After a lot of consideration, I've decided to close my Patreon account this month. There are multiple reasons why, so without getting too wordy, here's a quick list:
- It never fit into my workflow. I couldn't figure out how to manage it without mismanaging my other social media presences. As a result, everything has been neglected for the past 6+ months.
- It slowed me down a lot. Instead of just posting things as they happen, I had to schedule everything down to quick snapshots and such since Patreons were supposed to get the first look.
- Problems with the platform. It's a great idea but it needs a lot of work and improvement.
- Lack of response from support. A pay hold was placed on my account and no one has responded to my requests to have it removed. I suspect it will expire before anyone responds to my request for help, if anyone ever does.
- Lack of visibility on the site. Look around and see how many campaigns are up on Patreon and receiving less than $10 a month. Every Patreon supporter was someone I sent to the site, and without being obnoxious and promoting it all the time, it was hard to get people to join a new site. I'm actually going to break this problem down some more, in hopes that it may help other artists understand how this site works:
Every time you refer traffic to another website that you don't own, such as Patreon, you run the risk that the customer will get there and see something else to support or buy instead of your project, or be over- or underwhelmed and buy nothing. When you amass a following on a site that you don't own, you also run the risk that they will put a pay hold on your account for no reason, and then fail or refuse to help you solve the problem, and you will be helpless because you have no administrative control.
You also have to ask yourself if running a successful Patreon is even worth it. You might annoy the hell out of your customers by constantly promoting it, and in return get $1-$5 on average for each person who actually supports it. This is nothing compared to selling prints or original paintings to as many people, but it is more work.
In the end, Patreon wasn't for me, and while there are a few artists who do very well on the Patreon platform, there are clearly a lot of issues with the platform, and a lot of issues with support.
I will be going back to blogging here regularly, and hopefully finishing more art!