Thursday 19 July 2018

Tips for Patreon Campaigns

This is an edit of an old G+ post I'm republishing here for posterity.

1. Explain what your project is immediately—ideally, the very first sentence. Every paragraph between the start of your Patreon pitch and that will cost you 75% of your remaining readers.

2. Describe the value that your Patrons are getting. So many pitches explain how the money will be useful to the creator, or try to bank on our fondness for the creator as a person.

You might be a lovable rogue who's been playing RPGs since you were 8, and feeling a little shy about putting up this campaign.. but if so, welcome to the club. Instead, say what you're doing plainly and tell us how it's awesome.  We'll be interested in your biography once you're famous.

3. Seriously consider releasing your content for free, so it can become part of your marketing effort. Patreon's user interface makes a terrible storefront, so if you don't already have a huge user base, locking down your stuff is a guarantee nobody will see it.

4. Structure your rewards to match Patreon's revenue model. Patrons come and go, they set monthly maximums, they sign up for one month and see everything, and sometimes their payment doesn't go through.

5. Don't create rewards that up the ante beyond what you're willing to do.  As people back you, it can be tempting to respond to their enthusiasm by giving away more, making it easy to cross the thin line between enthusiasm and exhaustion. But for many creators, free time is the limiting factor, and money doesn't translate into more time very smoothly.

6. Make sure your rewards scale with the campaign. What makes sense to do when you have 5 patrons might be impossible when you have 50.  Also, make sure your rewards are more profitable than the base campaign. It makes no sense to blow your profit margin on some custom, labour-intensive physical good that nets you only a few extra bucks when your base campaign is a digital good with fixed production costs.

7. Work-in-progress posts seem to be especially popular. I'm not sure why this is, but I think it's because it makes what you're doing accessible. It's easier for people to imagine themselves doing what you're doing when they can see the intermediate stages.

(Stolen from others)

7. Make your campaign something that you'd be doing anyway, without Patreon.  The money isn't going to be enough of a motivator for some time.

8. Start early. There's no need to wait until you've got a backlog of content built up. This is especially true if you're giving away content for free.

You will sweat over the wording, the images, etc. All of this can be revised after you launch. Pull the trigger and start revising.

9. Make sure your content points back to your Patreon campaign. Your images will get pinned on Pintrest without attribution, your videos will get copied to Vimeo. Make sure your images, videos, or whatever else is all clearly labelled as yours, and has a URL to wherever you want people to go.

Speaking of which, mine is!

Sunday 1 July 2018

Do it for the Beast

Then the strange man, still holding my wrist, drew his knife across the palm of my hand. Before the pain could set in, the most wondrous thing happened! A red serpent, bright as blood slithered from the wound, and rose in my hand. I was transfixed, but the strange man seemed unsurprised. "You can stay with us," he said, "or you can leave and return home. But whichever you do, you must do it for the beast."

This is a creepy cult lair, but it's not a self-sufficient community. To survive, the cult must have tendrils into a neighboring community (or several)—this is the easiest way to hook adventurers into it.

  1. On her death bed, a wealthy widow confesses that her entire life has been lived 'for the beast'. This causes a great stir among her relatives, who are divided between wanting the matter investigated and hushed up completely.
  2. The cult is straight-up kidnapping people. The town guard has been turning a blind eye, but the cult's bribes are a bit thin, and 
  3. A scholar turns up a roadside tavern, distraught and without possessions. He is telling a tale of being forced to entertain a 'talking lizard' for months by a clan of brothers.
  4. Old Seree documents reveal a cave up in the hills as the the location of the 'Column of Red Might', reputed to be inscribed with a half-dozen magical incantations.
  5. A pair of monks were caught stealing whiskey from a public house. The publican's sons gave them a sound thrashing, upon which one of the "monks" fell clean into two pieces, or so it's said.
  6. Weird-looking brothers have been asking around for trappers with experience with large game—extremely large game.

As always, thanks to my patrons for supporting this project. Because of your generosity, all of the text and imagery is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0.

I'm also thrilled to bits when anyone helps spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, G+, or wherever you hang out!