Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Monetising a Hobby?
freakenburger at 5:16PM, July 11, 2018
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Welp, it's been a really long time since I last wrote a thread on the forums, but I'd really love some insight from fellow duckers on this issue. How do you feel about trying to make a couple dollars or a few cents off webcomics? Is it a dick move? Obviously, making significant success (and by that I mean a few bucks a month) with a webcomic isn't the easiest thing, and at least to me, it'd be a plus and not the main goal. What would our options as The Duck users when it comes to such a scenario? I don't even know if we could place ads or anything, never really tried doing it here. Another issue would be how to make it the least intrusive and less obnoxious possible, as I'd absolutely hate to alienate the few readers I got, they're the very reason I still upload webcomics (gotta love those who spend their time reading your thing).

Any thoughts on that are greatly appreciated!
ozoneocean at 8:48PM, July 11, 2018
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Patreon seems to be the way to go right now :)
 
El Cid at 9:37AM, July 12, 2018
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Tell people you're a struggling artist with a terminal disease. Rake in all the GoFundMe money you can grab with both hands, and then “die” a rich corpse.

Aside from that, Patreon. I've seen a few comics that are making enough Patreon dough that they can do comics full time, but that seems to be very much the exception rather than the rule.

I'd hate to be in that situation where I'm barely pulling in double digit $$$ a month on Patreon – barely enough for a decent meal – but now I've also got a handful of people who feel like I owe them something extra because they're paying money for my comic. It's not worth it for me, personally, but if you're *literally* just trying to nab an extra few bucks a month, then that's not completely unrealistic.
last edited on July 12, 2018 9:38AM
freakenburger at 10:00AM, July 12, 2018
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ozoneocean wrote:
Patreon seems to be the way to go right now :)

El Cid wrote:
Tell people you're a struggling artist with a terminal disease. Rake in all the GoFundMe money you can grab with both hands, and then “die” a rich corpse.

Aside from that, Patreon. I've seen a few comics that are making enough Patreon dough that they can do comics full time, but that seems to be very much the exception rather than the rule.

I'd hate to be in that situation where I'm barely pulling in double digit $$$ a month on Patreon – barely enough for a decent meal – but now I've also got a handful of people who feel like I owe them something extra because they're paying money for my comic. It's not worth it for me, personally, but if you're *literally* just trying to nab an extra few bucks a month, then that's not completely unrealistic.

Patreon seems to be a really good idea, but I do have a couple objections to it. Patreon works on this pledge-y way, in which the supporter pays up to support and get rewards. It's kinda bad, in the sense that it feels like this really cool person who wants to help out an artist owes me something, when they really don't. Also, I don't dig the idea of slapping a bill on supporters and prefer things such as ads because they don't charge the reader. Am I being stubborn and purist? Maybe i'm wrong on this one and still haven't adapted to the new online environment for artists, I dunno.
KimLuster at 10:27AM, July 12, 2018
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I couldn't do it myself! As El Cid suggests, when you take money from people, that sorta creates a ‘beholden’ type situation, where you feel more pressure to perform for them (and they may actually demand it!). Kiddies, this is a big reason to stop taking money from mommy and daddy when you get older - they will feel they have a right (with some justification) to get in your business!!

anyhoo… if you're talented enough and can hold to a steady schedule, I think it might be something to consider (I don't apply to either lol).
bravo1102 at 10:44AM, July 12, 2018
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If I had some kind of goal I can see GoFundMe but charging people monthly for my comics?

Might as well try crowdfunding to pay my mortgage or my surgery bill. Or the robofemoid movie? Hmmm.
freakenburger at 1:34PM, July 12, 2018
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bravo1102 wrote:
If I had some kind of goal I can see GoFundMe but charging people monthly for my comics?

Might as well try crowdfunding to pay my mortgage or my surgery bill. Or the robofemoid movie? Hmmm.

if you have enough people reading your stuff, and I strongly believe you do, why not? ^_^"
ashtree house at 11:04AM, July 13, 2018
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I actually wrote a post about this over at smackjeeves (it seemed like more people there used patreon, kofi etc.. as opposed to the Duck users). I had been wondering myself about using these type of services to make a couple of extra bucks, but had some doubts.

Many people really encouraged it, they likened it “tipping” rather then making money. People who like your work, want to support you or “tip” you can do so, rather then straight up asking for money and/or selling your work.

The general consensus was, however, to be realistic in both what you are willing to put out and what you will receive. If you can't commit to consistently making rewards for your backers, then don't bother offering it. Some people said they don't offer much other then some odd sketches or thank you notes, and still get some money at the end of each month. So there is no harm in trying! But the reality is you probably are not going to make big $$$$.

I might use these services in the future. At minimum, it will help motivate me to update regularly and share rewards with my most supportive fans. However, I am waaaay to insecure about my current comic/skill level to even bother going down that road yet.

Here is the post, some people had some good insights about some online services currently available:

https://www.smackjeeves.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=19691&view=unread#unread




last edited on July 13, 2018 11:06AM
bravo1102 at 11:19AM, July 13, 2018
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freakenburger wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
If I had some kind of goal I can see GoFundMe but charging people monthly for my comics?

Might as well try crowdfunding to pay my mortgage or my surgery bill. Or the robofemoid movie? Hmmm.

if you have enough people reading your stuff, and I strongly believe you do, why not? ^_^"
Not even close I'm afraid. Not even in the top 120 if comics on this site.
last edited on July 13, 2018 11:20AM
Tantz_Aerine at 3:45PM, July 13, 2018
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If you monetize your hobby, you're turning it into work on some level. People give you money for your art, to support you making your comic, to encourage you to make more and to get extras from you for going the extra mile. They're giving you their hard earned cash. You DO have an obligation to meet the expectations you yourself will make them have, if you do a Patreon.

And that is not a bad thing. Treating your hobby as your job might make it your actual job a few years down the line. And isn't it the dream to be paid fulltime to do your hobby? That comes with some responsibilities you ought to be prepared to have- regular updates, keeping your promises, explaining yourself when you can't deliver (and not have it be a frequent thing if that happens).

For me, having a Patreon has been an awesome experience so far. I've been far more productive, I get to share more information than I possibly could within my pages and I give my patrons first dibs in everything I do, some other extra stuff aside. It's helped me and it's helped my comic.

But the moment I decided to make a Patreon, I decided to treat my comic as a job. And it is a job that pays for its own expenses right now, which is simply amazing. I don't mind being obligated to my patrons. I'm glad I am, actually. :)
 
last edited on July 13, 2018 3:47PM
fallopiancrusader at 7:54AM, July 14, 2018
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I think that one thing which underlies all approaches to a successful comic these days is building a robust community of readers. And that requires a lot of self-marketing work. If you go the Patreon route, you need to get people to know that you exist. Same if you go the Kickstarter route. Building a robust online readership is even important if you want to work with a print publisher. If you can guarantee a publisher that you will deliver an existing pool of consumers, they will be more likely to show interest in your pitch.

I am currently spending more time making a trailer video for Mindfold than I am cranking out artwork. This serves both as a vehicle to generate interest, and as a potential Kickstarter pitch video, if I decide to go that route.

I also feel that if you monetize, you need to have a good selection of perks. I feel that patreon works best if it is not regarded as passing the hat, but rather as a fan site with perks. Similar to free-to-play video games: you get the basic content (the comic) for free, but if you want special items or fan loot, then you can voluntarily pay.

A printed version of the comic is an excellent perk for top-tier supporters, and it also serves as a badge of legitimacy if you are approaching publishers or people at a convention.
last edited on July 14, 2018 7:55AM
Genejoke at 2:14PM, July 14, 2018
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There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to monetise it. Hell maybe even make it your livelihood, but not everyone can. For many it will only ever be a hobby.

For my part, sure I'd love to be able to make money from my comic but seeing as I barely have readers when it's free I'd be delusional if I thought it a realistic possibilty. That said I am monetizing my hobby skills, just not in comics. I've started selling 3D assets and it's making me beer tokens so far.
fallopiancrusader at 8:59AM, July 15, 2018
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Genejoke wrote:
There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to monetise it. Hell maybe even make it your livelihood, but not everyone can. For many it will only ever be a hobby.

For my part, sure I'd love to be able to make money from my comic but seeing as I barely have readers when it's free I'd be delusional if I thought it a realistic possibilty. That said I am monetizing my hobby skills, just not in comics. I've started selling 3D assets and it's making me beer tokens so far.

Cool! Where do you sell your 3D assets?
Genejoke at 9:59AM, July 15, 2018
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Renderosity, there's other places too but it seemed like a good place to start.
fallopiancrusader at 11:44AM, July 16, 2018
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I think another issue that is tangentially related to monetization is determining the target audience of the comic. I think that should be the first thought in a creator's mind before setting brush to canvas. I am reminded of a topic that got raised here a while back about how mainstream do you want to go? A very idiosyncratic comic might not attract many readers, and a mainstream comic has to fight VERY hard to differentiate itself from all the other noise that's out there.

I guess it would be wise to settle on a business model that makes sense to you.

A niche market (like x-rated stuff) can garner a very enthusiastic pool of consumers, but it will give you a very narrow career. One can hardly go to Marvel and say “I want to draw Spider-man, and here is my portfolio of fuck-books.” On the other hand, it is possible to straddle that fence if you do your homework. I know of one cartoonist on Patreon who posts the mainstream version of his comic for free, and his patrons get access to a porn version of the same comic behind the paywall. At $4000.00 USD per month, he must be doing something right.

I have struggled with mainstream accessibility myself: “Mindfold” is mostly a vehicle for the exposition of very convoluted sci-fi concepts, and the story is not very aggressive (some would say opaque). Not very mainstream. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it was rejected by every publisher I pitched it to.

“Tusk” was built upon extensive research on what is viable in a mainstream market, and how much is required to differentiate the product. The conceptual content is weaker, but it is driven by an in-your-face character and an adrenaline-soaked narrative. It will probably also get multiple rejections, but at least I have only invested in eight pages of artwork so far.
fallopiancrusader at 11:48AM, July 16, 2018
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Genejoke wrote:
Renderosity, there's other places too but it seemed like a good place to start.

Unreal marketplace can be pretty lucrative too, if you research how to make your 3D assets function well in a game engine.
Genejoke at 12:21PM, July 16, 2018
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Yeah I'm going to look into that further down the line but starting lightly and learning all I can. Finding the balance between high detail and low poly is interesting.

freakenburger at 4:30AM, July 21, 2018
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Holy crap,lots of insight here! I'm really glad you guys took the time to drop some valuable stuff on the thread. I wonder if I'll make good use of the advice kindly given by you all. ^_^"

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