Looking Ahead to Summer and Fall 2019, Part 2

Picking up from where we left off yesterday, my plans for Sunnyville and its expanded universe are as follows.

One of the goals over the summer months for me is to create some more picture book “dummies” (that’s publishing lingo for a rough draft complete with art and text) for Hilda and Richie. I have two ideas I have been wanting to draw with them. I aim to shop this work around to picture book publishers in the future. Oh, Hilda and Richie do exist in the Sunnyville universe; I’ll have to see about a crossover one day.

More importantly, I need to prepare better for the next Kickstarter with Dominic & Claire. That will launch in September and I’ll eventually share more details once they are worked out.

After careful thinking, I came to two conclusions about what went wrong with that Kickstarter. The first problem was that I asked my backers out of the blue to back a creation of mine mostly unfamiliar to them. In spite of declaring it a spin-off and part of the Sunnyville universe, they didn’t have much exposure. The only comics I’ve done so far with them (other than the incomplete Kickstarter comic “Dominic & Claire Return”) is the 24 hour comic and the Dominic & Claire Funnies. My backers and fans have not had time to connect with Dominic & Claire as they have with Rusty, Sam and the Sunnyville gang.

Do you remember how I shared whole comics stories here with Rusty and friends? Plus I posted up profiles and artwork of the characters. I have NOT done with that with Dominic, Claire or Rusty’s relatives in Dominic’s hometown of New Gestad.

Over the next few months, I aim to share artwork and profiles of the characters to this Sunnyville spin-off. There’ll also be a few short vignettes with Dominic and Claire; this will feed into another strategy of mine for the next Kickstarter. A free sample comic will be offered to potential backers. I made the first episode of Sunnyville free; this strategy will be used with Dominic & Claire too.

The second problem: the adage “show, don’t tell” applies here. I declared that Dominic was Rusty’s cousin and Dominic’s hometown of New Gestad was part of the Sunnyville universe. But I didn’t show that. Some of the art and comics I’ll share will involve Rusty with his cousin Dominic; Rusty will actually state in-universe he is visiting. Plus the newer Dominic & Claire comic for the Kickstarter will contain a story or two with Rusty. The logic behind this is to help bridge these two settings and clearly establish to readers that Dominic’s world is indeed part of the Sunnyville canon.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned to this blog as I’ll have more news on the Kickstarter in the future. Plus there’ll be more material with Dominic and friends soon so keep an eye out for it!

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Looking Ahead to Summer and Fall 2019

This is a personal entry but also one that concerns the future of Sunnyville Stories and my comics in general.

As you know, my recent Kickstarter for Dominic & Claire Return didn’t make its goal. For the whole week, I was demoralized. The drive to do anything was gone; my heart wasn’t just in making any kind of comics anymore. I was planning to make an announcement today that Sunnyville would be ending for good and I would stop drawing anything.

Last night, I was just laying around moping and had YouTube playing on my television. Playing were some videos from Tyler James, a guru behind the website Comix Launch. I was halfheartedly listening to his visage spouting advice on comics and crowdfunding. As these videos played, I was feeling down about my planned retirement from comics. I really didn’t want to do it, but I felt I had no drive anymore. Then two videos played on my YouTube television app. One of them was about 3 common mistakes made about Kickstarter project images and the second one was choosing a good Kickstarter project image.

When I saw those videos, I swear that a thunderclap went off in my mind – it was enough to snap me out of my depression and make me sit up. These videos were full of information that were quick fixes, albeit minor ones, to Kickstarter projects. But they worked.

In less than one hour, I had gone from being ready to quit making comics to being fired up again to make comics and plot out my next Kickstarter.

So what’s next? From here on, I am going to continue work on Dominic & Claire comics and plan the next Kickstarter. They will star in another Kickstarter launching in the first week of September. I know that you may be expecting details right now…that will have to wait. I still need some time to relax after this gut-wrenching Kickstarter experience and to “recharge” my batteries. I also need to have a refresher on crowdfunding. Therefore, I’ll be taking part in a July workshop that Tyler James (the guy I mentioned above) is holding.

There is more…but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Dominic and Claire Kickstarter Fails

The Kickstarter for Dominic & Claire Return is over. It failed.

I’m more confused than angry or depressed. I contacted over 30 people well ahead of time about backing this campaign.

Did they just drop off the face of the Earth?

I did everything right and still failed. I really don’t get that.

This isn’t the end however of either Dominic & Claire or Sunnyville. Already, a new Kickstarter is being assembled. Stay tuned as this isn’t the final curtain; I’ll have an announcement this weekend.

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10 days left for Dominic and Claire

Dominic & Claire Return is currently entering its final 10 days.

The latest update is now posted and we made the Comix Launch Podcast #199 (listen around the one hour, seven minute mark).

However, we have yet to make our goal. I honestly don’t understand what is going wrong. I did everything I did before and this is not a question of me being stupid or my comics being bad (contrary to what some clueless idiots out there think). As I did before, I contacted a number of backers well in advance. Are they just not interested? Or maybe it’s a bad time of year to launch a Kickstarter.

No matter what happens, I am going to see this Kickstarter through to the end, win or lose.

As this post goes live, I’m already assembling a contingency plan. Once this Kickstarter ends and pending the results, I will unveil this plan.

Stay tuned and make sure you pledge today to Dominic & Claire Return!

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Kickstarter Update 5/12/2019

Welcome back, everyone. The Dominic & Claire Return Kickstarter continues and has 17 days to go.

It isn’t going well right now as we haven’t even hit the 50% funding mark. But in spite of this, I will be seeing this through to the end no matter how it turns out.

Updates are on the Kickstarter on how I designed the cover; it is broken up into a part 1 and a part 2.

Work will continue on that comic, whether or not the Kickstarter succeeds. I’m also working on more updates for Tiffany & Corey so look for that.

I should have another update later on. Keep watching and pledge to the Kickstarter!

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Dominic and Claire Kickstarter Day 5

The Dominic & Claire Kickstarter enters its fifth day.

As it stands right now, the Kickstarter is around 25% funded. That’s a quarter of the way. That’s not bad, but we have to keep this up. If it doesn’t hit 100% funding by the early morning hours of May 30, it will all be for nothing.

The first Kickstarter update has been posted. Two more are forthcoming both today and tomorrow. I might do another update on Monday. My work this weekend has been entirely on Dominic & Claire Return. As this post goes live, I am designing the cover.

Inking Claire on the cover

I will be sharing the cover creation process over the weekend on the Kickstarter.

Stay tuned to the blog for more details and also pledge to the Kickstarter today!

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Dominic and Claire Kickstarter Launched

It has begun! Early this morning, the Kickstarter for Dominic & Claire Return kicked off!

Screenshot of Dominic & Claire Kickstarter Launch

We have until the early morning hours of May 30, 2019 to meet the goal of US$625. While this is modest compared to many other Kickstarters (which often have goals in the thousands), it will not be easy to meet this goal as this is more money than I’ve aimed to raise before.

The first update on the Kickstarter itself will be this evening and there will be blog posts throughout the campaign. But I can’t do this alone – I need all of you out there helping me. Please pledge today to the Dominic & Claire Return Kickstarter and be sure you tell others!

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Dominic and Claire Kickstarter Preparations

First, before we continue, I want to mention another Kickstarter. Sinopa Publishing has a neat RPG campaign running for the Sinopa Omnibus Volume 1. If you can, please pledge to it and spread the word.

On Tuesday April 30, we launch the Dominic & Claire Return Kickstarter. The goal is a modest one of US$625 but this is higher than usual as I tended to stick to the $200-500 range.

I’ve devised a basic strategy of promotion. There will be daily updates on both Twitter and Facebook. The blog and Kickstarter updates will be used. I am on the fence about whether to write up another press release. I’m also reaching out to bloggers and podcasters about coverage. (Incidentally, if you are such an individual, please contact me at maxwestart(at)gmail(dot)com.)

The campaign will launch in the early morning hours. I will take a screenshot of when it is launched and post a blog update with said screenshot. The site Kicktraq will get monitored too as they track all kinds of Kickstarters. I wouldn’t mind being listed on the Kickstarter page as a “Project We Love”, but the chances of that are realistically slim to none.

Promotional art will be composed today to use in tweets and Facebook posts.

A lot is riding on this. My hopes that a second Dominic & Claire comic combined with publicity from the campaign will give me enough momentum to get them into the direct market. It should help that the Dominic & Claire Funnies (their first comic) will be a reward for certain backers along with this comic.

Stay tuned for more updates and get your pledges ready! We launch Dominic & Claire Return on Kickstarter this Tuesday!

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Kickstarter Approved and Ready to Go!

We are good to go! The Dominic & Claire Return Kickstarter has been approved by the staff.

We are set to launch on Tuesday April 30 so get ready!

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Kickstarter Work Ninety Percent Finished

Today’s post is a short one but does follow up from yesterday.

The Dominic & Claire Return Kickstarter is ninety percent completed. I have spent all day working on it. Only two vital components remain.

The first is the video. It’s not finished but I have been working all day. It will be wrapped up tomorrow night and put on the Kickstarter then. Some of you are wondering what the big deal is. Not having a video is fatal to a Kickstarter; I may fail without one and I am NOT taking any chances.

The second requires approval of the Kickstarter people. That takes about three days but I have plenty of time for that.

That’s it for now. I will update all of you again once the Kickstarter is finished & approved. We launch on Tuesday, April 30 so be ready!

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