On Patreon

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BEFORE WE GET STARTED: I’m taking a shot at Audible and audiobooks again at the moment; Skylights is currently open for auditions over there.  Are you an audiobook narrator?  Do you want to share revenue 50/50 with me on audio?  Go audition!

I got asked in comments a few days ago if I’d ever considered launching a Patreon.  And the answer is yeah, I have, and until really recently all such considerations were brief and unsystematic at best. I’ve been thinking about the idea a little harder lately and …

… well, I’m probably still not doing a Patreon, but I’m thinking about it a little bit harder.

Here’s the thing, right?  My books sell for crap.  It is true that there are a lot of other books out there that sell even worse than mine, but they sell for crap.  Balremesh and other stories and Tales: The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 3 have been out for months and probably haven’t sold fifty copies yet between the two of them.  A month with a half-dozen digital sales is a good month.  I do okay when I’m selling physical copies to people who are right in front of me, but the fact is the books aren’t moving online.

Well, okay, you say, but there are people who have bought all of those books and don’t have any more to buy right now.  Maybe they might like to have a way to support you in the meantime?

Well, okay.  First, being completely honest (none of this is to elicit sympathy,) I’m not convinced there are all that many of those people, and a lot of them are relatives, and a good chunk of those who aren’t are not, shall we say, Patreon’s typical demographic.

The other problem, of course, is what I can do for my Patrons, were I to actually acquire any.  To wit: in case it’s not clear, I write fiction sporadically at best, and I write slow.  I’m working on a short story right now for an open submissions window that is going to close for good in two weeks.  I have been working on that five thousand word story, a story that essentially sprung into my head fully written from the moment I had the idea, for something like six weeks.  I might get another 400-500 words of it written today.  I might not.  And I know which way I’d bet, were I betting.  It’s an open question as to whether I’ll get it done in time.  I have two more weeks for three thousand words more.

Most authors I’m aware of don’t use a monthly auto-pay model, they use a send me money when I create something and then you can have it sort of model.  But I sell entire books online for a damn dollar; are there people who will send me a dollar every time I send them a 5000 word short story?  Okay, what if it was a 500 word microfiction?  What if it was shorter than that?  How many of those might I be able to crank out in a month?

So, yeah, let’s try an experiment: Would you be willing to support me, at whatever minimal level you want, were I to create a Patreon?  What sorts of reward tiers might be interesting?

I mean, if I don’t get any comments here, before I’ve even created the thing, it sort of answers my question, right?

Adventures in customer service

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The kid’s doing well, in case you were wondering.  Also, the iPhone’s Portrait Mode is ridiculous.

So last weekend sometime I sold a sectional.  I am absolutely religious about checking ETA dates whenever I order furniture, as you are probably aware if you’ve ever read any of my posts about my job before.  I absolutely despise dealing with pissed-off people, which makes me the most honest salesperson on the planet, because I’ll lose a sale in a second before I’ll misrepresent when something is gonna come into the store.  Because you’re gonna notice, and I’m not gonna want to deal with you when you do.

So.  A bit of background: our company has two main warehouses.  Our upholstered product is all supposed to come to us from one of them, but if that warehouse is out of a particular piece and the other warehouse has it, we can send an email and switch which warehouse it comes from and it still shows up on the same timeline.  I do this a lot, as you can probably imagine.  However, the person who responds to those emails works banker’s hours.  So I was rather dismayed on Monday to discover that a particular piece had sold out from the secondary warehouse over the weekend and that I now couldn’t get it until– wait for it– June, when I told my customers to expect it in the store in 7 to 10 days.

June is farther away than 7 to 10 days.

No problem!  I found one at our Lafayette store, and decided that rather than wait for a truck to come through from their store to ours and hope that they remembered to put the piece on that truck, I’d just go get it myself today.  It’s like a two hour drive.  I have a former student who I’m still in touch with and quite fond of who is a sophomore at Purdue, so I’ve got somebody to grab lunch with, too!  I’ll go get the piece and have lunch and come back and drop it off at the store and nobody’s the wiser and I’ll lose a chunk of my commission on gas money but whatever.  I like the occasional car trip.

Go ahead, check the weather report for today for northern Indiana.  Because holy Christ, why did I do that stupid thing I did.  I have never seen fog in my life like the Lovecraftean, Ravenloft-esque insanity that I had to drive through today.  We’re talking maybe three seconds of visibility in front of the car, less on the heavy spots, for the first two thirds of the trip.  I thought about turning back repeatedly, consistently falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy and reasoning that surely I was damn near out of the fog by now and that it would be, would have to be, gone by the time I was on my way home.

Also, once I got to campus, my GPS utterly shit the bed, trying at one point to send me the wrong way down a one-way street, then redirecting me to another street that it could have just left me on the entire time rather than taking me out of its way to nearly die, and then directing me into an alley between two buildings that abruptly turned into a bike path that just-as-abruptly turned into nothing, at which point I called my former student and described where I was as best I could, informing her that I wasn’t moving my car again and she needed to come find me.

(Also: I’m not a complete idiot.  The other problem with Purdue’s campus is that there are damn near no signs anywhere.  Signs that say things like “No Exit,” which one might put before a point-of-no-return road of some sort.)

Also, Logansport, Indiana is the worst place in the world and I don’t want to hear any different from any of you.  I got directed through “town” for some reason and half of the place was utterly deserted and everyone in the rest of it had the Innsmouth look.  I deliberately took a different route back to avoid the town.

We lingered over lunch, at any rate.  I was the oldest person in the restaurant by at least 18 years and we were both vastly entertained by the literal hush that fell over the room when we walked in, as everyone tried to figure out if I was a sugar daddy or not.  When the hell did college students get so Goddamned young?

I was planning on being home by 2:00 and didn’t bother leaving West Lafayette until after 1:00, figuring that the fog would have to have burned off by then.

Nope.  Just as bad on the way home as on the way down there, except without the opportunity to turn back.  Also, west central Indiana smells terrible.  That sounds like I’m just being mean because of IU vs. Purdue regionalisms and I swear I’m not.  It smells awful.

Point is, I think I deserve a tip for this one.

Oh god damn it

hand-holding-i-give-up-signSo.

I have made $2500 in commission on my sales this year.  This year.  Six weeks.  I did the math; I’m selling furniture for less than $11 an hour.  The company is currently earning interest on sixty thousand dollars of undelivered product.  I don’t get paid until shit ends up in people’s homes and everything I’ve sold is either still backordered or waiting for someone’s house to be ready.  Right now I expect to make minimum wage this week.  If I wasn’t married to someone who makes a lot more money than me, I’d be staring down homelessness right now.

I had a $12,000 ticket last weekend that didn’t earn me a single dime and won’t pay off until May.  That big $18,000 sale at the very end of December?  Scheduled to deliver on March 20th, still five weeks away; I don’t see a cent until then.

I was at work for nine hours today and sold $13 worth of product.  A co-worker came in on his day off and made $3300 in sales in less than half an hour.

Fuck this.  I could literally be making more money flipping burgers.

I just applied for a teaching position.

God fucking help me.

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m a writer and an editor.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

I can be found in several different places on the Internet.  Here’s the important ones:

  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  Warning: Twitter is where Politics Luther hangs out.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
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Thanks for reading!

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