The Kickstarter project to fund a reprint project estimated to cost $57,000 has raised over $1.2 MILLION dollars for Order of the Stick creator Rich Burlew. Depending on the level of donation, backers of the project were promised several incentives from fridge magnets to a cameo in the webcomic. In total 14,952 individuals donated the $1.2 million.
I think it just really confirms the whole “free content” model, especially for creators who start with no existing audience or reputation. Not just as a publishing strategy, but also as a way of building a social network of a sort. It may take awhile for it to all come back to you, but you earn so much goodwill from your audience by providing your creative work for free over that period of time that when you need help, they are happy to respond.
It turns out I had this huge geeky safety net out there that I didn’t know about this whole time, made up of people who have been reading my comic for nine years but never contacted me.