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In a relatively brief amount of time, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have changed the way comics are published. From providing start-up funds for projects that wouldn’t otherwise exist to creating an influx of cash to prop up a publisher that’s hit a rough patch, it allows creators to go directly to potential readers for support. Services like Kickstarter have proved popular, but they’re not the only way it can be done. Enter Patreon.
Launched last year, Patreon doesn’t focus on funding a specific project, but instead allows fans to become patrons of their favorite creators by contributing money on a regular basis. Creators can choose to ask for money to be given on a monthly or, say, per-comic basis.
The platform has already produced some success stories in the comics field: Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has found 2,818 patrons through Patreon, providing him with more than $7,500 per month of comics created, Meredith Gran has already accumulated a $600 monthly allowance to continue her webcomic Octopus Pie.
“If you become a patron, you will give me the breathing room I need to focus on the comic,” Gran writes on her Patreon page. “I will be able to upgrade my ancient hardware and run my home office more efficiently. And I will be able to pay for health insurance, which … if you’re an American, you know how this is.”
Like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Patreon offers several levels of commitment, with several levels of rewards. For example, in Weinersmith’s campaign a $3 monthly commitment will allow you to read all of his webcomics a daily earlier than non-Patreon members, while on Gran’s Octopus Pie campaign a $5 monthly subscription gives readers access to her sketchbook blog and free downloads of all of the previous Octopus Pie e-books.
Given how quickly comic creators rushed to the Kickstarter and Indiegogo platforms, the unique nature of Patreon could also draw in comic creators looking for a more serialized, subscription-based crowdfunding method which is especially conducive to webcomics.