I think, starting next week, I'm going to start plugging a "Help Gneech Get a New Computer!" Fund on the SJ site. I'm not sure what I'll do exactly ... auction a few art pieces and/or commissions, probably, and maybe beg for mini-donations to the Tip Jar. I need at least $600 to get the computer I want.
I don't think I'd feel comfortable going the Pete Abrams route ("please give me money because I want some and didn't do any merchandise"), but I don't mind so much asking for a little support on a specific item that directly bears on the production of the strip.
I was rather surprised at the web comics panels to hear various other artists talking about how reader donations covered their costs every month, without merchandising or doing sketchbooks. I'm happy and pleased when I get a donation at all in a month. If I had to depend on them to make the expenses of the strip, I'd be SOL!
Do I maybe just not beg enough? o.0 This is one of those things that make cartoonists wonder about their place in the fandom. Oh well. Better to concentrate on a specific goal (i.e., get a replacement for this POS computer), than to fret about intangibles.
PS: "Fretting Over Tangibles" might be a good name for a rock band, but probably isn't as good as "The Mini-Donations."