Encouraging more patrons as a fantasy writer of short stories

I suppose the title is self-explanatory, but here we go anyway!

I’ve been using Patreon for about 7 months now to support my writing habit. I write fantasy books, and it’s so hard to get them to sell, so I figured that writing short stories was a good way to try to increase potential readers’ trust; short little stories to read for free in 5-10 minutes is a much easier way to test the waters of a new writer than parting with money for a whole book.

I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten 5 wonderful patrons, 4 of whom have been with me since I started. But I’m a little lost with how to find more.

Among other things, I write one short story every month and give £3 patrons 2 weeks’ early access, then share it publicly 2 weeks later and unlock the posts. I really enjoy writing them (stupidly enjoy it, I swear, it shouldn’t be legal), so it doesn’t feel like work at all…but…I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get my Patreon some more attention. But I have no idea how. I’m really not sure what I could offer to draw people in (and I worry that I may end up drawing people in with a promotion and then losing them when they get whatever I’m offering).

Any suggestions are appreciated!

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Welcome and congrats on having gotten some patrons already! I’m also a fantasy author (and illustrator/jeweller) so fully understand your frustration in trying to get your books to sell. The phrase ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ is definitely applicable to developing a following of readers! It’s also true of Patreon (it took me over a year to get my first patron). I’ve also been considering writing short stories just for patreon.

If you aren’t already, I’d include information about your Patreon and the stories you share there on all your author social media pages, website, and newsletter. You might also consider writing some stories that are patron-only, or getting your patrons involved in choosing what your next short story should be about. Maybe do some completely off the wall, silly fantasy stories and get your patrons involved by asking them for story prompts to write some Mad Lib fiction.

You could also try writing Patreon-only short stories in the same world as your published books to get patrons/followers to fall in love with the characters and want to read more with them. There’s always making and offering merch that’s related to your books or short stories.

It may take time, but just keep at it! Good luck! Hopefully someone with more patrons than I will have more suggestions for you, but I hope these are helpful.

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Hiya! I write fantasy and contemporary romance novels and I’ve gotten most of my patrons from writing on sites like Wattpad. I share 3 full length novels on that platform (2 fantasy and 1 contemporary) the rest are samples or they will be full length novels but my patrons see and read them first (they’re always about 10 chapters ahead) and then I keep one completely free ongoing novel there too.

So, I would look into sharing your work on all your social media platforms and try to build a base of free readers on platforms like Inkitt (they love fantasy there) and Wattpad. Inkitt has a feature to link your patreon page with your account and Wattpad has a place to put your patreon link on your bio page. I usually make an author’s note at the end of my chapters with my patreon info and remind readers they can read ahead and further support me.

I have to be honest though I created my patreon page in Nov 2019 and I didn’t officially launch until April 2020 after one of my novels got a bunch of reads on Wattpad. So, it definitely does take some time to find more patrons, but just keep trying to get your work out there and your patreon link everywhere. The patrons will come, just give it some time! I hope this helps! :blush:

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