A few days back I published my Patreon for Small Creators gude ebook for free. My goal is to make the information as accessible as possible, so I’m now posting it to my own website in parts too. If you want to read the whole thing at once, just download it here: [LINK]
Here we go, Chapter 1!
I’m H-P Lehkonen, Finnish professional comics artist and lecturer. I’m the author of two featured webtoon comics, Life Outside the Circle and Immortal Nerd. I’ve recently founded my own comics publisher, DigiComix, and I’m doing lecturing tours around the world. I’m also the organizer behind the Making Money from Webcomics project that was finished in August 2018. (If you haven’t yet read the Making Money from Webcomics PDF book, I suggest you go read it now even if you wouldn’t make webcomics! It’s free to read after all and the marketing tips apply to many different fields! Find it on https://www.sarjakuvakeskus.fi/blogi/1097-webcomics)
The PDF you’re reading right now is the second version of Patreon for Small Creators. The first version was made as my own sequel to the Making Money from Webcomics. I am a small creator, I don’t have 40K followers (when I launched my Patreon, I only had 2000 followers!). The reason my Patreon launch was successful, despite my low follower count, is my knowledge on social media marketing. I’ve never studied it in schools, but I have researched it obsessively.
This second version is more general. The first version was very comics specific, but now I want other small creators to also benefit from the information I have.
I hope you enjoy this!
Start a mailing list NOW!
I’m gonna start from something that has nothing to do with Patreon, but this is my main advice!
Only way to make sure you won’t love your customers/fans/followers the moment some nazi decides to report you on social media is a mailing list. You don’t own Twitter, you don’t own Facebook, you don’t own Patreon. All of those platforms can block your account if they think you broke their community rules. You need to make sure you can reach your customers even if you become the target of harassment campaign (or if you accidentally end up saying fuck to a wrong person).
Mailing list is the way to go. No matter where you’re blocked, you have your mailing list. And don’t just store the emails on your list on Mailchimp or some other service you’re using. Export the emails onto your computer at least once every two months!
How does this relate to Patreon? Even if you don’t know when you’ll launch your Patreon, start a mailing list now. It will get handy later on! This is what I did too! The moment I decided I will work on my Patreon page, I started a mailing list. That was over half a year before I even launched the whole thing!
When your Patreon launches, the mailing list is the place where people will definitely get the information from you and some algorithm changes can’t hide your post. It’s an email! Only damn place online that still has a linear timeline.
So, what do you do with your mailing list then?
You let people know what you’ve been doing recently. Try to keep it short and add in some funny puns or exciting stories. An email that’s easy to read in about 3 minutes. And don’t send them every day, about 1-3 times a month is more than enough!
So now I know you might ask, how the hell am I going to get people to sign up for a mailing list!? People hate spam! And even if my mailing list wouldn’t be spam, they won’t know it!
This is what I did. I started my mailing list half a year before the launch of my webtoon Life Outside the Circle. At that time I had already drawn a mockup version of the first chapter, but I wasn’t allowed to put it online in public. I was, however, allowed to show it to a limited group, like Patreon backers or a mailing list! So I started my mailing list saying “Join my mailing list now and next week I’ll send the first email that will have a secret link to read my upcoming queer webtoon!”
I got over 100 people joining immediately!
Figure out something you can offer to people for free. An exclusive video, podcast, discount code to your store, anything you can think of!
But don’t offer them something that you don’t already have! Offering something like a free personalized drawing will ruin you. Your time is money, and you point here is to get money, not lose it. So don’t waste money on giving away something that either costs money or time.
Mailing lists are easy to make using either a service like mailchimp, or just by sending a mass email from your personal email! I started out sending the emails from my personal Gmail account, and when the list grew too big, I moved to Mailchimp. Now I run 4 different mailing lists through Mailchimp!
How to gather the addresses?
I first just made a google form that you could fill. It had 2 questions, your name and your email. Then I moved to a simple form embedded on my personal website. It just sent the info on my email where I manually move it to my list! After that I moved to Mailchimp, where the Mailchimp system automates the process for me.
There’s many ways to do this, but you only need to know how to use email and you already know enough.
Next Chapter will be about your actual Patreon profile. Go ahead and just download the whole ebook right now, so you get the information right away without having to wait for it though!
All the best!