Jeremy Biggs is a cyberpunk comics writer who, along with his artist Simeon Aston, creates the world of Metal Made Flesh. He offers a unique perspective to comic creators looking to crowdfund, because he’s fully funded three physical comics, instead of running off a webcomics community. He offered some unique rewards–a tangible replica of the weapons used in the story, and sculptures of the characters and ships–so he faced some unique logistics challenges.
Jeremy agreed to give us a lengthy interview with a wealth of information and resources, including some unusual prize ideas. Here’s the dish.
1. Jeremy, you raised over $16,000 in your Metal Made Flesh-Vengeance Kickstarter. What would you say was the most important factor in your success?
In short, I think the awesome artwork from Simeon, and co, as well as what I hope is an intriguing premise for the story. Vengeance is the 5th Kickstarter we’ve done now, so I would say having an established following, and some wonderful fans has most definitely helped! They make it all worthwhile.
2. How did you build your audience pre-Kickstarter?
Sim and I took the first story “Flesh” to conventions for about a year prior to launching our first Kickstarter back in 2014, in that time we recorded email addresses, used social media and built a following as much as possible in that early phase.
3. When was the turning point in the success of your fundraising–when did things really start growing?
It’s funny because things have grown in sudden bursts, followed by reasonably fallow periods when Sim and I have our heads down creating new stories. The initial weeks are always key, before and during the first week of Kickstarter, talking to backers, finding out what kinds of things they’re really keen to get their hands on, and trying to please them really.
4. On a practical note, what company did you use for reward distribution? If you’re DIY, how are you managing those logistics?
We’re DIY. Logistics are mainly managed by a copy of excel and lots of printing and marking things off – we’re very old school!
5. Who did you use for book printing, and would you recommend them?
We use a range of printers based in the UK and in China. Being a Chinese speaker, I can communicate effectively and get quite good deals on printing.
6. Let’s talk about prizes. What are the best prizes for comics crowdfunding, in your experience? How did signing things affect their value and the amount of work you had to put in? How did you get the models made, how did you calculate them into costs of fulfillment, and would you recommend the company that made them?
I think of them as rewards, rather than prizes! People definitely prefer and attach more value to signed books, so it has an impact. Models were made by James of IDM Imagineering, who we met through a Kickstarter backer, and Jon from Captain Snikt’s models – someone we met through conventions. Conventions really are the best place to meet creative and talented people!
7. Most difficult aspect of crowdfunding for comics for you, logistically?
Postage. Whatever you do, do not underestimate it. Second of all I would say are things like Add ons. Sadly, comic book projects rarely fall into the range where we can use something like Backer Kit, as it’s just too expensive, so managing that does require a lot of time.
8. Number one most important tip you’d give to comics-related crowdfunding campaigns?
Create great, compelling stories with something unique about them. Understand what that uniqueness is and boil it down into something that you can communicate in an “elevator pitch”. What is it about your project that is special? Have something to say.
Then tell everyone. Be enthusiastic, and let your passion for your project come across. Let Backers be a part of the process, give them insights into the creation process.
9. Now what? What are you working on now, post-success, and what are you excited about that you’ve got coming down the pipe?
Well, now you asked! After Metal Made Flesh 3 I’m working on a number of different projects: Dream Walkers, (with Marvel Art Director Federico Ponce and french artist Edgy Ziane), which has been pitched to a major publisher – which is a story about an outsider living in a utopian society where dreaming is banned – a bit like Inception meets the Never Ending Story.
Super Robot Mayhem, (a collaboration with a blog who have supported us over the years) a love letter to classic 80’s anime like Macross, Gatchaman, Gundam Wing featuring giant robots battling alien forces. That one has some amazing Katsuhiro Otomo-esque artwork.
Punk as Fuck – kind of like Scooby Doo meets Baader Meinhof meets the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy. After being mistakenly overheard by the NSA saying a sentence so mind numbingly mundane it could only possibly be secret code for some secret terrorist atrocity, our hero is rescued from the clutches of the security services by a plucky gang of art terrorists, on a mission to destroy all symbols of the phallocracy in order to release a trapped ancient goddess.
The Provocateurs – Moonlight City meets the professionals meets the Stasi. Set in an alternate timeline where the Soviets are winning the cold war, Agents Kalugin and Rosenholz are secret service agents, masters of Zersetzung, who take on dissidents, in a neon saturated parody of shows like 24 and Miami Vice.
I’ve gotta say, I’m excited about Jeremy’s drive to keep creating, and I think it’s a great lesson to comics creators to use the momentum from crowdfunding to keep going into the next project. Many thanks to Jeremy for being willing to answer a few of our questions–be sure to check out some of his stuff!
I’ll be following up soon with more crowdfunding comics posts–we’ve got some tasty interviews with some great experts and creators coming down the line. If you want EXTRA interviews and stats, there’ll actually be a whole e-book about comics crowdfunding available to my e-mail list below. Drop me your info and I’ll let you know when that’s ready.
Or, to see all the comics-creating posts hosted here on Jace’s Bookshelf, including art tips and what-not, go to“Making Comics”, here. If you’re all like, “aw, come on, Jen, you can’t teach me anything, I wanna talk to a pro,” go here to get a special in to a class with Boom! Comics’ Palle Schmidt (only valid til Jan 15, 2017!). Feel free to click on Jace’s Bookshelf above to keep browsing other “books,” like SuperGear and Superhero Alerts, or go to the crowdfunding interview with Jam from Wasted Talent.