Can I tell you about something that’s been making me really nervous? Today I set up a Patreon page for this blog. Wow. I said it.
I’m feeling very imposter-syndrome as a result.
To explain: I love writing for this blog. I think about the craft of writing all the time, non-stop, and this blog is a great way for me to share my ideas. I’ve devoted my PhD in Creative Writing to working out methods for teaching fiction, and to teaching prose writing more generally. There’s a lot of material simmering in my brain, ready to come out.
And, in turn, it seems like people enjoy reading. I’ve received a lot of heartfelt, moving emails from readers who have been for years frustrated with their own writing, unsure what to try next, and who have found a post or series of posts on this site that have really helped.
The blog has close to 4,000 followers on WordPress, and a good deal more who check in through mysterious, enigmatic means. As a group, you view the site around 9,000 times each month, which, for a part-time effort, seems pretty good. I write this blog in addition to my own novel-writing, PhD work, teaching, and editing — although I’m not complaining. I have a lot more writing time than most people. It’s just that I sometimes feel the crunch of clashing responsibilities, and can’t justify spending another few hours on a really good post.
I’m going to keep writing this blog whatever happens. I feel like there are lots of readers who are enjoying and responding to what I produce. However, I would love to be able to devote more time to writing posts. This is why I’m today having a “soft launch” of my Patreon page, and seeing if anyone would like to support my writing on this site.
Patreon works like this: you, the reader, signs up to pay one dollar a month (or more) to me, for as long as you want to. It’s like an ongoing Kickstarter. You choose the level you amount you want to spend, and in return, you get thanks from me, a reward based on the amount you picked, and access to the Patreon-supporters-only blog on my Patreon page. However, right now, I’m not planning to write much on that supporters-only page. I just want to make this blog better.
Think of it like you’re subscribing to a magazine, paying a little each month to receive a fresh issue (or, in my case, a month’s worth of posts). You might have spent a bunch of money, in the past, to get a newspaper delivered everyday. Now we have the Internet, though, you can not only get all the world’s writing for free, you can also, in addition, give money directly to the writers you most like.
I decided to do Patreon, rather than simply asking for donations (using a site like Indiegogo or something like that), because I want to encourage myself to write more. I would rather you reward me, if you choose to do so, for the writing I’m going to do, rather than the work I’ve done, because, with any luck, that will inspire me to improve this site.
Subscribing is completely one-hundred percentage optional. I won’t be hurt if no one does. I’m a grad student, and I know money is tight. And while I pay for some of the Internet I consume (I pay $10 a month for Ben Thompson’s Stratechery), I mostly don’t. I’m already amazed that people keep coming back here: that you read this site now and in the future is reward enough. The blog will continue to be free and available to all, and Patreon says that many campaigns do better over time. There’s no rush.
Now, Patreon says that the best practice is to create a video explaining what I’m offering, and which describes how Patreon works. I do want to make that video, and generally improve my page, which currently looks a bit untidy. But I was getting so nervous about asking you all for support, I didn’t seem able to write anything on the blog’s other themes. It was a log jam inside my blogging brain.
So I decided to have a soft launch today, with the plan to have a proper launch in two weeks, with a video of me and so on, when I’ll post the link to the page on Facebook, Twitter etc, tell my friends, and maybe post some cool extra reward levels.
However, if you are interested in trying this dollar-per-month thing, and seeing if it feels worth it to you, it would be great to have a few subscribers before the big launch in mid-November. That way, when my friends and relatives see the link, they won’t see zero on my list of Patreons 🙂
If you’re still unsure what this means, here is a silent film that Patreon produced depicting the various stages of subscribing. If you have questions, or feel the urge to donate money to my site, but just don’t like the subscription model, feel free to send me an email.
So. Take a look! Click the logo, below, to see my site and my strange, intriguing rewards: