1881 A Place On Earth.
If you played the early Final Fantasy games watch this. (Fair warning the one for 5 gets really lazy with the gay jokes.)
You guys have lots of opinions about comics. I guess that makes sense though. You’re reading this, so yeah. I entertain the idea of getting back in to Marvel & DC stuff, but with One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, One Piece, and Vinland saga it’s already pretty pricey. Last time I checked it was, like, 3 bucks for 20 pages of American comics & it’s 7 for 300 or something of manga. Anyway I should probably look it up at some point and see what’s going on.
I try to actually buy stuff instead of pirating it, even if it’s Marvel and they have all the money, & DC… just needs help.
I don’t remember who brought up the Patreon pricing but it was a few days ago & I suddenly remembered it. There’s one tier for everyone basically because I don’t have anything else to offer. I don’t like locking stuff away from everyone anyway. You can pledge as much as you want but everyone gets the same thing because a dollar a month is sustainable for almost anyone. I mean I’m still a capitalist, but I actually try to make it so even someone who has fallen on hard times can support my work if they want & everyone gets to share when I can make something extra. Most of the time I’m just struggling to make anything at all. I stopped talking about it because it was getting tedious, but I almost always feel like crap. Other artists get the big money because they can somehow produce stuff constantly. I can’t. I struggle. I’ve never recovered from my time in the hospital, so every day is me just keeping up as best I can.
Honestly, the QC patreon strikes me as greedy. I’ve always given access to myself and what I do freely because I genuinely like connecting with readers. The Discord server has been really cool for that, although I think knowing me so well ruins my work for some people. Or at least changes their perspective by humanizing me. Like, having a tier for asking questions is fucking insane to me. I’m right here. Ask me a question and I’ll answer it. You don’t need to pay me for that. Shit, if you want me to draw you in my style I offer that for everyone at the dollar level. $100 for that? That’s fucking mental. I would feel like a thief if I tried that. I just want enough money to live a decent life. I don’t want to make other people’s lives worse by taking ridiculous sums from them… I don’t know. Is it crazy not to want ALL the money. I guess I’m always going to live with this weird battle between thinking capitalism being the way to go while also trying to give everyone a fair shot at enjoying everything I have to offer. I really appreciate that so many people pledge above the dollar amount, and I appreciate that they contribute without complaining that even the people who pledge the minimum get all the rewards. I made a patreon exclusive area of the discord server, but the open places are where almost all the action is. Things are better when more people can enjoy things together. Maybe that’s too idealistic. I mean, I’m the first to say “pay me” if someone tries to get free work out of me, but I also talk myself down to really low commission prices & stuff because I want people to get what they want. I’m sure I get taken advantage of because of it a lot of times, but I guess I don’t have that kind of killer instinct that successful business people have. I want enough for me and for everyone else to have enough too.
All I know is I’m tired, my body hurts, but I’m still managing to keep up. Whoever suggested the patreon link in the blog posts was right though. There were a lot of new people this month & that’s all I did differently as far as I know. I don’t know what I could lock off that I haven’t already established as a regular feature. I mean, I’m finishing the pages the evening they go up. Getting them early would be, like, less than an hour in some cases. I’m already so open with everything there’s no reason to even to a Q&A every month. My world isn’t that complex anyway. I don’t have magic, or robots, to explain the deeper societal ramifications of.
Anyway I’m open to suggestions, and I genuinely do appreciate that people think I could get more money out of patreon, I just struggle with the ideas on a personal moral level. I know that must sound strange coming from someone with such a fluid sense of what morality is, but it is sincere. My nature is to just give freely & that’s always going to basically equate to me screwing myself out of riches.
I dunno, I think it’s possible one of the main reasons Jeph charges so much for that stuff is so he isn’t spending a million hours stuck doing illustrations since his audience is super humongous.
Like, I heard that Neil Gaiman charges a bunch for speaking appearances specifically to discourage companies/universities/whatever so that he could spend more time writing.
That must be it.
They do say, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”… Or at least, somebody does.
If something is worth doing it’s worth doing for profit. One of the rules of acquisition.
I find the FF In a Nutshell series amusing, but not groundbreakingly funny. They do raise some good points about FF games as a whole (like how Kefka is basically the ONE FF villain to achieve what he set out to do), but some of the jokes have a tendency to fall flat because more than a few are based on opinions held by the creator(s). I personally found Gogo [VI] to be amazingly useful, since he can do everything else the others can, and I’m talking outside the Mime ability, since he can equip other peoples’ unique abilities (like Sabin’s Blitz or Gau’s Rage). Healing Rods are also very useful because it means you can save your magic for when you need it instead of having to patch up the team as often.
Yeah, the writers don’t seem to fully understand the mechanics of every game. Also the reliance on cheap laughs at the expence of others is a bit much.
I don’t know if it’s something you’d ever consider, but some comics had pleges/tiers where you could help design a character/have yourself in their comic as a minor character that would make a few appearances. They rotated that off to like one person a month.
It seems horrible to me. How can you force a character into a comics ?
Not so horrible if done right.
Some of the illustrators I support that do use the appearance bonus for patrons wanting to shell out a bit more than most, do the cameo thing – sort of a Alfred Hitchcock extra / silhouette or a more recent though more in your face is example Stan Lee cameo.
One example I noticed does the occasional two page crowd scene and puts in all those particular patrons in those – IIRC they also get a signed thank you print of the page. Sort of a cross between a story insertion and a character portrait.
I don’t think is would fit his art style – has he done any crowd scenes?
Customers might be a natural place for fan inserts, though I can’t recall the last time I saw a customer. Which has to be a good sign, right?
FF in a nutshell carries similar vibes to the whole Cinemasins thing. I sort of get what they’re going for with a fan-centric tongue-in-cheek review of the franchise but I do worry that what they create will grow into something mean spirited that far misses the point of the games.
Laying it on thick!
Wrt. the under comic comments on Patreon, I have been put off supporting some creators due to the scaling of their Patreon levels. I want to support a large number of people, that has to be to a small extent to stay within my own budget!
It’s not a bad idea to charge just a little more than you think you can get. Helps you build a surplus for the leaner times.
True, but you also have to expect that people in this day and age can still decide whether that extra charge is worth the price.
First off, thank you for what you do. I know it’s a struggle and that you have had to push through a lot of hardship. Thank you so very much.
Secondly, you are not crazy for not wanting all the money. In fact anyone who does is crazy. You’re not crazy for not wanting to charge ungodly prices for your work. You’re an artist. Artists often, I hesitate to say always, want their art to be appreciated. Not hidden away where only a few can experience it.
Lastly, you’re not the first to free your products from increasingly higher pay walls. I’d say leave everything at the one dollar price point and if asked simply tell people that they’re free to pay what they feel your work is worth to them at that time. I know I intend to chip in with Patreon as soon as I’m able because your work has been a joy to read for a long time now.
I have a couple (RPG) products out there that are free to download, and pay what you feel they’re worth to you. Over the last decade-and-a-half, all these products together have grossed me a grand total of $20. If I didn’t get such glowing response from players at demonstrations, I’d feel the products must be crap. But instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that the “pay what you want” model won’t keep you in business (at least in niche markets.)
I also know that I don’t have that “killer instinct” a businessman needs to separate people from their money, either. So I don’t go into business for myself. IMO, it is truly brave for Crave to do so like he has.
I don’t know what kind of setup Mr. Jacques has going on (my budget is limited, so I only pledge to artists who seem to need the income). However, something to consider is the size of his fanbase. Gating Q&A might be a survival strategy as much as anything on his part. *shrug*
It doesn’t have to be greed that motivates you into charging more for truly time-consuming work. Think of it this way: if, by charging just a little more for certain things, you could pay for medical care you need, or better art programs, or better food, or better living situation, what would that get you?
Would it mean you lived healthier and better?
Would it mean you could improve your art in ways you feel it lacks?
Would it mean you could spend more resources and time on the very comic that makes you money? Like, investing in the work?
Would it mean your mental state is better so it’s easier to produce for your customers?
It’s not just greed that can drive price. It’s investment.
So, I have a *lot* of artist friends, some more successful than others. My two most successful artist friends do furry art, because apparently the furry community has buckets of cash to throw at people.
Of these two most successful friends, one has what I consider to be the highest quality art, but continually undersells. One piece – his best piece, IMO – he put in a couple months worth of effort into, and only got $600. He could have easily gotten a thousand out of it, and honestly could have gotten it done in a month or less if he didn’t have a day job. Honestly, his work is good enough that he could easily support himself JUST on furry commissions.
The second artist friend is just a smidge less quality than the first one (again, just my opinion), but consistently makes more money than the first one for less work, because the second friend goes out to furry cons, makes connections and commissions, and has no problem raising prices so that she has less work but (roughly) the same income. To be fair, she also has a day job (that makes her happy and a lot of money), which is part of why she raised her prices – she only has a limited amount of time available, and her time is very valuable. Plus her art is fairly niche – she does herp art (reptiles and amphibians mostly), so there’s less competition.
I don’t have a patreon account right now, because I have at least 3 more years of paying off student loans. Once I’ve got that taken care of, I can afford to throw money at artists. Therefore, I’m making the assuming – based on what I’m reading so far – that you’re offering each person that donates even just a dollar a month a portrait done in your style. If this assumption is incorrect, apologies, and feel free to disregard the following.
I feel like a dollar, or even a dollar a month for just a year or two, is way too low a pricing for something you spend even 10 minutes on. I would recommend removing the “I’ll draw you in my style” option from Patreon as a regular reward just for throwing a dollar at you, and add it as a “store” item, somehow. One time effort should get one time payment, in my opinion.
If it gives you the commericalism jeebies, feel free to disregard, or give a warning that it’s going away on , say a month or two from when you make the decision to make the change, so people have a chance to get in on the cheaper price while they can still afford it. New pricing should be at the VERY least minimum wage rate times the number of hours you put into the thing, with one hour being the minimum, and rounded up to the nearest half hour. With your skill level and fan base, maybe $100 would be too much for one single portrait. As others have mentioned, Jeph has a pretty massive fanbase, and only so much time, so he probably sets it high enough that he physically has time to do the portraits. I don’t know how big your fanbase is, but I don’t think $20 is too much to ask for a single portrait. In fact, I’d guess that $20-$50 would be right, depending on how much time you spend on the portrait. Maybe have options for a simple portrait, a standard portrait, and a complex portrait?
tl;dr you don’t value yourself and your skillset enough, charge more, it’s ok! You’re not charging for the materials, your charging for the time you’re spending on it and the worth of your accumulated experience earned over time.
About Final Fantasy I:
I can understand to a degree over the lampooning of the first game’s cookie-cutter “save the world from darkness” plot device as well as the massive amount of plot holes that permeate in it.
However, you gotta understand a few things here: Final Fantasy was Square’s supposed swan song to the gaming industry. All their previous releases were flops and with Final Fantasy, the development team felt that they had nothing to lose with this final release because it was over for them. It didn’t matter if the game itself wasn’t very consistent with its plot and whether the mechanics made any sense in a proper battle setting. All they wanted to do was put out one last game in the hopes that maybe the consumer base will enjoy it.
Well, everyone DID enjoy it and the company had been thriving ever since. Of course, over the years, Square remade the first Final Fantasy game with various graphic and mechanic tweaks and also tried to flesh out the story a bit more with some degree of success. Yes, there was more character to the story but the game was still the plot hole riddled mess.
Honestly, at this point, unless Square-Enix wants to adapt the first game into an anime, I don’t see why anyone would care about the plot faults of the first game. It was just a pick up and go RPG and for fans like us, that was good enough.
I’ve heard they called it Final Fantasy because they expected it to the final game they could make.
And then, after building an empire on the franchise, they decide to abandon the formula that fans have loved for decades and turn it into a first or third person action rpg, depending on which you are looking at…
And not only that, but they are remaking FF7 as a FPRPG and as episodic content, each of which will apparently be fully priced.
On the point of Patreon … donations? I would call them “donations” because that’s how I see it since Patreon has basically replaced tip jars and wallets on a lot of comic artists I support.
I would say this – if I were you, I would go with the low tiers. However, say in the future you get a benefactor who wants to bypass the low tiers and give you a hundred bucks a month, you could allow that and gratefully mention them every now and then in your comic comments or something. Teach Me to Kill does that – the artist/author has a few people who have donated beyond, and she just gives them a shout-out every now and then (and mentioned they helped her improve her comic/Patreon by funding her new tablet). I think some people appreciate a small acknowledgement, some of us (like me, I am donating and I haven’t asked for a portrait or anything) that just want the comic to keep going without any other benefit or acknowledgement; and some are somewhere in between.
As for Final Fantasy, I started at FF5. I may be one of the very very few who enjoyed the plot of the eighth installment. Despite the protagonist being pretty … wuss at the beginning of the game, I liked all the characters and their insane abilities. I was able to follow the plot pretty easily, but then again, I like plots in plots in plots. I found FF9 to be very enduring, and the characters were very well done, but it had less depth than 8. I still liked it a lot as well. FF10 was okay, FF11 had BALTIER which is one of my favorite characters of all time (the depth of his character as it is revealed is awesome).
The one with Lightning … FF13? … was what I considered the least enjoyable foray into the series for me. It felt railroaded and the plot didn’t make me feel much for the characters. The Eidolons were cool, but you can’t base your entire game on a system of synthesis (timing) and summoned guardians.
Fufufu, it was I who brought the topic up. And it seems to me the artist could profit from an agent (merely 15% of revenue).
More seriously, I have looked at a dozen or two Patreon accounts by now and have found the following.
(Zeroth, if you’re fine with how you are doing right now, then don’t try to fix it.)
First, many seem to use a $1/$5/$10/$100 approach, perhaps with a couple of more steps like $3 and $20. The $100 tier is usually empty when they show the number of patrons.
The rewards can vary a lot. One guy literally had just “Appreciate it, you keep the lights on / Thanks! / Thanks buddy / WOW THANKS / MEGATHANKS” without any actual rewards. It seemed to work. I think most people realize Patreon is in the end a way of funding your work.
I’d recommend that the rewards be fairly limited to avoid overwork and burnout, but also that they are streaming, if you will, rather than one-time. For example, Nerf Now! does either four or six cheesecake drawings per month for the higher tiers. Personally, I think it’s fine to leave the cheesecake to those who really want it, like one cup at Starbucks per month maybe?
Or do you have pdfs of the comic to be sent to your higher tiers?
Or you could do specialist tiers like “Furry version: Between Yiffings / $20” or that spicy version of BF that you were talking about a couple of years ago. Well, maybe.
Or you could do a monthly collective drawing of all patrons at, say, the $10 tier (I dunno, is that workable?). A rogue’s gallery or a crowd or an action scene or something.
Or make videos or screen recordings of how you create the comic for the geeky tier.
Or play games on Twitch with your $10 patrons for … one hour? per … month? Let everyone see the videos of course.
Basically, you can try out various things over time that (a) you like to do and (b) see how your patrons respond to this. I’m sure there is lots more that comes to mind with a bit of time.
Finally, take a look at your web comic Patreon contemporaries and see what they’re doing and copy the best. “Implementing best practices” as we call it.
And charge $5-10 for simple commissions. I think the guy above who wrote about the furry specialists had it approximately right.
Let’s take Shaenon Garrity’s patreon as an example. I think it’s cleverly done. https://www.patreon.com/Shaenon
$1: 185 patrons (latest wall paper)
$5: 98 patrons (read internal blog)
$10: 22 patrons (listed as sponsor on comics page)
$15: 12 patrons (reader’s questions, answered with sunday comic)
Total: 306 patrons, $1020 per month. Averages out at $3.33 per patron.
First, the extra work is small and mostly independent of number of patrons, which is good because we don’t want the ‘stretch goal’ phenomenon where work just piles up and inevitably becomes late or never appears.
And second, the tiers are well-designed to give suitable rewards depending on level of interest. For example, the $1 tier patron is probably satisfied with being benign and getting the occasional wallpaper and doesn’t really care for internal blogs or whatnot.
It hardly seems like it’s going to matter at all since patreon can’t seem to do the one thing they’re good for at the moment, which is collecting its payment without causing everyone grief.