A crowdfunding campaign is an amazing way to your audience and raise funds for your art projects: self-publishing a manga, an artbook, printing an illustration series, … But what defines a successful campaign? How can you maximise your chances of success?

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KEY #1 – A professional presentation

The presentation of your project is essential to inspire confidence in strangers who don’t know you, and to make people want to support you financially. Imagine you come across a page full of spelling mistakes, with two small paragraphs and some blurry photos of illustrations. Like, “Hi, I’m a mangaka, and I need money.” Okay, we all start small, but you still need a minimum of professionalism.

Even if you’re just starting out, people see when you’re committed. That’s what will bring you their respect… and their money. Here are some aspects that can directly improve your page:

  • What is your project?  What stage is it at, when is it going to be released? Can you show pictures, artwork, progress?
  • Who are you? Can I see your work on social media, are you active, friendly, do you have a community?
  • What do you plan to do with the money? Printing, mailing, paying assistants, adding bonuses?

A well-described and illustrated presentation that shows that you take your work seriously is super important. Of course, you can get by with “just” some texts written in the editor of your Ulule, Kickstarter, or whatever website, but I would still advise a minimum of special additions: pretty typo for titles, more advanced visuals, a video trailer, or even a mini-comic to explain your project.

Be creative to stand out! The more polished your page looks, the more professional you’ll look, and the more confidence you’ll inspire in people.

KEY #2 – Attractive rewards

If your description has convinced your page’s visitors, they’ll start showing interest in your reward tiers. Overall, what should you consider when creating your rewards?

  1. Different budgets. Tailor your tiers to allow people to support you according to their finances.
  2. People like to have special rewards, for example a signed limited edition postcard only available during pre-orders.
  3. Related to your project. This sounds obvious, but when you’re just starting out, you might be confused sometimes. At the time of my first manga campaign, I also had online drawing courses that were doing well on Patreon. So I proposed a tier where people could see my sketchbooks, like anatomy studies and stuff. It was totally irrelevant and of course, nobody pledged! On the other hand, on the second campaign, I offered an exclusive sketchbook with all the character designs of the manga, and there, it worked.
  4. Affordable rewards. The goal is not to have more expenses than income, so try to find rewards that will make people happy, but are still cheap to produce and put in an envelope, in order to avoid huge shipping costs.

    KEY #3 – Goals for your supporters

    Even if your campaign is funded, if there are still a few days to go, of course you’re not going to shy away from raising additional funds for more stock, getting an extra paycheck, et cetera. That’s the whole point of stretch goals: if you reach  150% percent, two hundred percent, … You gain more possibilities as an artist, and your supporters win extra gifts.

    And WINNING is the key word. The interest of the goals must be for THEM, for your backers. I really noticed that, when I talked about the importance of reaching a specific goal to cover my legal freelance taxes for example, people didn’t care at all. However, when I switched to “Who wants to win an original illustration worth 120€?”… people were very eager to get the campaign going!

    Yes, there are people who are so lovely and happy to support small artists. But the majority, especially those who don’t know you yet, look at the benefits they can get. And seriously, who would say no to free gifts?

    KEY #4 – Effective organisation & communication

    Even if your actual campaign’s duration is short, like a month or so, there will still be a lot of organisation required before the launch. At the very least, you will need to inquire about quotes to fund your project and define your goal accordingly, think about your reward tiers, create your project descriptions and visuals, wait for the site to validate your campaign, and potentially modify the elements according to the feedback from your advisor.

    Communication will also be crucial before, during and after the project. Before, to make your audience want to know more and look forward to your project. During, to make sure that no one misses the news, and to convince those who haven’t backed it yet. And after, to keep your supporters informed of the progress, because they are amazing humans who have been kind enough to believe in you and who definitely deserve to know what happens with their money.

    In order not to bring a project out of nowhere, I advise talking about it from time, and then focusing all of your communication on it a couple of weeks before the launch, so that people remember it. For my recent Illustrated Fairytales manga, I announced the dates in January, and occasionally posted chill Instagram stories: here’s a new chara design, I’m inking a new page, … In March, I scheduled 2 posts a week to present the chapters, rewards, exclusive artwork, and when I launched in April, that allowed me to €1000 on the first day.

    It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, but communication is key: if you don’t talk about your project, how do you expect people to support you?

    KEY #5 – A committed audience

    Without an audience, nothing works: no money, no sales, no project, no business. In the beginning, rely on people who already like what you do: share it with your friends, your existing followers, ask them to participate and share. I’m not a big fan of the whole family supporting you just out of kindness, but it’s a fact:

    • The more people you have funding you, the more confidence it will inspire because we necessarily think something must be good if it attracts people
    • So the better your campaign gets off the ground, the more likely you’ll be propelled into the popular projects on the global website, and this is where strangers can discover your work

    And if strangers find you and see that you already have plenty of support, they’ll be more likely to trust and support you, too. It’s like Amazon reviews, the more comments a product has, the more we think it must be a reliable product.

    To share my experience, I funded my second campaign within 48 hours, and the support was steady throughout the whole month. For my latest campaign, which had a higher financial goal, it took me 19 days to get it funded. And I really felt a difference: before I hit the 100% goal, supporters were mainly from my already existing audience, and the campaign was honestly slow to move forward. However, once the 100% were reached, suddenly – the funding doubled in just 10 days, with all kinds of strangers coming in. Having a 100 % funded campaign already was definitely an indicator of success on this last campaign, so don’t underestimate the social proof to inspire confidence.

    KEY #6 – BONUS TIP

    I’ll add one last key to success after analysing several campaigns: the more scarce you make it, the more people will want to participate, because it’s special and thus they’ll be more willing to put in the budget.

    In my case, I could realistically a crowdfunding campaign once a year: new manga, artbook, clothing collection, … but I decided to limit it to Illustrated Fairytales, once every 2 or 3 years. Since I make such a big deal out of it, my audience knows exactly that it’s THE big project, and it allows me to bet on bigger budgets. Some of my followers who normally never buy any of my news participate, or I manage to sell 500€ original illustrations which normally don’t sell.


    Anyways, that’s it for the keys to a successful crowdfunding campaign: a professional presentation, with interesting rewards and goals, all well organised and communicated, for an engaged audience! If you have any other tips, or even an own crowdfunding experience to share to inspire other artists, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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