Today we get David Revoy to share with us his experience on using Patreon to fund his webcomic.
Qn: Can you give us an introduction on what you do, and how Patreon helps you?
I'm the author of Pepper&Carrot, a cute open-source webcomic about "Pepper", a young witch and her cat, "Carrot".
Pepper&Carrot project is only funded by its patrons and thanks to this system my webcomic can be independent and never use advertising or any marketing pollution.
Qn: You're almost reaching 200 patrons already. How did you manage to reach that number? Or get people to support you?
I'm don't focus on advertising or spreading the word so I feel humbly lucky to have this level of support. I focus on the content itself: quality of stories and graphics. I also keep releasing everything I produce online with a free and permissive license for derivations and commercial usage. Moral and ethic of licenses have a really big place in the way I distribute my webcomic.
Qn: Do you know your Patreon supporters or where they come from? Are they your regular readers or did they discover you through Patreon?
Unfortunately -- except a group of twenty patrons composed of community friends or active members of free/libre and open-source software projects -- I don't know really the majority of them. I really like when I receive private message or email from my patrons, with a little word about what they like, etc...
Qn: Do you give or what extra incentives to your Patreon supporters?
Giving 'extras' is , in my opinion, a discrimination by money. I refuse it because it would be offensive for my audience.
Let me explain: on one side, you get an audience with money able to access more or full contents just because they are able to cross a paywall, and on the other side an audience who can't afford to cross the paywall and just get a limited experience. I think this is deeply unfair and against my feeling of what humanity is. I respect all of my audience equally: with or without money. I don't think someone is more valuable or successful in life because his country, education, job, opportunities let him the possibility to be richer and cross a paywall. All extra are posted on www.peppercarrot.com for free and for everyone. The patrons who support me with more than $3 encourage the production of extras open content for everyone, such as making-of, tutorials, extra sketches, speedpaintings, wallpapers.
Qn: What do you like or dislike about Patreon?
In general, I like everything about it. I think everyone can agree that the success of this website/service is related to the great quality of the interface, concept and documentation.
I would be happy to meet the Patreon team. They really do brilliant and effective communication. They are, in my opinion, a really important piece in the giant mechanism to change the paradigm of how artist are paid and communicate with their audience on Internet.
Qn: What tips do you have for those looking to use Patreon?
I don't think there are really tips for it: It is as simple as proposing to your audience an offer you could support yourself while always keep in mind your audience is two times smarter and intelligent than you. Use your common sense and focus on quality and producing something your patrons and also the whole community can benefit in the long run.
Qn: Do you think Patreon is or can be a viable source of income for artists, as compared to other revenue sources such as selling advertising, merchandise?
Yes, I do think Patreon is the best alternative so far.
I exclude advertising from my choice. I dislike it as a consumer and it's more often a pollution than the proposition of a good link or a good content. Advertising could be done 'right' , but I think it's really hard to manage it, and not stable enough as a source of revenues.
Merchandising would be more acceptable. Selling a by-product from an e-store and making a benefit of it is legit. Unfortunately, I'm not an e-store maintainer. I'm not really interested in holding a stock of product or sending packages each week over the globe. I might do it in the future, but more to create fun 'real-life' objects and share it with my audience than really hoping to live about it.
So, at the end, Patronage based on the release of a content sounds to me the best idea so far.