I came up with an idea for how to monetize my writing, at least a little bit. I already post a new chapter for free once a week, but what if I set up a Patreon page and offered to upload one extra chapter for every $20 I receive? I would still do the free chapter every week, so people wouldn't HAVE to donate, but the option would be there for anyone who wants to get the next chapter a week early. I haven't made the page live yet, but here's the preview. What do you guys think?

People have done that successfully (though on Paypal, but not much of a difference in effect)--Wildbow (Worm), Meilin Miranda (An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom), and Alexandra Erin (Tales of MU). There are probably more than that. You might start lower than $20 and slowly go up as more people donate. What it amounts to is that people should get positive feedback on their donation relatively quickly as opposed to waiting forever.

I always complete my books before uploading the first chapter, so there's no risk I'll run out of chapters until the entire book is finished. There *is* the risk of my not having another book ready to replace the current one if I get enough money to upload the entire thing (highly unlikely, but possible I guess) but that's it.

Someone just told me that I was thinking Patreon worked differently than it does. I thought someone could just throw a dollar or two at me at a time, and then I could add all the individual donations up until it reached $20, and then upload the new chapter. They said Patreon doesn't let you do that, you have to sign up for an automatic monthly payment, and I can't really work with that. Is there no way to just take individual, one time donations?

The vast majority of translated webnovels use a system like you're suggesting (and also some of the EN novels that post on those sites). There are basically two approaches (often both are used in conjunction).

1. You set a target (says $50) and provide a donate button (usually Paypal). People give money, total gets closer to target. When you hit the goal an extra chapter is released for everyone (including those who didn't donate). You might have a one a week normal schedule, but end up releasing five chaps one week, three the next.

2. You set up a Patreon with tiers. People subscribe ($1/mo, $3/mo etc) and get access to one or more chapters ahead of their normal scheduled date. You post the chapters on Patreon (they have a system where only people at a certain tier can access a particular post). They're basically paying to get ahead of the normal releases.

There is also a third less common approach with Patreon where you get access to supplementary material (side stories, art, ecchi stuff) that non-Patreons don't get to see.

Patreon isn't going to work in the way you want it to. You're better off setting up a paypal link somewhere.

People can do one-time donations on Patreon, but that's not what the model is for. Patreon is designed to give people regular, predictable income by having patrons sign up for monthly donations. If you want to just do donation goals, PayPal is obviously the better choice because you don't have to let Patreon take a cut of your donations.

All right. So if I set up a Paypal account asking for donations, would that count as "Friends and Family" or "Goods and Services"? I don't want to get in trouble for accidentally committing fraud or something.

Is it worth setting up a donate button (like Wildbow's) even if my serial is very low traffic? I get about 40 pageviews and eight users per day. Just wondering what experiences other people have had.


In my experience, I waited until my audience was built up enough that there was an interest. I set up a button and included tiers should the donations reach a certain point. Usually that meant bonus webcomics. So far, I've been hitting the tiers semi-regularly, but YMMV.

Also Patreon just changed the way it's charging patrons and the entire thing is exploding right now. Maybe wait a month and see if it still exists after the dust settles...

@Nippoten, you don't know unless you try. Add in incentives like a sidestory guestbook where people can make their own characters or have people vote on mini-interludes that don't effect the plot to much. Promise an edited eBook with artwork, stuff like that. I'm also posting on 4 other places I regularly interact with people besides WordPress though.

@Ubersoft, how so?

There's this nifty chart: (Hope this works)

Basically the Transaction Fee that you have to pay for getting the money from whatever service/bank you are using to the bank your artist is using is no longer a variable percentage but a fixed percentage of 3-ish and 35 cent.

So you pledge 1 Dollar to Adam. You get charged 1 Dollar and 38 Cents of which 38 Cents go as transaction fees to various banking services, paypal, Western Union, National Bank of Katar, whatever banks are involved in this 1 Dollar transaction. 5 Cent go to Patreon to keep the platform running. Adam walks out with 95 cent for your 1 Dollar and 38 Cents. You pledge 10 Dollars and get charged 10.68 of which 9.5 Dollar go directly to Adam. 50 Cents go to Patreon, 64 Cent to the Banks.

Because the transaction fee is fixed that translates effectively to quite a lot of surcharges and diminishing returns for small patrons that donate 1 or 2 Dollars (40 to 20 percent of your charge is fees) as opposed to the 10-ish percent for bigger donation. Which might drive away a lot of small time patrons. Which, as far as I know, are most patreons who distribute 5 to 10 dollars between a few people.

That's ridiculous. They should be charging the creator.

Speaking as a creator, I would much prefer that fees were jacked up and I ate the cost vs. fees being jacked up on my supporters.

Rather than pushing the transaction fees between the creator and the patron, they should be focusing on minimizing the number of banking transactions and banking fees.

They seem to be doing the opposite. I'm not sure why. I would like to see a patreon like platform thats loadable though. buy coins worth, say, ten cents each. Pay a transaction fee at that time to load your account. Pledge coins on the same kind of systems that patreon uses, or buy access to specific posts, or just tip a creator. Tip a friend! Have fun cosmetics for sale like avatars and such. Maybe get some mobile games in on it, kongregate / facebook games style.

Patreon recently received substantial funding from venture capitalists, and there's speculation that they're trying to make it more profitable.

That's my understanding, Epher. Credit card companies take their share regardless of what happens, and I think Patreon weighed the numbers, looked at the number of $1 'tippers' that weren't adding much, and figured it was worth losing, say, nine $1 tippers for every $1 tipper that upped their amount to $5 or more to keep their pledge from being eaten by fees. They want to discourage these people (and discourage creators who build audiences of $1 tippers) and pick up more patreon users who put more into Patreon.

As I understand it, Patreon doesn't gain that much more from this utilization (some of the people putting numbers out there saying they do have gotten their math wrong) while credit card companies do. But it's a definite shift in the culture they're pushing and who they're trying to cater to, and that is definitely a response to the investors and capitalists backing Patreon.

Anyone already on Patreon planning to go with a different donation service?