As of early this morning, I have a Patreon page! It was all unfamiliar to me, so I’ll share what I learned while setting up.
Keep in mind, I just learned about Patreon yesterday. I’d seen it once or twice before but I didn’t understand the mechanics. Well, I stayed up all night until my eyes bled, reading over everything and carefully combing through other creator pages. Here’s what I gleaned:
A Creator sets up a system where supporters (Patrons) can pay them for the work they release.
Creators can get paid by the creation (in my case, per comic page) or monthly, if they make several creations a month.
Patrons can select a pledge option, like “$1 per comic page.” Then, if a Creator releases a new comic page and marks it as a “paid” work, the patron will be billed their $1 at the first of the month, or $3 if the Creator made 3 pages within that month, and so on. If the Creator made no “paid” work, Patrons are charged nothing for that month.
Monthly Pledges: If a Patron has pledged “$1 per month,” they will be charged $1, once a month, and so on with other amounts.
A Patron can select a monthly cap on pledges, so if a Creator releases 10 comic pages in one month but the Patron has a cap of $5 per month, they are only charged $5.
A Patron can cancel their pledge at any time before the first of the month and they will not be charged for that month. (Patreon states they are only interested in collecting pledges from people who actually want to support the artist, so no one is under any obligation to fulfill their pledge.)
A Creator can release a piece of work as “free” and everyone can see and enjoy it without paying any pledges.
Lastly, a Creator can also be a Patron, and pledge to support other Creators.
[Admittedly, I have not even tried to go into the fine points of payment, account setup, and so on, but I was able to figure everything out from Patreon’s FAQ. They can explain it better than I can!]
So, after I read all that stuff, I decided it seemed pretty reasonable, at least worth a try. I had considered Kickstarter before, but there were some things that I didn’t like about the model. Mainly, I was wary that so much depended on getting people to pledge money and make good on their payments. Artists using a Kickstarter understandably have to be pushing for it constantly or they could be in real financial trouble! They might also find themselves obligated to fulfill rewards that they have no way of realistically meeting.
With this system, people can give you a small amount of money one time, they can set a cap, or they can cancel before paying you at all. I prefer that as someone who has to pinch pennies myself. Better, they’re not paying you for a huge project you may or may not even be able to accomplish. They are only paying you for the work you have really done, and they are only paying you in order to give you some support. You can certainly give them rewards for this, but you aren’t contractually obligated to complete some huge, grand endeavor.
You may notice that I didn’t include my art projects or simple illustrations in the creations I chose to be paid for. I made it solely for comics since I am already being paid for all the exhibition and freelance/commission pieces I make. (I know, when in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would say THAT.)
But anyway, since comics is the only thing I still do without any expectation of payment, I realize that it often has to take a backseat to my other art projects. “Well, that’s kind of a shame” I thought, so I’ve made this page in order to get support as I muddle my way through my currently unpaid comic projects. Anything I do normally get paid for (my personal art projects, freelance work, etc) will not go on Patreon as a “paid” work but you will probably get to see it as my friend looking at my feed!
Do you have a Patreon Creator or Patron page? Please feel free to share it, I’d love to find some new friends. If you’ve had any experiences with Patreon, bad or good, I’d love to hear about those too.
And after you set up your patreon page, head over to The Muse’s Library for this fabulous tutorial on how to run your page, including tips on scheduling and reward fulfillment, and even templates for patreon share buttons and banners!