Changing Patreon Structure: And Announcing “Book of the Month Club”

I got a response from Patreon to my request for information about how they will be charging people who pledge per post. It turns out that each pledge will incur a separate thirty-five-cent charge. That clearly makes my current structure unacceptable — if I do ten posts in a month then someone paying $1 per post will be charged $3.50 on top of their $10 payment, which is frankly absurd.

So as of today I am switching my Patreon to a per-month setting. This means that the paid posts I have done this month so far become free posts, and Patreons will just get a single charge at the end of the month. As I’ve been getting, on average, around $400 a month from the per-post setting, and as it currently says I get $85 per post (this is incorrect on Patreon’s part — I get significantly less than that) I’m going to multiply all the reward tiers by five — so the $1-per-post tier will become a $5-per-month one (though I’ll keep a $1-per-month “thank you” tier, as people can cap their donations at the moment and I don’t want people to think they *can’t* just give me $1 per month).

I’m changing my goals to a single one — $400 per month, the point at which I’ll not be losing money compared to before the change-over. At that point I’ll be bringing in something I was planning to do without announcing it, in case I fuck the plan up — my “book of the month club” on Patreon. I’m planning that in at least ten of the next twelve months I’ll be putting out at least one ebook of novella length or longer. The initial plans are to have the second Sarah Turner Mystery out next month, with the books on Harry Nilsson, Roy Wood, and The Prometheans (the book on SF libertarianism) all to come out over the year. Backers would also get my ebook about The Strange World of Gurney Slade which will be released by Obverse next year. The third Sarah book will come out in a year, with luck.

That would make up five of the books, and those will be in paper too (apart from the Gurney Slade one, which will be ebook-only for backers, although it will be available to purchase in paper from Obverse) — the other five (or more) will be in a series of novellas I’m planning to put out, which will be standalone stories that build up into a bigger story. Those will be ebook-only at first, though I’ll probably put out paper collections of say three novellas at a time. There may be other books if I accidentally a book, which happens sometimes, and I may do one ebook of “my best essays of the year” or something.

I wasn’t actually going to announce this, as I’m better at making ambitious plans than on following through with them, but I’m pretty sure I can do this, at least for one year — I’ve got a lot of these things in fairly advanced stages of planning (the second Sarah book is basically done and just needs some rewriting to take out a small subplot I don’t like), and thanks to my use of 4thewords I’m now averaging between three and five thousand words of good writing per day, and never less than 1500 in a day, when previously I was averaging 1000 a day if that.

That also means that I will be able to do more commissioned posts, so the rest of this month is going to be Patreon-commissioned posts. If you’re a backer, and you want me to write about anything at all, comment and let me know, and between now and January 1 I will post about it.

So, that’s my plan for dealing with this massive change. I have also signed up to be notified when Kickstarter’s new platform, Drip, opens up to creators (“early next year” apparently). I will almost certainly set up a parallel crowdfunding site there, and maybe shut the Patreon down depending on how many people migrate over there.

For Patreons wondering what level to set your payments at: on average (with caps etc) backers were paying for roughly five posts per month (some of you were only paying for one, others were paying for all of them). So depending on your financial situation, I’d *suggest* either multiplying your donation by five, looking at what you’ve paid out recently and setting it to that, or setting your donation to what your monthly cap was. Doing whatever you want is still an option, and I am not going to guilt you if you choose to lower your donations, and thank you for whatever you’ve given, if anything, in the past.

I am seriously furious at Patreon for this, but not at my backers for how they choose to respond.

If you’re a backer and want to change your settings — or if you’re not and feel like helping make up for the inevitable loss of income this will cause me — you can find my Patreon here.

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One Response to Changing Patreon Structure: And Announcing “Book of the Month Club”

  1. davidgerard says:

    I’ve posted making a small amount of noise about this, and linked back to this post as an excellent example of the problem in practice. The TechCrunch article is the first news coverage I’ve seen, and it’s pretty good — though they couldn’t get comment out of Patreon.

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