Day 60 – Patreon for Authors

Author income can vary wildly from month to month, year to year. Hell, week to week, depending on the promotions and book releases scheduled. It can be a tricky thing, because we all have bills to pay, mortgages, car insurance to begrudgingly cover. It can be worse when you’re writing in a small genre like horror. If you want to make a lot of money, you should hitch your wagon to a much bigger horse.

I don’t have health insurance. Neither does my wife.

The monthly costs are too high for the shitty coverage we could get. And we get fined by the government because we can’t afford it. Fun times. I’d really like to have it for The Tall One at the very least.

Both my dogs are getting old and very expensive. Covering their medical bills costs more than mine. Having a consistent, monthly income would be a nice way to pay for some of this crap.

That’s where Patreon makes sense. An author can see exactly how much they’re going to consistently bring in if they use it. So why don’t I have one? Because I think most of the Patreon campaigns authors have suck. I have seen some really good ones, but they’re definitely the exception, not the rule.

I don’t want to feel like I’m ripping people off. When I sell someone a book, I get a few bucks, and they get an (hopefully) entertaining read. It’s a fair trade and I love it. When it comes to Patreon, the costs add up over time for the reader and I’m not sure they’re getting good value for that money.

If an author is releasing a chapter a month of a book for a $1/month Patreon subscription, that ends up being a shitload of money for a finished novel by the end of it. You could have $20+ into an ebook copy you could get for $5 when it’s finished. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the idea of it, I just want to make sure I’m providing value to my audience at all times. I have kicked around a few concepts for something like this, but obviously haven’t implemented them yet.

I like the idea of releasing a short story a month for $1. I’m sure there would be more expensive tiers, though I don’t know for what yet. Maybe signed copies of the story or my novels. Dunno.

The problem with that is short stories don’t sell worth a damn. Would a story a month for a buck, plus my entire back catalog of shorts, entice enough people to make it worth my time? I don’t want to start something like that, so that I could have a reliable monthly income, only to find it’s a waste of good writing time.

Honestly, I’m conflicted on the whole thing. If you have suggestions, for or against, what rewards should be at higher tiers, or anything else, then please post them. Giving people fun stories while getting help taking care of my little furballs sounds great in theory. In practice, I just don’t know.

Today, I wrote 1136 words in the untitled sixth book in The Hunger series. That brings the total to 8609. I’m starting to make some decent headway. More importantly, I’m extremely happy with what I’ve written so far. This is an intense one.

See ya tomorrow.