Open Call for Patreon Feedback

Part Eighty Kabillion in my ongoing series: What Is This Thing? What Can I Do With This Thing? and How Can I Make This Thing Better?

Sorry, I just woke up.
Patreon: angel to some, demon to… Sorry, I just woke up.

I’m still trying to figure out Patreon. I’ve had one for a little over a year, and I love it. Patreon has been the financial shot in the arm that I desperately needed to make my creative projects pay out. I’m not out of the woods financially by any stretch of the imagination (mainly because our woods keep coming down and requiring thousands of dollars to haul off before they crush the neighbor’s house), but it’s helped, and I am so very grateful for it.

So when I think about Patreon, I generally go back to the same two questions: How can I make Patreon a good experience for my current Supporters, and How can I attract more Supporters? I’ll unpack both of these, and then ask for feedback.

How can I make Patreon a good experience for my current Supporters?

Basically, how can I make sure everyone who’s pledged me any amount of money gets something of value?

Today's pun: I promise crude dick jokes, and some mornings I can be quite literal about it.
Today’s pun: I promise crude dick jokes, and some mornings I’m quite literal about it.

I’m generally okay with the rewards structure: I’m overdue on sending out a new wallpaper, and this year I think I’ll send out Japanese maple seeds in addition to butterfly weed seeds, but otherwise I’m delivering what I’ve promised. Today was my 287th Crude Dick Joke.

There are some problems: I’ve recently had to limit how I send out some content, as there are some folks out there who don’t like Patreon. There’s a scam running in which certain persons take advantage of how Patreon delivers content, where as soon as a Supporter pledges money, they have access to all content on the site. What the folks running the scam do is pledge a large sum of money at the beginning of the month, gather the content until a few days before the month ends, and then cancel their pledge before funds can be collected. When the next month begins, they repeat the process. Many of them also take the Patreon-exclusive content and make it available online.

I’m not worried at all about someone stealing cheap puns and dick jokes–I’m very worried about someone stealing the short stories and novels that I send out to the top-tier supporters before their release date. So, now I’m sending this content out by email, which is a time-sucking chore for me and is probably more than a little annoying to my Supporters. I’m sorry, guys. I’ll go back to the old method as soon as Patreon plugs the loophole in content delivery.

How can I attract more Supporters?

More money more money more money. Because trees–these freaking things keep falling down! Let me list a couple of ideas I’m kicking around, and then I’ll open this up to feedback:

  • Removing ads
  • Exclusive NSFW Art/Content
  • Me blathering on about crap
  • Disasterhouse updates

–Removing ads: I had ad removal as a goal when the Patreon first started, but earlier feedback suggested that this could be better used by offering new content (the Wedding Story). Since then, my ad company has gotten really awful. They can’t seem to get rid of those ads which hijack mobile devices and drop the user in an app store. I think I need to bring this back, but I don’t know how many new supporters it will attract.

–Exclusive NSFW Art/Content: There are a lot of options here, such as releasing the Joshsmut monthly in chapter form, scandalous (*gasp!*) art, and so on. The problem with strictly NSFW content is that it can strongly alienate some people, and whenever I release it, I want to make it a completely opt-in process. By adding NSFW content after the fact, I’m effectively assuming that every current Supporter is okay with it. This may not be the case. There is the option of putting it behind a download “wall,” but that’s pushing technicalities.

–Me blathering on about crap: Apparently, some readers really enjoy Google Hangouts and whatnot with people who make stuff. I could do a podcast? Maybe answer questions? I…have dogs. Do you like dogs?

–DisasterHouse updates: Oh dear Lord, I don’t want to start the Disasterhouse blog up again, but I’ve gotten so so so so so many requests…this house is sucking our soul and I don’t want to write about it! Caveat: I don’t want to write about it for free, but I would definitely start writing in the blog again for money, because we would put that money towards the repairs, which would give me more stuff to blog about, because every time we fix something in this house another five things break I took down a piece of wood trim to refinish it yesterday and I found out that the door jamb isn’t fastened in place it’s just a free-floating door held up by trim it’s an exterior door what the actual fuck…

Feedback! Please!

Published by KBSpangler

A freelance editor who writes novels, comics, and repairs a disaster of a house in her spare time: www.kbspangler.com

51 thoughts on “Open Call for Patreon Feedback

  1. I would *totally* subscribe to the disasterhouse blog for a nominal monthly fee! If for no other reason than you constantly remind me that my own 100+ year-old place is actually in surprisingly good condition. πŸ˜‰

    (As to NSFW content, I’m having a hard time placing the reader who’s OK with daily crude dick jockes–many featuring actual anthropomorphic dicks–but isn’t OK with seeing the same attached to AGAHF characters. But maybe I’m not understanding your intent, or maybe I’m just unimaginative. It’s certainly your call in any case!)

    –SMQ

    1. re: NSFW content. IMO, there’s a difference between Talking Penis and sexualized media. One’s hilarious, and the other one’s a talking…Seriously, though, I do see a distinction. I feel that anyone who’s emotionally and psychologically comfortable with the one would probably be comfortable with the other, but I try to be aware that some folks might not be.

      re: your house. *gnashes teeth forever*

      1. I’ve just realized that, much like Rachel’s avatar is an owl and Pat’s avatar is a clownfish, Josh’s avatar should be a talking penis.

  2. I am content to support you via Patreon and buying your books (which I really enjoy!) without any additional rewards. Honestly, a steady AGAHF strip flow is the best reward for me. Side projects, while enjoyable, only distract from the main thing that brought me to you in the first place. I would not say no to scandalous art or Josh smut, but I am content to live without it.

  3. I am a big fan of the NSFW content! That would be something that would convince me to up my contribution, actually. There should be more Joshsmut in my life.

    As far as making a good experience for your current supporters…I’m satisfied. I get the jokes and have a giggle every morning and I’m pretty pleased with that πŸ™‚

    Thanks for doing what you do!

  4. I’m not sure removing ads is really a value-ad(d) (*smirk*) in this era of ad-blockers, certainly not a major draw. I’m not an expert at this, but I am friends with a bunch of them, and what I’ve observed is that additional content, rather than convenience, is what people pay for. That’s your options 2-4.

    Of those, I admit that option 3 is the most personally interesting. I like hearing what creators think–the Digger commentary that Ursula and Kevin do, for example. But I’ve always had an interest in the ways that the Internet affects the creator/consumer relationship. (Hence, you know, copyright lawyer.)

    The Disasterhouse posts, if you’ve gotten so many requests, seems like a natural place to go; you could either make it a goal target, or simply “if you have pledged above $X you get the Disasterhouse updates.”

    And as to NSFW content, in principle it works, though I agree about your concerns in re people being OK with it. That might work better as a goal target, so people can decide 1) if they’re willing to chip in more to help you get there and 2) whether they want to do read/see it once it exists. Well, the Joshsmut maybe. NSFW art, I dunno. Separate reward tier or something?

    Extending the theme, related to the podcast idea is a discussion of–and keep in mind, I’m talking about a discussion of, not more/frequent strips of–the Redo strips. I’m remembering your “Practice, it works” picture from way back when; the process of going back and updating, of applying your new levels of art and story experience to those old strips and the old characterizations (for example, did you decide to flat-out delete Pat’s ex-fiancΓ©e and the “mixer” conversation?) and the like.

  5. Some of the Patreons that I donate to are set up where if they get the money limit they want/need they then do the reward for the next month. For example one author has if they get $500 then a short story is sent out the next month. This way you do not have the money disappear that you were expecting.

    I to would like to hear about disasterhouse.

  6. I wouldn’t mind anything you put up here now, although I am always interested in the Adventures of Josh. That Pulpy Story was soo fun! Also, the disaster Blog would be fun as well. Plus, as the above poster said, I can’t seem many people who like your Dick/Dad Jokes objecting to any other NSFW stuff.

  7. I would absolutely LOVE to see the disasterhouse blog start up again. Your writing in those is hilarious.

    I would also continue to support you even without the daily dick jokes. I was so happy when you made Patreon because I could finally give back to you in such an easy way!

  8. Great to see how you’re always trying to be better! Much admitted and appreciated!

    I see some really good suggestions here so far.
    I too see the patreon as a means to fund the main comic and to provide you with an advance on the Rachel novels. I would keep supporting you at the $10 level even without the dick jokes (they’re a funny addition, sure, but not what seals the deal for me)

    I’d instantly add an additional $5 for monthly joshsmut chapters.
    Nsfw art wouldn’t hold my long-term interest, though it wouldn’t offend me either. I’m happy enough with the annual Valentine’s cheesecake/beefcake.

    I’ve always appreciated your hilarious writing in the disasterhouse, and would appreciate more of it in exchange for another few dollars. This is explicitly NOT a request: I can fully understand you not wanting to write about the hell that you already have to live in 24/7.
    Should more money somehow helps you to mentally own the problem better, I’d gladly provide some! If it doesn’t I’ll get my schadenfreude somewhere else, like fmylife. Sorry if that sounds horrible, it was meant to be encouraging :-\

    Ad-free wouldn’t be an argument for me. I’ll admit I use Adblock/NoScript on most of my machines already, and don’t feel guilty about it since I pay via patreon (some do have an exception for you though). I sincerely hope that my patreon fee outweighs any ad-revenue I could personally generate by a large margin.

    Interactive hangouts seem to be all the rage nowadays. I haven’t tried them myself, but I don’t see the attraction. (Also, timezones and my inability to plan to be present)

    I really appreciate you gathering feedback like this, hope this is useful!

    1. ^ +1 – I lack the eloquence (whilst being right up there with the blathering on) to do the questions the justice of this answer here. And this answer here basically says all I wanted to say anyway. ;-]

  9. Definitely disasterhouse updates. I’ll donate extra for those! Also, more Josh stories would be very much appreciated. His viewpoint is absolutely fascinating to read.

  10. My sympathies for your house problems. Been there, done that, decided not to do it again. We’ve been splitting our time between a relatively new disaster house in rural Southern Oregon and a nice apartment in very urban San Diego. The apartment wins hands down.

    As far as Patreon goes, I like the ability to help with a variety of projects without building dependency like a classic patron. I couldn’t care less about the jokes (though I do read them and groan) but I do like ebooks. nsfw just doesn’t matter to me, I retired years ago πŸ™‚

    Since I am splitting my time, I have realized how much trouble accumulations of physical stuff have been. Information takes little space, and just keeps getting more compact. I’m willing to pay for your products even as a patron. Go ebooks!

  11. I’d like to buy a subscription to your bad joke list for some friends. (Clearly they’d have to have the option to drop off.) I could forward the ones you send me, but I’ve been too lazy to set up an autoforward and it seems rude to do anyway. πŸ™‚ I don’t think you could tie that into Paetron, but maybe in your shop?

  12. I really enjoy your comic, and the dick jokes are definitely a plus, but what I truly absolutely LOVE are the books! The Joshsmut novel was a ton of fun, and the Peng stories have become my favorite detective novels. Your books rank as some of the most fun reading I’ve done in the last few years, I’m super excited for whatever comes next!

  13. I support at the $10 because that’s what I can afford – what you provide to that tier is actually entirely inconsequential – to me. Has anyone complained about the content they were receiving for their tier? I think they’re all real nice…

    I wonder if Patreon allows one-time payments? Like, click this to raise your contribution by $10, this month only, and then you get this short story, or this NSFW content, or what-have-you… That would allow you to make sure such content was only delivered to those who want it, specifically.

    I don’t know about “disasterhouse” – I’d actually much rather pay for creative content that’s less… schadenfreude-y. (Even though my house is also a… project.) Even non-AGAHF stuff, if you have something percolating.

  14. I, like several of the other commenters, patreon because I want to give you my money. We may not be the best people to ask, because I think most of us aren’t reward motivated. I think we are down for whatever you give us, but we don’t want you to overtax yourself out of a sense of obligation either. You could always do a one-time Go Fund Me along the lines of “Help Keep Otter’s Trees from Murdering her Neighbor” to offset the emergency costs of homicidal foliage.

  15. Speaking as someone who uses an adblocker/noscript on every computing device I own… removing ads won’t make much of a difference to me.

    As several people have noted, I support because I like giving creators I like money, now that I can afford to. Among other things, your standing practice of waiting a little bit and then giving out free copies of your books to people who are in hard places is one of the MAJOR reasons I started buying multiple copies to help with that.

    Basically, you have an awesome attitude and I want to support that as much as possible. Plus, I can pretend *I* thought of some of your puns and make the Spousal Unit groan and threaten me. That’s worth all the money in the world. Anything past that… is just gravy.

    I wouldn’t object at ALL to having DisasterHouse back, though. I’d gladly chip in extra for THAT. You’re just great at turning horrible, horrible things into posts I giggle hysterically at. (But I also completely understand your hate for being reminded of them.)

  16. I am definitely in favour of more in-universe content. Reading about your house makes me anxious about mine. Related smut is always welcome. Even though I often read the comic on my phone, the occasional redirect doesn’t bother me that much – it happens.

    I wonder if it would be too kludgy to have smut and non-smut reward levels that are close. For instance, you could have $5, $10 and $25 levels smut-free, and $5.10, $10.10, and $25.25 levels with bonus smut. Or maybe it’s possible to have a $5 smut and $5 non-smut level. I don’t know.

    Sure, additional content doesn’t HAVE to be smutty.

    1. Patreon has some structural issues that are…sort of “um”. There’s very few opportunities for customization. That may come later, but right now it’s pretty limited. The suggestion of adding new tiers is a good one, though.

  17. as for bringing in new blood, nsfw is clearly the way to go. i think hilzabub’s suggestion about the duplicate tiers would be the best solution. youtube videos would be nice.google hangouts sound good, but the scheduling could turn into more trouble for you than it is worth. disasterhouse is interesting, but forcing yourself to write about something you would rather not is problematic.

  18. I’m quite pleased with what you’re doing now, but I would NEVER EVER say no to more Joshsmut. Or any other additional content. I believe I told you on Twitter that I bounced up and down on my seat when I saw that this week was a Josh week. πŸ™‚

    I wouldn’t want to add to your headaches with the Disasterhouse by feeling you have to be entertaining about it as well; you’re funny enough on Twitter, and I mostly want to keep up to date on it because I’m concerned that your house is going to win. Also dog news, because I’ve found I like hearing about people’s pets.

    1. “I believe I told you on Twitter that I bounced up and down on my seat when I saw that this week was a Josh week.”

      Josh is one of my favorites, too. He’s so…unapologetic.

  19. See, maybe I’m just the crazy one. I want to sign up and contribute to the Patreon, but the dick jokes don’t do it for me. I’ve seen a few that made me smile, but I don’t want them every day; I tend to just delete things that send to my inbox every day and I end up unsubscribing (word of the day, fortune cookie fun stuff, thought of the day etc.) so I haven’t Patreon’d yet because… I want the higher level stuff, like earlier access to the novels and the speedy picture, without the dick jokes, and I haven’t seen a way to do that without using a separate email address to send them all to. So, so far I haven’t contributed, and I would like to change that.

    Ad-blockade, I use my iPad and so far haven’t had a problem with the ads. They all stay quite nicely in the little ad boxes at the top of the page and don’t open the App Store for me.

    I do like all the comic-smut pictures and the JoshSmut, but I wouldn’t pay extra for the illustrations unless they were of someone I really wanted (and I don’t want SpeedySmut!) Disasterhouse I like, but I would prefer comic stuff to house stuff. I’d love to see the paperback books of the comics be worked on; I appreciate how much effort they would be for you and I do not want those at the expense of everything else, but I’d rather that be a thing that could happen than the updating of the house blog.

    1. I hate to say it, but there probably won’t be any more paperback comic volumes. They don’t sell. I’ve sold maybe 40% of my original stock that I purchased back in 2011. (As long as I’m being honest, nothing from the comics sells at a rate that pays my bills. It’s only the novels and Patreon that are keeping me going.) I’d love to devote more time to the comic, especially the revised strips, but financially that’s a losing proposition for me.

      I wish it could be different.

      1. Fair enough. I find it’s more that my internet connection is slow and annoying, so loading one comic isn’t bad but trying to read through a whole chapter makes me very annoyed at how slowly the Internet lets me load pages… I really liked the book for having no loading/lag time πŸ˜‰
        I have other thoughts on how it could be made to work (PDFs, etc) but if it adds to your workload and gives you no tangible benefit, then it’s not worth it.

  20. So, much like many of the above, I don’t mind the dick jokes, but I’d be putting in the same amount just to make sure that AGAHF/RP keep on coming (but the jokes are a plus!).

    I’m not averse to NSFW content (although I did decide not to back the Evil Inc After Dark because it was only NSFW, and not, to my mind, improving the landscape of the comic – that is, doesn’t explain anything new about the characters or define some of their back stories, it was just titillation for it’s own sake – which is fine, just not what I wanted from the comic).

    Also, like many of the other people above, I run an ad-blocker, because of malware, so going ad-free doesn’t help me. I feel quite ashamed about it with quality content like this, but like you said, the ad network you’re using doesn’t vet it’s ads very well, so…. I don’t know what to suggest. It’s another reason I’m glad you sell books and run the patreon so I don’t have to feel as bad when I read your content.

    So, to answer the question about feedback how’s this:
    1) maybe run a separate Patreon for Joshsmut (if you can have multiple strands) perhaps on a pay-per-release basis, which means that you’ll not have the issue where someone who doesn’t want to see nudie bits doesn’t have to, and still gets to support you on other things.
    2) I’ve seen people like Lunarbaboon who releases his comics early (I think 6 or 12 hours) to supporters – perhaps this would also help add revenue if people want to support the comic like that?
    3) Otherwise, just keep doing what you’re doing πŸ™‚

    One final note, I probably wouldn’t pay for disasterhouse posts – they’re interesting, and make me want to give you guys a bloody big hug every time I read one… but it’s not something that makes me want to part with cash (aside from wanting to give you more money elsewhere to help you get out of the hole – literal or figurative – that you’re in at that time!)

    Hope some of this helps you!

  21. I’m still relatively new to AGAHF – I started reading after you did a guest comic for Jeph Jacques’ this summer. Since then I’ve bought all the Rachel Peng novels, plus the Joshsmut. I didn’t know about disasterhouse until reading this posting, but will have a look when I get time (hopefully this week). I haven’t used Patreon before, so I need to look at the model, but in principle it sounds like a good way of supporting writers I enjoy, since I, like many others use ad-blockers, so you don’t get any ad-revenue from me (sorry, but if you don’t have control over the ads then both of us are at the mercy of corporate ad-slingers, whose morality is negligible!)

    Like others, whilst a little extra appreciation from you for people regularly giving regular support would be nice (I’d like to see what you can do with the sexy scenes if you can use some more detail), this wouldn’t be my main reason for supporting you. Just making it possible for you carry on writing, and producing more books that flesh out (pun intended with respect to Josh!) the AGAHF universe would be good enough.

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