Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thinking about Patreon

For the last several months, I've been hearing a lot about Patreon.  For those who don't know, Patreon allows people to pledge money to creators.  I first heard about it with webshows who use the money to buy new equipment and stuff like that.  I think that's a great idea and if I had extra money, there are several shows I would support.  But I don't have money, which is why it would be great if I could get some patrons.  But I don't have a webshow or make videos or anything like that.  I write stories.  And I would hate to ask people to pay me to write a story when I give away stories every week for free.  So for a couple of months now I've wanted to get in to Patreon, I just haven't figured out how to go about it.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I had an idea we'll call Plan A.  The plan starts with a poll.  I don't know if you can do polls in Patreon, but I'm sure I could find a poll site somewhere.  The poll would list various scifi things like aliens, alternate dimensions, Andromeda Galaxy, etc., all starting with "A." People would vote on this poll, and then I would write a story (probably in the 1000 word range) dealing with that topic.  And I'd go through the entire alphabet.  I figured if I could write a story every other week, I could be done in a year.  But the thing I would do with those stories is to then revise them and put them out as a Kindle ebook.  My patrons - who pledged at a certain amount - would receive a copy of it, and those who pledged higher would receive a copy of all of my Kindle ebooks. 

It's a good idea, but there is one problem with it.  When I first start out, not many people would know about it and only a few people would vote, which kind of defeats the purpose.  To get around that, I came up with Plan B, which is what I'm thinking of actually starting with before going back to Plan A once I have some followers.

Several years ago, I read a collection of stories by various authors with each story set on a different planet.  I thought that was a great idea and that I should do a story for every planet.  So I had the idea, but until now I never really sat down to go about it.  My Patreon Plan B is to write a story for twelve bodies/regions in the solar system: the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth/moon, Mars, Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Kuiper Belt, and Oort Cloud.  If I could do a story a month, it would take me a year to go through them all.  And then I'd do the same thing of putting them in a Kindle ebook and giving out copies to those who pledged.

The one sort of issue I still have, is I don't really like the sound of "Give me money, so I don't have to get a job." Because the webshows I watch talk about if they can raise X amount of money they'll get new microphones or a new camera or whatever.  For me it would be, "Help me raise X dollars and I'll ... get a tank of gas?" I couldn't think of a way raising money on Patreon could directly help my writing, only indirectly by me having the time to write and not worry about paying bills.  But then I thought of something.  I've put out several ebooks on Kindle, but one thing I haven't done for any of them is a big promo.  There are sites that will send out tweets about your book to their 100,000 followers ... for a fee.  I haven't felt comfortable enough risking my money on one of these promo deals in the hope it would end up making me more money through sales.  But I think that will be one of my Patreon campaign goals.  If I raise enough money, I'll pay for one of these promo sites to see if it's worth it.  And I'll hopefully pay some of my bills. 

Anyway, next month I will be busy with my 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge, and then I'll probably need a break in the beginning of October, so maybe by November I'll start getting serious with this Patreon stuff.  Watch this space.

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