I went to the beach yesterday, and I took this picture out of the open window of the truck. No phones were dropped or damaged during this reckless photography session. (The husband has learned my battery recharges REALLY well at the beach, so he’s taking me to the beach once a month so I can play in the sand and hunt for seashells. I literally have the best husband. (The beach we like is 45 minutes away from our home in each direction.)
The past few days have been dedicated to getting my Patreon situated. First, there was putting together the basic idea for tiers. Second, it was posting it, getting feedback, and making adjustments to it. I’ve since come to some conclusions on how I’d like to run it. So, let’s dig in!
I’ve been asked (usually once or twice a week) if I would do a patreon. After a lot of soul searching, including the decision to push back preorders, I decided to do it for a bunch of reasons. Here they are, in no particular order:
- I get to do something fun and at a reasonably leisurely pace… and get stable, reliable income.
- I get to have a fun place to interact with readers.
- I get to have a centralized location to gather Q&A stuffs.
- I get to draw.
And, ranked right up there, I get stable income. Stable income is a huge stressor for me. I never know what my pay will be, and I have to work really hard to sustain earnings. This… really does take away from the creative element.
Patreon will let me do creative things while being able to go “okay, this much of my rent is covered for the month.” It’s like having a ‘real’ job but not. (I still have to work to make the patrons happy, but I’m fine with that. That’s already par for my course.
So, let’s discuss the tiers! (Yes, I’m literally bouncing with excitement at this point.)
Tier 1: The Pixies!
Pixies pay $5 a month and gain access to the following:
- a newsletter every month from the Furred & Frond Management
- kitty pictures (this is an unofficial perk, but this will happen)
- at least one coloring book page per month (probably more, but we’ll see)
- access to the Answers of the Q&A when it’s released
- one short story a month (I will bundle really short stories together/give more stories if I’m in a flash fiction mood for the month to make sure it’s fair.)
- Writing Tips* (This is new and currently being polled, but people seem to be interested, so I will be adding this as a perk for all patrons.) Tips will eventually be posted to facebook or my blog, but Patrons will get early access to them.
Tier 2: The Otters!
Otters pay $10 a month and gain access to the following:
- Everything the pixies get
- they can ask questions for the Q&A/Ask the Author Questionnaires.
- one to three short stories a month, depending on how many stories I produce.
Tier 3: The Cindercorns!
Cindercorns pay $25 a month and gain access to the following:
- Everything the pixies & otters receive.
- Access to all short stories written each month.
- Access to Wallpapers & Digital Swag
- Sneak peeks of upcoming books
Tier 4: The Spicy Ponies with Bite!
Spicy Ponies with Bite pay $100 and gain access to the following:
- Everything the pixies, otters, and cindercorns receive.
- Ability to request a custom coloring book page. (There is a post for the spicy ponies to select their theme/request for their custom coloring book page.)
- Read Along of a Work-in-Progress*
*Read Alongs are unedited drivel of a work-in-progress, posted after written with minimal (or no) editorial. Once the novel has been completed and headed to retail, the book will be made available to the Spicy Ponies with Bite. (The book will be posted at least 72 hours before retail release, and the book will be taken down from Patreon by the end of the month.) The read along will also be taken down from Patreon before it is released for retail, and a new read along will begin.
There is currently a poll for Spicy Ponies with Bite allowing them to pick their first read along. In reality, I expect there will be two read alongs going at the same time, as I have a passion project REALLY bothering me, and I want to do at least a scene a month on it, and this is the perfect vessel for making sure I can pursue this.
Once I have the cover in hand, the Spicy Ponies with Bite and the Cindercorns will get access to it. Cindercorns will get the first three chapters of the story posted as part of their sneak peek for the series, posted scene by scene. (But only Spicy Ponies with Bite will get the completed book.)
Note: I am undecided if I will post the complete read along; I often will get to 50-75% of a book, sit down, and be consumed with finishing it, and it will hit retail long before I’d paced the story through Patreon. But because Patrons will have access to the retail copy, this won’t be a problem. There will be less waiting because once it’s done, it’s done.
I will not be holding the book back; once the book is ready for retail, there may be a short (7 week) preorder, but chances are, the Patron read alongs will be ‘live’ released, and the Patrons will receive their copy the day before I upload the finalized book to vendors. (It can take up to 72 hours for new releases to post on vendors.) This will guarantee the Patrons have at least 24 hours with the book before anybody else.
And, that’s it that’s all! So, to address a few things…
What is the Patreon paying for?
Life. Seriously, it’s paying for life. The money earned from my patreon will be directly going to paying my bills and removing general income stress from my life while I do something I truly enjoy–creating stuff without the stress.
For the first time in months, I got out my tablet and drew things just for the joy of drawing.
For the first time in months, I conceptualized a project because I could. (I may have ordered the covers for the duet because I could, too. This project has been literally bothering me for fucking months but I couldn’t justify working on it. Now I can, a large part due to the Patreon.)
How much time per month will I need to spend on the Patreon? Aren’t you going to stress yourself?
I expect 5 hours a month will be needed for all the Patreon work once I’m settled in. It might be more, but here’s the thing:
I really like doing everything I made as a benefit for patrons. I like writing short stories. I like drawing line art. I like working on read alongs. I like helping other authors with writing tips. I like all of these things.
I just, due to my 14 hour days, didn’t have time for it. They didn’t pay the bills. The patreon changes all of that.
I get to play, I get to do something I truly enjoy… and it helps to pay the bills.
So, once I got over my initial hesitancies and evaluated what I could do, I went from hell no to… okay, let’s try this. The worst that happens is I retire the Patreon after a while.
But I suspect this will become one of my happy places, because I want to cultivate a fun, friendly community on my patreon, where I can be creative in an environment where people who want me to be creative are happy I’m creating.
I love writing.
The general world can be a tough place. I’m hoping Patreon will be a friendly, happy place.
What is the deal with the $3k Goal?
I hate myself and want to torment myself through basic humiliation? (Hahahaha!)
In reality, a patron asked, and this sort of thing isn’t up my alley, but if people pay my rent, I can afford to spend 45 minutes embarrassing the fuck out of myself for some laughs while reading one of the short stories to you. I have t-rexes, and I’m willing to use them.
And frankly, if my patrons pay my rent? The least I can do is spend 45 minutes a month making them laugh and reading them a story. Probably badly, but I’ll do my best.
Yes, the video quality will not be professional, but once again, I will do my best. (And seriously, unless somebody donates a professional quality camera, y’all are getting what my iPhone 12 Pro Max can handle. I will buy a tripod thingie for it and have my husband help drive it.
This not me asking for a camera. This is me pointing out you will get what you get because I am an author, not a video producer, and I will do what I can with my little phone, and we’ll all be happy with it because we’re having fun.
How are you doing? Is your health okay?
My health is mostly okay right now beyond the things I can’t control/are chronic, and the changes I’ve been making are to keep it that way. A sickly author can’t realistically write. So, this is better for everybody. Sure, I’m slowing down, but I’m going to be making better use of my time, and I won’t feel guilty I went to the beach on a Saturday because it’s Saturday and I shouldn’t be working anyway.
That said, I do work on weekends if I get bored/have nothing else to do, but it’s relaxing and fun work, or it will be moving forward.
So, I’m doing okay. I’m hopeful the Patreon will continue to help with that.
And if you’re not, the only thing you’re missing out on is the digital downloads of the coloring book pages. Everything else will eventually make it to my blog or to retail. Eventually. (Like, I will compile the short stories into a collection every year or two or when I have 150,000 words of short stories.) These will be published as three-author collections, including works from R.J. Blain, Susan Copperfield, and Bernadette Franklin.
I’m not interested in publishing coloring books. They’re fun for me, and they’re imperfect, but I’ll share my art in coloring page format because I can.
Thanks for your support, everybody.
And yes, authors, you do NOT have to join my patreon to get the writing tips and information. Patrons will just get access to the tips first. Expect a month delay to make it fair for them.