Building Your Brand
One of the best reasons to take your creative project to Zoop, and other crowdfunding platforms (yes, like Kickstarter) is that they afford you the opportunity to build your own brand. You might hear the word "brand" a lot, with a wide array of potential definitions, but I'm going to explain what I mean by brand here, specifically for crowdfunding.
As someone putting out their own product, you're essentially an entrepreneur. You have no corporate backing, you are relying on the pledges of backers and supporters of your work. That's both terrifying, and extremely gratifying, if done correctly. "Correctly" is a term that is loose, and can be so fluid, that no two people can really replicate the formula perfectly. Many different paths lead to success.
But for the purposes of our conversation, crowdfunding allows you to go directly to your customer. Have a 1 to 1 relationship with them. Collect their e-mail addresses and be able to communicate with them (this is a big one that we'll touch on in a moment).
In traditional direct market comics, the creator has no idea who is actually walking into a shop and buying their books. No way to recommend past, or upcoming projects to them. No way of knowing demographic information, location information, age, gender, etc. However, crowdfunding affords you all of this information. And provides you the ability to pivot based on your findings.
With this information, you can see how you're doing as a creator, as a business owner, what people like about your product or don't like. And you can take that information to make your product better along the way. If you do right by them, they'll be back next time. So, make sure to create a quality product, and deliver it when you say you will! Build trust, and earn that repeat support.
With e-mail (told you we'd get back to that) you have the ability all year round to be in touch directly with your supporters, not just during the pre-launch phase or when your campaign is live. You want to build this list. By word of mouth, by using social media, by enticing people to sign up for your e-mail lists, newsletters, pre-launch page, and ultimately, back your campaigns. E-mail is your #1 tool in the world of crowdfunding!
With this model, you bypass distributors, retailers, and publishers. You earn the lion's share of the profits, not them. You get to build off of previous successes, and be the sole beneficiary. You maintain creative control. You maintain your output schedule. You maintain your intellectual property rights for potential licensing in other mediums.
There's a theory out there that you only need 1000 fans to be successful. Crowdfunding is proving that theory more and more. And hey, you might not start with 1000, and there's certainly nothing wrong with building a fanbase larger than that as well. But you now have the opportunity to build that fanbase, however long it takes, and reap the rewards of your hard work.
There's so much more to discuss on this topic, but this was a brain dump of a conversation I had today that I found particularly inspirational. So, go build your brand!