Archive for December 5th, 2015

Thoughts on Patreon: part I (myths and morality)

I set up a Patreon account yesterday.

It was exhilarating and terrifying because of various intersections of: money! adulting! charity! begging! transparency! arts-ing!  pull yourself up by your own damn bootstraps! you’re an artist; you’re supposed to starve; it builds character! fake it until you make it!  friend-exploitation! and various other very friendly(?) vectors of thought.

I apologize for those of you who read the above sentence and wanted to cry because of punctuation abuse.

I set up a Patreon account for a couple of reasons:

  • I think it will be a fun experiment, both in terms of my new foray into “intending” and “manifesting” and in terms of “huh, I wonder what will happen?”
  • Asides from the thought experiments, it would be really nice to get some positive recognition.
  • Money really wouldn’t hurt either. *grin* Yes, this is separate from the above.
  • I figure it’s my way of letting the universe know that I’m ready to be hardcore srs bzness (like I wasn’t before) and to be paid for it.

As with all things, I’m going to analyze the entire process to death. Said process, of course, including the thoughts that went behind thinking about getting an account and then proceeding to create one.

I figure that part of the services I offer is to try things out and then ruminate endlessly upon them so that others can ping off my thoughts.

But that’s jumping ahead.

Going back to the very beginning, my ideal of Patreon is that it would enable people who provide some sort of service/art to have their lives crowdfunded by those who believe that they provide value to the world. Preferably, said people who then turn around and then patronize (in a good way!) others who they believe to be of service.

Consequently, I believe that it is only fair and desirable that people be able to live (well!) and create art off what they gain through their patrons’ support. I do not believe that Patreons should be reserved only for those who are starving and I do not believe that there should be some sort of arbitrary upper limit where people should go “nope, that’s enough money, stop patronizing me”.

So, there alone is a lot of baggage to be unpacked. I had to weed-whack through a lot of bad logic and suppositions (hereafter to be referred to as myths for short) to get to the point where I was okay with hitting launch and going “hey universe and its inhabitants, please to give me money so I can continue being me”.


Myth #1: I’m not deserving

Essentially I decided to let other people decide if that was true or not. That’s part of the thought experiment.

I blogged briefly a while ago regarding my disagreement with another author about authors asking others to fund their writing and I figure I should stand by my reasoning back then. Asking strangers/friends/family/your sentient (and money-earning) pets to support you is perfectly moral, provided it’s all safe, sane and consensual. In fact, I still hold that it might be slightly worse to go “hey spouse, I would really really like to stay home and write, okay?” because there’s that expectation of doing big things for your spouse that you might not really like but you’re going to do anyways because you’re married to them.

If I think it’s okay for other people to do, then I should be okay doing it myself, right? Right.

Even if what I’m offering is slightly atypical. Rants, reviews, and random musings?

Oh well, I’ll let other people sort out whether I’ve been of service or not.


Myth #2: There’s no point / I’ll starve anyway because no one will care enough

Slightly related to myth #1 and kind of linked to myth #6. However, same difference. Let other people decide. I will do my best in what I do and I’ll let everyone else sort out what they think is fair. Again, thought experiment.


Myth #3: I’m not starving enough to justify this

Mmm. I don’t believe Patreon should only be for the starving. Spiritual starvation is bad too, for that matter. In general, however, I believe that this could be the start of something beautiful, something that could prompt more people to create and be supported for what they bring to the world. Life isn’t black and white, or rather it shouldn’t be.

I believe that artists also have a right to things like the ability to raise children, buy houses, have more than a subsistence living. I do not believe in the art is its own reward justification that so often gets trotted out. Yes, we enjoy what we do, that really doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get money for it. Once we start going down the road of “you enjoy your work, therefore you shouldn’t live well”, then that says really dire things about our society and economy that I don’t think should be supported in any way shape or form. Other than it already is, that is.


Myth #4: This is going to suck because I’m going to have to justify everything all the time

I’m all about transparency. Part of this experiment will be all about numbers and what the numbers say.  I’m going to start posting numbers in a hardcore way. Word count. Blog posts written. Books bought and reviewed. Royalties received from Amazon.  That said, I’m not going to change my behavior or lie about it. I’m going to keep up the YNAB analyses (Yeah, I’m aware I missed a month or so) and I’m going to keep up my donations to Doctors Without Borders and I’m going to buy me some booze once in a while. If someone doesn’t want to be my patron because they really don’t think I should be donating money to DWB while being on Patreon, that’s cool. I appreciate the money and I cherish the thought behind giving me money, but it’s not going to change who I am and what I do. No one gets to buy a piece of me. You get my thoughts and my words and that’s going to have to be enough. My attention, I’m pretty free with, so have at that if you like.


Myth #5: Patreon is only for real artists

Part of the thought experiment as well. Yes, I write stories. I will give them free of charge to my patrons. But I also provide other services. I translate. I interpret. I answer questions on Quora. I write posts on all sorts of random topics. I beta-read. I crit. I review books. As Thene said, I aim to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. I also try to provoke thought through my own endless navel-gazing.

I keep coming back to this, but it’s all about what other people think, not what I think. Do I provide value: Y/N? If so, please throw money at me, thank you. It will enable me to keep providing value in my various ways.


Myth #6: This is friend-sploitation and that’s not okay. Also known as the wail of “when will it end/where’s the line?!”

This one is tricksy. There’s a very clear taboo against mooching and exploiting your friends. I’m certain most of the world does it anyway or thinks it’s being done to them, but that doesn’t make it right. (Friend-zoning, we will talk about that in depth at some point. I figure talking about friend-zoning and emotional labor and using the EL to make it not an expletive laden anger-fest will be my gift to the world. )

So if you want to give me a birthday present, please to feel free to throw money at me instead. If you want to treat me to dinner once in a while, then either do that or toss the equivalent amount of money at me. Or a cup of coffee. Or a drink. (Yes, we will talk about the taboo of money and transparency also, but later. )

I’m not going to harangue my friends to be my patrons. It’ll be there, accessible and in plain sight, but I’m not going to be a pain about it the same way I’ve never gone out of my way to ask my friends to buy my books. If you don’t want to throw money at me, that’s fine too.

It may be because I grew up in a culture where red and white envelopes were just a way of life, but I’m completely okay with the whole concept of supporting friends in a financial fashion. My mother talks about how my grandmother’s wealthy friend used to give her and her siblings immense red envelopes at new year’s, with the understanding that it was her way of helping them pay the bills and buy food.

So the line is: I’ll mention I have this thing and you can do what you like with it and I will never harass you about it.


Whew. So all that. And we’ve barely started.

So I have a Patreon. Now what?

Well, I’m going to be blogging more. I’m going to be better about posting my reviews to this blog. I’m going to really get back on the train with the writing. I’m going to set up a “services” page where people can contact me about beta-reading, reviews, etc. I’m going to update my Fiverr account.

Essentially, I’m going to keep being me, but I’m going to document being me in a centralized location.

I also have a notion about my book reviews, where I’m not just going to review the book as a reader, but I might start critiquing it the way I would something I’m beta-ing and give people a taste of what kind of beta reader I would be.


Ready? Let’s do this.


P.S to self: I really need to sort out my categories…