Robot 6

Alterna Comics tries ‘reverse fund-raiser’ on IndieGoGo

Small comics publisher Alterna Comics is running what it calls a “reverse fundraiser” on the crowd-funding platform IndieGoGo. The term “reverse fundraiser” suggests the company will be giving the money to us, but alas, it’s not that good. What is reversed is actually the chronology of events: Alterna is looking for funding for comics that have already been published. Alterna founder Peter Simeti explains:

When these books originally went to print, fundraising sites like kickstarter and indie gogo weren’t super popular so we ended up putting print runs on credit cards. I’m still in a bit of debt because of this (about $30K) but it’s been getting better every year. I pay about $5K a year in interest fees though because of this, so it’s been a really hard upward battle to pay off the bills, pay creators, and produce new product. Especially on a substitute teacher’s salary… ($11K a year)

Compared to those numbers, the fund-raiser is quite modest; the goal is $2,500. And the rewards are pretty good: For $10, you can get a hard copy of any Alterna comic or a digital collection of 25 graphic novels in PDF format. But this does raise the question of what crowd-funding is really about. Johanna Draper Carlson recently commented that she prefers to donate to a project that is already complete and just needs funding for printing costs. This carries that to its logical extreme — the books are finished — but looked at another way, it is really just using IndieGoGo as a temporary storefront. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s definitely another wrinkle in the crowd-funding model.



Jesse Letourneau

July 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

“For $10, you can get a hard copy of any Alterna comic or a digital collection of 25 graphic novels in PDF format.”

Isn’t that called buying things?

Yeah, this seems like an odd route to go, given by going through IndieGogo, they’re just adding a middle man that a sale on their own site would cut out. Then again, they did almost the exact same thing a year ago ( with a different marketing pitch and it succeeded.

Question: why does this article not include a link to the IndieGogo campgain itself? Seems like a fairly big oversight.

It’s certainly a “wrinkle” in the crowdfunding model, but the good thing is that this model is still being constructed, so it won’t do too much damage. The fact that these comics were already produced may prove to be a slight downside in Alterna’s crowdfunding efforts, since it’s really a campaign hoping to make back Peter’s initial investment, and as an adjunct university professor, I understand his predicament all too well.

It’ll all be in the way Peter puts himself across in his pitch and in the perks he offers to potential contributors. Luckily, $2,500 is not a lot to ask for these days.

@Jesse: Yeah, but the difference is you’re buying and also helping someone out.

The difference is Indie Go Go is something people are talking about and Alterna is not.

Brigid Alverson

July 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

@Jason I thought I had included the link, but maybe WordPress hiccuped on me. It’s there now.

Yeah not a whole lot of help to run the story and not include a link to the campaign at Indie Gogo. Very lame.

Actually so bad its something Graeme would do…

I know it seems like an odd route to go – but indiegogo isn’t like kickstarter. and yeah it’s like “buying stuff” but that’s what crowd funding essentially is. otherwise it would be called “donating”. you can always just donate and not choose a reward, but most people don’t go that route.

this argument even goes towards the same reason for “why not just put it on your site store and tell people to go buy stuff”. well, anyone can go do that too. heck, why use ebay? or amazon? why not just make a site store and scream out “buy my stuff!!” all over social media.

my comments might be a bit snarky here but honestly, the faceless anonymity that the internet brings can sometimes bring out an ugly meanness in people – saying things and bringing forth an attitude they’d never bring if they were face to face with someone. it’s a bit uncalled for and honestly rude and hurtful.

if you don’t want to support – then don’t. it’s as simple as that. and if you do want to support, then that’s awesome and you have my undying eternal gratitude. but for all the naysayers – i’d like to know the last time you laid down $30,000 to support someones project. because that’s what i’ve done over the course of 5 years.

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