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?

5 thoughts on “On Patreon

    1. I support about four people, personally– one fellow independent author who I’m fond of and three people who are traditionally published. Maybe $8 a month depending on whether some of them post anything or not. But I get it: it’s one more damn thing that you have to give bank account access to.

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  1. Jennifer

    I’d love to support your work. I really can’t. So I’d be one of those semi-worthless people rooting for you, but I can’t afford to help. It sucks.

    If you could convert good vibes to cold hard cash – then I’d be lots of help.

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    1. And, to be clear, I’m not trying to shame anyone here, either; there are TONS of authors out there who I’d love to give money to every month and can’t, so believe me, I don’t have a thing negative to say about anyone who is taking the time to read my work one way or the other. 🙂

      (At times I might point out that leaving reviews on Amazon is free, but that would be about it.)

      (That feels too pushy)

      (Arrrrrrgh.)

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  2. I don’t know if it has to be the ‘written word’ content all the time .. how about throwing in a ‘live chat’ once a month-ish, or a raffle, (doesn’t have to e expensive, silly works just as well) or a video walk-through of a famous, or infamous, historical place near you, or your favourite place, (that you video every season) or you interview (audio/video/written) someone who’s caught your attention for some reason, your favourite ratatouille recipe.

    Let’s see … just to use that list as an example, they’re six different things, and if you did ’em consecutively, one a month, that would be one ‘written word story’ every six months.

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