Friday, October 19, 2012

The Wardenclyffe Horror Interview

Greetings friends! Today I am joined by one of the creative forces behind Wardenclyffe Horror graphic novel, David Winchester.  Thank you for joining us David!

Thank you so much for having me, James!

So David lets kick this interview off with our standard question, “Why Kickstarter?”  

Well, there are a lot of ways to take that question.

If you mean why Kickstarter as opposed to other crowdfunding sites, then I would say that Kickstarter is the 'legitimate’ site. It has the highest requirements on creators, and in my experience is more likely to give backers what they are looking for.

If you mean, "why crowdfunding though," I would say that it is a marketplace of ideas. It allows someone with a great project and a lot of passion to put in some effort, make a pitch, and hopefully get enough attention and funding to give him the means to succeed. Though my partner Chris and I might eventually be able to self finance such a project - we can bring it to the audience a lot faster with a little help.




So why 1908 and why Twain and Tesla?  That’s only a few years before Twain’s death but safely in the middle of Tesla’s time was it just to get the iconic Twain look for the book?

Tesla and twain were an obvious choice for us when it came time to look for ideas on a story in this period, but 1908 has something none of the surrounding years had: an anomaly that went unexplained for decades: The Tunguska event. We've tied that in with the rest of the story, in what I think is a skillful blend of fact and fiction.


So does the Wardenclyffe in the title have anything to do with the Wardenclyffe Tower Tesla was known for?  

The Wardenclyffe Tower, Tesla's most ambitious project is included in this story for two reasons. The first is that is pivotal to the story, and the second is that it is iconic; you simply can't tell a story about a mad scientist without including his laboratory.


Well that tower definitely fits that image! So you have chosen a very striking and dark art style, was this on purpose based on the theme/story or because it is Robert Rath’s usual art style?

The best way to answer that question James, is to say that we chose Robert as the artist because his style best matched the idea of what we wanted the book to look like. His bold, high contrast line work not only evokes the moodiness you would expect from a horror book, but the style in general evokes the age and the old timey feel of the time period our story is set in. 



I noticed you did something in your Kickstarter that I wish more would do by putting in a “Risks and Challenges” section.  Do you think be upfront and honest about the challenges ahead  helps your project?  What else have you done to establish that your team is reliable enough to pull of this project?  

I think more backers should consider whether or not the creator of a project is credible. It is easy to promise the moon, but much harder to deliver. Kickstarter actually recently started making this section a requirement on all new projects, but I think many projects could do a better job of filling them out.

We went to great lengths to ensure the dollars we were asking for were sufficient to realize this project. We gathered estimates for shipping and printing, we worked a production schedule that was realistic with our artist, and only after we were satisfied that we could answer every question our backers would ask, did we bring this project to market.

So how are you tapping into your built in fan bases to support this project?  How are you reaching out to new people? Are you doing any advertising?  

We have a minimal advertising budget, split between a banner ad on Kicktraq and a couple other places. For the most part, Chris and I have been relying extensively on social networking. Our friends and colleagues have been doing a great job of helping us get the word out - currently we have 75 backers!


With just under 30 days to go how does your Kicktraq projection look for completing the project?  Is Kicktraq giving you valuable information to help you adjust the project in real time?

Kicktraq is an invaluable resource. As a serial backer, I visit all the time. It is the only way one can find the diamonds in the rough on Kickstarter. The most valuable thing that Kicktraq tells me as a creator is how highly I am ranked on the "hot lists." These metrics are a proprietary blend of donations, backers, and views and a good indication for how interesting the community finds my project. Generally The Wardenclyffe Horror ranks near the top on the comics section, and hovers around the bottom of the main list, falling off occasionally.

All in all, I think these are positive signs. Just take a look at this chart - it shows success currently at about 90%




So besides pledging how can people support Wardenclyffe Horror?  

The biggest thing people can do to support this project is tell a friend. Every Kickstarter out there is telling you to tweet about their project, but I don't think that's all that effective. What I want from backers that wish to help the project to succeed is to think about who in their circle of friends would love to read this book, and to personally recommend it to them. This is far more powerful than any ad I could craft.

The other day we have 600 views on the blog, of those, 40 people clicked a link to take them to the project. Of those that went to the project only 3 or 4 backed the project. This is consistent with conversations I have had with other creators.

What have you learned about running a Kickstarter now that you've actually started one and not just backed them?  How different is it on the inside?  

It's busier than I thought it would be. The Kickstarter happened to line up with a particularly busy spike in the day job of both myself and my co-writer, Chris. Answering questions, posting updates, and looking for publicity is a second job. From the time I get off work, to the time I go to bed, I work on this project. I don't expect this trend to change until the clock ticks down to zero.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?


I think you've covered it all. I would just like everyone for taking the time to read this article. I hope that when you walk away from this, you are as passionate as I am about the project - every dollar helps us get closer to our goal.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at our blog, caffeineforge.com, or email me directly at caffeineforge@gmail.com.



Thanks again for your time David, I look forward to seeing your successfully completed project!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reach out to even more possible Wardenclyffe supporters James, it was a pleasure.