To Ask or Not to Ask: Considering Patreon and Other Options

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by

I’ve been trying to set a writing routine for myself over the past few days; I fell off the wagon sometime in September, and I fell hard. The only upside to this is that I finally started reading again, but not creating is a steep price to pay for Netflix binges that have no foreseeable endpoint. The past several months, though, have been difficult. A lot of days took the life out of me, and it was all I could do to pick up a book and make a good meal for dinner.

For even longer than that, though, I’ve been eyeing Patreon as an option for my work. I learned about it shortly before I read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, and it’s intriguing. My biggest fear isn’t that people won’t use it, though. It’s not taking that step to ask with the potential of “no” as the answer. It’s the concern that I won’t be able to keep up with rewards. When I’m feeling crushed, I don’t know for how long or how hard it is until I’m in the thick of it. It’s hard to even know that it’s coming, so I’m afraid I’ll shirk my responsibilities, especially when people are paying real money for me to fulfill them.

I try to tell myself that it’ll be motivation, that creating a Patreon page for my writing will help keep me from falling apart and hold me accountable. I try to believe that it’ll be helpful in, well, all of my goals. It’ll be a good thing. It’s something I can handle. But being my habitually pessimistic self, I’m very skeptical about all of these declarations. I have a hard time believing in myself, which is rather tragic, isn’t it?

I do have a couple of rewards in mind for various pledge points, including flash fiction stories, which I’ve just started incorporating into my hourly writing sessions, in which I bounce from project to project based on what’s floating around in my brain at any given moment, and I’m considering a free option, as well, such as a newsletter-style monthly story. It’d only be one small piece per month, or maybe part of a serial (shit, that’s an awesome idea), rather than say, three stories for $5 a month or something like that, but I think I like that as an option because it could get people exposed to my writing without having to pay anything in the beginning, and then if they chose to pay for more, they could.

I feel like I’m going to go back and forth on this because it feels like such a good idea, but it’s such a scary one at the same time. I guess I’m what I’m really looking for is some feedback, so if you’ve got any thoughts, let me have ’em.

December 19, 2016
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  • Kay

    I have those exact same concerns about Patreon. I feel like having to keep up with rewards would stress me out so much. Especially as I’m not sure what I’d even offer for them. Sorry I don’t have any useful advice for you on this, but I definitely can relate!

    • Sonya

      Okay, so, funny story: I’ve been meaning to respond to your comment for a couple of days now, and I’m glad that it took me so long because I just set up my Patreon (though it might be a few more days/weeks before I publicize it), and I totally forgot that you can set it up to get paid only when you create something new! It totally saves the stress of keeping up with monthly rewards! So definitely keep that in mind if you’re still thinking about utilizing it. I’m still not sure how I’m going to approach it, but I got so excited when it reminded me of that option during the setup process.

      • Kay

        OH YEAH! I completely forgot about that as well! I actually support an artist who uses that reward method, duh. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I love The Art of Asking for its decision to talk about Patreon and asking for money. Scary, for sure, but I say go for it. I think keeping the rewards simple and writing-based may even put some good pressure on you to keep with any writing deadlines? Maybe? Maybe not.

    • Sonya

      That’s what I was thinking! I have a few rewards ideas bouncing around right now, but I’m still taking some time to see if I come up with anything I like better. I have a tendency to jump right into projects without much of a plan, and sometimes things fall apart all over me, so I’m really trying to take my time with this one. P.S. I totally think I’m going to start the new year with an Art of Asking reread.

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