Welcome back friends to another Kickstarter Conversation! Today I am once again joined by Andres Salazar whom long-time readers will remember from his successful Pariah, Missouri campaign. Thank you for coming back to the Conversation Andres!
Hello James, thank you very much for inviting me. I can’t do this crowdfunding thing without great people like you.
You’re too kind. Before we get to your newest project could you tell us how Pariah, Missouri went? I understand you did a second Kickstarter for it to produce a “director’s cut” version as well, how has that project gone?
Both went extremely well. I did almost 300% goal funded for the first one and then another almost 200% for the second (which was at a higher goal amount) I didn’t get rich off them, but I was able to cover all the production and shipping costs, which is really all I wanted. I’ve had some great emails and responses from the backers on the book, and they were all shipped on time, I pride myself that I have always came through with the goods on time.
Your latest project SpaceBear seems to be a stark departure from your previous project. Can you tell us all about it?
Sure! SpaceBear is a children’s book, ages 3-6. It’s a fun sci-fi story like from the 50-60’s, but told for children and enjoyed by parents who are into that genre. I add pop culture references, like Adventure Time to make it fun for the adults to read. my goal was to make it fun for kids, educational and can be read in different ways, depending on the development of the child.
This is also the first in a series in the Bear-verse with other Bears in different worlds that I’m excited about and so I hope to build this into something VERY special.
What made you want to make a children’s book, let alone a space one?
I have three children and Pariah, Missouri is not really for them. I’m a level 9 geek, so I like all things fantasy, western, sci-fi, supernatural, and pop culture, so the sci-fi genre is one of the many I love. As a writer I want to grow and stretch and felt that all-ages books would be a good way to learn and enjoy building stories for a new demographic. I have many friends with little children so I thought it would be fun to do for them as well.
How much of a “change in gears” is it to go from writing and drawing a western to a children’s book? What do you have to do to write for young children that is different than normal writing?
This is a great question. Since I am doing this full time, I schedule my Pariah days separate from my Spacebear days. So I do like to get in a different head-space for one than another project. Sometimes a simple run will help cleanse the mind and aid in switching gears. One of the things you always want to do is research the market and medium. So I read a lot of books, the classics and saw what I liked and didn’t. My first draft of SpaceBear was definitely more complicated, I went into where he worked and all these details and my editors were like, skip all of that, just get to the main plot. So I learned a few things about distilling the story down into the key moments.
What have you learned from your previous campaigns that you’re bringing into SpaceBear?
I’ve learned a lot about production quality. The Pariah book was very successful because it looks good and has high quality. I wanted to stay with that, but go one step further and not use a print-on-demand printer. So with SpaceBear I am making a very high quality book with really nice paper and colors, I think it looks amazing. Marketing and outreach is very important and I am using all my resources to get the word out and hopefully trying a few new things.
It seems obvious with a book like SpaceBear that you’d offer a stuffed bear at some backer level, yet I can’t seem to find one. Is that because you couldn’t find a supplier or did it seem like an unnecessary distraction in your budget?
Yes. I want soooo bad to have a bear as a reward. But I didn’t want some cheesey teddy bear, I wanted SpaceBear and boy did he cost a lot to make unless I made a run of 4,000. I also spent a few days sculpting a 4 inch model to add, but I just don’t have the time to finish him for the kickstarter. It is a stretch goal if we go big, I will totally make the toys. I really want to, trust me.
While this is familiar ground for you, I have to ask why you didn’t include a budget breakdown? I would have figured a veteran creator like yourself would already have a firm handle on your budget and creating and sharing a budget would be a simple task.
I haven’t seen any data that shows that a budget breakdown on a campaign helps and with something like a children’s book I wasn’t sure if a pie chart and graph would distract from the whimsical art and feeling of SpaceBear. Quite honestly the goal of $5,000 is the exact amount (almost to the penny) of the cost of the printing run. I am not paying myself for the time, nor the shipping costs or costs for the stickers and patches. Maybe I should have made it higher, but I wanted to reach the goal, and since a children’s book is different than a comic, I was not sure if I would make it.
Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?
Research. Study. Talk to tons of people. Email me if you want, I’m more than happy to answer questions and above all make a GREAT product. You gotta love it. If you love it, show it. Make a great video.
Thank you for spending your time with us! Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?
I am just grateful for this opportunity. If you don’t have children in your life for a book like this, please pass the word along to those who may be interested, I promise you will not be disappointed and it will be shipping on time!
Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!
Thank you James!