Late in the year 2017, the Powers-That-Be at the crowdfunding platform Patreon.com changed how they charged their patrons. It was a simple change meant to address a problem that I had no personal experience with, so I can’t speak the efficacy of their chosen solution. But I can speak to its ultimate effect.
They added a small fixed cost to each pledge, something like 35 cents. If you made a single pledge of $30 a monthly, you wouldn’t even notice. But if you made 30 pledges of a dollar a piece, you would see your monthly cost increase by 35%. For many who enjoyed spreading their love as far and wide as they could afford, this extra burden became unmanageable. Patreon had an exodus on their hands.
In about a week, they reversed their decision; but for creators who depended on lots of small pledges from many patrons, the damage had been done.
I was not hit as hard as some, but I was hit. This was a classic Swords Without Master moral—an unintended consequence with a clear lesson attached to it:
Do not depend on the whims of the Overlord for your livelihood.
A lesson that I choose to learn from.
I cannot depend on a handful of sites for the majority of my income. A single policy change can cost me hundreds of dollars in the blink of an eye. There’s no reason for me to trust any single site with that sort of power.
I cannot depend on a single venue to reach my audience. One of the great features of Patreon was how it kept your audience in the loop on your projects. Several of those who left expressed a desire to be kept in this loop.
I have a New Year’s Resolution. It’s simple in concept. Every month in 2018 I intend to find a one new way to reach my audience and one new way for them to support my work. It might get a little messy in execution. Some months, the way to reach my audience will also be the venue through which they can show their support. Some months, these might be different. But I’ve been rather complacent, relying on the same handful of sites to get my job done. I need to venture forth, explore more, and find what awaits me in the great wilds of the Internet.
This month, I start with some bare bones fundamentals.
A MailChimp newsletter. Sign-up for monthly updates about what’s in the works, what’s just come out, and any juicy game design discussions I’ve had on my various social medias.
A Ko-fi page. For when you’ve just had an amazing gaming experience and want to buy the game’s designer a drink. Or help offset the cost of my new office space. Or say “For the DM42!” in your comments if you want me to throw it towards buying this dreamy calculator.
If you have places you’d like to see my games, feel free to let me know!