Choosing Patreon & Small Time Authorship

Last week I posted about the fee changes that Patreon are making and how they will affect me, a small creator looking to expand into the service. There has been a lot more discussion about it since then, both positive and negative, and creators have continued to see a drop off in pledges.

But I still want to go forward with opening up my Patreon page.

It’s like the counter to the idea that you write better when you’re sick or traumatised: you don’t. When that happens, mostly, you can’t write at all. But when you’re content and have enough to eat and a home where you feel safe? That’s when you start to be truly creative.

And as much as I might still feel uncomfortable talking about money, this is a fact. I will be better at writing when I have monetary impulse and backing to. Amanda Palmer echoes this in her epic Patreon post on the last week’s events:

“i’d rather make art for money than for kicks. it keeps me working harder. it lights a fire under my ass. it forces me to be a better artist.

and i like to think i’ve gotten good at it over the years. i like to think the necessity to make ends meet has made me a better, more authentic writer.”

What I want Patreon to do for me, more than anything else, is make me better at bringing content to you. I want to be able to meet my stretch goals, deliver you the fun and exciting things you’ll get for the different tiers of support, foster the community that is beginning to cluster around me and this blog – no matter how small. After all, every community started somewhere. Even Amanda, who now has 11,000~ Patrons, once only had one.

What I don’t want to do is set the bar too high. Time for some honest facts: as of this writing, I have sold something in the region of 120 copies of Mundane Magic – in total, across both digital and print. My first paycheck, for my August 2017 takings, was £41.31 for UK sales and £19.78 for US sales. The numbers drop off a lot after that opening month.

Advertising, this blog, and other ways I’m working to bring content to you are slowly bringing in more people. But it’s slow. This website had, on its best ever day, 61 views. I’ve had 1,748 views…ever. My Facebook page has 94 likes, and my Twitter has 66 followers. So when I open my Patreon, realistically, I’m not going to get a lot of people signing up straight away.

And that’s okay.

I don’t care if my Patreon opens to no one but my mother and a few friends. It’s a start, just like writing a draft or even publishing a book is only the beginning. Eventually, those 120 sales, those scant few website views, can turn into a lot more – as long as I keep going.

Impressively, I actually believe this, too. I’m not just saying it to you in an attempt to convince myself. I’m anxious about almost everything in my life, but I am not about this. I’m genuinely happy to ride this train along and see where it takes me.

I can’t express to you just how freeing this is as a feeling. Even on the days where I am depressed, even on the days where I am overwhelmed by everything, there is still this fundamental truth: I am happy with where I am right now.

Let’s say that again for the anxiety in the back: I am happy with where I am right now.

So watch this space over the coming weeks, because this momentum is going to carry us forward through the holidays and into the new year. Things are almost ready with the Patreon and I’m delighted to say I’ll be launching it next week, along with opening Mundane Magic up to an even wider audience and bringing more people into our community.

Thank you for coming with me. I love you very much.

Following this post, Patreon stated that they are no longer intending to roll out these new fees!