So, after much deliberation and many moons after a fan first mentioned the idea to me, I’ve finally gone and set myself up with a Patreon account. And this blog post is intended to set out how Patreon works, why I’ve got one, and what you can expect for your support should you sign up (link at the bottom of the post)–aside from my undying gratitude, that is!
For those of you unfamiliar with Patreon, it’s an online platform connecting content creators (be they writers, artists, bloggers, podcast makers, etc) with the people who want to support them. There are now over 50k creators using the platform, and the income Patreon generates for them is instrumental in helping them to make a career out of their creative endeavours. Accounts can be set up in a couple of different ways, but the one I’ve gone for seems to be the most common: the monthly pledge, where Patrons (that’s you, should you choose to become one!) pledge a monthly amount ranging from $1 up to whatever you choose, and then I produce content and share it with you.
Here’s an official video telling you more:
So, why have I finally joined up?
Let’s get real, it’s partly about the money. I’m not a materialistic person, but over the last couple of years of bringing up a toddler I’ve come to realise that it takes money to make it. After more than a year of no new fiction releases (although plenty of old Samhain backlist ones that have eaten up my writing time) I’m now in a situation where my royalty income has dwindled to a point where I can barely afford my household expenses.
The ideal solution–especially now Gabriel has started nursery and I have mornings free again–would be to publish another book, pronto. However, after the Samhain debacle and seeing several of my old publishers go under, my trust in epublishers is at an all time low. And that means self-publishing. And that means I need money, up front. Money to pay my cover artist, my content editor and my copy editor, so I can send out a professionally produced ebook that I feel comfortable charging for.
And at the moment, there is no money spare to meet those basic expenses, let alone the cost of hiring a promo service and placing adverts, should I choose to go that route. It’s a major stumbling block for me, and has been giving me severe writer’s block. After all, what would be the point in using all my spare time writing something, only to have it languish on my hard drive, unread by anyone else? I could be spending my precious time on my home, family or sewing instead!
Having a reliable monthly Patreon income will allow me to get on with writing without having to worry about how I would be able to publish the results, and it will also enable me to start saving the considerable chunk of money needed to start getting my backlist into audiobook format, which I know many of you have requested. Believe me, I want to hear my books narrated in dulcet tones by some talented voice actor too–even if listening to many of the scenes would make me blush!
But money is only part of the reason. I don’t write purely for money, and never have. Writing is a lonely pursuit, and one of the things that makes it worthwhile is having a connection with readers. The Patreon platform will enable me to have a safe space to share things with my fans, like exclusive bits of new writing, and to interact with you and find out more about what you’d like me to write in the future.
I’ve set up a number of different financial tiers, all of which give you rewards for you support. At the most basic level, you can pledge just $1 a month and receive all my future ebooks free, when they are published, as well as getting update posts from me at least once a week, where I share more about what’s going on in my life–both work and personal. For a little more you’ll get future ebooks in advance of publication, and when you get to the $5 a month tier you’ll also get exclusive new fiction each month, in the form of things like character interviews, short stories featuring fave characters, deleted scenes, scenes from the other character’s point of view, and so on. You’ll even get the chance to vote on what you’d like me to write for you each month!
These rewards are cumulative, so higher tiers also get all the rewards available to the lower tiers. I’ve set up higher level tiers for you super-fans with money to burn, so if you’d like to get a look at my latest WIP way before it hits the virtual shelves you can do so for just $10 a month, and there’s more (like signed paperbacks) should you want to pledge even more than that. I find it hard to believe anyone would give me that much support, but hey, those tiers were available so I filled them in
Another reason for starting a Patreon account is get the external accountability I need to keep my motivation up. In the past I found it through publisher deadlines, but those just don’t feel the same when self-publishing! I need you all to keep me on track and keep me writing, even when times get tricky. I know I’ll probably have a tough couple of months once the baby arrives in May, but I’m planning to have pre-written posts to share with you all so no-one misses out on anything.
And the Patreon income will enable me to be able to pay for a few hours of childcare each week (once the baby’s old enough, obviously) so I’ll be able to find that uninterrupted time to sit and write, and keep up with my goal of publishing new ebooks at least 2 or 3 times a year. I’m also hoping that technology will help, and have another goal to raise money for a professional quality voice recorder and translation software, so I can sit and dictate my books while the baby sleeps on my lap. Kind of like Barbara Cartland with her dogs, only a bit less glamorous 😛
I’m hoping this rather long post explains why I’m going this route, and even more than that, I hope that some of you are able and generous enough to sign up and become my Patrons. I will be astounded and oh-so-very grateful for each and every pledge, and your support will make a real and profound difference to my ability to keep writing. There are times this last year when I’ve thought I should just give it up and get a job instead, but I don’t want to. I love writing and I love hearing from my readers, and I want more of both in my future.
Any questions, please do comment or send me an email. I’m very open to feedback and if you would like to sign up, but don’t feel like you’d be getting enough for your pledge then please let me know. The levels aren’t set in stone and if I get enough people saying that, I will adjust them and make the rewards higher. I’m also willing to consider offering other kinds of rewards like making vlogs or podcasts, should the demand be there!
Right, that’s all for now.
Big love and hugs,