What about the back cover?

So, I have now completed 16 pages, leaving me with just 14 pages that need inking and shading added. Yes, I am officially past the halfway mark! At this pace, I expect to be done with the main story in two weeks. I still have a few things to do after that’s completed — the inside front cover, a two-page text feature, and a four page comic backup story — but the bulk of the first issue will be done. The next step is getting ready for Kickstarter, and right now I am aiming for the first week of June to launch the book.

It’s all very exciting! But this week I found myself spending some time on a part of the comic I usually don’t think about at all: the back cover.

As a long time comic book reader, I am used to back covers being advertisements. And while some of those back cover ads have become kind of iconic to comic book collectors — the art lesson ad from late 60’s Marvel just screams back cover to me, as does the Red Ryder BB gun ad from the golden age — usually, I don’t even notice them.

With that in mind, I had just presumed the best way to go for my comic would be advertising. I’m planning on doing a small print-on-demand run for the book, as I don’t think demand will warrant a full offset print run, and many on demand comic book printers offer a discount if you advertise their company on the back cover. It’s not a huge discount on a per book basis, but if you’re doing a hundred or two hundred copies, it can add up pretty quick. So that seemed like a decent deal.

As part of my research into Kickstarter, though, I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to the Comix Launch podcast by Tyler James. This is a podcast that has a very specific niche: it’s specifically about how to launch comic books on Kickstarter. And there’s almost 200 episodes! Who knew there was that much to say about launching comics on Kickstarter, right?

While not all of it is relevant to my particular project, one tip that Tyler shared was that you should never put the printer’s ad on the back cover of your book. Why? Because he felt that the back cover is the best selling point you have for your book other than, of course, the front cover.

The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. If the front cover grabs you, what are you likely to do? Well, open the book and flip through it, of course. But also, turn the book over. While this is maybe less common with comics, think about all the graphic novels and paperbacks you’ve purchased over the years. The back cover has the synopsis and pull quotes from other creators and critics recommending why you should read the book.

Well, I don’t have any pull quotes, because the issue isn’t done, much less read by anyone else. But the other half I can do — give potential readers information about the story and why they should read it. The back cover functions differently than the front, which is a good thing; it doesn’t have to follow the rules of comic design, it can get into the nitty gritty. The front cover brings them in, and the back cover cinches the sale.

With that idea in mind, I designed my back cover, and spent the last few days working on it. It’s possible I may make some minor tweaks to this before publishing, but for now, I’m pretty happy with the results.

And who knows? Maybe by next issue, I’ll have some cool pull quotes to put on the back cover!

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with another project update. I’m not sure what it will be about, but in the coming weeks, I plan to share some of the other features in the book, such as the inside front cover and the text features, and I will also discuss Kickstarter itself and the rewards I’ll be offering. If you have any ideas for rewards you might want, let me know!

See you next time!

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