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Next Kickstarter Re-Started

A couple of weeks back I made a post saying that I’m planning to launch a new Kickstarter campaign in the near future, one that would focus on new stories for Dr. Symm (the World’s Smartest Monkey). Well, one of these facts has changed . . . and I’m still planning on launching a Kickstarter. So there are two obvious questions.

WHY ARE YOU DITCHING DR. SYMM?
I’m not “ditching” Dr. Symm . . . I’ve just decided that another project is a BETTER fit for me to Kickstart in the short term.

I was deep in the process of Kickstarter planning—lots of notes, a few spreadsheets, a bar graph or two, and pages upon pages of doodles and other bits of creative detritus. As I explored some of the options for related and supporting products (things like post cards, art prints, lapel pins, etc.) I came across an option that seemed perfect, not just for supporting Dr. Symm, but also for other projects, too.

I jotted down some notes on ways that I might explore this new option as a stand-alone project after the Dr. Symm fundraising was through and went back to my planning. But the more I thought about it, the more possibilities came to mind. Eventually I realized that this was more than just a “fun follow-up” idea . . . it was a project that had the same kind of scope as what I was thinking about for Dr. Symm AND had the potential to appeal to an even broader audience. Best of all, it required significantly less work to get it into a launch-ready state. (Allow me to remain mysterious about the details for just a little bit longer, I’ll give them below, I promise.)

After mulling all this over for a day or so, it seemed obvious to me that the SMART thing to do was to set Dr. Symm aside and focus on this other project. And after mulling it over for another day, I realized that it was ALSO what I WANTED to do.

Dr. Symm is a character I’ve been working with off and on for about 15 years, and I was very excited to be prepping him for a big new project. I have no shortage of ideas for his continuing adventures, and the truth is that I’m continuing to develop them, even as I put the fundraising drive on the back burner for the time being. Ultimately, should this new project go well, it will put me in an even stronger position to promote and launch the Dr. Symm project.

So, while Dr. Symm is no longer going to be the focus of my next Kicktstarter, I’m NOT abandoning him. In fact, I think it’s highly likely that you’ll see me do Symm-related fundraising sometime in 2015.

WHAT WILL THE NEW KICKSTARTER ACTUALLY FOCUS ON?
So what is this miracle project that could pull me away from a character I’ve been pondering for more than a decade? What is this concept so wonderful that I couldn’t resist its siren call?

I’ll tell you . . . but I’m afraid it will sound silly. Like in the movie “The Graduate,” where the guest at Benjamin’s graduation party pulls him aside and says, “I just have one word for you—plastics! Promise me you’ll think about it.” But the project I’m going to pursue ALSO can be described in just one word . . . .

Stickers!

As I said above, this all started when I was looking for extras to use to bolster a different project. Thinking about other projects I backed through Kickstarter, I remembered that Cartozia Tales had included a small sheet of sticker with one of the issues . . . and it just so happened that social media had recently been placing ads for a service that prints stickers into nearly ever screen I opened . . . and I knew that Dr. Symm, should the funding succeed, would generate a bunch of art that would be suitable for that kind of treatment.

It would be fun, I thought, to have a sheet of Dr. Symm stickers. That’s the kind of thing that the target audience would love. (Kids, in case you didn’t know, love stickers the way steampunk cosplayers love goggles festooned with clockwork gears.) As I was mulling this over, I immediately thought of an existing set of illustrations I had in my archive that would also make a good sheet of stickers. Then I thought of another set . . . and had an idea for another set that I could put together pretty easily. And while I was thinking of more and more sets, a friend posted about how her daughter and son were fighting over a page of return address stickers because . . . well . . . simply because they WERE stickers.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized not just what a good idea producing stickers was, but also how well it fit into to the artwork I’ve proven I CAN and WILL produce no matter what . . . small, stand-alone figures that are equally nerdy and cute. And suddenly I realized that over the course of almost a week, all the time I HAD been devoting to Dr. Symm had been taken over by thoughts, research, and planning for producing stickers. THAT was the thing that finally clicked it over in my brain. With all that’s involved in running a Kickstarter (even a brief, low-target one), if it’s not focused on the one thing that is most all-consuming in your mind, then you’re in trouble on numerous fronts.

So I’m working up details, getting samples from manufacturers, and preparing to HOPEFULLY put together a Kickstarter that will: a) Run for only 10–15 days, b) Have a low threshold for success, c) Fund AND reach a few stretch goals PROFITABLY, d) Appeal to my existing fans AND a new audience in the sticker-loving world, and e) Open up the possibilities for ongoing business.

“Ongoing?” you ask. YES. At the same time I’m putting together the Kickstarter plans, I’m ALSO exploring the possibilities for an ongoing sticker-based Patreon project! Honestly, if I can get just a few hundred people interested, it should be a pretty strong success.

Stickers . . . Promise me you’ll think about it.

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