July was the best month so far for my Patreon Campaign. Thanks to the patrons of the Dodecahedron, I’ve paid my rent each month this year using my maps. Patreon patronage has truly changed my life and my cartography. Go back and look at maps from the foundation of the blog until mid 2013, then look at the size, detail and quality of the maps released in 2014 – the change is astounding. And it has carried on to other things too – my new found confidence in my skills and tools (thanks to the external validation of each and every patron who pays even a nickel every month towards my cartography) has shown itself with the magic item cards I drew for my recent Dungeon Crawl Classics game, as well as the character sheet I designed for Zzarchov Kowolski’s Neoclassical Geek Revival RPG and the Labyrinth Lord game.
My patrons change my life. And I’d like to change it even further. I love the feeling of releasing stuff out there for free or for friendship like with the NGR character sheet. I want to be able to do the same with my maps. I’d love to be able to make them all free for everyone – home users, game designers and publishers. But I still need to “earn” enough money to not only live, but hopefully to continue to thrive a bit.
The goal of the Patreon campaign is now to get enough income in that I can release the maps produced under patronage completely license-free so that everyone can use them in any manner, without cost, copyright, or commercial license.
To get there we need to increase funding by roughly 50% – at that level I will be able to get by on a month-to-month basis and not have any reason to seek additional compensation for the use of my maps. It will also result in the creation of an extended map library that will benefit anyone seeking these types of maps for ages to come as the maps produced under this patronage will remain royalty-free in perpetuity – and not purely for those who helped fund them. The goal is not to hold the license hostage for money, but to make enough money that I can truly give these away to one and all.
Right now we stand at roughly $220 in patronage for the first release of the month, and in July I released a total of nine maps. While the initial math would be something just shy of $2,000 in revenue, the reality is slightly less. First off, there is a percentage of each pledge siphoned off by the credit card processing company (Stripe), and of course Patreon themselves have to get their (incredibly small) cut of 5%. In the end (accounting for the occasional patron who’s credit card is refused), that leaves us with between 86% and 92% of the monthly pledges actually showing up in my Paypal account every month (I budget based on an 88% return). But the other big one that’s not visible from the front end of Patreon is that most patrons have a monthly cap on their patronage – so while the first release of the month may be for $211 (like it was for July), the last release of the month was for $111.83.
Fortunately for me, there’s very little expense besides my own cost of living. Every month I put a bit into art supplies (pens and paper mostly) and a bottle of liquor (as per the original joke goal I had for the campaign back when it started), and I ship out an envelope or two of maps to some of my patrons. On a month like July my cut after everything is slightly under $1,200 USD.
So, in short, Patreon has changed the game completely for me, and I’m hoping I can make it change the game for everyone who loves my maps. If you are interested in becoming part of this latest change, check out my Patreon Campaign Page and see if there’s a patronage level that works for you.