Today’s Kickstarter spotlight is on Kay and P/Lady Skylark Bookstravaganza, by Jackie Musto. Jackie is a graduate of Montserrat College of Art, Beverly MA, and if you are not checking out her work you are really missing out on something.
Can you briefly tell us what your project is about and how long have you been working on it?
My kickstarter project is a campaign to print my indie comics. They started out as webcomics in 2009, and when support seemed large enough for it, I started making print copies of the books. It started as single issues, but as the number of those really started mounting, it made more sense to transition into trade paperbacks. Today, “Kay and P” has three trades, and “The Adventures of Lady Skylark” has two. While they’ve been successful at conventions and selling online, self publishing is super hard to do when it comes to printing full color comics. I’ve never been really able to offer them in stores because the cost to me is just too high – I would end up eating the cost and I doubt the comic shop would enjoy the price point either. Now I have opportunity to print in a large volume. My printer has been awesome enough to offer me a great deal, but with so many trades requiring so many copies of each for that price, I needed to turn to Kickstarter to make up some of the extra funds to print. For a brief lowdown on the two series:
“Kay and P” is a modern fantasy about a college-aged girl who’s best friend is a skeleton – but no one else seems to see the skeleton but her. It turns out there is a wider variety of mystical beings out there just beyond the sight of mortals, but of course she now has to juggle all of this with her normal life of school, work and relationships.
“The Adventures of Lady Skylark” is a steampunk sky-pirate adventure comic. It stars Tameri (Lady Skylark), a pirate captain who is ousted by her first mate while 3000 feet above the ground – she somehow survives and makes a miraculous recovery just to be picked up by a crew of well meaning but clueless gentleman merchant sailors. Tameri plots to take over the juicy vessel to regain her own and get sweet vengeance, but finds the ship is carrying mysterious cargo – The Queen’s Treasure.
What led you to bringing your project to kickstarter ?
I’ve actually used it before! Usually when a new trade paperback is ready to print, I run a small kickstarter for it. I never run a project until the book is finished – that way backers know the artwork is done and they won’t be waiting around years (or forever) to see their returns. They’ve been pretty successful so far, and I hope this one keeps up the trend!
Of all the pledge rewards which is your favorite?
Oh jeez, it’d have to be the Super Fan Packs – they include the t-shirts which are being made just for this Kickstarter! I’ve always wanted to do a couple shirts for the series, but I needed a fun idea and good timing to put them out. You also get all the books, so it’s great for newcomers or folks who haven’t bought any of the older books yet, and all the swag: buttons, stickers and mini-poster.
If some one finds out about Kay and P/Lady Skylark Bookstravaganza after the funding period has ended will they still be able to purchase it else where? If so where can they find it.
Yes! I sell comics off my website, and I try to hit all the conventions I can get to. Plus, the great thing about this Kickstarter is when it’s successful I’ll be getting the books at a price point where I can start selling in stores! I’ve already talked to a bunch of comic store owners and they have been very receptive to getting my books in there.
Do you think Kickstarter is helping the independent creator, hurting them, or not doing anything at all, and why.
As someone who has run some successful projects in the past, I can’t exactly say it’s hurting – but I can understand how consumers may feel “Kickstarter-fatigue” – especially if they are friends with a LOT of artists. Your newsfeed might be packed with folks looking for support! But I really like the idea of crowdfunding. It allows anyone to take their creative ideas and make a go at it – instead of having to pitch it to some large mega-publisher and hope that they want it – and if they do want it, that they don’t take creative control and destroy it.
If you had the choice would you rather have your book picked up by a major publisher of won d you rather keep putting books up on kickstarter?
I think I’m a little wary of the Big Two – the larger something grows, the more it seems to want to smooth out all the rough edges to make things palatable for the largest crowd – which has it’s place, to be sure. I think being picked up by a small indie publisher would be okay though – you want someone who lets the creator really own their ideas and work with them. Someone who doesn’t stifle the creator process. The Kickstarter process is a little harrowing sometimes, but I like having the control.
What have you done so far to make your current kickstarter stand out from other projects?
I think it’s the art, and the fact that I take constructive criticism from the backers. There have been a couple rewards that we’ve tweaked for example, because people might want to add a t-shirt or a second copy of a book onto an order. I also think the fact that the artwork and everything is already done is a huge bonus – it’s a little more akin to pre-ordering the book than taking a chance or investment.
How much have backers on previous projects helped you currently, what are you doing/ what have you done to bring them back?
Quite a few! I think the fact that it’s a weekly webcomic helps – in the interim between kickstarters, they have more art and pages to read and get hyped up for the next book. I also create reward tiers for both newcomers and old supporters, so there is something for everyone!
Before we go is there anything you’d like to add?
First of all, I’d like to thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to share my project! Word-of-mouth is such a huge help in these things. That being said, thanks to everyone for reading and (I hope) checking out the Kay and P & Lady Skylark Bookstravaganza! If you like female protagonists, modern fantasy, steampunk or indie comics I know you’ll enjoy them. Even if you can’t back the Kickstarter I invite you to read the comics, follow them weekly and check out my other social media for the other random artwork that I post – plus, you know… cat pictures and food, because it’s the internet. Thanks for your time guys, and I hope to see y’all around!