Patreon As Support

June 24, 2019 by Tim

Yesterday I posted to remind people of the Ctrl+Alt+Del Patreon, a campaign I’ve been running for the past four years that lets people directly support this website and, in return, get some bonus material as well.

I’ve posted in the past about the shoddy state of the online advertising industry and how it’s not as strong as it used to be, so I won’t rehash that here. Long story short, Patreon is a big part of keeping things running, and so I have to mention it once in a while so people are aware it’s an option.

My post sparked some debate, however, and part of that was a result of me assuming that since I’ve been running the Patreon for so long, and talked about it in the past, that most of you would be familiar with it at this point. As that doesn’t appear to be the case, I wanted to make this post so I can be as clear as possible about what Patreon is and is not, and how I approach it.

First, let me point out that for the past seventeen years I have provided free comics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I pride myself on having never missed an update day. And let me state, unequivocally, that I will continue to do so for as long as I am able.

The comics that I create for Patrons are in addition to the work I do here on the website. Not once have I have I taken content that would have been released for free and locked it behind Patreon instead. I do more work than I have in the past in order to fulfill my personal commitment to my website, and also provide value to the Patrons who directly support my work.

While I create an additional Analog and D-Pad comic for Patrons each month, I do so in a manner that in no way affects the storylines that I tell on the public site. The Patron comics are stand-alone one-shots that have no impact on the stories I tell, and are in no way required reading in order to enjoy or understand the plot.

When I moved The Starcaster Chronicles to Patreon in order to fund more issues, I was very clear to my audience and potential Patrons that those issues would still eventually be released to the public, for free, specifically because I was not comfortable with taking a story people had started reading for free, and locking it behind a paywall.

Patreon is not a perfect system, but it is a system that works well for me and my business. It handles payment processing and content delivery, and allows me to focus on creating content for my readers. Its archive system leaves something to be desired, but for the most part, it has had a positive impact on the comic’s sustainability and, more importantly, my peace of mind.

Most of you are used to having a very clear idea of what your time is worth. Whether your job pays you salary, or hourly, you have a reasonable expectation that if you work X amount of hours, you will receive Y dollars. It’s something you can plan around.

I don’t have that with my job.

With my job, traditionally, I do the work, I give it away for free, and then I hope I get paid for it after the fact, via enough unblocked ad views (or I do the work and then hope, years down the line, people buy it in book form). I’m not complaining; I love my job, I feel honored and privileged to do it, and I choose to do it. And I will continue to use ads for as long as they can reasonably contribute to my income and support a free-to-read website.

But ads are unreliable. Some people use adblockers. My pageviews can fluctuate (up in the fall when people go back to school, down in the summer when people are outside more). The value of ads changes with the season (companies go hard on advertising budgets right before the holidays, and then prices drop off a cliff in January). So advertising income can bounce around. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you get it.

That’s fine, if you do it long enough you can plan around, you recognize shifts in the season, in the industry. But it is something you’re constantly worried about.

Patreon, to a degree, gives me some income I can rely on. It gives me a relative concept of “If I do X work, I will earn Y dollars” that helps with planning things like mortgage, daycare, groceries, etc and also funding work on new projects. It’s not just me anymore, I have a family to support, and so having that peace of mind is huge for me.

It would be great if ad companies hadn’t fucked things all up, and ads were something people could reasonably ignore. You could come and read my comics without a care, I’d get paid, and we’d both be happy.

That’s not how it is, though. People hate ads (with justifiable reason). I hate ads. I’d get rid of them if I could. But seventeen years ago it’s how websites were supported, and I launched this comic as free to read, and I am determined to keep it that was for as long as is possible. So, for now, ads are a necessary evil for me.

If you can stomach some ads for the few moments you’re on my website, making sure my site is whitelisted is a great way to help support the site with no cost to yourself but a little tolerance.

If you’re dead set against ads, I won’t argue with you. I get it. If you like my content and still want to see it supported though, I think Patreon is a great alternative. At minimum, a dollar a month, $12 a year, to support the approximately 144 comics I release here (plus the extra 24 comics you’d get as a $1 Patron). That’s $0.07 per comic. It may not seem like it matters, but if I could get even a quarter of my readership to Patron at that level, I could get rid of ads altogether.

Merchandise is another way to support us. Buy a t-shirt once in a while, or a book whenever I get around to putting them out, if you’re so inclined.

I’m not asking or expecting anyone to do all or even multiples of the above. Just asking you to consider that, if you enjoy my work, there are ways to help me keep doing it.

Regardless of your decision on the matter, I hope this post has adequately explained both how I use my Patreon and why I use my Patreon.

Liked it? Take a second to support Tim on Patreon!

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Clifford Anderson
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Clifford Anderson

At the end of the day, my fear with whitelisting in my ad-blocker is the results when Forbes started to block the ad-blocker, and in the process, were caught feeding virii to their customers via advertising.

If Forbes can’t guarantee that they are not serving up virii, then nobody can.

TheSnowedOne
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I agree on issues with whitelisting; I don’t tend to whitelist either for similar reasons but I do support on Patreon instead. I kinda wish there was a place kinda like Patreon where you could set a pool of money per month to go to a bunch of creators and have it break itself up somehow automatically based on what you view of their works per month. Kinda like a Spotify for creators only without most of the money going to record labels but instead directly to the artists. In the meantime Patreon works; it’s not a perfect system but… Read more »

Diasdiem
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Diasdiem

I read a lot of webcomics and such that have Patreons, but I can’t afford to subscribe for $5 a month or whatever to all of them. It would be cool to have one service that would let you split one payment among several content providers. But in the meantime, I’ll white list for whatever that’s worth.

octav3k
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octav3k

CAD’s lowest Patreon sub is 1$. I don’t know how much less you’re expecting to give to someone who provides you 12 comics per month (almost 1 every 2 days) for free and adds in several more when you pay, but I think it’s already the best quality/price in the business.

Blaine Moore
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Blaine Moore

Have you heard of Brave browser? That’s exactly how it works. It’s a chromium spin-off browser that blocks tracking by default, and you can (optionally) invest in BAT cryptocurrency and allocate how much you want to support the sites you visit each month. You can set it to give a set amount directly to a site, or you can have the browser anonymously allocate it based on how much time you spend on various sites.

I don't know how to register
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I don't know how to register

Forbes is actually bottom of the barrel trash and I wouldn’t be surprised if they served viruses on purpose. Don’t hold them up as some paragon where if they fail, nobody can succeed. They aren’t. They’re garbage.

D R
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D R

Sorry you’ve evidently had so much blowback for this Tim. Best of luck!

Dreka
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Dreka

I don’t have any problems with you monetizing additional content via Patreon. I’d like to believe most of your regular readers don’t either, but after that comment thread on Saturday I’m not so sure anymore. I think most of the blowback came from the admittedly bad choice to make the Patreon ad look like paywalled content for a normally free feature. There are far too many scenarios where a reader may not take the time to read a longer explanation as to why and jump to the wrong conclusion. If I saw something like that on my first visit to… Read more »

Kris
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Kris

TIM,

I love your comic. I read it free and i support u by not blocking the adds, buying books, and even a tshirt or 2 over the years.

I would LOVE to see a set of refrigerator magnets or two. I collect magnets and would cover my fridge with your characters.

I would also LOVE to see you at San Diego Comic Con. Its the largest comic convention in the USA and i believe you’d be welcomed with open arms.

Let me know what you think about either.

THANKS! Kris

David
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David

The only reason I don’t support you via Patreon is because Patreon is run by a lying liar from Liartown who makes ban level decisions based on political beliefs. They have banned people for things that they specifically said would not get them banned.

If you add another service with a more well defined free-speech policy, then I will happily support you directly.

Vivek Wilson
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Vivek Wilson

The ‘Free Speech Violation’ David’s speaking about seems to be the homophobic, toxic and otherwise hate inspired speech being blocked on Patreon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patreon#Controversies

David
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David

Except I’m not. I’m talking about things which did not occur on the platform and were directed at insulting the white supremacists and Nazis.

FM-96
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FM-96

Which Patreon tier do I need to be able to vote in the upcoming Starcaster Chronicles comics? From what I can see the tier descriptions don’t mention that.

Tom B
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Tom B

I know ads are the best you have as far as simple way to support revenues, other than Patreon. My real issue lies with the browser companies that enable ads to skip past settings on volume and visibility – that’s ridiculous. And the ads not only do that, but some are infested with various security threats and I don’t have a VM setup to view with. I kind of wish there was, as another commenter brought up, a service where I could list a few services I care about and make one annual payment and have it parcel some out… Read more »

Tumbleweed
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Tumbleweed

Yeah, sooo, I became a Patron, it isn’t much, but maybe it will help.

Vivek Wilson
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Vivek Wilson

A creator should not have to explain his means of income so carefully because some folks online didn’t like the fact that he didn’t give them a free comic one day. I understand your situation, Tim, and heartily sympathize. For what it’s worth, I’ve whitelisted your domain completely, so all ads come through now. I have an anti-virus program, so hoping it’d prevent the whole Forbes debacle mentioned by Clifford below. As for Patreon: I don’t mind joining the $5 tier per month, but just a curious question. You said you’d be sharing pdf versions of your comic books as… Read more »

I don't know how to register
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I don't know how to register

Oh yeah, merch. That’s another point I forgot when people were suggesting downright terrible ideas like “make the comic itself an ad so people have to whitelist to see it” or “put in one of those pop-ups that doesn’t let you use the site unless you whitelist”. Driving people away with tactics like that also means you can’t sell them merch. I used to have shirts until they wore out and I had to toss them. I have posters and prints on the walls around me right now. I have books, the old animated series on a DVD, I think… Read more »

KeithM
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KeithM

I stopped by to read your explanation regarding your Patreon account, and was greeted by a health ad with a graphic that kind of grossed me out. I am sorry, but after that encounter, I now use an ad-blocker. ๐Ÿ˜•

Shiva
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Shiva

CAD, it has been and still is 1 of the pages with ads that work totally fine.
I checked Forbes and it is a bit irritating. I have seen way better news pages.

Thortok2000
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Thortok2000

Another thing I see on some sites is a ‘progress bar’ with a goal for the month from donations.

Being able to accept paypal donations directly rather than going through paypal may not be ‘dependable’ but it’s a good way to show to your readers whether your goal for the month has been met or not, and how much you’re struggling (or not).

Erica Heathrow
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Erica Heathrow

While I didn’t see any of the backlash from the last reminder comic, I can only presume that there was some… I felt it, certainly, but I don’t tend to post those sorts of feelings or responses since there’s more than enough unhappy words in the world already. I think what a large portion of it may have been over, though, was not any kind of resentment for Tim making a living from his work… Especially since he seems to be one of the relatively fewer people who still understands that Patreon itself is not intended to function as, and… Read more »

Jacob Keller
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Jacob Keller

I think it’s about time I joined up to Patreon. Been reading the comic for 12 years now.(wow doesnt seem like that long) And I dont want to see it ever stop.

Brantley
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Brantley

I know my reaction to the comic was more on the end of “Whoa new comic out on the weekend!” only to see that 1/3 of the comic was blurred out making me think “Tim is covering up new comics and trying to force people to pay? Well that sucks!” I immediately went to read the blog post and saw that you were mentioning “extra content” so as a fellow content creator, I realized that you must be pushing Patreon showing that readers can get more via subscribing to it. I think the backlash came from people doing as I… Read more »

Phil
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Phil

I added you to my list of people I support. I had closed this article, though, so I came back to it to find the link. I’d suggest putting a Patreon link up in the top-right corner, along with YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Scott
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Scott

Have you considered putting out paperback comics of the series? I love reading your comics, and I bought the Vol 1 collection. I would also buy paperback comics if you made them.

mkearns
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mkearns

I don’t block ads, I block JavaScript execution from untrusted sites. cad-comic.com is a trusted site. I cannot unilaterally allow unknown third parties to run scripts on my computer; I used to have sites trying to hack my browser several times a week before I installed NoScript. I really don’t mind advertisements at all, but there must be some other way than allowing strangers to execute code on my machine without pre-approval…

SpazMan777
Guest
SpazMan777

What I took away from this thread is that… you think people still go outside. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I go outside to reach my car, to eventually reach my workplace… then I return that journey, in reverse. I go outside due to necessity: not desire! Who goes outside for *leisure*?! I jest; at the end of the day, Tim, you have supporters ๐Ÿ™‚ – When I landed on your comic over a decade ago, I’ve made this page my home. I own all four signed books, Kickstarter compendium, Zeke plush, Winter-een-mass blanket, heck even the O.G. Blind… Read more »

RanchRifle
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RanchRifle

I would love to support you on Patreon! However, I refuse to give any money to them because of their anti-free speech stance. I will just have to keep buying your Merch!

Benjie
Guest
Benjie

Hi Tim, I’m happy to inform you that I have just become your Super Hero Sidekick with new socks ^^