If you hang out on the blog often, you may have noticed a new addition on the right: A “Support me on Patreon” link. I’m trying something new and calling it “The Great Patreon Experiment.” There are a few reasons for this, and I’ll get into it below. But first you should know that nothing here is going to change. I’ll still be posting regularly here, and you don’t have to be a Patreon supporter to hang out here.
That out of the way, what’s this all about?
If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it’s a website that aims to replicate the old patronage model for artists. The idea back in the Middle Ages was that a person or people would sponsor an artist so that the artist could create their work without having to worry about things like starvation, or living on the streets.
Patreon is bringing the concept back but instead of having wealthy nobles supporting artists, anyone can support the artists, writers, musicians, podcasters, etc. of their choice.
Most creators (Patreon lingo for “artist,” “writer,” etc.) offer several tiers at which you can support them. Each tier offers different rewards, but there’s something for everyone. (My tiers carry a donut theme, which is why the pic at the top of this post is of donuts. Donuts are my favorite food, so it somehow seemed to make sense in my addled brain. Plus, it made for some really cute artwork and theming. Anyway…)
Why am I seeking support?
So why am I seeking supporters? The bald truth of the matter is that I cannot continue to maintain the schedule I’ve been working under without something giving way. Neither can I create all the new, wonderful things I want to offer my fans without finding some more time.
My freelancing pays the bills, but it also eats up the majority of my time. It’s not only writing; it’s running a small business and all that entails. When you add in the basics of “life” (eating, sleeping, basic hygiene, errands, etc.), I’m down to even fewer hours in a day.
Writing fiction and publishing books is another small business in its own right. Not only is it the writing, there’s marketing, accounting, and all the associated tasks, as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come close to paying the bills. By the time my publisher takes their cut, and I pay for supplies and expenses I make, well, peanuts. Actually, not even peanuts. More like those tiny sprinkles on the donuts up there, only not as many of them.
That’s a reality for many authors today. Readers are vanishing. Amazon’s destroying bookstores, their algorithm’s are hurting authors, and discoverability is next to impossible. The market is oversaturated.There’s a race to the bottom in book pricing, with “free” becoming too common. Piracy. The economy is down. There are plenty of reasons why authors are having trouble seeing anything close to a living wage. Many are quitting because of it. I don’t want to quit. I want to find another way.
But I just can’t keep doing everything indefinitely without jeopardizing my health and sanity. People think of me as a person who has it all together, and I do try, but having two full time jobs isn’t a recipe for sanity. Or for quality work.
I really want to write and publish more and faster. I’ve got dozens of ideas for books and series’, but most of them will never see the light of day at this rate. I also want to do more for my fans in terms of offering more short stories, backstories, deleted scenes, chats, flash/micro fiction, and so much more.
The problem is, as long as I need to freelance full time to support myself, my time for all that fun stuff is restricted to the “left over” hours in a week. Which isn’t much. It’s barely enough to do a book, maybe two, per year. All the extras? Never get done.
Isn’t this just begging?
One of my friends sad, “Oh, so you’ve joined the internet begging revolution?” Well, yes, but mostly no.
Patreon doesn’t work like GoFundMe or other sites where people just set up an account and say “Give me money for whatever reason,” without giving anything in return for the contributions. Patreon is more akin to Kickstarter, where people are asking for money to see projects through completion. The difference is that Kickstarter focuses on larger, single effort projects, while Patreon focuses on supporting the creator’s ongoing career.
I’m not just asking you to give money. You will get plenty in return. I’ve got a bunch of support tiers on offer that will grant you everything from access to exclusive blog posts and updates, all the way up to annotated books and the ability to choose some story ideas for me. There are also exclusive short stories, chats/AMA’s, writing help, and videos. If I can gain enough support, I’d like to start a podcast and create interactive fiction (think Zork-type episodes based in my worlds).
I don’t want to quit. I want to find another way.
There’s just so much I’d like to do, but unless I can free up some hours, I can’t do any of it. And it’s depressing to know I could offer all this great stuff, if only I had few extra hours per week.
This isn’t me begging for money. If that was all I wanted, I’d go on GoFundMe or hang out on a street corner with a mug. What I want is time. I want to be able to scale back on my freelancing and use those free hours to produce more fiction and fun stuff for my fans on a more regular basis.
When you support my work, I get a little more time, and you get a lot more fun stuff.
Why don’t you just put all this cool stuff on your website for free?
I’d love to. But I don’t have time to do any of it as it is right now. I definitely can’t afford to do it for free. Much as I’d love to, the realities of my personal economics and schedule just don’t allow it. Maybe if I win the lottery…
For now, what I can offer is this Patreon experiment. I can offer all of the extras if I have more time. Your support = that extra time for me.
If you’re interested in supporting me, you can visit my Patreon page and choose your support tier. Any amount is appreciated and you’ll have my hugest thanks in addition to the rewards you choose.
Even if you don’t choose to support me, please know that all my fans are important to me. That I get to write books at all is because of you. Every reader of my work will always have my gratitude. And you’ll still be able to find me here and on my social media outlets. I’m not going to abandon you if you don’t pay, and I’m not going to quit writing my books. This isn’t, “Give me money or else!” This is simply me, asking for some support so I can do all the fun stuff I want to do for you, and do it faster and better than I can right now.
Thanks for listening!
(Photo courtesy of AJEL)