I began Patreon in January of this year with 9 patrons pledging a total of $58/month. I’m ending the year with 17 patrons pledging a total of $67. (Patreon takes about 10% in fees.) For the first six months I offered an activity book as the reward for the $15 tier. I wasn’t able to keep up with the amount of work that went into the book each month so in July I deleted that tier. I now offer a merit badge/patch for the $5 tier. That certainly has affected my totals but I’m lucky that I have a few patrons who have continued to pledge $15/month because they want to support the project.
The last couple of months I’ve thought a lot about whether I want to continue with Patreon next year. Putting this post together has helped me clarify my thoughts and come to a conclusion. But first:
Pros of Patreon for me
Collects patron’s money each month! I use Squarespace for my website and I LOVE it. But there’s no way (without using a 3rd party) to collect recurring payments on a Squarespace website. Patreon collects the payments and I’ve had no problems getting paid!
Some of my audience/patrons are already on Patreon. That makes it easy for them. They are on the site checking in with creators they support. They make one easy payment to Patreon and are able to support the creators they love.
Cons of Patreon for me
It is another platform to update. It’s not very customizable. Every Patreon page looks pretty much alike and can’t be embedded on your own site. I feel like I’m helping to build their “brand” and not my own. I have spent as much time updating my Patreon page as my own website, probably even more because I’m still learning it.
Their fees are 10% which is a lot for a creator like me. (Though it is comparable to similar services)
In the end I decided to stay with Patreon but to make changes to how I do things. I want to use Patreon as the service that I need and not to create more work for myself. I want the majority of my work and research to live here on my own site. I’ll continue to use Patreon for recurring payments and rewards but I also plan to have a way for patrons to support this project here on my own site.