EDIT: Patreon has started a referral program! So if you'd like to give it a try, feel free to use my referral link - https://patreon.com/invite/gpvq
I'm a firm believer that crowd-funding is the wave of the future and the core building block of a growing breed of artist-entrepreneurs. As soon as Patreon launched back in 2013, I knew they'd be something special for the creative community! Through this format, people have been able to share more directly than ever before.
|While my Art has a Patreon account, so does The Muse's Library!|
Feel free to show your support for my articles by pitching in.
(But that's totally optional!)
When you set up your account, it's important to have an idea of how and when your releases will occur and also other notices you'd like to send to your Patrons so you can be aware of how much you might be spamming them at once so they don't get fatigued by your posts. Mine go something like this:
- Last Day of the Month. Patreon begins charging your Patrons on the 1st of the month, so let's start there! The monthly image is uploaded before or on the last day of the month. I only release one painting per month to keep things simple, but you may want to release more frequently! If I ever do more than one painting a month, I stagger out my releases so that there's always one being posted per month. However, I do not charge monthly because I am a slow worker and I'd rather my Patrons only get paid when I release a painting, rather than taking a chance that they might not receive anything if I'm not productive enough.
- Within the First Week of the Month. Rewards for all levels are posted in individual posts (one for each tier) and a PM is sent out regarding my Keyword Inspiration sketch (an event I hold monthly for $5+ Patrons where they turn in prompts and I draw the most inspiring prompt).
- The 15th of Every Month. A mid-month reminder post reminding people to attend my monthly Studio Hangout (with a link to the Event on Google+), sharing a WiP of that month's art, and any other important reminders that might be relevant. The 15th is also my internal deadline to have the physical Rewards mailed out.
- Last Wednesday of Every Month. A link to the recording of my live Studio Hangout is posted to Patreon. The recording is auto-generated by Hangouts and posted to YouTube for me, which makes things easy.
Digital File Rewards
Digital Rewards are the cornerstone of any Patreon since they're easy to fulfill and require less of an expense on the artist's part. Here are a few ideas for distributing digital items.
- Patreon File Attachments. Now that Patreon supports post tags, Rewards are easy to find and autotagged by the cost of the Rewards level without you needing to lift a finger. You could also create tags with custom Rewards names, if you've personalized your tier titles. Be aware that a single post can support unlimited attachments as long as each attachment is not larger than 200MB.
- Gumroad. Gumroad is a free online shop service that allows a user to create shop listings and host digital files of up to 16GB per attachment. They allow users to create private listings, which is perfect for sharing Patreon exclusive files. You can also share files that would usually cost money by creating a special offer code and sharing links where the code is auto-applied to your listing only with your Patreon Patrons. Best of all, Gumroad takes care of the file hosting and link management for your Patrons! You can find out more about using Gumroad the way that I am suggesting here and here (the 2nd method discussed on the help entry about creating an offer to make a product free is the one I'm referring to).
- YouTube. YouTube allows you to upload videos at private links (called 'unlisted videos') that are only accessible to those who have the link. It's a good alternative if you want to offer a streaming option for videos instead of requiring a complete download of the entire file.
Private Journal Entries
- WP Hide Post. If you run a site built with Wordpress, the WP Hide Post plugin allows you to completely hide a post from search engines, your website's categorization, etc. so that you can essentially host a private post on your server that you can link people to. Only those with the direct link can see it or find it.
- DeviantART's Sta.sh. While also useful for storing files, you can also use Sta.sh Writer to create more robust journal entries than Patreon currently does that can be linked to directly, but not accessed publicly. These private journals also allow DeviantART users to comment on them.
- Postcard and Greeting Card Mailings. I use www.postable.com for a fast, secure, and easy solution for mailing out postcards (ie. Christmas cards, Thank You cards, etc.) to my Patrons. You can personalize your cards online, though they will not be handwritten.
- Prints. I usually print off my own prints via an Epson Artisan 1430 which boasts lightfast inks and wide format printing (up to 13x19 inches), but when I need bigger and/or fancier prints (ie. giclee, canvas, mounted prints, etc.), I turn to www.iprintfromhome.com (tell them Angela Sasser sent you and we both get Thank You dollars when you make your first order!).