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17 February 2014 @ 03:50 pm
Patreon update :)  

So I logged into the war room after launching the MAGIC & MANNERS Patreon project and got hit with a bunch of suggestions on how to improve the page, which I’ll be doing, but one of them was “more explaining about how the funding works”, so I’ll do that in a blog post.

So. Funding with Patreon is Not Like Kickstarter. Patreon does not ask for one large donation; it asks for many small ones. And when we say small we can mean “ten or five or even one cent”–micropayments are totally cool with the Patreon model.

Patreon allows you to cap your monthly donation. If it’s a year-long project with 50 chapters (as I anticipate MAGIC & MANNERS being), if you want to cap your monthly payment at $1, so that over the course of the year you pay $12 for the eventual e-book, that’s totally cool.

I’m setting a cap of my own on the number of chapters I’m willing to post: no more than 1 a week. So, for example, if you have opted to donate $1/chapter, over the course of the month the most you can possibly get hit for is $5 (in July & October, I think, which are the months this year with 5 Wednesdays, which is the day I expect to post). But if you’ve set your own cap of $3/month, that’ll be your total donation regardless of the caps on my end of things.

I want to emphasise again that this isn’t like Kickstarter: if you tell Patreon you want to donate $10/chapter, it’s not a one-time donation of $10, it’s $10 every week! And, I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you want to and can afford that, that’s great, but as the project creator, I’m not expecting people to be able to donate at that level! My goal/hope is really to basically get 250 people at $1 each–or, of course, ideally more than that so that editing and whatnot can be part of the whole project process. :)

Basically I’m going to give the Patreon project a month to fund. If we haven’t reached the base level of $250/chapter by the middle of March, I’ll call it a failed experiment and close it down. If we do, of course, then there will be new chapters every week, which would be lots of fun. :)

Questions? Hit me with ‘em!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

M. C. A. Hogarth: presenthaikujaguar on February 17th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
Kickstarter will let you launch as many projects as you want, whether you fail to fund or fail to deliver... it's really up to the patron to do the research about whether to take the risk. Fortunately the community seems pretty good at spreading news, and KS makes it easy to check a creator's profile for some historical data, if you want to check up on people.

I use KS regularly for book presales. Interestingly, running the book as a serial first often serves as good advertising for the KS. My most successful campaigns have involved stories that did well as serials; one of them overfunded so well that I had plenty for all three editions (print, e-book and audio). Importantly, though, I've never failed to fund a Kickstarter that was packaging traditional editions of stories that people had already paid to have serialized. Readers are generous when you explain the costs of production to them, and if they really like a story a lot of them will be happy to toss in a few final dollars to get a permanent copy they don't have to page through online.

In that sense, you can sort of use a serialized version of a story as the kind of long-tail advertising you were talking about.
Michellemsagara on February 17th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
In that sense, you can sort of use a serialized version of a story as the kind of long-tail advertising you were talking about.

So, if you’re doing the serial version first, it is in theory more like a Patreon model? (Serious question). Actually, let me take that back. If it’s an older, pre-KS model, people can chip in whatever they want, when they want, and you write more when (in theory) you’ve reached a certain amount?

M. C. A. Hogarth: presenthaikujaguar on February 17th, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
A little, yes, except I promise that the story will be completed online. I've tried a number of payment models depending on the story and my whim to experiment, and the one that seems to work best for my audience is an acceleration model. I promise one update a week (usually about 1200-1500 words). If they want more, they can "buy" additional episodes. I set the price per bonus, and the cap for number of additional updates per week, based on the amount of money I want coming in and how fast I want the story to finish (a lesson I learned when I ran my first accelerated serial, planning for it to take about a year, only to have it finished within a few months)!

So every week, readers get a bit of the story, and then depending on their inclination and finances at the time, they can pool their donations to get one to three more bits posted that week.

This model works well for novels, since people tend to want to know what happens next immediately. I used a "pay to post" model for a series of flash fiction, since they weren't connected and it wasn't going to be a hardship for people not to learn what happened next, and for those it started with "you need to buy these at 5 cents a word, and once we've paid up the entirety, I'll post." By the end of the series, though, people were paying almost 12 cents a word to get those posted, because they liked them. I was flattered, and making more money than I would have had I sold them to most short fiction markets. I gave up a lot to make that money--being more visible would have helped with award nominations, etc. But I packaged all those stories later into collections and published them as e-book/print/audio and they've been quietly making royalties since.

It's hard work figuring out how to balance the "pay the bills" vs "effort expended" vs "visibility" equation in a modern writing career, but I'm grateful there are more choices. Ten years ago, I was supposed to be delighted to make $150 a year, writing fiction. Now I'm shocked if I make that little a month.