(Proper post later… I’m embarrassed to be posting this one at all, but…)
Before I start this, I just want to say there is no pressure, implied or otherwise, to support my Patreon, intended in this post. I only support a tiny percentage of those Patreons, Kickstarters and so forth that I consider worthy, and understand that people have limited funds, resources, interest in my writing, and anything else. This blog will always continue to be free, everyone will continue to be welcome to read it, and I will never think worse of anyone for not supporting my Patreon, or for removing their support, or anything else.
Currently, my Patreon stands at $48 per post. This is far, far more than I ever hoped or expected to make from it. I’m quite astonished that people value my work that much. That actually means that for an 800-word post (slightly, but not excessively, below my average, which is around 1000 words), I’m being paid a professional writing rate (SFWA’s qualifying rate for a professional market is 6 cents a word).
This is, frankly, astonishing to me. That I can do the same thing I’ve done here since 2008 without pay, and make a professional rate from it, is quite absurd, but in a good way.
Of course, the more Patreon-charged posts I do (those ones with the link at the bottom, which I charge Patreons for — things like this, or the one about my anniversary, or the linkblogs, are free), the less per post I get, because people quite rightly put limits on how much they pay per month (and if any of my Patreon patrons *HAVEN’T* done that, please, please do!), or I could post ten thousand short posts, charge for them all, and clear out everyone’s bank account. But at the moment I’m getting about $48 per post.
And this has me thinking.
If I could get up to $100 per post on average — consistently, allowing for people’s monthly limits — I could do this as a job. I could do a thousand-word or more post a day, every day, easily if I didn’t have to worry about a day job. (I could do that now, if I were healthy. I’m not). It would be a substantial pay cut, but not an unaffordable one, especially if my wife were to find a job — and it would allow me to produce a LOT more writing than I do now, which in turn would mean that other sources of writing income like sales of books that I wrote as blog posts could cover some of the difference. It would also raise the quality of the posts here — when I have an idea for a series of posts, I could write them all in one go. No chance of unfinished series that lose steam, or months between posts like the Batposts. I’d know I could write about current affairs on the day they happened, rather than having to wait til I had free time, when they might no longer be relevant, and so on.
So, my question is — is there anything I’m not doing which, if I did it, would encourage you to back my Patreon if you don’t already?
I’m not interested if the answer’s “no”, incidentally. If you read this and nothing could persuade you to back me, *THAT’S FINE*. But you don’t need to tell me.
But if, for example, me starting podcasting my posts again (which I stopped because no-one was listening, and I changed the way the Patreon was working, but I could start again), or more Patreon-exclusive or advance posts, or writing posts on subjects of Patreons’ choosing, or something, would make you more likely to become a backer, please let me know in the comments. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it if I do what you say and you still don’t back me — chances are that someone, sometime, will.
One thing I *am* considering is, when I’ve finished writing the mystery novel I’m working on at the moment (which I’d also been considering shopping to publishers) making it available to Patreons, putting it on sale, and then serialising all sixty or so chapters here, so any non-Patreons who are reading it would have an incentive to buy the complete version to avoid having to wait.
So, if you’re not already a Patreon backer, but could be persuaded to be, what would persuade you?
The novel might be enough to hook me, if the first chapter engages me enough. Mystery isn’t one of my usual genres, but I’m not rigid about that kind of thing. Oddly, though, I think I’d be more likely to pay £x per chapter to read chapters published one at a time as a serial than to subscribe to the Patreon in order to download the whole thing at once. I’m not sure why that is; it doesn’t seem terribly rational to me, but then purchase decisions often aren’t. Possibly it’s something to do with reading quite a lot of serialised fiction via AO3’s Subscribe option, whereas most of the stuff I read in one go these days is course-related, so maybe my brain’s starting to think of serials as the natural format for fiction and books for non-fiction.
Interesting. Serialisation is certainly my own natural *writing* form for fiction too — I do well with short chapters, cliffhangers, thinking on my feet and so on. But the attempts I’ve made to write longer works as serials here have been squashed by the problem I mentioned above — loss of momentum because of lack of time/energy. That’s why I’m trying to get this one (which will be a very SFnal-feeling mystery, incidentally) complete before serialising. If that works, I’ll no doubt do others that way — I have a few ideas I want to work on.