With the help of artist Anthony Christou (Luminous Ages), Tyler tackles the much fretted about subject of Patreon Rewards. They discuss the best ways to offer value for Patrons, the pros and cons of physical Patreon rewards, and how you make sure your Patrons get their money’s worth. Plus, new ComixLaunch listener voicemail!
Today’s Session is brought to you by
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Featured Resource – FreshBooks
Session Table Setting
Tyler James here. Continuing the Patreon Launch Series!
Thanks for the great feedback… and wow, those survey responses keep coming in at comixlaunch.com/patreonsurvey
Have you wondered about any of the following:
What are the best ways to offer value for Patrons so you’re not just begging for money in between projects?
What are the best types of rewards?
How often should they be delivered?
How do you make sure Patrons are getting their money’s worth?
Einar Peterson –
Interesting about the fear of government collection of information in Denmark… Facebook give away
Facebook imagery – Notoriously strict about what they allow.
Like the “too hot for facebook angle. Go check out Implant.
Show Updates / Shoutouts
ComixLaunch.com/patreonchecklist is always updated with the latest and greatest.
What is Today’s Episode About?
My guest today is an Australian illustrator, concept artist and writer of graphic novels. Professionally, he’s worked for many studios as an illustrator and concept artist, including Disney, Grinding Gear Games, Wolf Creek Productions, and many others. He’s the creator of the fantasy universe Luminous Ages, for which he’s run a successful Kickstarter project and he currently supports via Patreon. He has been a listener and sponsor of the show and I’m thrilled to have him on the show today.
Welcome to ComixLauch, Mr. Anthony Christou. (Kris-too)
I’m really excited to talk to you. We’ve been chatting through email, and you were kind enough to contribute to our Session 50 show, and I know you’ve been willing to come on for a full ComixLaunch interview for a while, but I’d been holding you in reserve because I know you’d be a great guest to bring on during the Patreon series. So, thank you for your patience!
What is Today’s Episode About?
Patreon, specifically the topic of Rewards for your Patrons.
This is a HUGE topic. Recently conducted a SURVEY of my audience regarding Patreon, and REWARDS was probably the most common question / concern creators who have yet to launch Patreons have.
How do you come up with rewards Patrons actually want?
What rewards work best on Patreon?
How are Patreon rewards different than what you might offer on Kickstarter? (Or are they?)
How do you go about pricing rewards, both so that its worth it for your Patrons, and worth it for you the creator?
These are big, meaty questions, but I know that you’re a great person to talk them through with and hopefully find some clarity for creators out there. But first, let’s give ComixLaunch listeners some context of where you are with Patreon.
Your Page – https://www.patreon.com/AnthonyChristou
Anthony Christou is creating Comics, Illustration, Concept Art, Tutorials
$515 / month
Completed your first goal (set at $500 / month) to do a monthly Patron poll and unlock a free ebook for Patrons.
Working toward your $1,000 goal Bonus concept art, and some extras for all Patrons.
Guiding Discussion Questions
1) How long have you been running your Patreon Page, and Why did you choose to set up a Patreon project for your art?
11 months on Patreon. I setup a patreon for my fans who were seeing my art at comic cons my fantasy art dragons and worlds and were wanting to know the story behind it all. I had been writing a huge series and they all wanted to know about it. Pre me Patreon was a way of holding me to my word with my fans. I am driven to make my own stories but with clients comic convention schedules and all my other art projects I really felt a patreon was necessary so I am forced in a good way to deliver comic book pages or concept art from the comic to my fans. I am grateful that I am now finally doing my own comics as I have worked for a few indie publishers and AAA video game studios. Nothing like owning your own ideas!!!
2) When you first launched your Patreon, what were your expectations for the page? Have they been met, exceeded, etc?
I did it all for the money I want $40,000 a month like some of the leading patreons. No just jokes deep down that sort of money can liberate artists like me to focus on making their own content versus working for clients. For me I see patreon as a tip jar but with the possibility to create a regular income stream.
[FU] – Have seen some remarkable artists on Patreon who are raking in incredible money every month… are there artists in particular that you’re watching? Who did you model your page after?
I honestly expected to hit $1000 per month by now so honestly I feel I have fallen short. I am presently at $515 usd however the great thing is that It forces me to make comic book art for a week every month or other art. I am also able to use the funds to hire Rob Richardson a long time colleague and comic book artist to help create extra pages and art and hire Christy in the studio 1 day a week.
To be honest my patreon covers the basic costs of creating the art for the comics. It is not just the printing of comics that is costly most kickstarters only cover the cost of printing they actually do not cover the cost and time to make art or write stories. I am grateful that using patreon as it grows I am able to increase the amount of art I do for art prints and also for the comic book series.
Honest answer I really wish it was better than it is $515 is not enough to do what I want to do but it atleast helps cover the costs hiring artists and also my time on painting the comic and writing it. I think to date I have raised about $8000 over the course of a year.
Some months during the release of comics or certain art topics that are popular it does spike up to $700 USD so honestly I am content with it but I like to push for more and to be honest I am pouring about 2 weeks of work in it monthly when you count the people I hire. I am seeing it as a 3 year investment to make sure I have a series of comics created and other short stories or comic book universes
3) Many creators I’ve talked to expressed concern about coming up with good rewards for their patreon page. What’s been your approach to rewards? What rewards are you offering, and what seems to be resonating with your Patrons?
I offer both digital and phtiscal rewards. Honestly at the moment I offer way too much but that is how I role as a creator I am generous well I hope I am. I have comic book pages for Luminous Ages, and so much content. The digital content includes: pdf turorials, process videos, commentary tutorial videos, psds, animated gifs, step by steps.
At $15 you get 3 videos from me on how to create art. I try to pass on as much design and illustration knowledge as I can I have a masters in art and design so my background in teaching I feel shows in the videos. This is my way of still teaching people without having to drive into a university or school class .
With physical rewards when the comic book is released $10 fans get the book mailed to them, other months we sent a4 prints signed limited edition prints we have gaming mats and collector cards from our game.
I actually use it like a store I have so many products at cons and I don’t like to take both small and large paper pritns to con as it weighs a lot. So what I have done is made patreon the place where you get my small a4 prints, collector cards and my limited edition gaming mats!!! I also take commissions on patreon so if you want any fantasy art done or alice in wonderland commission or anything from the public domain I will draw it with traditional media starting at $65usd working its way up to $115. We also have a digital commission tier where people can actually be in the comic each month!!!! A few fans have done that.
At the moment what seems to be working is all content to be honest 50% of the fans are joining for the digital rewards to learn how to paint and read my comic digitally and 50% sign up for physical rewards. They are my die hard fans that just love what I do at comic conventions and want to keep on getting my version of loot crate.
My policy with rewards is to make sur physical can fit in an A4 envelope and is not over 500grams this way to cost to ship it anywehere is cheap I have a business postage account so it makes life easier for me. If it grows we will include more digital content now more videos more comic book pages possibly a few extra a4 prints for the $20 tier but the focus is our comic and comic book card game.
4) Do you have Reward Dos and Don’ts that you can share with our listeners?
Do not over deliver to much I am kinda at my limit now but I see it as an investment. I will increase my digital content and my actual comic book pages next and also offer starting from the letter a commission to fans or starting from highest supporter when we hit $1000 someone gets a commission each month!!!!! So they will get a digital file and a4 print added to their pack.
5) “I’ve seen too many people create a Patreon page and start offering tons of rewards and extra content like tutorials and prints IN ADDITION to the work they are already doing. They quickly become buried in extra work that costs them more money and time to produce. Over-delivering is better than promising too much.” – Mac Smith from ScurryComic.com
Seems like you are doing a lot… what do you think of Mac’s advice?
Physical rewards are the bread and butter of Kickstarter, but even Patreon itself warns against creating too many Physical rewards. What are your thoughts on physical rewards? The fact that you’re in Australia might make physical reward fulfillment tricky, no?
I think I have covered this but honestly I SAY DO not offer too much physical rewards. I am offering a lot but I think trading cards and small prints are ok! The only thing I think I will increase is the amount of cards people get in their packs and maybe additional a4 prints but honestly ill have to weight and see how far I CAN GO. MY GOAL is to offer more digital content more videos and tutrorials on how to create comics draw traditionally or paint digitally and how to create concept art and fantasy illustration. I will even have videos on kitbashing and photo bashing more digital content is the way. If you do physical make sure it can fit in a letter a4 or American equivalent is good. Do not offer bigger things if you do make sure you charge more.
6) You have another Kickstarter coming up. Tell us briefly about that project, and what, if anything, you have in mind to encourage Patrons to double down and also support you on KS.
Wrap Up Questions
1) 5 Great Concept Artists on Patreon
2) What’s the best way for listeners to connect?
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It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.
A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can do immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, lean back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU and your projects.
Invite to share results @ comixlaunch.com/voicemail or in an email [email protected]
Show Summary / Final Lessons
1) Fretting over Patreon Rewards is Wasted Time and Effort.
Many people who are backing you aren’t backing to GET, they’re backing to GIVE BACK
Focus on your product / Art
And relationship building with Your audience.
2) $1 Reward Doesn’t have to be anything more than acknowledgement
3) Physical Rewards do boost Patreon pledges… but they can be a burden.
4) Rewards aren’t set in stone… you can reserve the right to try things out.
5) Having multiple reward tiers is key to significant funding.
We’re going to go even deeper into both mindset, strategies and tactics for making KS work for you.
Thank you so much for listening, and for letting me walk with you, as you taken another step forward toward your next successful ComixLaunch.
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