The Order of the Stick
If you’ve been paying attention to the online comics community in the past year or so, you’ve no doubt come across someone looking for donations to help fund their comics project via Kickstarter. The website relies on ardent fans for these campaigns to work, in much the same way that smaller publishers have pushed hard the idea of pre-ordering your comics because direct market retailers might not stock the material otherwise.
When it first came into being, Kickstarter was pegged as a fad. However, it’s bucked preconceptions after projects like Womanthology pulled together more than $100,000 (when organizers only asked for $25,000) in August 2011, and has become an increasingly vital part of comics publishing outside the well-funded major companies. And when Rich Burlew’s webcomic The Order of the Stick raised $1.2 million when only asking for $57,750, it changed the thinking of many comics pros.
In effect, it’s turning away from publishers as the primary source to fund a comic and instead taking advantage of the wills and pocketbooks of fans. What makes it even more powerful is the idea of prizes for pledge levels, becoming more than just a donation with no strings attached; in effect, you could pre-order editions of the book in different formats with different price levels. Take for example the recent Kickstarter drive for the Image graphic novel Queen Crab: It raised $10,000, and in the process pre-sold 278 print copies of the book and 47 PDFs. That’s before it was even solicited in Previews.
Creators | Rich Burlew discusses the staggering $1.25 million Kickstarter campaign for reprints of collected editions of his Order of the Stick webcomic, and reveals initial postage for the five waves of shipments is estimated at $350,000. He also delves into how much time he devoted to the fundraising drive, and his strategy for reinvestment. [Publishers Weekly]
Conventions | Table space for September’s Small Press Expo has sold out: “The hardest part about producing SPX each year is not being able to accommodate all of the awesome talented folks who would like to exhibit at the show. Even with our largest show floor ever we’ve sold through all of our available table space in record time.” [SPX]
Publishing | Three million-dollar Kickstarter drives, including Rich Burlew’s $1.2 million campaign for The Order of the Stick, make the fund-raising site look like a pot of gold to some folks, but it’s not that easy: Suw Charman-Anderson, who;s contemplating a Kickstarter drive herself, looks at the factors that make the big money-makers so successful. [Forbes]
Editorial cartoons | The New York Times has responded to Daryl Cagle’s criticism of its hiring policy and fees for editorial cartoonists, saying the newspaper will delay bringing political cartoons back to its Sunday review section until editors have had time to revisit their policies. [The Cagle Post]
Editorial cartoons | For those who want a look at the bigger picture, Columbia Journalism Review surveys the landscape of editorial cartooning and in particular, the economics of syndication. [Columbia Journalism Review]