Over on the theRPGSite is a discussion about Internet patronage system. The basic gist a company or author will put a project and say that it will get developed and printed if so many people contribute to it. There are a bunch of variation on the scheme.
It's distractors call it the "Ransom" system. In it's most negative light it is saying "I won't produce X unless you give me Y dollar." And that appears to rub many the wrong way.
As for myself, I shrug and marvel at yet another way that the internet allows for things to be done. However I will say that a part-timer should think twice before taking this path because once you start taking money you are going to be committed to get it down. In the best case if things go wrong you will have egg on your face and your reputation takes a hit, in the worst well you looking at explaining yourself in front of a judge.
During the theRPGSite the original idea of patronage came up. A wealthy individual commissions an Artist to X for Y amount of money. That got me thinking up a crazy idea.
What if a bunch of fans, or folks who want to see something new out of an beloved author or designer pool their money in an attempt to give said author a commission to produce what they wanted. Some will say no but perhaps some yes. The difference between the other patronage system is that the payers are going to get the work they want instead of picking from a limited list. Popular authors may be able to get some nice pocket change by accepting commission.
Now I am not advocating this for me. I got enough on my plate for now between my cartography contracts and getting Bat in the Attic stuff out the door. But I range far and wide among different forums, blogs and other sites and I can see this happening in some cases to the profit (money and satisfaction) of both parties.