John Wick is entering the patreon arena with the Wicked Words! Magazine: Adventures, GM Advice, Little Games, Stories, The Works!
There’s an update with a Happy ending on 1w6.org/english/wicked-words-patreon!
This is really good news for online publishing, because it shows by example how roleplaying games and shortstories enter a new stage on the web: Fan-Funded periodicals. I expected this to become mainstream much earlier, just like webcomics have become big a few years ago, but the hassle of paying small amounts online has been a major impediment, I think, and different from webcomics, it is pretty hard to fund good writing with advertising without scaring away your readers: Text needs prolonged attention.
With Patreon this is now easy - you can ensure a creator that they will get money for every work they create, as long as they keep creating works which you enjoy.
There are only two problems with the approach by John Wick:
(1) “You'll need to enter your credit card information before you can start pledging to support your favorite creators. We use Stripe to handle our incoming payments. PayPal support is coming soon.”
No, I do not want to get (or use) a credit card for that.
They should just get a european partner who handles bank transfers - should be easy now that there’s SEPA. Flattr should already have all infrastructure for that in place - and actually provides an orthogonal service, so it would not endanger its own business model by collaborating with Patreon.
(2) The Wicked Words! magazine is otherwise only available for payment, so Patreon just acts as a subscription service.
Generally Patreon is similar to Flattr - but where Flattr caters to the patrons (you have a giving flatrate which is spread over the things you see), Patreon caters to the creators (they get ensured income). And releasing only to Patrons massively undersells the chances of Patreon: After all, I want to be patron, because I like something and not because that’s the cheapest way to get it.
Ideally a creator should use both Patreon and Flattr: Give patrons something extra (for example a mention - just something which creates warm fuzzy feelings), but also release everything for free on the web - with a Flattr button, so people who come across it can contribute.
That would also make it easy for me to share a PDF with my players and know that my players can give extra money if they like it.
For example Smooth Mc Groove does that: Patrons get the same videos as all others, but they have the good feeling that they ensure that he can keep creating, and you can voluntarily support him via flattr if you liked what you watched - which I regularly do.
This two-tiered approach to self-financing allows fans to support their idols while also making it easy to discover and support new stuff, because Patreon makes it easy to promise regular payment and as soon as you use Flattr, there is virtually no barrier anymore to support someone new. And if you happen to flattr the creator often, you can think about becoming a patron.
And this is where I hope Wicked Words! will move, too: Freedom for Patrons to share, freedom for casual readers to give when they want and a secure income for the creators.
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