Thoughts on Patreon’s New Fee Structure

[This is reposted from my Patreon page, edited for clarity on this site]

 

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Patreon is redoing its fee structure by shifting the burden of all its fees over to all our wonderful patrons. The full announcement can be read here: https://blog.patreon.com/updating-patreons-fee-structure/

“Starting on December 18th, a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 will be paid by patrons for each individual pledge. (To get into the details, existing per-creation pledges for posts made on/after Dec. 18th will be charged the new service fee; existing per-month pledges will first be charged a service fee on January 1.)”

Creators were notified of this yesterday and all patrons are supposed to be notified of this change today. Needless to say, this announcement was NOT well received by the creator community, myself included. But wait, why? Doesn’t this mean the creator receives a larger amount of their pledges? Isn’t that good? While it’s true the creators will receive more, many fear that this new fee structure will drive away the lower tier pledges. This is a HUGE deal to most creators since that’s where a large percentage of our Patreon income comes from. So in the end, creators are worried that the loss of patronage from this change will not only completely undo any benefit, but is generally a poopy thing to shove onto our wonderful generous patrons.

 

Were the creators consulted at all before this change was made. No. At least, I wasn’t contacted for my opinion on the matter. The overwhelming response from the creator community--from what I’ve seen--is that we would rather eat the fees for this service than have that piled onto our supporters. While I’m sure there are plenty of supporters that want their creators to get more, and are okay with taking on the fees, there are a lot of patrons that have a strict budget and this change will force them to remove support.

 

From a business standpoint, Patreon has grown A LOT recently and this year it was announced that it acquired $60 million in series C funding with an estimated company value of $450 million. This is quite the funding for a young company and no doubt there is significant pressure to push up its revenue as much as possible as a result. Should they have eased the fee adjustments in much smaller changes with more community feedback? Yes. So much yes.

 

So... what can you do to help if you are a Patreon patron? Contact Patreon and let them know what you think about this change. If you choose to remove or reduce your pledge because of this change, I completely understand and support your decision. Also, please let me know if there is anything I can do on my end. 

 

Assuming Patreon goes through with this plan, at this point, I’m not sure what action I’ll take. Tier adjustments as an attempt to compensate patrons? Moving to a different platform? Providing multiple platform options? And now I also feel I have to second and third guess my plans as this whole thing just makes Patreon campaign promotion feel super sleazy.

 

That being said, thank you so much for all your support whether or not you support me on Patreon! Here's hoping it all works out in the end.

 

Networking with the Ditch Diggers

Over the summer, on a warm moist night in the backwoods of Ohio, there was a castle surrounded by fireflies. There was also myself, Mur Laffery, Matt Wallace, and a delightful studio audience. We had a nice chat about networking for creatives and virgin goats, among other things. No fireflies were harmed in the making of this podcast. Probably. I take no responsibility for the actions of the delightful studio audience. They were all very nice people so I assume they treated the fireflies with respect despite the bugs' tendencies to bonk into faces. It was totes magical.

 

You can listen to the episode over at the Ditch Diggers site.

 

Huge thanks to Mur and Matt for having me on the show. It was a honor and I hope our wordy words are helpful to those struggling with how to connect with others.

Some Thoughts on Pokémon Go

I removed the app after only a few days of use. 

Here's the thing, I do love Pokémon. In fact, I have many fond memories of playing the original red and blue back in college. It's one of the good old standbys of my current 3DS.  However--and this is a big however--the game is an insidious leech on my psyche. Granted, the instability of the Pokémon Go influenced my choice, but ultimately it came down to the following: one, I noticed while playing how absolutely oblivious I was to everything around me; two, I was obsessively checking it and logging back in every time it crashed; and three, it gave me that twitchy yucky feeling one gets with addictive games. In keeping with the LotR analogy, that ring needed to be tossed into its birth lava ASAP.

 

Since removing the game, some sketchy things have come to light. The fact that the app, by default, has full access to your Google account and the unsurprising EULA fine print that removes users rights unless they opt-out, is a bit unsettling, to say the least. Although, there are workarounds (as detailed in those articles) to protect your rights and account information if you must have your pokéfix.

 

So, yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about my decision. That being said, I'm not suggesting everyone should stop playing, just, you know, have fun and be careful. 

WORDS IN THE HEART CANNOT BE TAKEN

There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.
— Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
books.JPG

I don't have any fun stories about meeting Sir Terry Pratchett, or hearing him speak at that one place about those things that were amusing. However, I do have a story about how a beloved author wrote stories that are a not so insignificant part of my life. So I will tell that story because I think what any writer—or any creator of things for that matter—likes to hear is that their work has touched someone. Even if it's too late for these words to find their intended target, I will write them anyway.

No one knows the reason for all this, but it is probably quantum.
— Terry Pratchett, Pyramids

For someone whom I've never met, nor to presume to know much about personally, Sir Terry Pratchett's words have been with me for most of my life. I remember being at the public library when I was maybe eight and seeing some interesting looking books on one of the turn-style displays. They were the early editions with the heavy metal illustrations by Josh Kirby—specifically the ones for The Light Fantastic and Equal Rights. They looked like grown up books. Those witches and wizards looked MEAN, and that lady was hardly wearing anything, and there was not a single cute furry animal in sight! I was pretty sure I wasn't supposed to look at books like that. I put them back on the turn-style. Although, I always eyed them while I was sorting through which of the candy-coated Stephen Cosgrove books I wanted to check out (they knew exactly what they were doing with all those large dewy eyed illustrations).

However, I always remembered those Discworld books despite my early inclination towards fluffy stories about baby animals—with ample illustrations, of course—and always looked around for them. Should I try one out? I wasn't sure.

At long last, one day I did pick one up AND I even bought it with some of my very own money instead of going the library route. At the time, my infatuation with Brian Jacques' Redwall series (what can I say, it took me a while to grow out of the cute animal drama genre) had, for the most part, run its course and I was starting to expand my literary adventures into new realms. This first dip into Discworld was Small Gods. I'm now a bit embarrassed to admit the reason I picked that particular one out of all the available Discworld books was—from what I gleaned from the back-cover description—because that story involved turtles. I mean, it had a turtle on the cover and everything! Not a single scantly clad warrior lady. SCORE! I have to admit, it was at this point I was going through my turtle collecting phase, so I was predisposed to hunting down anything remotely turtle shaped. I was a teenager. I know we all went through our own "turtle collecting" phase. DON'T DENY IT. I think I was still a bit to young at the time to really understand a good chunk of the story, but there were some amusing bits, and that was enough for me to eventually pick up my second Pratchett book, Good Omensi.

I was entranced ever since, eagerly awaiting each new Sir Terry Pratchett story over the next twenty years.

There are words that have wormed their way into my speech because of these booksii. I'm fairly certain my sense of humor would not be the weird creature it is without these books. The influence in my writing—what little I do—is immeasurableiii. The Discworld illustrations of Paul Kidby have also been, and continue to be, a huge influence in my artwork. And the weirdest bit is that I didn't realize the extent of these influences until yesterday. I mean, sure, I had an inkling, like how you suspect that your exposure to Canadian children's shows at a young age is why you sometimes find yourself ending your sentences with "eh?"iv, but not the "Wow. A lot of me being me was a result of this one thing. Huh." type of realization. That was yesterday.

Open your eyes and then open your eyes again.
— Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

These days, every time I visit a bookstorev, I inevitably find myself visiting the "P" areavi of the science fiction and fantasy section to look at all the Pratchett books. I have copies of most of these, yet, like calling up an old friend when you are visiting their town, or swinging by the cat adption area even though you have quite enough cats, thank you very much, I check up on the books. Sometimes it's just to see if a new one spawned when I wasn't looking (one could always hope); or perhaps I loaned a copy out to a Discworld virgin, it somehow got "lost", and I was looking for a replacement; or I was browsing that section for anything that might catch my eye, maybe something with some mean looking witches on the cover. Mostly, I think, it's because I've grown up with these stories and continue to grow with these stories; I just want to make sure they're still there, waiting for someone else to discover the delights contained within.

I'm fairly certain I will continue to check up on my old friends whenever the opportunity arises.

HOROSCOPE:
Today is a good time for making new friends. A good deed may have unforeseen consequences. Don’t upset any druids. You will soon be going on a very strange journey. Your lucky food is small cucumbers. People pointing knives at you are probably up to no good. PS, we really mean it about the druids.
— Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

I've fallen a few books behind over the years (needless to say, a result of my interests becoming slightly more diverse than those of my cuddly-critter obsessed younger self). The enjoyment of my backlog will be even more special.

Currently I'm in the middle of reading Snuff. There has been a lot of poop induced giggling by Young Sam so far and some goodhearted meddling by the good Sir Commander Vimes. It's going to be interesting finishing this one. And to work through my queue.

Thank you Sir Terry Pratchett for writing all those words. I hope you find something nice on the other side of the black desert under the endless night... like some delicious tea and cake.

Words, especially good ones, take a long time to fade. I suspect his words will be floating around for a good long time.

‘I meant,’ said Ipslore bitterly, ‘what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?’
Death thought about it.
CATS, he said finally. CATS ARE NICE.
— Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

i And Neil Gaiman, of course, but that is another story for another time.
ii Buggeritbuggeritbuggerit!
iii And my addiction to footnotes.
iv FUN FACT!
v Despite any terrible rumors to the contrary you my have heard, they do still exist thanks to generous conservation efforts. They are shy though, so it's best to approach calmly and with a few biscuits handy, just in case.
vi Heh. Pee Area.