Introductions

Hi everyone, I know that most of us have already introduced ourselves in the general introduction thread, but I am new to the forum and was wondering who else was lurking around here. I plan on making this category my home and I’d love to meet my neighbors.

My name is Seth and I write Science Fiction. I’m a relatively new writer and I still don’t have all the kinks worked out, but I’m giving it a shot with the hopes that I can turn it into something more than a passion project.

I’d love to know a little bit about you. And if you drop your social links I’d be happy to give you a follow.

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Hey Seth, I’m Stu. I dabble in horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Primarily have had short stories published and am more known for running HorrorTree.com and being a staff writer on ScienceFiction.com.
Twitter: @StuartConover and @HorrorTree

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Nice to meet you Stu. HorrorTree looks like a really cool site. I’ve never written short stories before but I might have to try my luck sometime.

I see that you use one of your Patreon tiers as a pseudo-advertising element for your website. How has that worked for you? I’m always a bit leery about links, but maybe I should have more trust and not be so afraid of it.

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I’m not sure if it is something which would benefit a reader-facing site for an author homepage. Honestly, those in the tier really just wanted to donate that amount and most didn’t care if their names were listed or not!

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Hi folks, I’m Michael, and I write novels. That’s where most of my income comes from, but I also develop games and produce podcasts on the side.
You can find my stuff over at http://www.mcoorlim.com or follow me on twitter as @mcoorlim.

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Howdy folks! (and Seth, Stuart, and Michael!)

I’m Alex and I write comics with gay heroes which is where all of my income comes from. My first book was Artifice, a science-fiction thriller, and my current ongoing series is the superhero epic, The Young Protectors.

You can also read all my comics for free at my webcomic site: http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/artifice/artifice-title-page/

I’m also working on branching out into prose e-books and I will hopefully have something out for that in the next 12 months.

You can find me on Twitter at @alexwoolfson

Nice to meet you all. :slight_smile:

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Hi, I’m Maggie and I write science fiction and fantasy novels (my primary income), with a side of dabbling in art and calligraphy (all conlangs). It’s fun to see how many of us are working in genre. :slight_smile:

How do you all see your patreon fitting into your author platform?

Edit: Oh right, website: http://mcahogarth.org

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Hi @mcoorlim, @alex, and @haikujaguar! Thanks for introducing yourselves. It is cool to see that we are not alone.

I’m still trying to build my author platform (and my Patreon). Honestly, I find all of it a little overwhelming, so if you have any tips or tricks I’d love to hear them.

When did all of you start with Patreon? And if it is not too personal, would you mind sharing what percentage of your income comes through your Patreon? I am trying to get a grasp of what being a sustainable creator looks like.

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Looks like my first post was in 2014… but I didn’t really start putting any time/energy into Patreon until 2017 or so.

hauls out spreadsheet and studies pie chart

Last year, Patreon was 16% of my revenue. (Royalties from ebook sales were 67%, and the remaining 17% was merchandise, Kickstarter, and audiobook royalties). Writing is my full time job, and it does in fact make a Real Income, so that 16% is something I don’t sneeze at. :slight_smile:

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Thanks so much for sharing. It is looking like diversification is the way to go if I want to make a career from writing.

As I was exploring your website I noticed that you have a Patreon Grant. I love that idea! Do you mind sharing a bit about how that got started and how much interest you get for it?

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Diversification is hugely helpful. (I know lots of authors who make good money teaching writing or doing speaking engagements, so that’s another option there.) You don’t want your eggs in one basket, and as much as possible, having most of your income streams be passive will keep your hair from falling out early.

Before Patreon was a thing, I used to run serialized content on Livejournal and give people options to donate to accelerate its posting, or unlock extra content. Every option had a monetary prize (sound familiar?) so, for example, to get bonus episodes I’d need an extra $20 per post. Because Livejournal had an amazing comment/threading section, my readers would get together and talk to one another in the episode comments about raising the money to unlock the extras, and one of the things that kept happening was people who were flush that week would ‘help out on behalf of people who want the extras, but can’t afford them.’ They would donate extra, everyone would thank them, and everyone would get access to the freebies. Then the people who didn’t have the spare money, when they did, would gleefully arrive and announce that it was their turn to contribute to the community, and they did and were feted.

It was a really amazing community-building experience (and made possibly only by the comments section being so robust that people could talk with one another easily; Patreon’s comment system is woefully inadequate in that regard).

Anyway, while I shed a lot of people with Livejournal’s death, the people who did cross over to Patreon with me still had that community spirit, and they were the ones who suggested the grant. I’ve given out about twelve grants? Usually $5-a-month for half a year, or a year. But I feel this would be a lot easier to manage if, for example, I as the Patreon Creator could give users a ‘free subscription’ for my content, or if Patrons could buy Patreon Gift Certifications for one another.

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I started in January of 2015, and since May of 2015, Patreon has been the majority of my support. It’s how I make my living. Writing is my full-time job thanks to Patreon.

Interestingly, I actually had a very similar experience to @haikujaguar with my readership pre-Patreon by having a donation bar on my Web site of my first webcomic, Artifice.

In the beginning, it was a 1x week comic, but I had a big buffer of pages. Whenever that donation bar hit $200 I would post up a second page that week. The first couple times, it took a few weeks for it to happen, but once readers got a taste for the accelerated content, they would cheer each other on in the comments and take turns triggering the early update. By the third month, they were hitting that $200 target every single week.

One lesson to take away from that is the power of building a community of dedicated fans (which involves consistent updates of quality free content, interaction and nurturing), but another lesson, is to cultivate an audience who believe (or come to believe) your work has real value. Value worth paying for.

Even though I’m not practicing what I’m preaching right now, I 100% agree in diversification. And that’s one of the reasons I’m looking into branching out into prose novels. In the meantime, this is the year that I’m going to really start promoting my online store and tackle digital advertising which, to be honest, I’ve basically been ignoring.

While my free-to-read webcomic site is the backbone of my author platform, I see Patreon as the ultimate and most fulfilling destination of my readers’ journey as fans, and I’m setting up my education and nurturing campaigns accordingly. It’s where I can interact with and provide the most value to my most dedicated readers.

The Patreon site itself isn’t the best venue for those interactions, though, and that’s why I’m grateful for the excellent integrations. Currently I’m using their Wordpress integration to gate exclusive pages on my webcomic site for patrons, itch.io to deliver exclusive digital rewards to patrons, Crowdcast for livestream Q&A’s, and I just today launched a Discourse site for my patrons. I’m also working on integrating ConvertKit which shows great promise for education and nurturing, but that integration is still a little buggy, so we’ll see. :slight_smile:

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@SethRing Oh, and I just got notified about this post about Author Platforms by an author/entrepreneur I respect, David Gaughran:

Good stuff.

And I second the love he sent out re: Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque. I definitely think that’s the best way to think about an email list as an author.

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@SethRing I’ve been at this since 2014 or so. Most of my income comes through book sales, but there’s so much swing there that the patreon income is the only money I can actually count on.
Sustainable largely depends on how much you need to get by. I was basically homeless and unemployed when I started writing - zero income, burning through savings, sleeping on couches - so even with rent to pay now my needs aren’t very steep.
Still, I would recommend that if you have a day job, keep it. The market can be very fickle (I’ve made 4 figures a month from sales some years, some years significantly less), patreon itself might not last forever, and you only own what can’t be taken from you, if you know what I mean.
Cultivate a mailing list.

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@haikujaguar, it sounds like building community is the best way to ensure the longevity of a creative career. I know others have mentioned that approaching Patrons as “fans” is more effective long term than thinking of them as “customers”. If I can ask, are there any specific community building actions that you take regularly? Since Patreon is a smaller part of your overall platform, how do you balance building community for your existing fans and attracting new fans?

@alex, Thanks for those resources! That blog was really interesting and I’ve bookmarked it for future reading. I’d love to ask you the same question. Are there specific community building actions that you take regularly? About how much of your time do you think you devote to building your community vs attracting new patrons?

@mcoorlim, as a creative, I really like the idea of owning my content and having control of my channels. You mention cultivating a mailing list at the end. Do you have any recommendations of good resources to help with that?

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I use Mailchimp to manage my mailing list. They have a bunch of resources and best practices help files if you go check them out.

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Glad you found that blog post useful. I’d also take a look at his book, Strangers to Superfans. Like Newsletter Ninja, I think it’s the right way to think about cultivating a strong fanbase.

And the first community-building thing I did was installing Disqus on my site and responding to every comment. Once my comments rose into the hundreds, I couldn’t do that for every comment, but it definitely set the right tone in the beginning, and I do try to interact as much as I can now. (And I respond to pretty much every comment on Patreon.)

And speaking of tone, I modeled one of always taking the high-ground, never getting hot under the collar, always treating folks who disagreed with me with respect. That, I believe, set a certain tone for the community that shaped it going forward. Much more pleasant for me and the readers.

I just launched my Discourse site. I’m hoping that will also be a community builder. I encourage a lot of thoughtful discussion in the comments under each page (by responding and engaging.) I think having a forum might be a good fit for my readers. We shall see. :slight_smile:

Up until recently I spent almost all my time nurturing my current community, but 2019 will be different. I’m doing a deep dive into learning about Facebook ads and email onboarding sequences. (Currently, switching from Mailchimp to ConvertKit where I’m coming up with extensive onboarding sequences to get new readers up to speed about who I am and what free comics of mine are available to read.)

It’s all an experiment right now, but I’m optimistic this is the right path. :slight_smile:

The path isn’t to “attract new patrons,” though, but rather to “attract new readers” which you then educate and nurture so they eventually become patrons. Work to attract the right audience, give them a great experience, and the Patreon support will come.

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Hi everybody!
I’m Dave, from Italy, a paleontologist by trade, but currently making a living as a writer, translator and game designer.
I write mostly genre fiction (SF/fantasy/adventure) often with some kind of historical twist. I publish both in Italian and English.
It’s a pleasure being here.
Cheers!
D.

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Hi everyone,

I am new to Patreon and I am really pleased to be here. I have just joined in my first hang time and feel I have so much to do and learn. I started my patreon page in December. I am sponsored from businesses/organisations/charities for the work I do in raising awareness of domestic abuse but a lot of individuals also want to feel a part of my journey and support me, sometimes because I have helped them.

I recently updated my bio and this says it in a nutshell so I want to share this with you all.

Bio:

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media.

Jennifer has listened to her readers and has grown a digital community to support discussions around domestic abuse online. Starting with her Twitter Chat which opened late 2017 #AbuseTalk, this developed into an online forum in 2018. This year Jennifer launched a series of interviews with those in the sector and gives followers the opportunity to ask burning questions.

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards)

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.

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Hi, I’m Mara, and I write sci-fi & fantasy. I also draw concept art and comics, and do a variety of other creative things.

If you like robots and aliens, shapeshifters and creative uses of magic, and the sci-fi trope of “humans are weird,” then I think we’ll get along great!

I’m most active on Tumblr (https://marlynnofmany.tumblr.com) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarlynnOfMany). I’d love to compare notes with you fine folks.

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