WHAT'S SHADOWBINDERS ABOUT?Mia White was an ordinary high school girl with ordinary high school problems. That all changed the day she was given her grandfather's mysterious journal and an even more mysterious antique ring -- one that transports her to another world! Now this ordinary girl finds herself in an extraordinary realm filled with airships, flying serpents and clockwork cities! But her biggest challenge may come in the form of handsome, aloof (and downright infuriating) mage Crimson Rhen!
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WHY ARE WE ON PATREON?
Shadowbinders used to run mostly on banner ad revenue. That ad revenue is in steep, steep decline. How much of a decline? Literally, we made only 10% as much in ad revenue in April 2016 as we did in April 2014 -- 10% for about the same number of page views. So if you worked a job for $10/hour, and one month your boss just announced you were now working for $1/hour... what would you do? Find another job, of course!
Updates on Shadowbinders.com have slowed because we've had to take on more and more freelance gigs just to keep the lights on. We know our readers want more Shadowbinders -- and they want it faster -- and we want to give it them. But right now, we literally cannot afford to update faster because every Shadowbinders comic update is 8-10 hours of paying freelance work that we're passing on, not counting any time invested in keeping the site running, social media, etc. Two pages of Shadowbinders is more than half a work week when you factor in everything that goes into it.
So after our hosting and misc. business expenses, we're basically making Shadowbinders for free these days. And we're honestly not sure how long we can continue to do that. Unlike a lot of younger webcomics creators, we're married with two awesome kids and a mortgage.
So we're turning to Patreon because we want to continue to not only keep making Shadowbinders, but to be able to ramp up our update schedule and finish telling the story we set out to tell over a half a decade ago!
Why have the comic updates been so sporadic lately?
Shadowbinders began in the summer of 2010. When we started out, we were able to update 2-3 times per week in full color, thanks mostly to Kneon's Day Job! The Day Job (TM) paid well and had great hours, so we were able to easily schedule "comics time" and didn't have to worry much about paying the bills or even making the comic profitable. That changed when THE ECONOMY HAPPENED. *cue dramatic music*
Since then, our lives have been chaotic -- Kneon working multiple jobs, one of which was a 2+ hour commute -- and taking on a bevy of paying freelance assignments just to make ends meet. Because of this, time for Shadowbinders has been whittled down significantly. (Trust me -- we're bummed, too! No one has more invested in this story than we do. Kam has this story written several chapters ahead, we just don't have time to draw it!)
Can't you just hire someone else to draw it?
Umm, that actually costs more than doing it ourselves. However, we might hire a colorist to help speed up production of pages!
So how will Patreon help?
If we can hit certain funding goals, we can afford to "buy back" the time to work on Shadowbinders. Every page of Shadowbinders we draw is 8-10 hours of paying freelance work that's not getting done. We can't very well tell our children that they have to go without food or a roof over their heads because a free webcomic needs to be drawn!
But webcomics are supposed to be FREE, right?
Webcomics were once supported by banner ad revenue, which is in steep decline due to ad blocking and other issues. Technically, webcomics have never been free -- the creators were eating the cost and/or the advertising was paying for it. The comic will still be free to read online... eventually! But first we have to cover production costs which also include computer hardware, graphics software and hosting (among other things!)
You retooled this Patreon -- what's different?
We tried to use this like a store, not a tip jar! We were actually making ourselves more work, which took time away from making more Shadowbinders pages. While the support is mucho appreciated, it wound up being counterproductive in the long run. So we're distilling it down!
What's in it for ME?
Our gratitude and knowing that Shadowbinders keeps getting made, first and foremost! Some tiers will get advance looks at pages, concept art and behind-the-scenes stuff like the Belatyr Beastiary!
Can I only to donate $1 or $5?
Nope! You can donate as much as you like, and can scale your pledge each month. There is only a difference in the reward at those levels. (For example, a $10 pledge gets the same reward as a $100 pledge.)
What happens if you CAN'T reach the funding goals?
Well, we'll keep on posting Shadowbinders as we can. But if there are several weeks (or months) without updates, now you know why! ;)
I've never read SHADOWBINDERS. What's it about?
It's a steampunk/fantasy webcomic that's been free to read online at www.shadowbinders.com since 2010. The comic follows a hopelessly ordinary teenaged girl named Mia White and her adventures in the parallel world of Belatyr. There she encounters an arrogant, brash young rogue named Crimson Rhen aboard the famed airship, The True North. Did we mention that Rhen is also a mage?
Adventure, angst and hilarity ensue!