thinks about this before going into a project:
“One of the things that I do is find great people to partner with.”
In fact, for Travis, this is the key to surviving the Dead Zone.
Every campaign reaches a plateau somewhere in the middle.
The excitement of the launch has worn off, and the frenzy at the end hasn’t yet begun. ComixLaunch calls this “The Dead Zone,” and there are many ways to cope with it. Travis has his own thoughts about it:
“That is a great time to showcase people who may not be major parts on the book, but may have a fanbase. This is when I tag a writer or artist who may have done a back up or a pin up. This is a great time to focus on alt cover people. This gives them a chance to tag their fan base during that time and help you grow [your audience].”
And then, in the run up to that final week?
Hit ‘em with a surprise.
Throughout a campaign, Travis is constantly fine-tuning his rewards.
“If a reward tier isn’t working, then I want to know why and what I can do to fix it. I also look for opportunities on what I can do to increase a pledge from a backer. I try and add a new tier to the campaign every week. This gives me new things to talk about, but also allows me to try new things later in the campaign to gain insight for future projects.”
One insight he’s gained over the course of multiple campaigns is to add a new reward in the final week--something that will give a campaign some extra energy. Something that has a WOW factor.
“This allows me to hit a new base that I may not have spoken to before. The Dog Days – Role Playing Game [came from] someone who backed Broke Down And Four Dead Bodies. He asked me if there was a way to partner with him on making an RPG to help DOG DAYS FUND… So, we found an open-source roleplaying game and added it to the campaign. This added a bunch of new backers during the final days.”
The results were clear: both campaigns sailed across their goal lines, each setting new backer records for Travis.
Thanks to the success of the double-campaign, Travis will have a trade paperback on his convention table and an add-on book for the next campaign for his series, BROKE DOWN AND FOUR DEAD BODIES.
As for the rest of the year, Travis is looking forward to implementing the lessons he learned on his first three campaigns. His first chance will come when the campaign for BROKE DOWN #2 launches in March, followed by a third issue shortly after.
Still, even with all those campaigns, they won’t be Travis’ biggest launch of 2019. He's got a special surprise up his sleeve. Something with some real WOW factor:
“I also have a new son being born on APRIL 11th.”
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