I’ve just launched a new Patreon project. (“What’s Patreon?” you ask? Well, you can either just click through that last link, or I’ll get to that in a second.) It’s kind of a soft launch at this point — I don’t have a video made for it yet, because I was busy drawing the actual comic instead. I’ll add one soon. But I wanted to post about it today, so here’s a wall of text of me rambling about what Patreon is:
So I’ve been making Multiplex for about eight years now, supporting the production of the strip mainly through advertising.
Multiplex has had a small but passionate audience for most of that time. The comic barely makes a profit from ads every month — but that’s before factoring in the time I spend working on the comic.
Once you factor that in, Multiplex is a money-losing business. And that’s fine — Multiplex is a labor of love. It’s a story I want to tell and share with the world. But when you add up all the costs it is also a fairly expensive hobby: hosting costs, Amazon S3/Cloudfront fees, domain registrations, Creative Cloud subscriptions and other software, iOS Developer Program subscription (for the free iOS app), the new laptop I got this fall (upgrading from a five year old machine!), etc. As a grad student now, these costs are less easy to absorb.
To make money, some websites just throw in more and more ads — an approach that has ruined many of the websites I visit. They’re annoying. The slow down the page load times, and compromise your personal data. And even if you block the ads, they still take up valuable space that could be filled with — you know, actual content.
Ads are killing the Web, and there has to be a better way.
That’s where Patreon comes in.
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform — like an ongoing Kickstarter project, but instead of paying for the printing of two books, it’s paying for the ongoing production of the comic strip. Or kind of like PBS, I guess. I’d heard of it a while back, but it wasn’t until Zach Weinersmith launched a hugely successful (so far) Patreon project that I thought, “Hey, maybe this is viable.”
Just like Kickstarter and PBS, you should only give if you’re able and willing to. Some of you are more casual readers of the strip, and that’s totally cool! No hard sell. If we only raise a few bucks a month, great. It will supplement the ad revenue, and make my life a little easier. If we raise a few hundred a month, I can get rid of the ads — awesome. That’s really my wildest dream for it. My readership is the teeniest, tiniest fraction of the size of Zach’s; I hardly expect to raise as much as he is. (SMBC is great, read it.)
Multiplex updates twice a week (sometimes more), which is equivalent to a quarterly, 24-page comic book. Basically, a graphic novel a year.
I wish I could put out the print books that fast! But in print-comics terms, that averages out to around $2 a month. If three hundred of you chipped that much in, I’d be able to chuck the Google AdSense crap. If six hundred of you did, I could chuck all the ads and redesign the site a bit to make the strip images even bigger.
Again, just like Kickstarter and PBS, you’re not just making a “donation,” you’re getting something in return. First and foremost, for $1 a month or more, you get access to a Patrons-only “Activity Stream.” Those of you who supported the two Kickstarter projects will know what kinds of content to expect in there: bonus comics, sketches, illustrations, and other behind-the-scenes type of stuff. And I’d like to do even more: Adobe Illustrator tutorials, Q&A Google Hangouts, comic strip movie reviews with Jason or Kurt, and other early or exclusive content. So tell me what you want to see!
Higher levels include other incentives, of course, too, so check out the various reward levels at the bottom of the Patreon page!
I hope you consider continuing to support Multiplex — and, as always, thank you for reading!