How Black Mumba Became a Crowdfunding Superhit

Posted on 1 July, 2016 by Team Wishberry

Black Mumba explores the dark lives surviving in the underbelly of Mumbai. The eerie tales of the murky yet magical city is narrated by a beaten up police inspector. The graphic novel anthology is the brainchild of Ram Venkatesan who previously brought 'The Aghori' to the Indian indie comic space. This is a collection of 4 noir short stories, designed by four talented artists, namely, Devmalya Pramanik, Kishore Mohan, Rosh and Aditya Bidikar.

Ram took the crowdfunding route to print and distribute this stark black and white novel. His crowdfunding campaign was a huge success, having met its goal in just 5 days. Ram went on to raise a total of £9,149 from 312 backers.

We spoke to Ram to understand how he went about running his extremely successful crowdfunding campaign, the strategy he used and the aces he played to bring this idea to life. 

On the inception of the idea

“I think we worked on Black Mumba over the period of a year or so. Not that the production took a year to get done, but it was mostly because everyone worked on this between other projects. The book came about rather serendipitously. Kishore Mohan (artist & storyteller) and I had done a 12-page story titled ‘Dead Rain’ for an indie-press anthology titled ‘Blood Root’ by Sawdust Press in the US. We got a good response to that story, and Kishore put the idea in my head to do more stories in the same vein. A year later, we had Black Mumba,” explains Ram.

This being the first time Ram took to crowdfunding, he spent a lot of time studying other successfully crowdfunded projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Wishberry. 

Making sure that the project gained popularity…

In order to be on the ‘popular’ projects page Ram made sure all his friends, family and colleagues backed the project on day 1 of going live. “We sent early reminders 2-3 days before we launched and then again on launch day. We also contacted people on Facebook and Twitter through services like Green Inbox, and asked people there to back us. Being on the 'popular' page of the crowdfunding platform, helped bring many backers in.” 

“For a year before the campaign, I walked around comic conventions showing the project around to amazing creators whose work I loved and respected. Their quotes and shares on social media got us a lot of backing.” 

“It's an important reminder that even though we're doing everything online, sometimes you need to get out there and meet people and show your work around.”

Ram worked with a PR group to put a press release out to pop culture websites and bloggers. He elaborates, “Early review copies of the book were sent out to comic news websites, as well as established creators in the international comic industry. Their quotes about the book really helped get readers interested in the project. However, we should have probably approached podcasters too.”

On setting quirky rewards

“I wanted to keep a variety of rewards in the most popular pledge range which is between 20$ and 40$ - so we tried to have as many rewards as possible around that range. The thing I learned from other people who'd crowdfunded before was to put some thought into the rewards and ease of shipping them.”

“You don't want to offer bonus rewards that are harder/more expensive to ship than the primary reward itself. That was quite a useful thing to keep in mind.”

On the secret arsenal to successful crowdfunding…

Ram replies promptly, “The key elements that actually led to the success of ‘Black Mumba’ would be nailing the simple things. 

  •  A clear and honest campaign page
  • An informative pitch video
  • Updating fans as narrating a story
  • Extensive use of social media (Re-tweeting every backers contribution, timely updates about the project)
  • Actively answering all questions, replying to comments, and thanking people for sharing the project”

We can’t wait to see Ram’s next awesome masterpiece! Need more clarity on crowdfunding, learn everything about crowdfunding and how comic creators can go about it HERE.

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