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Wednesday, 13 December 2017


Or you're like me, living in a bubble of ignorance. Never aware of the threatened changes, hence no need to uncancel what was never canceled.

I did cancel a number of patreon pledges because of that policy, however, I had decided that yours would stay no matter how angry I was with Patreon. I have gotten so much from you over the years, improving my art and just having fun reading your blog, it would remain worth it.

Thank you.

I'll share this, from a couple days ago from Northern Wisconsin. I think you'll appreciate it. https://cdn.mu-43.com/attachments/pc110733-jpg.596328/

Pledged. (Though I should admit the amount is rather small for now.)
Thanks for your excellent work producing high-quality writing. I've been a reader for the past 6 years, at least.


Hi Mike, have you seen Donorbox (donorbox.org)? It looks like a decent alternative.

On the subject of Patreon fees I found that, if I sent you some money every month I was getting hit for big fees on exchanging GBP to USD. Once a year would be ok, but every month put me off. Is there any way around this?

I never considered stopping my -very undeservedly modest- TOP support but, when I was informed of the new fee, I got very angry with Patreon, to be honest. For Europeans, the switch to Patreon from PayPal meant an immediate rise of 21% VAT for my pledge. Now, adding the new fee, only about 65% of my money would have gone to TOP, something almost unacceptable.

I don't know how many readers do you have from Spain, Mike, but just one of them, yours truly, may spend more than 3000€/year in Amazon Spain. Have you tried/considered affiliating to them? Some time ago I used your liks to Amazon.co.uk, but nowadays that's very rare.

Kickstarter have recently started trialing their own equivalent of Patreon, called Drip. I think it was invitation only to begin with, but it will probably roll out more generally soon enough. No idea what their fees are though..


Because I had to replace my credit card I needed to change the info at Patreon. Then they charged me twice for the month. When I informed them they haven't acknowledge the error other than deleting my three creators. They suffer for Patreon's error.

And now your report on charges being increased.

Does this company have a conscience?

To celebrate this good news and common sense decision by Patreon I've decided to increase my pledge to TOP by 20%. Admittedly this is a modest increase, but this has been a reminder to me how much I appreciate TOP, which I read and enjoy daily. Thank you Mike for all your efforts and for your excellent web site, and daily discourse. I hope you continue for years to come.

Please don't give up TOP! It is the only blog I read almost every day. Besides Patreon, remind everyone to order even non-photo Holiday gifts through your links.

Very glad to hear this about Patreon-though still unhappy about how they tried to "package" it. I encourage everyone to consider supporting TOP this way. It is really about as painless as it gets-even for us retirees, who are likely making up an increasing part of the readership-but who on the other hand have the time to enjoy it the most. Keep up the good-and very important-work!

Hi Mike,

This article about Patreon has prompted me to follow up on an e-mail that I sent you a few months ago, which probably got lost in the haystack of mail you get. Accordingly, I'm using the Comments section to write to you this time.

I am fairly religious about always going to online purchases via TOP, to insure that you will get some benefit from my expenditures. However, recognizing that I do not spend extravagant amounts on anything, I feel that your percentages are not providing you with income equivalent to the value that TOP provides to me, and I am quite willing to provide more direct support.

Patreon provides a means of doing that, but I am a paranoid pessimist who figures that Patreon is the type of company that is a primary target for the type of financial hackers who are constantly in the news. Accordingly, I would prefer to send you a check - which has the additional advantage of getting 100% of the money to you. However, I have been unable to find a postal address for you on TOP, so I have not sent a check yet.

If you can point me to a location on TOP for your postal address, or can send it to me via e-mail, I would appreciate it.

With best wishes,
- Tom -

[Hi Tom, my address is 740 East Lake Rd, Penn Yan NY 14527]

When I got Patreon's email, I almost cancelled.

I did not like the email one bit. It looked like a money grab to me. Maybe they need the money to keep the platform going, I don't know. And if they do, that's fine. But the email felt disingenuous. I said it was all being done to benefit the creators, but it wasn't quite clear how. It just seemed to me the money would flow into their pockets, not the creators.

So I felt wronged somehow. I was ready to pull the monthly donation. Then I calmed down. It's a big hike in proportion to the donation, but not a disaster in real terms. And (this was the key thing) it's Mike and TOP, for pity's sake. Mike. TOP. There are many reasons why you and the blog are important to me. In fact, I should pay more.

Reading about the significance of TOP for you makes me pleased I didn't cancel. It's terrible to think that Patreon's communication is costing the very people it was created to support.

I hope you do get to 15 years. I hope you get to 30.

I hadn't noticed that you were Patreon supported. With the reversal of their money grab, I realized I needed to reinforce both that reversal and you. Thank you so much - I look forward to your posts most every day.

Mike, your comments on health insurance being your third biggest expense had me thinking. (I live in Ontario.) As we age we all need health care, it can't be something you insure against like a house fire.

Case in point; last year my wife went in for a routine mammogram, and was called back the next day. She had cancer. This was the first time I had seen the health establishment doing its thing, and I was impressed: Our GP told us he would be our case manager and recommended a surgeon who was the best for this type of work. We interviewed the surgeon while the results of various tests (biopsies etc.) were still coming in and then scheduled surgery. We seemed to be meeting doctors every day, but everyone was on time and friendly. Eventually she had the surgery. The elapsed time from the initial mammogram to coming home from the operation was nine days.

When she had healed, we met with radiation and chemo oncologists. The radiation oncologist scheduled a set of thirty treatments to happen every week day (we got to chose the time of day) for about six weeks. The chemo oncologist said that chemo was not strictly required but some people in my wife's circumstances would opt for it in any case. We could choose, but it would start with more lab tests (ironically to be done in California and costing about $3000), so she wanted us to decide before she incurred the costs – although none of it would be payed by us. After consultation with the GP my wife decided to take a pass on the chemo. However the oncologist did prescribe a long course of inhibitor drugs. Up to this point our total cost of treatment had been zero. We did partly pay for the drugs, but being heavily subsidized that was only $6 for a three months supply. I am happy to say the prognosis is excellent.

What bothers me now is that I have American family (and living in the US) and I worry about them in the long term. I can't imagine going through the stress of last year, and additionally worrying about the financial hit, or worse, whether we could afford it at all. And I read this morning that the US has decided to increase the defence budget to $700 billion/year, although it already has half of the world's aircraft carriers (a weapon last used effectively in WW2), and is ramping up the national debt at an ever increasing rate. I'm not being smug here, I seriously worry about the place, what it's priorities are, and where it's going.

Finally. Keep TOP going for another ten years at least! Make it subscription if you have to, I'll still be a reader.

I'm also very grateful to learn today that I'm in the top 2% of Patreon creators who earns minimum wage from it.

If all you want to earn is minimum wage, get a job in fast food—they may also feed you one meal a shift.

BTW This is what a real beg-button looks like. If your audience doesn't know it's a beg-button they will not click it http://www.kenrockwell.com/Images/gif/donate.gif KR's site has been around since the 1990s, so obviously he knows how to get donations.

Your a photographer, Have a Monthly-Mike-Print sale. As a pensioner I'm not going to buy a $1,000 Peter Turnley print, but I may occasionally spend $50, for a small Michael C. Johnston print. I've made 50 4x6 Fuji Frontier prints for less than $15, so you should make a good profit (full bleed, signed on back).

Your a writer. Start cranking-out inexpensive e-books. Short, simple, single subject books. Leave the tomes to others.

How do we donate to TOP if we cannot make it a recurring thing?

Thanks for all you do Mike. Just increased my small contribution by a third.

Thanks for the link and the explaination of the need.
I like that I can curtail the charge anytime.
So I signed up.
Curious how many other did just now?

Dear Mike,
Just doubled the pledge (not mmuch, but still a bit more).

Please keep writing - I am very gratefull for your words!

And take photos also.

All the best

Reading TOP daily your post about Patreon made me feel guilty for my paltry contribution to such an important and vital part of my photo experience on the www and I wanted to increase the amount.
I don't mind being called stupid but I could not find out how to increase my amount.
Could you outline the process in a post?
Don't be shy about asking for money! I think we, as in your readers, all want you to continue this adventure.

It's me again.
I found it!
And I doubled my amount.
But before you go all dizzy I only went from 2 to 4 dollars. It's not going to get you a new car anytime soon...

I'm paying less than I used to spend on monthly photo magazines for more interesting content. Happy to contribute.

Your Baker’s Dozen posts are very popular and I wonder if you could replicate them or do something similar on Flickr/Instagram* etc to help drive traffic to TOP.
* Not even sure if this is feasible but I remember a recent comment from Ned Bunney suggesting you use Instagram for a similar purpose.

May I offer a practical suggestion... Figure out how much extra income you need in order to thrive; and read one or two books on the Law Of Attraction. Whatever else you decide to do, do this as well, preferably first.

I rarely comment but have been reading and enjoying TOP for some years. Your comments about funding and keeping the site going really made me think. I have just started a Patreon subscription, with gratitude for all the useful and entertaining things that you write! One thing that I’ve been wondering about; I read almost all my blogs via the Feedly reader app. Does that register in your visitor numbers or am I effectively anonymous? If that latter was true I would look into visiting via other means. Good luck and Merry Christmas from the U.K.
Don McC

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