This Path Looks Familiar... but Different
Patronage of the arts is nothing new. My use of Patreon is also not new, although I stopped using it at the end of last year. It had been a useful tool for me, and my patrons at the time provided invaluable encouragement and support. However, I did not feel that I was reaching new readers with it, and that is an important goal for me. The way I presented myself on Patreon was probably too scattered to capture the attention of new people. In addition to talking about my books and related works, I also posted about non-writing creativity, such as my photos on Morguefile.com and my audio files on freesound.org.
Late last month I decided that I would try Patreon again. This time I would approach it in a completely different manner. My profile would only be focused on writing. My page also would not be set up to use the monthly payment model like before; instead, I would have it set up so that I would need to actually produce content of value to be paid at all.
This was not a particularly easy decision to make. Patronage can feel like charity, and I do not want to present myself as a charity case. I believe the different payment model helps differentiate the two, but I was still hesitant. I also did not want my prior patrons to feel that I was going back to them to beg for more money, so I decided that I would specifically suggest that they not participate this time.
Once I had made the decision, I ran into a number of technical problems. According to the Patreon site, my profile and everything associated with it should have been wiped out. That should have happened automatically when I reverted my account to be patron-only (i.e., not a creator), but everything was still there — patrons, posts, comments, and settings. I tried to reset it all manually, but that didn't work either. I finally had to contact their technical support. To fix it, they had to completely delete my old account so that I could start over.
It took me awhile to get everything set up the way I wanted it, and part of that was experimenting with Discord to see if it was something I wanted to use in conjunction with Patreon. I decided to at least try it. I plan to go live with my new Patreon page later today, if I can find a suitable bit of content to share. That first piece will be posted for everyone, not just patrons, so that a viewer of my profile can evaluate whether or not they would like to become a patron.
The page is not yet public, so there is no content at the link yet. Edited to add: The page is now live and you can view my Patreon profile here. If you are interested in seeing how I use Patreon this time, I encourage you to keep an eye on my Facebook page or my Twitter feed. I will announce the link on both of those platforms when the page is ready.
I have no idea whether this experiment will work. Wish me luck! :-)
Photo by Flickr user Sheffield Tiger, used under license (CC-BY).