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I’ll be honest: before Misha and Carin had mentioned it in the same sentence as their WIPs, I had no interest to check out Patreon. I was talking about my own plans for 2017 and they joined the conversation. Colour me intrigued.

This is my post for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If you want to know more about this amazing group, click the icon below.

This is also the first interview on Ronel the Mythmaker.

What is Patreon?

According to their website:

“Patreon is the best way for creators to earn ongoing revenue directly from their fans.

For creators, Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things you’re already creating (webcomics, videos, songs, whatevs). Fans pay a few bucks per month OR per post you release, and then you get paid every month, or every time you release something new.”

O-kay. Along with their slogan “Creators, come get paid.” I’m more than a little sceptical. But hey, that’s perhaps because we have a culture where readers can get books for free – or next to free (99 cents anyone?).

I’ve read through the guidelines, the terms of use and all the other boring stuff. I’ve even checked out a couple of pages of authors I know. Still I couldn’t make up my mind whether or not I should join up.

So I did the smart thing and asked other authors who use Patreon all the questions that I’m sure you are burning to ask too.

Fellow South Africans Misha Gerrick (co-host today for IWSG!) and Carin Marias graciously agreed to be interviewed. To keep this post short and to the point, I asked them identical questions (and so we can get the answers from different perspectives 😉 ).

First off, I would like to thank them for taking time out of their busy writing schedules to answer this Q&A.

  1. Why did you choose this platform? What’s the appeal?

Misha: I honestly can’t even remember how I found Patreon. Maybe spotted someone tweeting about it and decided to check it out? I just liked the idea of generating a sturdy income, but in a way that offered something to patrons in return. So where indiegogo or gofundme is about funding something specific, Patreon is more of a monthly (or per post) financial support system for artists, which is something I really need in the beginning stages of my publishing career.

Carin: I first heard about Patreon on some of the podcasts I listen to and saw it as another way to build upon my own platform. It is a way in which to speak directly to a close group of fans who enjoy my work.

2. I read that Patrons receive rewards. What’s that all about and how do you implement it?

Misha: The idea is that the artist offers something related to their chosen art, in exchange for financial support. So I’m offering copies of my books, short stories as/when I write and so on. Comic creators might offer custom art. The possibilities are limited by the artist’s imagination. 

Carin: Yes, all your Patrons (those who support you) receive rewards of some kind and, what really makes it great, is that you can choose your own rewards and own tiers of rewards.

My rewards, for instance, start at $1 and is charged per month, per Patreon-only short story. The other rewards I include in the different tiers range from a look behind the scenes of The Ruon Chonicles (the series I am currently working on) to a cameo appearance in one of my stories.

3. What kind of content do you post and how frequently?

Misha: I try to post one to three times a week. I post updates on my writing, excerpts, short stories when I write them (which form part of my rewards) and sometimes content from my other social networks. 

Carin: Besides the monthly short story, I try to post at least once a week. These posts can range from early story drafts, to story notes and worldbuilding posts and notes.

I also post public posts – which means that you simply need to follow me to be able to read them and you don’t have to be a Patron.

4. How has this helped you as a writer?

Misha: Mainly, the fact that I know I have an amount of money coming in every month is useful. It sounds sad, as I’m still under $20 in patronage, but when I was just starting out writing full-time, I used the monthly amount to pay for Buffer, which saves me time when it comes to sharing various updates on my social networks. As the patronage grows, I can use the money to fund my publishing costs etc. 

One of my shorter term goals is to have my writing pay for my writing, publishing and marketing, and Patreon is definitely an important part of that plan. 

Carin: I think one of the main things Patreon teaches, is accountability. Whether you have 1 Patron or 1000 Patrons, you need to show up and deliver the work.

It also forces you to keep to a schedule, which is not as important when it comes to blogging.

5. What has your experience been with this platform and all it encompasses?

Misha: I’m enjoying it, and it’s really exciting to see how fast Patreon is improving its services. I joined in September last year, or thereabouts, and already using the site feels worlds apart now from what it was then. In a good way. 😉

Carin: My experience thus far has been very positive – I like receiving feedback on the posts and see that readers are also excited about the projects I’m busy working on.  I also think that, by starting small, I am able to find my feet and find out what works best for both me and my fans/Patrons.

6. Would you encourage other writers to use Patreon?

Misha: I think it’s definitely worth it for writers to look at, although I think a lot of people will have this “block” about “asking for hand-outs”. For me, it’s not like that at all, since I’m basically selling my writing in the form of rewards. 

The ideal would actually be if a whole active, self-supporting community of writers could spring up. (That’s one annoying thing about Patreon. It’s not all that big on discoverability, so you have to work your butt off to get people to take a look at your Patreon page.) See, I think it’s a psychological thing, where people exchanged equal amounts of patronage in order to boost numbers would make a huge difference by boosting patron numbers and encouraging others to support their community. 

Carin: In short, yes, I would encourage them to use Patreon and make it part of their overall author platform.

The publishing world changes so rapidly that, I think, writers must embrace all avenues open to them. I want to be a hybrid author and Patreon is only one step towards reaching that goal.

Even though it may also not start out as a second income stream, Patreon does teach you accountability, as I’ve said.

Don’t give up if you don’t immediately have a large following. Building a platform takes time and patience. Focus on delivering the best work you can and the rest will follow in time.

 

profile-pic-red-lips-misha Misha Gerrick writes a wide variety of genres, although she currently enjoys writing Fantasy of various types. Based near Cape Town, South Africa, she loves using the breathtaking scenery around her to breathe life into her worlds.

You can find her at:

YouTube  Patreon  Blogger  WordPress   Tumblr  Instagram  Twitter  Facebook

 

avatar-new-small-carin Carin Marais is a writer of fantasy fiction who also dabbles in other genres. Her love for folklore and mythology plays a significant part in her writing. Carin’s work has been published in Every Day Fiction, Jou wêreld, Reader’s Realm, Speculative Grammarian, and the 2016 Jozi Flash anthology. Dim Mirrors, a collection of her flash fiction, was published in 2016.

She is currently working on various short stories as well as her debut novel.

Carin can be found at:

Twitter  Blog  Patreon  Instagram Facebook  LinkedIn Wattpad  Pinterest

Aren’t they awesome?

writing by hand then laptop

So, regular readers will know that I usually answer the IWSG question of the month.

February’s question is: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Sometimes I have to switch off the part of me that goes “I would’ve written that part differently” or “Didn’t they see that grammar-error?” and other inner-editor rants. Irritating, to say the least. Though, once I relax I’m able to enjoy reading, filing away those little titbits of how to make my own writing better 😉

What are your thoughts about Patreon? Anything you’d like to ask Misha and/or Carin? Do you have an irritating inner-editor who voices opinions while you’re trying to read for fun?

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