The webcomics blog about webcomics

The Difference Between Treating Your Audience Well And Fleecing Them

I will, to my dying day, maintain that Shaenon Garrity lacks a sufficient sense of greed, or perhaps ego. I say this because she criminally underprices her originals, which is why I’ve gotten several — from both Narbonic and Skin Horse — simply because she’s Kickstarted a book and was willing to throw original strips in at an uncreedably¹ modest price.

Case in point: Garrity and her Skin Horse writing partner, C Jeffrey Wells, are Kickstarting twotwo!Skin Horse volumes, and they are being typically generous on the rewards.

  • US$35 Both print volumes, signed and sketched (early bird, limited to 100, but only five bucks more after)
  • US$50 Add an original character sketch
  • US$150 Add an original prose story from Wells and the original art of a strip from the books
  • US$250 Add print copies of all six previous books
  • US$300 The 150 tier, plus you get drawn into the story as a character and you get the original art from your cameo²

Thirty five bucks for two color books, signed and sketched? That’s stupidly cheap, and I encourage you all to get in on it, but not because it’s stupidly cheap; because Skin Horse is one of the smartest, funniest, long-con-est webcomics around, and we need to encourage such.

Plus, if we’re very lucky, a stretch goal will get added that will convince Garrity to resume her recap comics of The X-Files, Monster Of The Week, since the Patreon doesn’t seem to be producing on that front.

Speaking of Patreon — and has there ever been a case in the past 18, 24 months where speaking of Patreon was the precursor to something good? — there’s changes a’coming down the pike, which bear all the hallmarks of keeping VC funders happy at the expense of merely being a stable, profitable company. Let’s let Ryan North³ explain this one:

Patreon, a platform that has become measurably worse with each update, is excited to announce an exciting new update! Now it costs you more money.

I love my patrons and I hate that Patreon as a company is so deep into VC funding that they’ll do anything, like last year when they changed everything overnight and then walked it back a few days later. This isn’t a platform you can trust.

Here’s a great thread from earlier this year about why Patreon is getting worse, and why it’ll continue to do so for a long time. I’m very much looking forward to Drip relaunching as a public benefit corp, which will sidestep these issues entirely:

Here’s the deal: Patreon will be charging up to 12% of your pledges plus payment processing fees. The fact that they announced this as we’re making changes soon but if you have an account before cutover you won’t get charged as much instead of we’re making changes soon but if you’re already have an account then you won’t be charged as much is fairly screaming that they’re trying to show some kind of subscriber growth to their investors. It is the same make the numbers look good for quarter end bullshit that leads corporations to fire a bunch of people just before they report earnings to make Wall Street happy.

There’s always been a saying around tech — if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product — which Patreon seems intent on inverting: you’re paying for the product and you are the product. Unfortunately for Patreon, they aren’t irreplaceable. Facebook badly fumbled their Patreon-alike, but New Drip is going to peel people off for the simple reason that a public benefit corporation that isn’t beholden to venture capital won’t — can’t — treat its golden-goose user base as an excuse to sharpen the knife.

Spam of the day:

Listen, after my husband just used this.

I think I’m supposed to infer that whatever your husband did, it left you so breathless from the sex that you can’t complete a sentence even when typing a spamvertisement at a later time?

¹ Love you, Ike Willis .

² At least one past cameo has become an occasional recurring character — KT the zombie sewer maintenance worker.

³ Who, like Garrity, is a Nexus Of All Webcomics Realities.

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