Friday, August 17, 2018

Crowdfunding: the impact beyond the money

Art by: Nick Caponi
From the coming comic book anthology (final title pending)
to be released in 2019

Today I would like to say a few things about crowdfunding and the impact it has made in my work, and the lives of contributing artists.  This entry talks about projects that were made possible by KickStarter backers, as well as some coming projects and the impact these have made in the lives of the contributors.  I hope you'll enjoy and share this around!

Cover of my first RPG release "Tale of the Wizard's Eye"
Front cover by: Phoenix O'Faery
Back cover by: Brian Lee

Its been a little over a year since I released Tale of the Wizard's Eye.  From work on that first book, I became familiar with crowdfunding, book layout (that was harder than I had expected), fulfillment, and final publication/release. I still have much to learn, but with each book I release I strive to improve.  Remember this, it is important to focus on improving your knowledge and the quality of your work.  People will see your efforts reflected in the books and games you produce. 

Cover for "Tarot Adventures, Book One:"
Artist: Rebecca Coulthart

With the development, crowdfunding and release of The Draw of Glenfallow, I began my first series. I think this book benefited from my experiences with TDoG.  The Kickstarter campaign ran smoothly and fulfillment went well, though it ran a little late due to a printing problem.

It was during the development of Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow that I began to realize the (unexpected) impact these publications were having.  By commissioning art specifically for the books I release, those artists were reaping the benefit.  It feels great to cut the checks and pay people for such work, but it took on a whole new meaning when I heard things like "this paid my light bill" or "this paid for my kids lunches".  I think about that often. 

Crowdfunding and what it has done for me (beyond the money):

Crowdfunding (GoFundMe, Indiegogo, KickStarter, etc) is a fantastic way for people with aspirations, creativity and drive to fund their creations. It took me a while to realize that such funding really does benefit people. 

Because of the success I've enjoyed from crowdfunding my books, artists have earned revenue and had their work recognized. I've seen artists who were looking for opportunity suddenly burst forth with an eagerness to create that is simply inspiring.  This energy makes creating new books even more exciting for me. 

Cover art for by: Alexia Veldhuisen
(coming soon to Kickstarter!)

That said, not all crowdfunding campaigns are successful.  My first attempt to fund 47 Furious Tails failed.  I should have waited on the effort for more of the art to be done, and should have spent more time promoting it.  This was my fault (as it always is when you own the company and/or are self-publishing).  The key thing to remember, if and when you have a campaign that fails, is to not let that discourage you.  Learn from the experience and carry on.  I'm going to re-launch 47 Furious Tails later this year and I'm very excited to see it succeed (I hope you'll check it out and help that comic book see print).  My first comic book.  This is the realization of a dream that has lived in my heart for thirty years.

Cover for "Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock"
Artist: Brian Lee

As the Tarot Adventures have continued (Books one and two are out, book three is in development), I find that I have the several artists who are willing to work on these books.  There is an audience for the Tarot Adventures, a small group of game masters who have found a lot of use in these pages.  I'm looking forward to launching book three, and injecting some dark horror into the story line!  No art for that project is done yet, but I'll be teasing out material once it is. 

Promotional Image from "The Steel Road"
Artist: Zachary Viola

Crowdfunding made The Steel Road possible.  That cannot be understated.  The volume of art that went into this book (one hundred pages of illustrated weapons alone!) is not something I could have funded without such a fantastic level of support from the KickStarter community.  (Thank you all!!!!)  Zack Viola worked on art for this book for over a year, sketching with meticulous detail to make each piece of art fit the theme of the book. His dedication to making The Steel Road see print has been remarkable. 

The Steel Road is a great example of how crowdfunding your projects can have far reaching benefit beyond the immediate monetary concerns.  The backers of this campaign proved (to me anyway) that Zack and I were correct in our belief that this kind of book is needed, that people would want something with this authentic look.  I'm pleased to report that formatting is nearly complete on this project and I expect to fulfill the kickstarter rewards before the end of the month!  I also made the acquaintance of several of the KickStarter backers, received some fantastic feedback as well as encouragement to continue to develop. As a new game designer/publisher/writer I can attest that having people send you messages saying "I really enjoyed *your book*" is an amazing feeling.  I hope each of you who have been following this blog have that experience with your own releases.

From: "Whispers of Persephone"
Artist: Christian Martinez

I use the money from crowdfunding to create the best books I can.  If there is any additional revenue, I use it toward future products.  Eventually I will take an income from business, but for now I'm focused on creating the best quality I can and on expanding my catalog.  This has made it possible for me to put a little bit of money into projects like 47 Furious Tails and Whispers of Persephone

A year ago, the idea of releasing an RPG source book was fantastic and something I longed to do.  I knew I would have to learn a lot, work hard, and I would need funding for the art and assorted publication expenses.  Now, a year later, my first source book (The Steel Road) is about to come out and I am looking forward to producing Whispers of Persephone.  Once again, crowdfunding helps me to realize a dream and makes it possible for me to pay my contributing artists (and to pay them fairly.. which is important).

From the coming comic book anthology
Art by: Brian Lee
Several months ago I was approached by artists who had worked on projects for me before. They wanted to do a comic book anthology together, showcasing their individual properties and bringing their work to print.  I am happy to help make this happen.  We're going to launch a crowdfunding campaign for this anthology in 2019.  Right now each contributor is working on the art, color, and lettering for these comics.  It will release under Sinopa Publishing LLC (my company) with proceeds going primarily to print production and to benefit the artists.  Crowdfunding this project will make it possible for this anthology to be produced in print, giving the artists copies they can take to conventions and sell at their local comic shops.  Each month, as more pages come in, the book begins to take shape before my eyes.  I want to give a heartfelt "Thank you" to Alexia Veldhuisen, who took on the job of art coordinator/editor to oversee page production.  I look forward to sharing more about this project with all of you soon!

I hope that you will benefit from crowdfunding your projects and that you will take the time to enjoy the enormity of the impact it can make in your life, the lives of those people contributing to your project, and the joy it can help bring to your audience. Your life and work touches the lives and work of so many others. Having the funding made available to complete your project can certainly provide monetary benefit but, to my thinking, the benefits of crowdfunding go well beyond your wallet.  Give each project your best effort, your audience deserves it.

Use your crowdfunding efforts to get to know your audience, connect with the community, and bring about success for the people working with you.


Thank you for joining me again as my adventure in writing, game design and self-publishing continues.  I hope you continue to find these entries useful to your own efforts.

As always, comments and questions are most welcome.


  1. I'm excited about the comic book anthology!

  2. Thank you Sandra!
    All of the artists on that project are pouring their hearts into the work. I think it's really going to be something special.


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