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I Said "Patreon" Out Loud...

As in, I mentioned in public that I'm considering Patreon. So in between coaching my nephews through schoolwork and chores -- hours during which absolutely nothing creative can occur -- I read through all the How It Works stuff on the Patreon website, poked around different creator projects to get a feel for things, and sketched out some notes while the boys finished math.

And I have IDEAS.

Y'see, I don't want to put up a campaign solely for the purpose of supporting novel writing. I mean, in the end, that's what happens, but that alone seems so... not quite what I want to propose. But I was having trouble coming up with something I could provide patrons on an ongoing basis. I'm not a short story writer and, no matter how much anyone pays me, I cannot suddenly become one. I am not a visual artist, so cannot provide people with wonderful pretties. I'm not willing to commit to a chapter-per schedule at this time (though that might change as Life becomes more secure).

But I write about fighting and self-defense and violence--sometimes in the context of writing, but most often in a more general context that can be used by writers and others. These are the most-read articles I've written. I've the martial arts background, basic weapon familiarity, stage combat training and experience, and ongoing access to resources to learn more.

So here are some of my feeling-things-out thoughts:

On the side of patron levels:
-- Basic support level provides access to monthly content that'll be exclusive to patrons for three to six months. Topics would range from self-defense notions to information on different styles and training, to writing application. Anyone can submit questions and topics, too.
-- Maybe a slightly higher support level that'll include... I don't know yet? Mention in acknowledgements of published work and question/answer priority?
-- A much higher level for personal feedback/critique of a fight scene and/or answering specific questions on an ongoing basis (like... editorial coaching for fight scenes).

On the side of cumulative goals:
-- A set total goal for a monthly article. Were I writing these at the "pro" per-word rates, it'd come in about $120 per article, which I'm mentioning as a reference.
-- A higher total goal for a second piece of content. (Another article, or line-by-line analysis of an existing fight/action scene, its choices, and what the choices reveal?)
-- And something else I'm not thinking of?

Would this be of value and interest to folks?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2015 11:25 pm (UTC)
This is one of the first things I've heard of that I would pay to have access to. (Particularly if every once in a while we got videos!)
Nov. 4th, 2015 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you!

and then...

*gulp* Videos? I... hmmm.

Y'know, for someone who did theater and currently does event speaking, I have the oddest stomach-lurch aversion to making my own videos. On the other hand, my son has promised to teach me how to do it, so... Videos are a possibility, I suppose. :)
Nov. 4th, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
I generally back creators rather than specific content. Accordingly I would back a Patreon based on the fact that it is/was BY YOU rather than backing specific content thereon.

That said, the level of backing for me reflects my perceived value of the projects being undertaken (largely regardless of the extent to which the projects make themselves visible in the site content).

Since I like being able to direct potentially-interested-parties to cool content, I am not-quite-but-almost-opposed to "locked" essays, articles, and things I read and want to say "ooo! ooo!" read this about -- but can't because they are only available to backers. ("Read this cool thing! I support it and I'm sure you'll want to support it!" [CONTENT IS LOCKED] "Awww...") My opinion.

Now... higher-value backer awards... "Higher-value backers! This month I will post my thoughts on Fighting A Bear! OR, a Werewolf! OR, three asthmatic walruses and a squad of ninja penguins! YOU CHOOSE WHO I WILL FIGHT at least conceptually!" Yes, I would pay extra to vote on that panel. Admittedly it may make you somewhat uncomfortably similar to a gladiatorial combatant. *cue soundtrack to "Gladiator" and Blair staring down the crowd of Patreon patrons: "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?"* Well anyway. A passing thought; just not necessarily a GOOD thought...

Maybe another approach would be to make "Tier goals" for the entire group to achieve collectively? "When backing gets to $100 per month, I will purchase a pogo stick and devote one hour per month to practicing Pogo-Kata! At $200 per month, I will fight a cardboard box full of pudding with a chainsaw! $350 per month and I will be able to pursue my lifelong dream of ____! When backing reaches $500 per month, I will seek out a master of the Dyspeptic Goldfish school of ninjutsu and report on my conversation with them ("Bloop, blorp, , blub-bloop")! $1000 per month? VIDEOS of the pogo-kata!" Etc...

But anyway, I'd back a Blair's Combatant Patreon just because I like the self-defense writing you do and would like to support not just the writing but the continuing training and teaching that underlies the writing. Please take my money! *waves fistful of banknotes from various failed nation-states plus a couple of mass-transit cards*
Nov. 4th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)

Interesting point on the locked-content. I personally have NO investment or interest in making content exclusive for long periods of time, but mentioned it because I perceived exclusivity as being a backer's preference. Maybe a you-see-it-first sort of short-term exclusivity to ride the middle ground?

This gives me a great deal to think about--including pogo-kata. I mean, I can pogo like nobody's business, but segway-kata might provide a more effective training protocol.

And we've already covered the chainsaw-wielding bears, so... :)

Nov. 4th, 2015 06:23 am (UTC)
I'm finding this Facebook group useful in terms of nuts and bolts between creators: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1550973328480472/

There are some things I'm finding discouraging there. Patreon has some technical issues and some operational issues, and they don't seem to be at all timely in addressing them. (For instance, there are at least two bugs that allow people to get content without paying for it, which have existed and been well-known among creators for months, and Patreon has not addressed them.)
Nov. 4th, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC)
Aha. Thank you for the pointer to the site!

As a user, there is a certain amount and kind of troubles I tend to willingly accept or forgive, especially if my remaining option is equally if not more difficult to deal with. But there are indeed limits. :) So... I'll poke around to see what I find, and I really appreciate you bringing it up.
Nov. 4th, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of a Patreon in general if it allows you to devote time to things you otherwise wouldn't have time for. I also like the idea of communal tiers - 'if I get x per month, I will...'.

What I dislike is the 'I need to reach X sum before I'll write another article' because that often results in false economies. (You presumably do not get paid $120 for writing an article. In order to get paid that much, you need to research publications and potential topics, and query editors, and be open to, or decline, editorial requests... whereas for your Patreon you can determine what to write and you will get paid by your your backers. Different process, different turnaround times, different model.)

(edited as I've looked at the Patreon page again and misremembered):
Having said that, siderea is running a patreon on a 'x dollars per article' basis which I do not object to - and that's, in fact, a common thing that users promise a certain dollar amount per item.

I think what works here is the farming of 'this sum allows me to make it a priority to do this' rather than 'I deserve x because other people would pay the same amount,' - this is a target tier rather than a demand. (Many creators also say 'I will not publish more than x items per month' so you know how much you'll be spending.

I also feel that backer exclusivity should be limited: you write something, your backers see it first, then everybody can see it on your website, which means you and they can spread the word and it becomes a valuable resource. I like this much better than content nobody else will ever see, particularly as your content would be educational.

Edited at 2015-11-04 04:21 pm (UTC)
Nov. 4th, 2015 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Excellent points on the per-article thing, especially in terms of phrasing. I used the $120 as a general number because, honestly, I haven't a clue what the Patreon numbers should be and was looking for a reference since writing material for corporations *completely* skews one's fiction expectations. :)

Also, I like your input on the exclusivity. As I mentioned above, I don't have any interest in keeping content hidden, but thought others might prefer it. I'd much rather have the content open.
Nov. 8th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
Writers sometimes will add a fan as a character, or someone else that a fan proposes. I got author Jeff Carlson to write Tanya Huff into a book. She got eaten by nanobots. At a book signing, I then got Tanya to sign a copy of Jeff's book, and I gave it to him as a gift.
Nov. 8th, 2015 08:56 pm (UTC)
I love this! Both the idea and the anecdote!

I truly enjoy putting people in my stories, either with names or personalities or both. In Chant, most all the gods' names come from friends and family. Forex, Ved is the little troublemaker god who gets blamed for small mischief. My son's name is Dev. :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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