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Patreon, Ko-fi etc - worth the ballache?


John Matrix
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Now I already know the answer to some degree, will depend on how much graft you put in - but there seems to be a market amongst designers particular, and i'm sure it's not unique to that community, whereby they'll create fan art, phone lock screens etc, essentially custom, non commissioned pieces, in return for small regular contributions.

I think i'm right in saying the wonderful @Astro Hollywood has dipped his toe in the water and i'm by no means under the impression i'll be retiring early, I was just curious as to whether there are any good cases out there as to why it might be worthwhile having a pop - is there a fee? Any other mandatory requirements?  I assume if people are paying, there's a minimum requirement in terms of activity etc..

Any thoughts, experiences or alternatives gratefully received.

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I know some actors/comedians/content creators that use ko-fi, and get the odd few quid to help them out through that. Patreon, if you're putting a shift in to produce the work, is definitely worthwhile - but 90% of the graft is about building up that kind of a relationship with your audience before any one of them would even consider paying you a penny, and that's harder work than any of the content you'll need to create for them!

I've been toying with the idea of a CIWW Patreon to bring some extra few quids in for us, but I'm not really sure what it would entail.

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4 minutes ago, Chest Rockwell said:

What is ko-fi? I'm aware I could look it up but I'd rather ask you. Not something I've ever heard of.

From what I can gather, it offers a subscription model, similar to Patreon which allows users to set up regular giving etc, but at its free level, means you could just say "Yeah, I really liked that piece" and give a one off 'tip' so to speak - the price of a cup of "Ko-fi" (their pun, not mine!)

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Some of you may be well aware, but if not, FWA alumni John ‘Hardcore’ Atkins is now The Ukuele Teacher and does very nicely for himself. Through Patreon and his 1.2m YouTube subscribers, he now does this as a full time job.

He moved to LA a couple of years ago and has even got his own Ukulele starter pack out. He’s got them on the shelves at Macys and is doing signings there.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke, but he puts an awful amount of time and effort into it and his output is top-notch.

He somehow managed to find time in between all that to write the foreword for my book - what a guy!

https://www.patreon.com/uketeacher

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheUkuleleTeacher

 

Edited by scratchdj
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Ko-Fi is effectively a one-time donation site (though you can donate as many times as you like), based on the idea of donating a coffee ($3), but they do have a Patreon-like system where donations get you access to exclusive content, but it's a very basic version.

I'd definitely recommend Patreon if you're anyone who devotes a serious amount of time to creating something you think is worthy of people's money. The fee is minimal, and mainly it takes out the fiddliness of having to handle everything yourself. You get to keep your content in one place, and your fans/followers know where that is and can easily access it, and safely get their money to you via their membership. You can tailor it to the level of content you're producing, or even set the money to come in per thing that you release (eg video, podcast), as opposed to monthly. It's extremely customisable in terms of patron rewards. As long as you don't make promises you can't keep, it's all good.

For me, I figure I have a skill I'm really good at, why not try and make that my job? It's nowhere near there yet (and most likely never will be), but what else am I gonna do; zero hour contract 15 hour a week shifts at Lidl that won't even support me?

I started my Patreon 11 months ago, and pretty much threw myself into it as a full-time job. I've posted about 170,000 words of content and a bunch of videos up there so far. Some of it eventually makes it to the free blog ($3 tier gets it a month early), but the higher tier is Patreon-exclusive. Every 7-10 days I post a longform non-fiction piece, like deep dives on some terrible old sitcom, and I've been serialising a novel, which usually would've taken up a year's writing time, completely unpaid. Though I wouldn't recommend the pace of writing a novel and a weekly piece on top. A lot of my working weeks are like the ones Rockstar Games got in trouble over.

For me, it's also a place for works which don't really fit anywhere else, but are worth sharing. I wrote a novella that posits 'What if Jimmy Savile was a vampire instead of a nonce?' and didn't really have a place for it. Not because it was bad (it's great), but it was too long for the blog and too short for print. Plus, you know... problematic. But Patreon? Where the audience trusts me not to be exploitative? The perfect home. The ability to experiment is very exciting, especially if the Patreon money frees up time you'd otherwise spend on other jobs. I never could have justified spending a week on dissecting Robin Askwith's Bottle Boys or each of Hulk Hogan's many TV cameos before Patreon. I'm launching a podcast in the next few months, and there's no way I'd have ever gotten into that if not for this.

Purely as an example, and definitely not because this thread finally gives me a chance to ethically link to it here and shakedown the place for new subs, here's my Patreon.

 

 

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I've been contemplating subscribing to the Patreon of someone who makes templates. He won't sell them separately and I'd have to become a $5 backer to get them but I don't understand how long I have to subscribe for as I literally just want a few of the templates he's made and that's it. Is it a month by month thing, are you tied in for a certain amount of time? I've looked on Patreon's site but can't get an answer, if any of you lot can advise please?

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10 minutes ago, cobra_gordo said:

I've been contemplating subscribing to the Patreon of someone who makes templates. He won't sell them separately and I'd have to become a $5 backer to get them but I don't understand how long I have to subscribe for as I literally just want a few of the templates he's made and that's it. Is it a month by month thing, are you tied in for a certain amount of time? I've looked on Patreon's site but can't get an answer, if any of you lot can advise please?

Once you've subscribed, you'll have access to everything at that tier until you leave, which you can do at any time.

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2 hours ago, Astro Hollywood said:

Once you've subscribed, you'll have access to everything at that tier until you leave, which you can do at any time.

Some I have followed (mainly naked ladies) have run archival tiers as they purge their monthly content after about 8 weeks to stop cheapskates filling their boots for tuppence, but this is normally clear in the tiers they have available.

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