During the Renaissance, rich benefactors would support artists with stipends, allowing them to do their work without worrying about an income. Today's authors have finally got the modern equivalent of these patrons in a website called Patreon. Patreon allows authors to enjoy this same freedom by finding multiple people willing to pay to support their work in exchange for small bits of writing. With this site, you'll be able to spend the bulk of your day writing without having to worry about a part-time job. Here's a list of best practices for being successful on Patreon.
How it Works
Hundreds of years ago, rich patrons would support the arts and allow artists to create their best work without worrying about paying the bills. The concept is sort of the same at Patreon, except today's writers have dozens or hundreds of people supporting them instead of one rich patron. Patreon offers a set of tools that allow authors to create and publish subscription content for their fans and readers. You're only limited by your imagination when it comes to choosing the way you want to monetize your work. Some authors serialize novels as they write them, some publish online magazines, poets publish a short poem a week for their patrons, some create videos of themselves reading their work. You can even use the available tools to host chats or workshops. Patreon takes care of all the billing, and you can charge by the week or the month. You can create rewards for your patrons consisting of anything that's legally allowed to be passed on the internet.
Unlike other crowdfunding programs, Patreon doesn't have an ending. You can continue to write poems, chapters, or character sketches for years, as long as your fans continue to want to pay for them.
Patreon Best Practices
Like everything else in the book world, you'll sell more if you're prepared and plan your marketing ahead of time. Some of the most successful Patreon users advise:
- Create a compelling story that tells about why you're looking for patrons
- Offer a variety of rewards at different monetary levels. Avoid rewards that require shipping
- Focus on reward items you know you can produce on a regular basis
- Consider using trunk novels as backup material
- Promote your Patreon campaign on social media regularly
- Send out a poll every few months to find out how your patrons are responding to your work
- Set a calendar/schedule for writing products and stick to it, no matter what
- If the number of patrons begins to dwindle, assess your campaigns and adjust accordingly. Don't let your projects go stale
Marketing your Patreon account can be similar to marketing a book series, but the results can leave you with enough cash to allow you to stay home and write. Take a look at your failed novels and sample chapters. You may have enough material on hand to support yourself (or at least your Starbucks habit) until you get a chance to publish that book series.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!