And why does every blogger, YouTube fiend and artist seem to have one now?
By now you’re probably familiar with sites like Kickstarter and Pozible, where people who want to make something cool but can’t get traditional funding throw it open to the crowd and we all chip in a few bucks so they can give us their cool thing in a year or whenever.
Patreon is similar to that, but also more like a magazine subscription. Oh, right. Nobody has them anymore, do they? Back in the day, before there was an internets, we only had magazines to keep our eyeballs occupied. And if you didn’t want to walk all the way to the newsagents every month, you could pay the magazine company (at a discount) to mail you every issue.
Right, so Patreon works along those lines. People make stuff – whether that’s regular articles on something interesting, video essays about art and film or even teaching people about animals – and you can pay them for it. You pick how much you want to give them, and Patreon takes that coin out of your bank account once a month.
Why would I do that, when it’s all there for free anyway?
Because you’re a good person who believes creative types deserve money for making interesting stuff? Nah, the real reasons tend to be:
- So they can afford to keep making the cool stuff you enjoy instead of having to get a real job
- Exclusive backer rewards.
What are exclusive backer awards?
In some cases it might be as simple as getting to see their stuff before anyone else does. In others, you might get extra material like getting to watch a cartoonist work live or scoring autographed material. Sci-fi author N.K. Jemisin does monthly Q&As and short stories as well as cat videos. Some of them are worthwhile, and others are a bit tacked-on, but the main content is worth the price of admission so you don’t mind.
Maybe I should get a Patreon and make some cashola…
Yeah, maybe. If you have a talent and can build an audience, it’s not a bad way to earn some extra money while learning how to run a business and improving your skills. On the other hand, it can be hard to convince people to hand you, say, $5 a month. There are plenty of articles offering advice on how to get started, especially on the Patreon site itself, so if you think you’ve got what it takes, do some research and let us know how you go!