Elsa Charretier writes for Bleeding Cool,
It's almost a given, most creators and entrepreneurs will face rejection at some point in their career. When that moment comes, a few courses of action are available to you. The mature one: you learn a valuable lesson, get back up on your feet, dust yourself off, and get back to the drawing board. The more realistic one: you slip down into a spiral of self-loathing and despair and quit altogether. And then, there's the third one: you flip everyone off and do it anyway. At least that's what I did.
In 2014, the comic-book I had co-created with Pierrick Colinet, The Infinite Loop, had gotten a lot of "thanks but no thanks" from French publishers. Creators know that's usually your cue to wrap this thing up and move on to something else. But I disagreed. I was convinced this book had value and that the audience was out there, we just needed to find it. And if french publishers wouldn't help, we'd do it ourselves.
The Infinite Loop eventually raised almost $15,000 in crowdfunding. More than 300 people decided to give their hard-earned money to us, complete strangers, trusting us to deliver what we had promised. This was mind-boggling to me. What's more, people weren't just purchasing a book- they wanted to invest in us. Our future career, our goals, our dreams. When we used the leftover campaign money to book tickets to New York Comic Con to pitch The Infinite Loop to publishers, all 354 backed embarked on this adventure with us. We received daily emails of encouragement, advice, and love; people who had never traveled to the States were ecstatic to see pictures, asking us to describe the Comic Con experience. I'll cherish that week for the rest of my life. Let me tell you that the initial publisher's rejections were long-forgotten by then. We were super-charged by an insane amount of support and trust and by the end of the show, we had found an American publisher.
I launched my first artbook on Kickstarter two weeks ago, and the tight-knitted comic-book community rose up to the occasion, once again. We raised $23.000 on Day 1, and have now exceeded our goal by 500%. It's more than I ever made on any of my books with established publishers. There's just a couple of days left and I'm excited to see where we finish. The outpour of love has been incredible.
On Day 2 of the campaign, I scraped off my 10-year career plan. I feel empowered by all the possibilities offered with a career powered by crowdfunding. It blurs the lines between fields, and for an artist like myself who's constantly trying their hands at new things and can sometimes feel confined by a "career choice", it's an incredibly precious tool. No reason I can't put out a Pulp jigsaw puzzle! Or an illustrated Weight lifting guide! Providing people like it, there's NO LIMIT.
So, to everyone who ever backed a project or is considering the idea, thank you. Thank you for offering artists an alternative to create, for giving us your invaluable, no BS feedback, and for giving creators like myself a chance to shape their careers in their own terms.