Many a creator and patron using the service provided by Patreon has tried to persuade Patreon to go back on their decision to change the fee structure, who they're paid by and unbundling pledges.
They gave "better predictibility of income" as one of the main reasons for this change. Another one was that some patrons apparently were confused by having been charged upon sign-up and at the start of the next month again (especially if they first pledged late in the month).
While I think there are easier and more elegant ways to counter the latter problem, I have to completely disagree with the former reason. Unless my patrons (that's you lovely people) are charged at the beginning of the month and have access for that month, I cannot predict my income. I do not track the dates that you lovely people signed up on and thus do not know when you might jump ship cause your next billing cycle starts.
And as a patron of other artists myself, I do not track dates I sign up for those either. I don't know when my next billing cycle starts, I don't know when to expect a charge. When I signed up to support artists, I signed up for a certain amount which I knew I could handle. Slapping fees on thop of that is not what I signed up, nor what you signed up for. And if you're like me based in a European country you likely have to deal with VAT (averaging around 20%) on top of a pledge already.
Now, VAT is something I'm used to. VAT is nothing Patreon can do anything about, nor do I hold VAT against them. As a European I don't usually expect VAT to be calculated already if an oline shop of sorts is located outside of Europe. It does, however, add a significant amount on top of pledges already. Adding more fees on top of that means I have to pull out.
If you lovely people are in a similar position of having to pull out because the monetary commitment gets too high, I very much understand. And I won't hold that against you at all. You are awesome for the fact that you believed in me and my comic enough to send some money my way. And I'll be eternally grateful for that. And if you have to retract your pledges or need to trimm down the number of people you support, I can safely tell you, that you can drop the pledge you made to me.
I do have a day job that I like (most of the times, it's just al ittle cahotic at the moment). I can get by. Other creators might not. And right now it's a scary time for many of those, because they are already losing support because people like you understandably need to pull out.
My Future With Patreon
I am currently exploring alternatives to Patreon. Two already set up and another in the works. I'm also waiting on Kickstarter's Drip to open up to the general public. (More on those further down.)
My Patreon will also stay open, frankly mostly because Webtoons only pledges via Patreon. And when they pledge, they pledge a large chunk, so I don't want to miss out in the event that Soul's Journey is eligible for their Patreon Program. (Yes, I'll leave this open because of money.)
I don't think, however, that my activity will be much once the alternatives are properly selected and set up. Maybe, just maybe, Patreon will also reconsider rolling this "feature" out. At this point I'm having doubts about it, though.
The one thing I'll be missing sincerely is the ability to have Goals. And I'll sound like I'm contradicting myself here, because no artist should ever rely on a single revenue stream, but the wodnerful thing about Patreon was that it is centralised. I had one platform I needed to post to, one platform to monitor monetary growth and one platform to track in regards of those "campaign goals". We're at 80% of the wallpaper goal at the moment. How I'll track this in the future with several platforms is still a mystery to me. Because I do want to give you the opportunity to see how your pledge helps and how it cumulates with others'.
I guess, some fancy coding solution on my website might be able to portray that? Though I can't say I'm having the time or energy for that at the moment. (Technically I wanted to spent my weekend in a different way entirely, but which creator or patron didn't?)
'til New Year's Eve
So, before I get to the alternatives I mentioned earlier:
I will post new pages and extra content on here until the end of the year. In fact I made all the remaining former $8 posts available to $4 patrons this morning. I'm not sure how to handle January, because this will likely be my transition period.
I you, however, want to jump onto the alternatives already, but fear a double charge because you already paid for December over here just drop me a message and I'll issue a refund. Otherwise, as I promised last week, when this whole mess was first announced, I pause the campaign for January. You won't be charged then, making the transitioning easier for you, too.
As for content in January: I really don't know how to handle that, yet.
The Future Was In Oct 2015
According to 80's movies at least. We're finally getting to those alternative ways to support the comic now, though.
- Patreon: As I said, the account will stay, for those who still want to use the service and those who only pledge through the service (namely, Webtoons). Perks will fade away, though. And I guess, once Webtoons' Patreon Program runs out, this account might not exist for long.
- Ko-Fi: This service enables you to send money my way. They're working on recurring transactions at the moment. I never pushed my account there much, so I was surprised to find a few new features on there as well. I still need to do some exploring and experimenting with those, but I will try to use it more actively, so you get something out of it, too. The service unfortunately doesn't allow much in terms of perks in the way Patreon did.
- PayPal.me: A service directly utilizing PayPal. I haven't used it much. But I have one, in case that's your prefered method.
- Minds: It's a relatively new service. Next to money, you can also send me crypto-currency, though I still need to figure out how make posts available to both at the same time instead of double-posting. A small obstacle however. Similar to Patreon it provides a blog-structure, while also giving a bit of a social media vibe.
- Tipeee: This one's not officially online yet. Any tipee page needs to be first approved by a staff member (not necessarily a bad practise). So I can't guarantee it's open at any given date. It's European-basedf and from what I've seen only operates in EUR. Thus the rates might be a bit higher for you US-people. However, for any European supporter it might just give enoguh security of how much is actually charged and doesn't depend on fluctuating currency exchange rates. I haven't done any posting there yet, so I can't speak about it's features so far.
- Drip: I don't have a page on there, yet. It's in closed beta on an invite-only basis while they iron out some things still. If you have a Kickstarter account already, though, you can used that for Drip as well. I'll keep you in the loop about how this one develops.
And there we are. Those are the alternatives I'm currently loooking at. At this point I won't guarantee that I'll use them all. Though, especially Ko-Fi and PayPal are low maintenance. Whether I'll go with Drip, Tipeee or Minds in the long run only time will tell.
Thank you for going this far with me. I hope to see you on other shores as well. (And thank you for reading that wall of text here.)