Crowdfunding Spotlight – B7 Media’s “Pilgrim – Secrets and Lies”: An Update from the Writer’s Chair

The team at B7 Media, publishers of Hancock: The Lad Himself, producers of the Dan Dare Audio Adventures, recently asked me to give their crowdfunding supporters my personal take on their Pilgrim 2121 project and its current status. I was happy to do so over on Kickstarter, but this downthetubes feature expands slightly on some points and, I hope, offers some insights into independent comics publishing.

If you want just the top line: we urgently need your help to get the word out about Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies #2, the second of a four-issue mini series I’m writing. 

Right now, we’re wondering what to do next to increase awareness for Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies #2, which we plan to promote and boost with a modest Kickstarter at the beginning of September.

As the book’s writer, I’m hoping you can help by encouraging sign ups here on Kickstarter  – because the more we have, the more that’s going to help achieve success in the funding of #2.

Pilgrim - Secrets and Lies #2 - cover by Alex Ronald
Pilgrim – Secrets and Lies #2 – cover by Alex Ronald

As some downthetubes readers are aware, we launched Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies last year, offering a SF thriller adventure, written by me, John Freeman (Doctor WhoCrucible) with art by Neil Edwards (Spider-ManFantastic Four), coloured by Martin Baines (Garth, Thunderbirds), lettered by Jim Campbell (2000AD), with covers from Alex Ronald (2000AD).

The first issue went down well with backers, but, truth be told, the numbers of comic fans who kindly supported the book – some committing to a four-issue subscription – was lower than we’d hoped. Other factors – particularly distribution issues, beyond our control – definitely haven’t helped keep the momentum going.

Pilgrim - Secrets and Lies #1 by John Freeman, Neil Edwards et al (B7 Comic, 2022)
Art from Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies #1 by Neil Edwards, coloured by Martin Baines

The upshot is that right now, our take-up numbers are below what’s comfortably required to realistically continue the book, when we’re producing it on the basis of ensuring all the creators involved – me, Neil, Martin, Jim and our cover artists – get a proper page rate for creating this work. And B7 Media firmly believes that full recompense is a given, just as they do with all their other projects – books, audio dramas and other projects.

Realistically, that means we’re looking at an average cost of some £7000 an issue, based on fair payment of page rates, editorial work and some modest promotion on social media which a Kickstarter runs. B7 fronts 50 per cent of that cost, and we’re aiming to secure the rest through the crowdfunder.

Of course, we’re not alone in seeing a drop off in orders for our productions. I’m aware some independent publishers are re-examining their approach to publishing new comics, some, like Cutaway Comics, abandoning the US single-issue “floppy” format altogether, in favour of higher page counts. Times are a-changing, as costs rise.

B7 Media and I are hugely grateful for the support this long-running project has received from supporters so far. But to get this book done, and, as company co-director Helen Quigley has stressed over on Kickstarter, honour our subscription commitments, we urgently need your help to get comic fans attention. So I hope downthetubes readers help get the word out about the next issue, which offers a story that reveals some of the alien threat our cast are up against, with action set across the globe – and on the Moon!

We know there’s a cost of living crisis, and we’re all impacted by it. It’s affecting the sales of books, comics, and other media across the board. What support you can give is very welcome, even if it’s just plugging the prelaunch, given how things are. So if you can encourage your friends to sign up for notification of launch on 1st September that would be great, thank you!

The prelaunch page for our #2 campaign is here.

Just to emphasise – if you were one of the curious who kindly took up the subscription option for #1 – 4, you do not have to back this new Kickstarter! We’re going to do everything in our power to make Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies happen, and continue the story in to other media, too. But if you can help get the word out, thank you!

Thanks for reading.

John Freeman

Before I go… in the spirit of my appeal for publicity help above, here are some plugs for other folks crowdfunding projects I think are deserving your attention…

• The amazingly-talented Gustaffo Vargas has a fantastic new comic project, a Peruvian Cyberpunk graphic novel anthology titled ANTICUCHO and other Peruvian Cyberpunk stories, that deserves your attention

Russell Mark Olson is ramping up a Kickstarter for Gateway City IV: American Trust, a project well worth your attention!

• The campaign to support Thunder Child #2: The Impossible Invasion, a cracking bit of steampunk from Mad Robot Comics, launches soon. Sign up for updates here

Mirenda and the Golden Horns is a stunning looking fantasy project from American comic creator Grim Wilkins, the long-awaited follow-up to his fantasy epic about demonic possession, apocalyptic omens, and the friends made along the way. You can follow the campaign and sign up for its launch on the 22nd August here

Oxygen by Andrew Wildman

• Following the success of HORIZON comes a second ‘transformational’ project by Comic book and Storyboard artist, Andrew Wildman

• As previously mentioned here, The United: Going Underground by Jonny Cannon is a new psychedelic crime noir comic set in a world of superheroes, magical science and corrupt governments – check out the campaign here

• Finally, something non-comics but looking impressive… Amicus Films are preparing the launch of a Kickstarter for a new film, continuing in the tradition of classic British horror productions hereread our news story here

Categories: Audio, British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics, Crowd Funding Projects, Digital Media, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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