Hot Seat Critique — Split Lip
This is the first in a series of critiques that focuses on the creator’s Patreon outreach. Our goal is to try to workshop some best practices and strategies that work. I’m going to open the discussion with my opinions. Then members are welcomed to join in the conversation.
Sam Costello / Patreon
Here is Sam Costello’s Patreon Page on the day I reviewed it. (Click in the image to see it enlarged.)
(1) This Patreon page has strong visual appeal. It looks as if the header template is using the Webcomics.com template, so I know it’s working well on Facebook and Twitter. And there’s lots of attractive art on the site. Unfortunately, each one I read leaves me saying “…huh?”
I would like to see you experiment with a three-or-four page sample of one story… so I can see a plot developing. The pages don’t have to be end-to-end. You could space them out the way the layout is currently presented. But instead of one unintelligible page after another, I’d be able to see a storyline develop.
(2) The $2, $5 rewards are rock solid. Good job! If you’ve got 50 short comics, you have more than enough content to distribute through Patreon.
(1) I’d like the intro written from a little more positive standpoint.
Making indie horror comics is a huge amount of fun, but it isn’t a road to riches. I self-fund everything we do: I pay artists an upfront page rate (which I want to increase), a percentage of ad revenue, and royalties on sales; I print all of our books and minis out of pocket; I cover all convention and promotion costs. I’m not complaining—I love having so much freedom and responsibility for how Split Lip is made and released—but any support from readers and fans is such a huge help.
You just spent 61 words complaining. You can’t follow that with telling me that you’re not complaining, because I know what words mean and you just spent a great deal of my time moaning about how tough your life is.
You know what’s going to get me to reach for my wallet — a creator who is enthusing positivity over his/her project — so much so that the enthusiasm is contagious. Tell me WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME, and you’ve sealed the deal.
(2) That goal is weaksauce. Thirty dollars?? Not only is this a low premium to place on your site traffic, but how are you going to split $30 between you and the artists? You’ll be cutting checks for — what? — a buck, maybe two?
At $30/month, I’ll remove all third-party ads from website. I’ll only promote the Split Lip Patreon and Split Lip books. There will be a maximum of 2 banner/display ads per page. (Artists will receive a percentage of this pledge)
That third sentence — “There will be a maximum of 2 banner/display ads per page” — makes it sound like you’re going back on your promise. Say you’ll take down third-party ads and leave it at that. No one is going to fault you for promoting your own work on your own site.
(3) The $10 and $25 rewards are one-time rewards that you’re offering in exchange for a monthly pledge. At $10, I can download 7 ebooks, then I have to wait for another reward. Similarly, at $25, I get 6 books in the first month, and then I have to wait a year or a year-and-a-half for the next reward. It’s not hard to figure out that I should pledge for one month and then come back when the next book is done and then pledge at the lowest level that gets me that book. My problem with the “library” rewards is that you’re giving a ton of content away in the first month, and then you have precious little retaining the patron.
And offering a Special Bonus of access to stories “as they’re finished” isn’t very enticing unless I have some idea of what the update frequency is.
(3) I wonder if a large number of your readers know what a TPB is. I wonder if the ones who don’t are discouraged from pledging because they don’t know what they’re getting. Is there a way of making your rewards more clear. I have to admit, when I was reading this, my eyes started glazing over try to keep straight minicomics, TPBs, minicomic libraries and TPB libraries.
(4) No video. I’ve talked about why I think this is important in previous Patreon reviews.
(5) You may want to consider making more public posts to let prospective patrons see what they’re likely to find once they become backers. Patreon is a strong proponent of the value of the public post.