AMA about Monkeys, Spies, And Monkey Spies. And doing what you can to make a go of it in creator-owned comics.

Grainne McEntee
Oct 13, 2017

Having completed three successful crowdfunder campaigns and just launched her fourth Kickstarter for her comic about simian super agent Bubbles O’Seven, Grainne McEntee can blow about Bubbles, his adventures so far, and his future, as well as a host of other topics such as James Bond, the portrayal of animals in the media, and just writing for the love of it. 

Photo on 12-10-2017 at 11.13 #2.jpg

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How high were the goals for each of the 3 campaigns?

Oct 13, 5:01PM EDT0

Honestly, they were as high as they needed to be. My primary purpose is to cover print costs and pay the creative team, everything above that is a bonus that you can reinvest in the next campaign.

Oct 13, 5:04PM EDT0

What preparation should be done before a crowdfunder is launched?

Oct 13, 2:23PM EDT0

The main prep is to have a completed product that you can pitch to your audience and reward levels that are fun and desireable. Be fluid, be flexible and know your audience.

Oct 13, 5:06PM EDT0

What information is essential in order to raise a successful campaign?

Oct 13, 2:23PM EDT0

Keep it lean. Sometimes, it is all too easy to be so overwhelmed by all the crowdfund advice out there, you can lose sight of the reasons why you are doing it for yourself and your audience. Don't get me wrong, There is a ton of good KS advice out there for newcomers to the platform. But you need some robust filters to take the best advice that will benefit your vision for your creation. :)

Oct 13, 5:10PM EDT0

Do you advise people to have a back up plan?

Oct 13, 2:01PM EDT0

Not necessarily. For those people just starting out, as unknown entities, if you don't hit your target, sometimes the best thing to do is just rethink the parameters of your crowdfunder and try again. Use the platform and hone your skill. There is more than one way to skin a kickstarter!

Oct 13, 5:03PM EDT0

What are the benefits of launching a crowdfunder?

Oct 13, 12:15PM EDT0

Engagement, Energy and Enrichment! First one, you reach a new audience that may never hear of you without the benefits of the crowdfund platform; Second one, you will be amazed - assuming you are truly invested in your project - how much inspiration and motivation you can glean from a crowdfunder; and third one, aside from having outside investors putting their own money into bringing your project to life, you will feel a sense of purpose in fulfilling the promise in which they have chosen to invest their own hard earned cash. And that is a gift in itself.

Oct 13, 5:01PM EDT0

Are you working on your own or in a team?

Oct 13, 9:32AM EDT0

The writing is my own and my partner Matt edits the script before it goes to the artist to make sure I've got the flow right. We are TEAM 511! Each element of a comic creation is its own challenge so along with myself and the artist, there is a letterer and colourist. We also have contributions to extra content in the form of guest pinups, mostly because I love to see other artists take on the character. Bubbles is a master of many looks! :)

Oct 13, 10:11AM EDT0

Where are you selling your comics?

Oct 13, 6:50AM EDT0

Hello Saiful. In comic shops, we have a home in Orbital in London and Calamity Comics in Harrow. We also had two backers on our last kickstarter campaign from US comic stores so small wins! Online, we have our own store at www.bouncecomics.co.uk and thanks for asking! :)

Oct 13, 7:56AM EDT0

Can you share more information about the crowdfunding projects?

Oct 13, 3:27AM EDT0

Anything you want to know Andy! It's a very broad field and a very broad question. Pitfalls: It can be stressful; sometimes you don't hit target and you just gotta pick yourself up and do it all again; it's blood, sweat but mostly tears; but when it works, it works beautifully; it challenges your creativity; improves your marketing skills. One very important tip: Don't underestimate your postage and package costs or the kickstarter fees. They can catch you out!

Oct 13, 8:03AM EDT0

Who does the graphics for your comics?

Oct 13, 1:02AM EDT0

I'm very lucky to have a talented partner in my corner, Matt Rooke. www.articulatebear.co.uk We conceived Bubbles O'Seven together and he drew the first issue. Since then, I have a different artist on each mission: Lee Killeen (#2), Mike Hartigan (#3) and the current one Phil Buckenham. We are a little like a family in the small press community (or I like to think so!) and try to support each other as much as we can.

Oct 13, 4:16AM EDT0

What advice can you offer to someone who has never done a crowdfunder?

Oct 12, 2:43PM EDT0

Don't look at other successful crowdfunders! (Just kidding...) It CAN be a bit of a downer when you see others in the same category steaming ahead or hitting their target of thousands of pounds within 24 hours, but you really do have to believe that what you are offering is something special. Rally a support network of family and friends, extend your network on social media and this is the hardest part: Do not be afraid to ASK, but make it FUN. Example: When someone pledges, I do a little thank you on Twitter in the style of and from the star of the comic himself. You can see these on @bouncecomics timeline.

Oct 13, 4:21AM EDT0

Should a campaign contain a video and why?

Oct 12, 2:39PM EDT0

Visuals without a doubt help boost a campaign. Our first campaign for the Bubbles comic received 367 views, hit 125% funding and reached goal within 22 days. I believe it provides a real signal boost. Even if it's just something simple like telling your backers what it's all about, making that connection with them certainly helps.

Oct 13, 4:11AM EDT0

Can you share a link to your website?

Oct 12, 12:55PM EDT0

Hey Poorvi. Thanks for asking. This is my first AMA so... :) Most of what we've done so far can be found on www.bouncecomics.co.uk

Oct 12, 1:04PM EDT0

What has happened with the comics after the campaign finished? Are they successful?

Oct 12, 5:34AM EDT0

All the campaigns have hit their target (so far!) They do get more difficult with each one as it can be a challenge to maintain audience engagement over a long period of time when you are not able to make comics full time because of real life and all that.We aim to fulfil all backer rewards within 2-3 months or ASAP after the campaign ends, then we move onto the next issue. It's always a pleasure, never a chore, and when he starts to feel like more of a grind, it's time to take a step back and look at what you are doing.

Oct 12, 6:11AM EDT0

Do you have any other comics? What inspired you when you wrote this one?

Oct 12, 12:28AM EDT0

Apes 'n' Capes was my first. That is four issues in, but the material and message was heavy so I've taken a step back from that to do the more light-hearted simian spy. There are 3 more missions left for Bubbles O'Seven to complete his story which will be done and combined into a nice GN before end of 2018.As for the inspiration, I love the spy genre and of course, am a huge James Bond fan. :)

Oct 12, 6:09AM EDT0

What crowdfunder did you use?

Oct 11, 11:19PM EDT0

Kickstarter all the way. I'm sure there are others out there, but in terms of starting out, it certainly has the most solid platform and well-established reach. Before embarking on the campaign, I did get advice from other small press creators who had used it successfully.

Oct 12, 6:06AM EDT0

Did you hire anyone to help you with the campaigns?

Oct 11, 4:30PM EDT0

No, we had limited budget so decided to use people power instead. The nature of the comic means we have a team that can engage their contacts to increase its reach - along with the writer, letterer, colourist, there is a different artist on each issue and guest pinups. This really helps get the word out to others with whom we could not normally engage.

Oct 12, 6:04AM EDT0

Have you ever received pushback for being a female in a male dominated industry?

Oct 10, 12:34PM EDT0

Hello Melody.I only started in comics in 2012 so am relatively new(ish) to its world, but I can honestly answer no, not personally. All the people with whom I have come into contact - men and women - have been supportive and enthusiastic. Self-published small press is like that, a very open and mutually supportive community. I'm aware it can be a very different scenario working for bigger publishers because of their audience reach and subsequent exposure. I've just made my first contribution to Rebellion's Scream! & Misty reboot out at the end of the month, so depending on its success, we will see if my opinion changes in the coming months!

Oct 12, 4:52AM EDT0

What advise do you have for a first time Kickstarter campaigner?

Oct 10, 11:50AM EDT0

The first time is the easiest! Be positive, start modestly (i.e. don't ask for too much funding, enough to get your creation out there.) In the early days, don't think about making money but do think about building a loyal audience. Clichés always crop up with these questions, but it's not without merit to say if you believe in your story/comic/art and the message you want to share, your crowdfunder really will take care of itself. Go to some comic cons, meet some people and socialise, engage with their work as well. Social media channels help and are important but only a means to an end. It will be stressful (maybe that's just me!) but try and enjoy it too.

Oct 12, 4:57AM EDT0
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