Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Should I do anything with my Patreon?

So I finished my patreon application to get it in before the deadline that would involve a raising of prices, and largely for that reason.

I got half-way through applying for one years ago, with the vague idea of doing something or other with it.

The main question here is capitalisation. And how much of your life you want to capitalise and the weird fluctuation of power and influence around that.

largely, my blog and my reading, I've treated them as an extension of my personal self, not quite as a job thing, so I don't have to make excuses to myself or others about what I am doing,  finish anything on time or not. Its whatever I'm reading, whatever I'm interested in. So no ads e.t.c.

And I'm happy selling actual books, like physical things, or pdfs at least. So the blog is play or personal and the books are capital.

And I'm largely happy with that largely symbolic division, even if it is mainly psychological it seems to me that such boundaries are more important than ever in todays world where one thing , business and social networks and everything else, all flow one into another.

All of this is thrown into rather sharper focus by a lack of money.

Something suggested by various intelligent people is that I do book reviews for patron dollars. I do reviews anyway and have about 50 books to get through.

So its the usual, take something you are doing already and do it slightly better, in a more focused way, and for money. The idea does have its appeal, but again, it feels slightly creepy and somewhat wrong to effectively paywall something I was doing anyway.

It would be nice to do it *better* and money would lend focus to that I suppose. But I am pretty much doing it anyway. Would I paywall reviews? Paywall them temporarily, like put a review up on Patreon for a month before putting it on Goodreads or the blog? Take votes on what to read next? What about really long books that take ages to read and have to be talked about in sections?

Or could I do something completely different?

Currently I'm leaning towards not doing anything with it and just keeping it as a tip jar.

However I'm throwing the issue open to you, if you have a strong opinion or ideas about what you do or don't what, let me know in the comments below, either here or on Facebook.


  1. With the caveat that the boundaries you mention are vital to surviving this modern hellscape and that there's a risk that these measures have the potential to incur resentment towards the books in question, these two

    "Paywall them temporarily, like put a review up on Patreon for a month before putting it on Goodreads or the blog? Take votes on what to read next?"

    sound pretty good to me. Some other critics take suggestions for their patreon reviews but this seems less intrusive, particularly if you've already got a backlog.

    Part of what I like about your reviews is that they don't chase new releases, making immediacy less of a factor, but even then reviews of new OSR works could be put up 'for free' and then reviews of stuff like Robin Hood or the Book of Contemplations could be temporarily paywalled. Don't know if that's a worthwhile distinction when you're actually reading them though.

    Tip jar works too.

  2. I do not have ideas but as for patreon tactics I dislike the content permanently gated, especially if said content was previously available. Temporary is better. Votes I am not sure - what if people vote for something you realize don't want to do?

  3. You could always do something like, just state clearly and upfront that the patreon is not for any specific project or product or timeline, that it's solely a way of supporting you in whatever you're already doing, whatever that is and however you decide to do it. You may not get as much support doing it that way, but the people who do support you are doing it solely to help you do you, and then you're not actually beholden to anyone because all you've promised is what you're already giving.

  4. I'd just use it to muster up some non-specific financial support. Ad a couple of tiers and i think you'll be surprised by how many people would sign up for a few bucks a month just to support your work. Maybe throw supports a treat every so often in the form of sneak peaks, or added insight into your current projects.

  5. I'll follow on what maxcan7 said: make it a way for people who want to support you monetarily on a regular basis - no strings attached. At the moment those of us who want to support your work are actually pretty limited as to how we can do so: we can buy your books when they are published or support your Kickstarters. I am pretty certain there are plenty of us out here who want you to keep making awesome stuff and not have to worry about the money side of things.

    I know people tend to love her or hate her, but Amanda Palmer's book The Art of Asking (based on her TED talk clarifies this well: she has found that having the financial support of her fans outside of the album/tour/Kickstarter cycle leads to her being *more* creative and *more* willing to take chances in her work - because she doesn't have to worry about whether an album will sell enough copies or her Kickstarter will fund...

    If you wanted to give your patrons some early access type things I am sure the wouldn't go over poorly. That said I don't think you should feel like you *have* to do something for your patrons specifically to "deserve" their patronage.

    Palmer charges per "thing" - which could be a song, a video, a poem, etc. Though I am sure you could easily instead just make it a monthly charge instead.

    So yeah, tl;dr - give the people who love your work more (and consistent) ways of giving you money and don't feel beholden to them. They want to support your work and you - they aren't there for exclusive content.

  6. A temporary paywall sounds like a good compromise, you don't want to get too involved and turn a personal thing into a work thing. You shouldn't feel like you have a deadline or quota on the blog.

  7. Old man with no patreon experience talking, so take with a grain of salt.

    Tipjar would be my suggestion. I happily pay for something original and well-made, but I'd be less thrilled (feel slightly cheated, even) to discover that content then popping up on a blog for free.

    Teaser posts of paid content, fine; paying for something that will be free in a couple of weeks, less fine. Tipjar to support awesome and fresh blogger: very fine.

    This of course in addition to the danger of turning a hobby you sometimes earn money from, into a chore you fel you need to complete because people have paid you up front.

  8. Your concerns regarding capitalizing on something you already enjoy doing are real, and it's a hard thing to wrestle with. As someone who enjoys your work but also understands that the granularity of it doesn't perfectly mesh with pay-for-a-thing capitalization, I'd be happy with a tip jar.

    I'm not interested in exclusive stuff that nobody else gets if they don't pay you--I want you to be able to create as much stuff as makes you happy, for as many people as would be interested in seeing it, at a level of quality that is most satisfying to you. Paywalling that off doesn't feel like the right answer to that. Additional access to your brain is also a potential burden on you.

    Man, this shit is hard.

    But also, maybe it doesn't need to be set in stone. Maybe set up a tip jar for now, then if you find the right balance down the line add some more tiers (if you can?) that best represent the relationship you want to create.

    I'll keep buying your books either way. :)

  9. I done it. I put a Tier in and you can pay a dollar or more to hear about my random low-effort bullshit. Its like paying to read a twitter account! (p_-)

  10. Temporary paywalls seem to work pretty well on Patreon.

  11. My two cents would be to go left-field and engage in some sort of play-by-mail/email (or in this case play-by-patreon) game (or maybe mechanistic-content reveal), as a adjacent (to blog, books, other slower burning output) and, one hopes not invasive, idea upload.

    No idea really how that would work : possibly in conjunction with a visual artist (s) for scene setting and shared inspiration (of course, this divides the proceeds). Big chunky actions : fight, flee, parlay, distract.

    Obviously, scale creates an issue once you have enough people pledging : but maybe it's a giant character funnel type mob situation, dozens and dozens of doomed m-hoboes on some sort of caravan situation, the collective's democracy of action majority rules making decisions (don't split the party! there's shadow-men in the shadows who will seize the brave who stray from the light). But I for one would love to plonk a fiver down a month or whatnot to make a couple maneuvers against and into said darkness (or near moves : it's a mob innit , a man makes a break to flee but half turns again when the bulk of his fellows don't budge, falls right back in line toward the agreed upon goal : fight, negotiate, fashion grappling line).

    And it's not an rpg, per se, more like an alt-content delivery system.

    The key is to not make things too OPEN because you need to maintain your personal economy to work toward all the other stuff. Don't know if that's too much video game and too little old school pop-artpunk, but . . .

  12. Just commenting here as I love your stuff, it's so wild and creative, but I would LOVE to have a novel from you Patrick!

    I know its incredibly hard changing the artistic genre you express yourself in, and writing a novel, even a short one of 70-80,000 words, would take a lot of time and structuring, but it would be SO WORTH IT.

    The most important thing would be inventing great charaters then giving them a good quest (a la Lord of the rings), but I feel you could do this, and stuff like Deep Carbon observatory is already incredibly well structured.

    Anyway dude much respect. Just think about it.

  13. If you decide to do more with the Dwarven city fighting the forces of hell I will gladly donate to the patreon. Just got Silent titans and enjoying immensely