How can online creators sustain a living?

The following was not posted on the Daily Cartoonist because I failed to use my real name, and then told the editor to just leave it unposted.

Interesting that both news & comics are about 2/3rds free-online. I missed the survey -- who was surveyed makes all the diff, of course. If it had run in a print paper....

I'm solidly in that 2/3rds for many years, though. Comics -- why get inky fingers and kill trees to read shrinking, squinty, limited-selection b&w when I can read what I want, archived, color, magnified-to-my aging vision comics online? News -- similar. Why buy a bundle of paper filled with stuff some editor selected, when I can search news and blogs and features online and read only what I want to read?

When online papers go to subscription only, I drop them. I don't donate or subscribe to any websites.

So, how can creators sustain a living in the future with this (presumably increasing) state of digital life? I asked this in one of my own brief attempts at a self-published online comic strip over a decade and a half ago. Mind Fuel -- see strips #4 & #5. Is this a shameless attempt to drive traffic to my site (alternative slogan: "the Internet's best-kept secret since 1996")? Obliquely, I suppose, but not really. I'm slowly updating the site from old static HTML to modern content management. The PayPal buttons on that and all old pages are obsolete (broken), and so far I don't have new PayPal buttons or any other payment method on any of the new pages. (Only exception, the short story promo'd on the main page, which you'll all enjoy and pay me for, right?) After all the years my vanity site has been online, not one penny has come in. Obviously, I'm a creator, not a businessman or any good at self-promotion, this message notwithstanding. Yet, I will naively continue to offer everything for free and hold out my tin cup. Ads? Maybe someday if I get any traffic. Donations? Reader-supported? As the comic says, "hahahaha!" All I need is one good viral page and ten million generous visitors donating a dollar each, and I'll be laughing all the way to the bank. That's only 0.4% of the world's Internet users according to Internet World Stats!

So why don't I donate or subscribe to other sites? See these holes in my pockets? When I make money, I have a long list of sites I visit that will make money from me, guaranteed! Starting with dear old Kevin & Kell! 'Til then, we'll all starve together.

So why does iTunes profit? Or digital books? Proprietary hard- and software + gullible users who don't know how to hack in for free?

(Thanks for putting up with my long rant. If you do. First time commenter here.)

Semi-related Mindful Webwork:
Travelling the Blogiverse — Each additional blog means more competition for my time. So, various sites are competitive in terms of time-demand, but each site has its own attractions.