On Patreon Changes

“Great news, kids!”

And right before fucking Christmas, too…

As you may have seen, Patreon have just announced that they are changing their funding structure as of December 18, so that creators get a larger percentage of their pledges (about 17% currently goes to Patreon rather than the creator — this will change to 5%). BUT they’re adding a flat fee of thirty-five cents per pledge to each pledge, whatever the level (along with a 2% processing fee) *which will be paid by the patron on top*. (Full details here).

This means that if you pledge to someone at the $1 level, they will now get ninety-five cents, while you will be paying one dollar thirty-eight. On the other hand, if you pledge at the ten dollar level, they will get nine dollars fifty, and you’ll be paying ten dollars fifty-eight. This seems designed to incentivise making large payments to a few creators, rather than small payments to a lot of them.

Importantly, I do not know how this will affect my backers, and am trying to get clarification on this, because they talk about “per pledge”. If you’re pledging $1 per post to me, and I do ten posts in a month, does that count as one ten-dollar pledge or ten one-dollar pledges, because that’s a VERY different financial reality for you — that makes the difference between you paying $10.58 instead of $10 and you paying $13.80. I’m trying to get clarification from Patreon Support on Twitter on this, and will let you know if I hear anything.

I would *very much* appreciate the thoughts of my backers — and potential backers — on this. Would you rather I switch to a per-month charge rather than a per-post one? If so, how much would you be prepared to pay per month, and for what extras? (I’ve been thinking of changing my reward tiers and adding more anyway). Would you like to back my writing through an alternative crowdfunding platform instead? If so, which one?

This is a serious, serious, issue for me. The change is being made with almost no notice, and Patreon makes up the single largest source of income for me (I made $404.91 from it last month, after the various fees) although book sales are doing better than they were a year or so ago. I need to know what will work best for you, my readers and backers.

If you do back me, keep an eye on my feed for the next few days, until I get some clarity on what exactly they mean by charging “per pledge”. And let me know what would be best for you once we have that clarity.

I *will not* be upset at anyone who deletes their pledge, lowers their per-pledge amount, or adds a maximum cap on their pledged amount per month because of this. I’m poor myself, and know that people have a very limited entertainment budget. There is no guilt here.

But on the other hand, I *do* expect my income to take a hit from this, at least in the short term, so if you’ve been considering backing me but unsure about it, now would be a really good time to back my Patreon.

Or to buy my books (UK) or (US)

And if you’d like to just tip me through Paypal, I wouldn’t say no.

And if you happen to be able to commission me to write short stories, essays, reviews, or scripts for pro rates, I’d appreciate the commission…

Please let me know, in comments either here or on the mirror of this post on my Patreon account, what would be the best option for you in future given this change. And as always, thank you, everyone who has ever backed me or bought any of my books. You are the people who allow me to eat.

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5 Responses to On Patreon Changes

  1. I would prefer a monthly fee structure, and wouldn’t be averse to a move to, say, Drip when that becomes available to the general public. I’d set my monthly payment based on an average of what I’ve been paying you over the past few months.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Yeah, that seems most sensible — I’ve just had clarification from them that yes, it’s a per-post charge, so I’ll probably be switching to monthly payments and changing the reward structure accordingly.

  2. I would always have preferred a monthly payment anyway. If you switch to monthly, I’d give you $5 per month, which would probably work out better for both of us under the new structure. I don’t expect any rewards for that as I’m paying you for the labour you put into blogging and am happy to buy your books separately.

    Another issue for UK backers is that we’re charged VAT on top of everything. I think that’s correct in your case as the exclusive content you supply to backers through the Patreon website meets the criteria for e-services, but I wonder if it’s possible to opt out by not supplying e-services through Patreon. Then again, all of the money Patreon takes from backers may count as its own taxable turnover, even when it’s passed straight on to creators. But then are they really making a taxable supply just by giving you our money? And what’s the place of supply? VAT is too complicated and should be abolished.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Agreed on VAT. Sadly Patreon have no option to not be supplying e-services :-/
      (And yeah, I’d have preferred a monthly structure, and initially did that. I changed it when I was too ill to be sure I could keep a reasonable blogging pace going. I’ve now switched to the monthly again, but short-term this will almost certainly lead to a drop in income as people don’t update their pledges/)

  3. plok says:

    I’m disappointed to hear this, but I’ve found it stimulating to see Patreoners publicly work out how they feel about it, what it means to them and their patrons, is it forgiveable, etc. etc. And some larger ruminations about the nature of such platforms in general, do they inevitably default to standard techbro objectives and values even when they were explicitly set up to fill a different niche, etc. etc. I have become a natural alarmist and full-on Cranky Old Man about This Internet Life, so I think it has been sad-but-useful to get cooler smarter heads talking about what did or didn’t go wrong here. So it totally sucks and everybody has my sympathies, but that is my silver lining to this totally needless sudden dark cloud.

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