Patreon revamping?

So. Nick and I are thinking about doing some changes to the Patreon campaign, and we’d love your input on it.

We’re thinking about adding a few payment tiers that tie in to the dual-sided nature of our current project:

  • two $1 tiers, one for people who think the VX10 chess club types are cool, one for people who think the hippie space dryad Mixolyne are cool – there might be some extra stuff released only to the appropriate tier at some point, but right now it’s just a fun way for you to get a little involved in the story
  • a $2 tier for people who prefer not to have an opinion on this – neutrality has its costs!
  • a similar trio of higher tiers – $5/$8? – where you can submit a character sheet that will go into a pool, which we will pull from whenever we need a minor/background character, either for one side or both. Roles like Redshirt #2, Background Diner #7, or Guard On Minor Planet With One Line. There’d be no guarantee of ever winning the pull though I think I’d want to weight it towards people who haven’t won it before.

They’d all stay as payment per-page, with the same ability to put in a monthly limit in case I suddenly start putting out lots more stuff.

Do these sound like fun ideas? Maybe like fun ideas at different prices? Everyone would still see the current mix of early pages, occasional WIPs, and whatever other little random thing I might feel like sharing about the process of my work; that’s never going to change.

We are also very open to suggestions. I’m not the only artist some of you are supporting – what are other artists doing that you wish I did? I’ve seen people doing regular times they’re open for chat, offering higher tiers with chances at commission slots, critique of patron’s artwork… anything else?

ALSO: we are thinking about doing some extra stories as short audio dramas. These would be written by Nick and put together by a few of our friends; I’d be involved in the plotting but would keep my main focus on drawing more pages of the comic. We see them as generally being short side stories rather than a place where Important Plot Events happen; they may add nuance and depth to things but the core story will always be in the form of the comic. Is this a thing y’all would be down with paying for alongside the comic pages?

(If those go over well I might fool around with turning them into little animatics. Maybe even recruit some folks to fully animate them, as baby steps towards the long-term dream of turning this into a crowd-funded cartoon series. Someday. Maybe. No promises.)

We’re also going to spend some time rewriting the basic “support my comics” pitch, show some more examples of the art, stuff like that. I haven’t really changed it since I first set it up back in 2014 and it’s just kinda time.

Anyway. Tier revamping, things you’ve liked other artists doing, maybe add short audio dramas into the mix. Whattya think?

(And as always, thanks a ton to those of you who’re supporting my weird-ass comics!)

getting down from a duck

A question I see a lot of creators asking is “how do I promote my Patreon”. Or “how do I promote my Kickstarter”.

And, well, it just reminds me of the old joke: “How do you get down from an elephant?” “You don’t. You get down from a duck.”

The duck to a fund-raising campaign’s elephant is your own site. With your own work on it. For free. Find a way to carve out time and energy to make your thing, post it all online. And when you post it, make sure that there’s a link to that Patreon right next to it, every time. And make sure that when Kickstarter time comes around, you add a prominent link to that as well.

And put some money into advertising your thing. Promote that. Buy ads in places people who’ll like your thing seem likely to hang out. Use your analytics to figure out which ads do best – not just in terms of people clicking on them, but in terms of people clicking on them and hanging around to look at a decent chunk of your thing. Give your thing away as you build an audience of people who like your thing, then give them a chance to start paying for it. Some of them will. And some of them will promote it for you. Some will even do both.

It’s when I say “give your thing away for free” that people balk. They view every person who consumes the whole thing as a lost sale, and want to lock the whole thing behind paywalls. That works fine when you’re a big name who a lot of people will buy a new thing from sight unseen, sure. But it doesn’t work for you. Not when you’re a beginner. Reproducing your thing on the net is free. Embrace this; give it away. And politely ask that people who’ve read a lot of it consider paying you something, or spreading the word. Everyone who tells their friends about this cool thing they read for free? They’re providing value to you, right there: advertising.

I’m not gonna lie. It takes time to do this. A few years. I’ve been doing this with Rita for four and a half years now and it’s just barely starting to pay the bills. But I’ve found it a hell of a lot easier to repeatedly get down from a duck than to try to get down from an elephant right off the bat; the Kickstarter for the first volume of Rita made its goal in one weekend because I’d already built an audience for it.

(Of course, there is an elephant in the room here: your thing has to be good enough for people to want to pay you for it. That’s another matter entirely. If you’re building your craft at making your thing at the same time you’re gathering an audience, it’ll take longer than if your craft is already pro-level, like mine was when I started drawing Rita..)


I just uploaded what is probably the last Rita page of this month to Patreon. And did some math. If nobody changes their pledge, I’m about to make about $600. For drawing comics about a lesbian robot with reality problems.

Kermit the Frog, flailing with delight.


Damn but I love crowdsourcing micropayments into real money. Seriously; there are a few people who are kind enough to contribute double-digit values per page, but take those folks out and I think the average donation is probably something like .85¢/page.

Is this an early-mover advantage that I’m part of, or a change in how easy it is to turn a passion project like Rita into something that can be sustainable as a job? I don’t know. I know it helps a lot that I had the funds to support myself for the three and a half years I’ve been drawing Rita so far. And that I’ve been drawing at a professional level of skill for about a decade. I know there are people out there who talk about “Kickstarter fatigue” now that some high-profile projects have underdelivered or outright failed, and I’m sure those people are predicting the doom of Patreon and other crowdsourcing as a fad. But on the other hand it might just be that these things will turn out to work best for projects of a certain scope; twenty people working on a game for a year and a half are going to burn through a lot more money than one person working on a comic for four years. (And tangentially: oh man Hover is going to have its first playable alpha soon, SO EXCITED – but I digress.)

As always, when I talk about my Patreon campaign: a huge thanks goes to everyone who donates to support my work, and please don’t feel at all guilty if you’re not one of them. If you do feel guilty about it, you can also support my stuff by telling your friends how neat it is, or starting a TVTropes page about it, or… whatever, you know? Or if you know someone who’s donating, do something neat for them.


social day

Stuff I did today:

0. Turned off ads on Rita because the Patreon campaign passed $55/page!

1. Handed off my Genesis to Fluffy. I’d bought one along with a copy of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles to use as photo-ref for a Further Confusion ad last year, and finally got sick of having it kicking around the living room floor yesterday. I offered it on Twitter and they were the taker; we hung out chatting for a while too.

2. Visited with Liz Meinert, an old friend from New Orleans. She’d been stuck half-dead for the past twenty years due to Mysterious Unspecified Problems, that finally turned out to be heart issues. She had surgery recently, and is bouncing back with a vengeance – something I can really sympathize with, given how I kinda completely shut down for most of twenty years after my father died, and am now running wild doing things like pole dancing! It was pretty great to hang out and talk about nerdy nerdy stuff.

3. Tweaked the Javascript scrolling for Rita. Or rather for Bayeux, the theme I abstracted out of Rita’s style. I improved that a little more in a few other ways; I may try to package it up for submitting to the WordPress theme archive before I go to bed tonight. It works fine for me on Safari and Firefox; I should probably test on Chrome but whatever, and IE? Whatevs. Also I switched Rita over to using Bayeux.

edit. submitted it, here’s the ticket for it. I r open source.

Woo! A Patreon goal!

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 10.11.28AM

I knew I was getting close, but I wasn’t expecting to have it happen for another month or so. Big thanks to the donor who pledged twelve bucks per page and pushed it over!

The next goal is “move to a better-insuated apartment” at $750/page. I… I ain’t gonna hold my breath on that one. *grin*