Good evening, readers, and welcome back to the work week! With the Super Bowl over, people are slowly making that slow descent back to reality, as the lure of sports fades for a couple of weeks, and the reality of work to be done returns to everybody’s minds. As we settle in for a week of “business as usual” in the anime world, I want to take a few moments to talk about crowdfunding. Specifically, I want to discuss how it’s helped us to really begin to grow and evolve as an organization.
When we first began Anime Herald, we were in a vastly different landscape. Banner ads were king, and Crowdfunding was barely a thing, as Kickstarter was just starting to see its first big success stories. And, in keeping with the style at the time, we followed the pack. I chased ads in my free time, and maintained inventories and backfilled with Google Adsense during the leanest times. Through it all, I hoped that we’d be able to finally start to find ways to grow and expand as an organization, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. We made enough to break even, but, well… that was about it.
In 2018, I kind of had enough. Chasing advertisers, on top of fighting Adsense warnings, on top of dealing with performance hiccups whenever Google’s servers decided to straight-up die, it was wearing me down. All the while, revenues just kind of fell, as Google’s rates shrunk to infinitesimally small rates. I didn’t exactly say this at the time, but deep down, I knew that we’d only have six, maybe eight months left to exist in 2018, if we allowed the trend to continue.
Hera-chan art by CrowzPerch
So, I set to work in building our first-ever Patreon pitch. It was big, it was wordy, and it meandered all over the place, but, well… it was us. We launched with a big splash in December 2018, and saw a small initial rush of Patrons. We were riding high, and things looked positive! Then, well… then I made the big mistake of clamming up about it.
I made the ultimate rookie mistake, here, in failing to properly promote everything – we had the infrastructure, we had everything in-place. We were even publishing behind the scenes pieces for patrons to enjoy! But what good is this if nobody really knows about it? Fears of “selling out” proved to be pretty silly, when I really got down to it, and the idea that we were selling out were replaced with “we’re just selling ourselves – what’s to sell out?” In that light, things seemed, well… silly.
And, well, as we talked honestly about what Patreon does for us, and how it helps us, we’ve slowly begun to find some footing, and we started to open ourselves to our patrons with the Anime Herald discord, among other things. And, well… it’s been pretty amazing! We’ve had the chance to really talk with the wonderful people who help to make The Herald into what it is, and really get to know some truly incredible individuals.
Moreover, though, we’ve slowly but surely been finding ourselves able to do more with the funds that we raise. What started with keeping the Herald ad-free has turned into me getting a night off once in a while, which led to us being able to fund newer, higher-profile titles for review, as well as articles by folks like L.B. and Ashley. This month, we were able to take step further, as we made an open call for article pitches on Twitter.
This doesn’t seem like much, but, well… it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to say “we’re actively looking for new content: show us what you’ve got!” Like… I’m still reeling at what this means to us, as an organization and as a group of geeks united in our love of anime. To be able to share distinct tales from the community about Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Jougai Rantou!? Shuyaku Soudatsusen and discussions on Chihayafuru, all while we write the book on the 2007 anime crash? It’s just… I can’t even fathom being here today.
When I first started Anime Herald in 2008, it was just one girl with a dream, and a hell of a lot of gumption. I was cocky (probably too much so) and a bit overconfident at times, but I don’t think that, in a million years, I’d be here helping to bring more amazing voices to the anime world, thanks to a community that continues to amaze me day after day.
So, I guess I’d just like to give a warm “thank you” to every patron, current and past, who’s believed in us. You’re all rock stars.
At the same time, I’d like to offer my appeal to those on the fence. We’re here, and we’re ready to make amazing things happen. We’re ready to talk nerdy to you once more. Why not join us for the ride?
Thank you, and take care.
The Latest From the AniBlogging Community
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On those problematic favorite trans characters. AniFem columnist and anime trash enthusiast Vrai Kaiser dives into their personal blog to look at two anime titles’ treatments of trans-coded characters. With their trademark quick wit and snappy writing, Vrai pits the presentaiton of Dilandau from Vision of Escaflowne against Persona 4‘s Naoto.
He was anime… and a Super Bowl contender. Sports blog The Ringer takes a look into an aspect of the New England Patriots that many likely weren’t aware of. The team’s defensive line have found a common place to bond in the world of anime, and they went as far as to start their own anime club within the organization.
This Week's Fun Stuff
Trigger animator Kengo Saito recently took to YouTube to post a short live-drawing session. In the ten-minute video, Saito sketches SSSS.GRIDMAN‘s Rikka Takarada, who is clad in a stylish casual outfit.
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