A kickstarter campaign set up by author Alice Oseman to fund a physical version of her online comic Heartstopper has reached its target in two hours.
Oseman set up the Kickstarter yesterday (20th June) to raise £9,000 to publish her LGBT+ webcomic about Nick and Charlie, two teenagers at an all-boys grammar school in Kent. Oseman has been creating and publishing the comic on two online platforms, Tumblr and Tapas, since September 2016, and said she decided to create a physical version once she reached 50,000 online readers.
Fans raised enough money to hit the £9,000 goal in two hours of it going live and the current total stands at £23,278, pledged by more than 500 backers.
“It was always my ambition to produce a physical edition of the comic and I decided it was time,” she told The Bookseller. “I've supported many webcomic creators through Kickstarter crowdfunding in turning their comics into physical books, so felt confident this was a solid, reliable route for my own comic. I've spent much of the past year preparing - mostly editing and re-drawing parts of the comic so that it's the best it can be, but also preparing the files to be ready for print, contacting printers and manufacturers, and, of course, budgeting.”
Nick and Charlie are characters from her first novel Solitaire, which was published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014, but Oseman said she didn’t want to go down the traditional publishing route for her comic.
“I felt that self-publishing was the best route for Heartstopper because my audience is so heavily made up of international readers. If I had tried to go with a UK publisher, it would have been difficult for my very large number of non-UK Heartstopper readers to get a copy of the book,” she said.
Backers can pledge between £5 (for a digital PDF of the first two chapters of the graphic novel) and £150 (for the paperback and a range of merchandise). Oseman said the money raised will be spent on printing the books and merchandise, postage, packaging, distribution, and paying the Kickstarter fees.
“Depending on how much I have left over, I'll hopefully be able to use that money to order a larger print run so the book can be on sale for longer after the Kickstarter is over, donate copies to schools and libraries, see if I can supply any copies to indie bookshops, and potentially put money aside to prepare for the next volume,” she added.
“I'm absolutely amazed that the book was fully funded in under two hours. I felt confident that we'd reach the goal but definitely not that quickly. I feel so grateful to have such a dedicated audience of readers. And I hope this shows UK YA publishing that not only are LGBT+ stories very much desired, but there's also a place for British YA graphic novels too.”