Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

How to get Donations
Author_Ninja at 1:52PM, Oct. 30, 2009
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posts: 24
joined: 6-17-2007
I think it's everyone's Webcomic author's desire to become a professional comic artist and be able to just make a living doing what you love. Granted, I do okay, in that I get donations at all. But is there other ways to encourage more people to donate?

I do have one thing I do to encourage people to donate, which involves me donating a portion to a charity that has relevance with one of the characters. But are there other ways? Bonus pages for bucks, extra art?

Does anyone have a working system that they could give me some ideas?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
skoolmunkee at 4:09PM, Oct. 30, 2009
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joined: 1-2-2006
I never had a large, devoted core audience so donations never worked for me. From what I have seen, I think there is a strange balance that needs to be made between ‘give out of the goodness of your heart’ and ‘you’re paying for the comic' …. people want webcomics to be free, so as soon as it sounds to them like you're withholding the comic until you get money, people get antagonistic.

Some people will tell you that an occasional prominent request for pure donations will work, others will say that they have a system set up where donators (possibly differentiated by amt donated) get something in return like a wallpaper. If you go the money-for-extras route, don't turn around and give away the extras later, because the donators like to feel like they're getting something unique. In an economy like this one, a donate-and-get-something model might work better than a goodness-of-heart one.

The few successful donation schemes I've seen in practice mostly revolved around the ‘$5 for a monthly wallpaper’ scheme- they ended up with a regular base of donators and only had to take the time to do one (above average quality) image. People who do sketches and drawings in return for donations get burned out very quickly (well, that depends on the time:money ratio) and regular readers feel like you're using time that could be spent on the comic.

However, nowadays people are more flexible and I see things like “every $100 I get is an extra page” - which MUST be delivered on time, or else donators can get resentful. This enables people to donate at any time and feel like they've made a difference, but you also have to have a pretty large donation base to begin with and people who care enough to get an extra page that much sooner. And in many cases, people won't donate because they think other people will do it for them and they'll still benefit by getting an extra page. The other downside with the price-for-a-page method is that you're attaching a value to a page that most readers see as ‘free’ - so they might expect a really AMAZING page for that $100, or they might think you are overvaluing your page and not really cooperate.

Anecdotal evidence is that the people who don't publicize how much they get in donations, etc do better off than people who are more open with that info. A lot of readers think ‘oh, they’ve gotten $150 so far, that's plenty'… while not saying any specific figure may be more valuable to you.

In summary, I'm not sure there is a surefire way to get donations! :]
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Author_Ninja at 7:31PM, Oct. 30, 2009
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posts: 24
joined: 6-17-2007
Good point. I offer wallpapers already at .50 cents, and that works sometimes. Often people will help out if I'm in a real pinch, but I don't withhold comics till I get cash like some spiteful girlfriend. If I wanted to do that, I'd be on a pay site.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
skoolmunkee at 2:07AM, Oct. 31, 2009
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posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I think the money-for-pages thing can work if you make it clear that you are taking the extra time to make the page, and not that you have a big buffer and can just queue one up a bit sooner.

There HAVE been instances in the past where authors have said ‘unless I get X much money I’m taking my comic off the internet' or ‘I won’t update anymore unless you guys start supporting me' and that has always had a gigantic backlash. It's one thing to say that you need donations to cover bandwidth costs, etc- but another one completely to imply that you won't do the comic unless your readers pay for it. (Of course, you buy print comics to read them, but webcomics don't work like that.)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Author_Ninja at 11:36PM, Oct. 31, 2009
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posts: 24
joined: 6-17-2007
More than anything, I do the comic because I've always wanted to do comics. For like, 23 years I've always wanted to be a cartoonist.

Saying I'd take my comic off if I didn't get donations? that is a tremendously Douchebaggy thing to do. Just not me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
teedomoonstrider at 1:41PM, Nov. 2, 2009
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posts: 42
joined: 12-7-2007
I'd think that if you offered something people wanted, some would pay money for it. The things to brainstorm would be “what do people want” and “how much would they pay for things in the previous list versus the amount of time required to make them”. If you're going to start offering stuff for cash, you need to keep it consistent.
This is a signature. There are others like it but this one is mine.

Wang.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:08PM
benjin at 7:19AM, Nov. 3, 2009
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posts: 41
joined: 9-1-2009
I see donations as a bonus. Well, I don't even ask for donations, because my main comic hasn't started ;)

If you take money for drawing, you have deadlines, you have to keep quality standards, you make drawing your job. That is something I'll never do to me. I have a job to make money. Drawing is for fun.

Maybe I change my mind if I attract thousands of visitors each day. But that is not what I expect.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:20AM

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