Announcement: Ko-Fi Memberships and Benefits
A breakdown of the new Ko-Fi membership tiers, what benefits they offer, and answering your questions about how the new membership system works.
You asked for them, you got 'em! Ko-Fi Memberships and Benefits are live! Get access to the rewards and benefits that you asked for while directly supporting the site!
(Also be part of spiffy tier names which are expertly crafted puns based on the names of Mardi Gras Krewes which are deep cut jokes the likes of which I'm reasonably sure only I will 1) get and 2) think are funny. But what is this site if not 99% jokes I make for my own amusement? If you're still reading at this point clearly you agree with me that this is a feature, not a bug.)
Anyway! That's the short version. Tiers are live, sign up for monthly memberships to get the benefits, all money goes directly into supporting the site, woo and furthermore hoo.
Slightly longer version includes a rundown of the tiers as well as answering questions that have come up about this. So for that, read on!
Tiers and Benefits
Obviously you can read all about this over at Ko-Fi but for those who enjoy getting all their info in one place, here's the rundown.
Tier One: Krewe of Newses
This tier is exactly the same as signing up for a paid subscription. Exact same price point, exact same benefits. The reason why is that some people prefer paying through Ko-Fi because Ko-Fi takes Paypal in addition to Stripe. So if you wanted to get a paid subscription but preferred to use Paypal, this is the Tier for you.
As with paid subscriptions the benefits you get are:
- Access to the Behind the Scenes Bonus Content
- Pictures of my adorable pets
Tier Two: Krewe des Chats
This is our first tier with new benefits created specifically for people who sign up for memberships. Basically you pay a little more, you get a little more. Because one of the benefits includes new content, the price point here is comparable to what most newsletters charge for a monthly subscription.
With this tier, the benefits you get are:
- Everything the Krewe of Newses gets plus
- Exclusive Content
- Personal Blog Entries
- Even More Adorable Pet Photos
I realize "Exclusive Content" is a little vague but in part that's because I want to work with members in this tier to give them things they are interested in and seem fair value for the price. Once we hammer that out I'll update the listing to be more specific. But I can tell you it will be brand new content in addition to the blog entries and will most likely be pulling inspiration from the types of exclusive content made available to the next tier. So it might be something like just the short reviews or the essays or perhaps some of those things but not all, or some other content type to be decided.
And of course this will have additional photos because I cannot stress how high "Please give us more pet photos" ranked in the feedback survey.
Tier Three: Krewe of Best Tea
The final tier is the one that gives the whole shebang of every possible benefit that can be offered right now. Because of that, it's got the highest price point. Give the most, get the most.
In this tier you get:
- Everything the Krewe of Newses gets and
- Everything the Krewe des Chats gets plus...
- Short Form Media Reviews
- Short Form Essays
- Social Media Shout-Out
- Even MORE Adorable Pet Photos
- And More
The social media shout-out will be via my Twitter and done in honor of the start of the membership, pending my approval of the account. Basically I'm not giving a shout-out to TERFs or any other assholes. I can't imagine assholes would want to spend the money on this site but still, figured it can't hurt to reserve the right to tell them to pound sand if it comes up.
"Short Form" in this case means things that still have content and quality but aren't long enough to be their own articles. Again we'll see how this shakes out in practice (as always, this isn't called "TBQ Talks" because I'm known for embracing brevity) but to be clear I don't mean short like a single sentence. At bare minimum we're looking in the range of less than an article, more than a couple of paragraphs.
"And More" is vague because it, like the "Exclusive Content" in the Krewe des Chats, is something we'll figure out as we go. These are options and suggestions from the feedback survey which got positive results but which people didn't feel as strongly about as the pet photos. So I figure we can play around with some of them and see what people enjoy.
So that covers all the tiers thus far. Now let's get into some answers to questions that either came up during the feedback survey or which I anticipate people might ask now that the membership tiers are live.
Answering Your Questions
Why offer Ko-Fi memberships?
The Krewe of Newses speaks for itself: People wanted a way to get a paid subscription but using Paypal.
As for the other two tiers, I did have people asking me if I had or would offer a Patreon. I did look into it but Patreon requires output on a defined schedule that you don't have as much control over. That made it a no go for both my energy levels and my anxiety.
Patreon also takes out a fair chunk of the money that's donated. It does offer some nice benefits in exchange - I particularly like the level where they handle providing backers physical rewards with no work required on the part of the creator - but I'm way too small a fry for that to be a cost effective exchange right now.
Ko-Fi, on the other hand, opened up the membership tiers option and doesn't take that much of a cut. Right now I'm on a free plan which means they do take a small percentage out of the membership fees, but if I get enough members that this can literally pay for itself (basically one person signing up for Krewe of Newses and one for Krewe des Chats would do this) I'll upgrade to Gold where it's a minimal monthly fee and then all other money goes directly to me, which means it goes directly to the site.
Edited to add: Within an hour of this post going live we got enough from memberships to pay for Ko-Fi Gold! So one: OH MY GOD Y'ALL ARE AMAZING. And two, so yeah we've upgraded so now the minimal fee is taken care of and all money through Ko-Fi goes directly to the site.
Isn't this more work for you?
Not as much as you'd think. The first tier actually means less work for me, which is nice. Basically before when people donated via Ko-Fi I gave them the benefits of a paid subscription comparable to their donation. So if someone donated $4 via Ko-Fi I'd give them two months' worth of a paid subscription, for example.
The problem is that Ghost doesn't have a way to set a membership end date, so that meant I had to keep a tracker of who paid when and when it was on me to turn the paid subscription off. This wasn't a huge problem but it was something that tweaked my anxiety because my anxiety hates deadlines. I mean my anxiety hates everything by definition but things on a timer are particularly twitchy for it.
It was still doable since it didn't come up as often but it was enough that I was debating upgrading to Ko-Fi Gold so that I'd get access to the ability to put exclusive content on Ko-Fi for people who paid via Ko-Fi. Then Ko-Fi offered membership tiers for free and it became a no brainer. So on this level this is much less work for me and I'm very happy about it.
For the other levels with the additional content yes, it's more work in that it's me writing things and posting them but in terms of wear and tear on my health it's not that bad. Reason being these are things that I can just write. I won't need to research, gather appropriate links, do SEO work, make graphics for it, and so on. I can just type about things I enjoy talking about anyway.
To be clear: I love writing my articles. The fact that they're more work for me doesn't mean I'm suffering while I'm making them. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. I'm just saying that since more than one person did worry about the level of work the rewards would bring, I can assure you that I'm not offering anything that in any way will feel like a chore. Frankly some of these things are stuff I wanted to do anyway and I didn't have a place for them, so this works out as a benefit for everyone, really.
Also, frankly, I set the price points at a place where it makes it worth my while. I did debate making Krewe of Best Tea a tiny bit cheaper but my gut told me it didn't feel a fair value for what I was offering. So for those who are worried about me and my health with all this - well first off I love you and that made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. But second I promise I did many gut checks to make sure I wouldn't be over extending myself.
Do you prefer paid subscriptions or Ko-Fi?
In terms of where the money is coming from it makes no difference to me. Other than the small cut Ko-Fi takes out of paid memberships that I mentioned above, there's no difference in how much money I get from either as far as fees go. And as I said, if the Ko-Fi memberships pay for themselves I'll upgrade and take that small percentage out of the equation.
Beyond that if you're wondering if you should do a paid subscription through Ghost or signing up for the Krewe of Newses it is entirely up to which one you'd personally prefer for payment options.
Can we still do one off donations?
Yes! I made sure of this, because some of you have done one time donations that have been freaking A-MAY-ZING and a huge support to the site. You can still do one off donations, same as before. The only difference is that I won't be manually providing the paid subscription benefit anymore. I figure now that the option is there if people want that benefit they can sign up for it though the site or the memberships. If you do the one off donations I'll assume you are simply being an amazing person who wanted to help with no reward back to you except my deep deep gratitude.
How do we get the membership rewards?
All rewards, other than the Twitter shout-out, will be delivered via the Ko-Fi site. This also means that Krewe of Newses will get those Behind the Scenes articles and pet photos via Ko-Fi now instead of the website. Paid subscriptions will get their benefits on the website, same as before.
To be honest I'm not 100% sure how it works in terms of Ko-Fi telling you your benefits are live? Like I don't know if it automatically signs you up for notifications when you sign up for membership? So to be on the safe side I'm telling people to follow the site on Ko-Fi just to make sure they get notifications about updates when they happen.
How did you decide on rewards?
Your feedback! Though if you want a more detailed answer to get the options on the feedback form I did do research into what typical rewards are in these circumstances and then narrowed it down to a list I felt I could actually offer. For example while I'd love to provide stickers or a thank you postcard, that's a level of physical work from me that is more than I can manage. Also my anxiety makes it so that it's hard enough for me to go to my mailbox for my own mail, let alone sending things out on a deadline. So I'd love to, but I can't.
Funnily enough another big help was finding out about another membership reward site, Fanhouse. I'm not adding another site into the mix but what appealed to me there was that it encouraged the idea of membership benefits that were simply more of creators being themselves. Like it actually suggests "shit posting" as an option. And I was there like hey, I can shit post with the best of 'em!
So when people both responded to the idea that a reward could simply be more of me writing whatever the heck I wanted (with even a few write-in suggestions that were basically suggesting the Fanhouse concept without realizing it) I realized we were collectively on to something with rewards people wanted and I could provide. Huzzah!
Does this change content on the site at all?
No! 100% not! The site remains as is, which is that all the yummy and useful content is there for everyone for no cost. I'm not putting anything remotely of that nature behind a paywall.
The membership benefits are either stuff about me personally which, as fascinating as I am, I don't think things like "a day in the life of TBQ" is something the entire world could be helped by reading, or stuff that's not in depth enough to count as a full article. It's all 100% extras and nothing which takes away from the site and its offerings.
Do memberships count towards the Ko-Fi goals?
Yep! And Ko-Fi does that math for me automatically, which is nice.
How much are you hoping to raise anyway? How many goals are there?
I broke the expenses for the site down into four parts, both to provide manageable goals and based on what I felt were the most important costs first. So a year of site hosting was goal one because without the host we have no site. The other goals are then grouped based on their impact to the site in terms of running it and getting the word out to people who could benefit from it. So goal two was graphics and domain registration, goal three will be automatic promotion, and goal four is social media automation.
There's other stuff within those goals but those are the big categories. The groupings also allow for the goals to stay in the 100-200 range.
What happens when all the goals are reached?
Well one I'll squeal REALLY loudly and do a happy dance. But two we'll keep going and all the money that comes in will get applied to the second year of costs.
Seriously, what's up with the tier names?
I looked into what other people do for tier names and decided first up I didn't want anything that suggested that more money = someone who is more important to the site. The site is for everybody and somebody who only helps out by reading an article and thus bumping me up in algorithm rankings is just as valuable in their own way as somebody who gives money. So that ruled out things like a "VIP" level or a "Bronze/Silver/Gold" naming system.
Next, I liked the idea of names which indicated what the tier was about, but I didn't want something as plain as "This is the paid subscription tier." So I tried to brainstorm for names which had personality but could still be descriptive.
I realized that since all fans of the site count as the TBQ Krewe, that, like Mardi Gras Krewes themselves, there could be sub-Krewes. They are their own thing, but they are also part of the whole with no one being more important than the other.
From there it was a matter of picking names that were punny and/or funny, because that's also in the spirit of Krewe names. Hence we have, based on real Krewe names:
- Krewe of Newses, because it ties to the paid newsletter subscription. A pun on Krewe of Muses
- Krewe des Chats, because it includes more pet photos. A pun on Krewe d'Etat (itself a pun on Coup d'Etat)
- Krew of Best Tea, because it's getting reviews and rants. It started as a pun on Krewe of Hestia but I realized "Best Tea" worked well enough as its own pun - both that you are getting the best tea and also that doing the highest membership level means you are a site "bestie" - that I didn't need to force the last syllable in.
Will there be more levels in the future?
I don't rule it out but let's see how these options go first. If I do add more levels they would be at higher price points though. The current options are at just the right balance of what I feel I can offer vs what I think is reasonable to ask for in return.
And that's it! If you haven't yet, head on over to Ko-Fi to check out the memberships. Let me know if you have any questions, and as always thank you for reading!