Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Iron King

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m happy to be joined by Julie Kagawa the New York Times best-selling novelist who is here to talk to us about her comic Kickstarter: THE IRON KING.  Thank you for joining us today Julie!

Thanks so much for having me!

So your novel series is THE IRON FEY, can you tell us a bit about the series and how THE IRON KING will fit in?  Will it be a stand-alone comic or will it be an introduction to your books?  

The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series, and follows the adventures of a girl named Meghan Chase who, on her sixteenth birthday, discovers her little brother has been kidnapped by the fey and replaced with an evil changeling. (Sort of a faery doppelganger for the real child.) Meghan goes into the Nevernever to rescue him and, as they always do in these kind of stories, hijinks ensue. The comic will be a four part mini-series of the first book, The Iron King, and we hope to turn the rest of the series into graphic novels, as well.

As a published author you have already made connections in the publishing industry.  Why come to Kickstarter instead of through a regular publisher?

Great question. Bluewater actually reached out to me to discuss turning the Iron Fey series into comics. I have always envisioned the series as manga or graphic novels, but all of my work in the industry has been with Harlequin, and they stick pretty much to novels. Bluewater presented a great opportunity to give The Iron Fey the graphic novel treatment. That said, they’re a relatively young company and there’s a lot of capital expenses with making a new book. The kind of fantastic treatment that they want to give the series requires hiring top talent, and that's tough for any company. Kickstarter is a great way to get the fans involved in making the best graphic novel we possibly can, spread the word, and hopefully get a lot of great rewards out to the contributors.

Why did you decide to bring your world into the realm of graphic novels?   Do you think the story can be told in a new way via images and reach a different audience?

Some of my biggest inspirations come from more visual mediums than traditional novels. I'm a huge fan of manga, comics, anime, and videogames of all flavors. So, some of it is getting to see the stories I created in a form that was very influential on me. But, I do think that the graphic novels can reach a different audience as well, and maybe introduce more people to the story.

How different is it writing a novel versus writing for a graphic novel?  

The great folks at Bluewater are the ones that get to tackle translating the work into a graphic novel. I'll be involved, of course, but this is a case of letting the experts do what they do best. There's a lot of dialogue that can be translated directly, and (I think) a lot of good imagery to turn into some awesome comic art, but just like screenwriters take novels and turn them into scripts, I'm trusting the graphic novelists to work their magic on my novels.

What is the estimated length of this mini-series?  The size of the issue the Kickstarter is funding?  Is it in B&W or full color?  

The four issue series will be full color illustrations created by the amazingly talented Frederico DeLuca. He starts with traditional line art and from there takes it to full color digital paintings. We hope that it does well that we can take the other stories in the IRON FEY series to comic book form.

I’m going to be honest here, the campaign page seems very disjointed to me.  In fact I’ve never heard of the IRON FEY series so I was hoping to find out more from this project.  The page even says, “If you're new to THE IRON FEY series, check out the synopsis below.”  Yet there is no synopsis anywhere on the page.  Or a description of the actual comic dimensions and type (traditional floppy comic?  Trade Paperback? B&W or color?).   It’s almost as if an entire section of your listing didn’t get posted.   Are there any plans to clear things up?  To make the project more informative beyond your established fan base?  

There is a synopsis and has been since it launched.

The synopsis on the page reads:

SYNOPSIS: The Faery realms have always weathered the clash of Summer and Winter fey, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Now a new breed of faery has emerged to challenge both... to their peril. Forged by Man's insatiable pursuit of technological superiority, the terrifying Iron fey are massing...and the fate of all faeries hangs in the balance. The greatest weapon in this epic magical war? A half-human teenage girl.

FROM BLUEWATER: This is a rather obvious thing to comic fans, and never occurred to us to explain dimensions to regular novel readers who may pledge, but it it probably a good idea to include. The comics will be a traditional size of approximately 6.75” wide by 10.25” tall, the same as most other traditional monthly comic books. They'll be printed on beautiful glossy paper, and are a saddle stitch format. Each issue contains around 22-pages of story, original covers, and if resources allow, some cool extras too!  Kickstarter made us make a lot of changes to the page to get it to go live.  It took over 2 weeks for them to approve it.

How much different is the Kickstarter system from what you are accustomed to?  

You have to remember the distinction between me as the author, and Bluewater as the publisher. In traditional publishing, the author provides a product to the publisher, and the publisher determines the best way to produce that product and get it to market. To a large extent, the production of the graphic novel works the same way. Bluewater as the publisher is driving the production of the book, and the Kickstarter campaign. I'm a little more involved in the process, since I'm contributing time and artistic efforts of my own to the rewards, but other than that, the process from the author's standpoint is the same.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

My husband and I have contributed to a few projects -- to help out artist friends, back some games we want to see come into being, and a few other projects. I guess we discovered it the way most people do - the magic of the internet. :)

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

Well, this is really the Bluewater side of the house, and I'm sure they'll be providing some additional thoughts here. The main thing I'm doing is putting effort into hand-crafting clay chibi sculptures of the characters for rewards and gearing up to sign whatever the folks at Bluewater put in front of me.

FROM BLUEWATER: Julie has been one of the most helpful creators we've ever worked with, and has been helping to promote online as well as those adorable little statues. New art has been posted periodically as well as new rewards posted, and there just may be some more surprises :) In addition to this check out Julie's, Bluewater's and The Iron Fey's facebook fan pages and Twitter pages.



THE IRON KING: Comic Series Based on NY Times Best-Seller -- Kicktraq Mini 

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

I've been tweeting and leveraging Facebook. I'm sure the folks at Bluewater have more information and can answer some of the rest of the questions better than I.

FROM BLUEWATER: We have tied into Julie’s fanbase and also the YA network to get the word out.  One of the tools that people forget about comic books is that they are a great tool for reluctant readers.  I was one of them, so telling a story like this in a different medium is going to help some people as well.  

We also have been doing all the social media everyday offering “Image of the Day”.   But we also are getting Julie to do interviews as well. This title reaches a broader market than a traditional comic book.  Not only is is for the comic book market, but the YA, female readers and the novel market.  Now that Julie is broken into Hollywood with her movie deal last week - we can add that in there too!

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Hmm... so, I've never run one myself (again, that pesky break between the author and the publisher) but I can tell you what makes me back one. First, it has to be a product I like and want to see on the shelves. That's something that's different for everyone, of course... you never know who is going to like what aspect of a particular project. Second, the rewards have to mean something to me... it has to be something I'm a whole lot less likely to get to do any other way, or something that I think is fun. And, finally, it helps if I understand what the contributions are going to be used for.

I think we've got all of that in this project: I hope people want to see the series come to life in a visual form; we've got some great and unique rewards; and the I think the folks at Bluewater have laid out what they're planning on doing with the funds raised (namely, paying for the best artists they can get their hands on).

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Go back the Kickstarter? :-p

Seriously, though, I hope people take the time to take a look and, if it's something you're interested in, back it! We've got great rewards at a lot of different backer levels, so come on out and help us make this thing a reality!

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

Thank you!

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