Continuing our 2017 yearbook.
In November 2017, AniFem was working better than ever – and our income plummeted, throwing us into crisis conversations behind the scenes.
First of all, let’s look at the ‘better than ever’ part, because this month is practically a work of art by the team (which this month comprised exactly 11 writers, luckily enough for this dreadful naming scheme I chose on a whim because I thought the phrase “Nazi in a pear tree” was funny).
Just look at the work those 11 writers put out. We have features and we have discourse. We have perspectives, a category for more personal takes which Dee introduced back in July. We have a history piece. We even have an extremely rare example of a review outside premiere season! We have not one but two My Fave is Problematic pieces, a long-time favourite category of mine that’s really come into its own.
These pieces cover old and new anime, manga, games and books, explored through a range of lenses, both personal and analytical, by a good variety of authors. It’s a decent mix of content, underpinned by regular discussion posts, links round-ups and podcasts.
This is where you see our bank of writers starting to build up, with returns from a number of authors plus a healthy incorporation of new voices. Our editing process is unusually collaborative, and it’s a credit to the team of editors that so many writers are happy to come back and work through the process again.
Content for the month of November shows AniFem working exactly as it should. So it was a bit of a shock to realise halfway through that month that our income had dropped sharply.
It was noticeable enough that the team began to worry, and we had some serious conversations about how to pay everyone.
The fact is that in 2017, whenever we didn’t have the money to pay people to do something, we either worked for free ourselves or dipped into the buffer of savings my year of unpaid work gave us.
In 2018, we’re not going to do that.
If we can’t afford to fund something, it will be scrapped. If that means we go down from five posts a week to four, or three, so be it. If that means we have to stop premiere reviews for a season or two, so be it. If, in the worst case scenario, it meant we had to shut down entirely, so be it. If we’re not providing a service people think is valuable enough to pay to sustain it, then we deserve to shut down.
However, the people I pay deserve to make more money, not less, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that was not only survive but thrive in 2018.
This month’s content alone demonstrates the value we bring to the field of anime criticism. Not a single other English speaking outlet provides content like this. In our field, we are unique. And I know you, our readers, recognise and appreciate that, because it shows in the data.
For the first time in over a year, I took a good look at our numbers… and it was actually reassuring. See for yourself. Check out our patronage September through November and you can track when I started a push for new patrons at the end of September and when it dropped right after the November pledges were cashed. You can see that, even though our income dropped, our number of patrons continued – continues – to rise.
Fluctuation is extremely normal in Patreon figures. People adjust their pledges all the time, drop off patronage, hop back on again months later. While it took a little while to stop panicking myself into a misery spiral over every reduced or deleted pledge, I’m now pretty relaxed about the numbers shifting. People’s circumstances change, sometimes suddenly, and they have to adapt.
That’s almost certainly what happened to the $80 patron who deleted his pledge in November, throwing our numbers badly off. Once I understood that was the reason, I breathed a sigh of relief. This is exactly why I’d restructed our patronage to encourage more $1-5 pledges, so we’d be at a lower risk of incidents like this. It’s unfortunate and sad that he had to stop supporting us, but it was probably going to happen sooner or later – $80 a month is a lot of money. His departure gave me some well-timed urgency to replace his pledge with more stable, sustainable income.
We’re still not quite there yet. The number I’ve been using for our next target is $1320, as that’s the cost of everyone’s wages on our regular publishing schedule, but a) that’s before Patreon takes its cut, b) that doesn’t cover any other costs, just writer/editor/admin pay, and c) that gives us no room at all to grow. However, that the number of patrons who want to support us continues to increase suggests that reaching and exceeding that number is only a matter of time. Now I just need to speed it up.
By the end of the month I was already planning this series. I wanted to highlight to our existing readers the impact we’ve had and the progress we’ve made in a relatively short space of time despite chronic lack of resources, maybe convince some more of you to send us $1 a month to continue that progress.
And I think it’s worked. we’ve had around 20 new patrons sign up over the course of this series, and if all of you stick around next month, we’ll be well on the way to meeting that $1320 target, just $80 away at the time of writing.
However, in December came a decision from Patreon that highlighted just how much of a risk our business model itself is. I’ll talk about that in the next yearbook post, our last for 2017.
Read the rest of our 2017 Yearbook
October: Ten days a-pleading…
September: Nine features published…
August: Eight people’s thinking…
July: Seven months a-dreaming…
June: Six eps a-watching…
May: Five bold things~
April: Four days behind…
March: Three hot takes…
February: Two podcasts…
January: And a Nazi in a pear tree~
This month, we’re showcasing the work we’ve done over the past 12 months. Anime Feminist has come incredibly far, and achieved so much. We need your support to achieve even more.
Using the Paypal button below, you can sponsor a review at $20 each. Just 25 sponsors and we’ll be covered for the next season of anime. 50, and we’re set until summer. 100, and we’re covered for the year.
We’ll credit each season’s sponsors in the premiere review round-up posts. If you’re happy to receive credit, include your name in the text field. If you’d prefer to stay anonymous, just leave it blank.
However, reliable recurring income is what enables us to do what we do. If you can support us with small, sustainable payments, please become a patron today!