The webcomics blog about webcomics

Maybe I’ll Just Keep A Running List Here

The fine folks at TopatoCon keep adding names to their exhibitor list, about one a day. Since we last mentioned KC Green, Jeph Jacques, Jess Fink, and Tom Siddell, the poisonous space-potato has added Rosemary Mosco of Bird and Moon and Kate Leth of almost everything. More guests to be announced until the total hits 70 or so.

The rest of today is about Kickstarter and Kickstarts.

  • David McGuire has had some ups and downs over the past day or so; he funded out with three days to spare and announced some stretch goals, then a high-value backer dropped a pledge and knocked him back below the threshold of success, from which he is now separated by just under US$100 and two days. He’s going to make goal, but this situation sparked a bit of memory for me.

    You may recall the Kickstarter backer-scammer of 18 months ago¹, whereby an individual (probably more than one on a site as broad as Kickstarter) made a series of top-tier pledges and then disputed charges with Amazon after rewards had started shipping. While I don’t think that McGuire has been intentionally messed with (personal finances change, after all), I have heard stories of groups of griefers that pledge to campaigns and cancel immediately before close. It’s bad enough if they cause a campaign to fail just to screw with somebody, but it could actually be worse if a campaign just barely succeeded — a creator may have placed orders for merchandise with the expectation of it being paid for, and be stuck with unneeded inventory and overly-large invoices to pay.

    So I guess I’m back to a couple of stray thoughts I had back in November of 2013 — Kickstarter should look at allowing campaign owners to set a threshold above which backers need to be approved, or to make available escrow services. The first is probably easier than the second, and while aimed at those with larceny in their hearts, these approaches would also help to prevent those who are “merely” setting out to spread misery for the lulz. Heaven (and the Uniform Commercial Code) help the next Kickstart campaign that GamerGate (and its similar, noxious offspring in other media) decides to make into its latest chew-toy.

  • The Dumbing of Age book 4 Kickstart had a great first day and is settling into the long tail phase — although with a second-day drop of more than 50%, the FFFmk2 is of less value than normal², adjusted for the fact that it launched right at midnight and so the drop is exaggerated — and that means it’s time for a predication. The math indicates US$132.5K +/- 26.5, or a range of US$106K to US$159K. Based on the trend of the previous DoA books, I think that US$90K +/- say US$10K is more likely. Give me another ten or so Kickstarts with a steep second day drop and we’ll have a better model.
  • Today’s Kickstarter that you should check out (by way of a tweet my wife saw): a travelogue of Iceland by Lonnie Mann, with a cover blurb from Lucy Knisley³ who pretty much epitomizes the travelogue comic. It looks really good, and has all the hallmarks of a success: the work has already been published as minicomics; a printer is lined up; Mann has backed many, many Kickstarters in the past and obviously isn’t looking to tap into the magic free money machine without a clue. Give this one a good look.

Spam of the day:

Dear Gary – Thank you for your kind support and stellar coverage of our growing list of clients. It’s been slightly over a full year since I formed our small PR and marketing agency and it’s been an amazing ride that I could not have undertaken without your generous support and kind words. Truly, you are the best!

I’ve never heard of you, you’ve never emailed me before, and I’ve certainly never covered your clients. You’re … you’re not very good at this, are you?

¹ Which — small world! — featured Alex Heberling, now colorist for Brad Guigar’s Evil, Inc, whose latest Kickstart appears to not have been plagued by a complete and utter dick.

² See the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which had the flattest long tail I’ve ever seen, where the FFFmk2 would have predicted US$175K +/- 35K, which I eyeballed down to maybe US$55K, and actually did US$65K. I need more data!

³ Holy crap you guys — just as I was typing Lucy Knisley’s name, Terry Gross said her name on the radio. Timing! She’s running an interview with her right now which isn’t available online yet, but probably will be tomorrow at this address.

[…] just yesterday I was talking about people trolling Kickstarters and wouldn’t you know it, today brought […]

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