[Suggestion] Increasing efficiency/amount of donations
Hey everybody, first time poster here, figured I’d start off saying I love the site, and I think it’s a really cool community. Anyways, I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the site, in particular about how chapters are sponsored, and it seemed to me that the current system is really inefficient, so I started thinking about ways to increase the amount of sponsorship. I wrote all this weeks ago and never posted it, but after Deathblade's recent announcement, it seemed fitting. It's a long post, but there a Tl;dr version at the end
One of the big reasons I think authors don’t get the donations they should is the mindset of the readers. Personally, I am more than willing to donate money to sponsor chapters, but at the same time, at a rate of $80 a chapter, part of me views donating $20 as getting another quarter of a chapter in a week, and from this perspective, it doesn’t seem worth it. I know I should really be thinking of it in the more communal sense that, sure $20 is only a fourth of a chapter, but there are a lot of people donating, then more chapters will be sponsored, but for most readers it’s hard to break that individualistic mindset. This is exacerbated by the fact that, say if an author places a limit of 5 sponsored chapters a week, if the other readers have already given that much in a week, then many would look at that and say well I don’t need to donate then. That could also explain why there might be fluctuation in how many chapters are sponsored a week, because readers might look one week and see the goal is met, and then the next week not even think about donating, despite a lack of sponsorship that given week.
The first part of my plan to increase donations is to allow readers to make automatic monthly contributions. According to Alexa, Wuxiaworld has 1,750,000 readers a month. Wuxiaworld has a 30% bounce rate (people who visit one page on it then immediately go to a different domain), so if we eliminate those people as readers (not really an accurate way to do this, but the best estimate I can think of with the numbers available), we’re looking at around 1,225,000 actually reading novels on the site. If forum posts are a semi-accurate gauge for how many readers are reading a particular novel, at least a good 20% of readers are reading ISSTH, though it makes up 50% of posts in new chapter discussions so this number is likely higher. If though we’re conservative and say 20%, that’s almost 250,000 people reading ISSHT a month. If 1% of those people are willing to donate $1 a month towards sponsoring chapters, that’s $2,500 a month, which at $80/chapter is 31 chapters, so one a day. For the short amount of time I’ve actually been paying attention to chapter sponsoring, it seems that this would be a good bit beyond what Deathblade & co. are currently getting. Yes, having a bunch of microtransactions would increase the transaction fees that PayPal gets, but they do have a microtransaction plan that limits fees if the average contribution is under $12. I think the increase in sponsorship would more than offset the increase in fees, especially since I think there are a lot of people who would donate more than $5 a month. If the translators switch to a by month basis, this would also allow them better leeway/planning capabilities for when to translate. If from the start of the month a translator knows they have 20 chapters sponsored, if they have extra time the first couple of weeks in the month, they could bang most of them out.
I also think there should be an option for the authors to implement some sort of progressive sponsorship rate schedule, because charging a flat rate for all the chapters doesn’t make sense to me. A translator might currently say, I’ll do up to 5 sponsored chapters at $80 apiece, because I don’t have time/care to take the time to do more in a week. But, I highly doubt there is a single translator that if offered $1000 for one more chapter, wouldn’t translate it. $1000 is a ridiculous amount, but the point is that they might be willing to translate more a week, but only for more money per chapter. The translators should be able to say something like I will do 5 chapters/week (or the monthly equivalent) at $80/chapter, 3 more chapters for $120 a chapter, and 2 more for $160 a chapter. Sure, potential sponsors might look at that and say $160 for a chapter is ridiculous, but if they can look and see that recurring donations already sponsored 9.5 chapters, I think there would be a willingness to donate that extra $80 for the last half of the chapter, or start their own monthly contribution so a 10th chapter is even closer to being sponsored. And I think that would be the big shift in mentality; people would be able to see the monthly contributions and say ok I know the translators going to be putting out x amount of chapters this month, I’m willing to pay z amount of dollars a month for that. I also think at the rapid rate Wuxiaworld is growing(according to google trends over the past year its doubled in popularity every 3 months the past year), that numbers like $160 a chapter will be more and more reasonable. (I’m aware that this is kind of similar to what patreon does, but this model seems to capture the essence of the current sponsorship model more than patreon does)
And finally, regardless if any of the other changes are made, there should be a place on the site (maybe on the index page for each novel) that clearly shows the statistics for each novel. What I mean by that is on one page, you should be able to see the number of chapters the translator guarantees per month, the rate schedule for sponsored chapters, how much money/how many chapters have been sponsored this month, a progress bar for the next sponsored chapter, the sum of the monthly contributions pledged, and how many chapters those monthly contributions sponsor. I think being able to see all of that at a glance would make people much more likely to donate, because they’d have a better view of what exactly their money is helping to create. Translators will get more sponsorship money with greater scheduling flexibility, meaning more content for us readers, and hopefully more and more people will come to appreciate this genre of novels, and the community will continue to grow.
This was a hella long first post, so if anybody actually made it through everything, thanks for reading. Thoughts on my ideas?
Tl;dr Change chapter schedules to a monthly model, allowing for recurring contributions. Have a clear-cut graphic on the index page for each novel clearly showing translation stats, including donations.