It’s interesting to follow “pay me to make a webcomic” Kickstarter campaigns, and 6 months to a year later, see who actually DID anything.
The first thought I had was Man, Scott’s very possibly talking about personal friends and acquaintances in that statement; I hope they don’t get mad at him. My second thought was, No, actually, I hope they’re smart enough to take his observation to heart. I suppose that’s why when I have (rarely) backed a Kickstarter that’s designed to launch a comic; I’m always looking for something concrete up front (which, if I get it, tends to bode well for an actually-regular webcomic).
The Last Halloween? I got some pins and a recipe for Sadness Brownies¹. Sufficiently Remarkable? Digital goods, including an audio recording of creator Maki Naro telling a terrible joke. Those were all I convinced myself I was ever going to get, and not only did I get them, but both comics are updating according to schedule, pretty much².
Others … haven’t done so well, either at launching at the promised time³, or at keeping updates coming; I really don’t want to get into names, mostly because for any that I might mention, there were probably three others that weren’t even on my radar. Not that I have much reason to complain about campaigns that I didn’t back (I’ve cut waaaay back on my Kickstarter habit in the past few months), but it’s something to always keep in the back of your mind — Does this project owner convince me that he or she will be able to get/keep their act together?
Let’s talk about some Kickstarts that I have confidence will be made good on in a timely fashion, then:
- Update! Dean Trippe’s magnificent, haunting, win-all-the-awards Something Terrible has six days to go; it’s a little under US$35,000 (of a US$6400 goal) at this writing, and closing in on the US$36K stretch goal of an added epilogue and fancier book design. He’s dead in the middle of the Fleen Predicted Total, but I would be happy to have underestimated this one.
- Update! My buddy Otter’s wonderful, funny, tense novels-to-audiobooks project is over goal, approaching the stretch goal where we can get the audiobooks on a cool USB drive, and pushing towards the stretch goal where Braille conversions (and donations to libraries serving the visually-impaired) happen. It’d be cool to get bonus stories and challenge coins but let’s get that Braille conversion done, yeah? Little more than three weeks for that to happen.
- New Kickstarter! Jesse Thorn, impressario of the Maximum Fun empire, wants to have a conference of independent creators in LA later this year, and that’s going to cost some US$120,000. Aside from the fact that Thorn’s various podcasts have given props to webcomics on numerous occasions (and that MaxFun’s merch is handled by TopatoCo), one of the keynote speakers at the Make Your Thing conference (for that is its name) will be webcomics own Kate Beaton. She may be branching out into other areas of creativity, but comics about history and literature and her younger self will always be where she started.
And crap, look at the other people gonna be there: Jay Allison, Jane Espenson, Chris Gethard, Merlin Mann, Vernon Reid (!), and John Vanderslice were just the names that jumped out at me the most. Word is trickling out, which is why MYT is currently sitting at 2% of goal, with a predicted finish around 65%, but we’re only three hours in and I hope to see that much higher by this time tomorrow.
This one deserves some traction, but I fear that the relatively high price points for the campaign — US$25: stickers, thank you email, update announcements; US$100: add video access to the conference and a t-shirt; US$400: add a ticket to the conference and gift bag — are going to be a sticking point. For a three-day professional-type conference US$400 is actually pretty realistic, but how many small-scale creators are going to be able to drop four hundo (plus travel expenses)? I hope this one makes goal, but ask me again in a couple days if it will.
¹ Which might be the bestest brownies I’ve ever had. Well done, TLH creator Abby Howard!
² Within experimental error, given year-end family obligations, technical issues, etc.
³ Granted, Kickstarter has a long and hallowed history of things not happening when they were supposed to, but there’s a lot less lead time involved in getting a website up and running, even a rudimentary one and getting stuff made by vendors on the other side of the world then shipped to me so I can ship it to you (even before you encounter completely unpredictable events like ships turning back when partway across the Pacific).