Hello I am opening this forum for us writers to share our benefit ideas. I’m new to this and I’m having problems integrating my writing with my benefits. So I was wondering what y’all are doing?
Hey @raymorgan162, thanks for making this post! Have you taken a look at the writing section on our blog? We have lots of posts that might provide some inspiration or insight for you, like this one called “Eight Patreon Reward Ideas for Writers”. Take a look and let me know if you have more questions.
Yes I have and have implemented some, thanks
Honestly, I’ve been sharing my writing with my Patrons early, and giving them E-Book Formats. I’ve recently given thought to a daily newsletter (check out Seth Godin’s) with short reflections, excerpts, etc from my writing and reflections.
In my community, I let my patrons know that their contributions help me dedicate my full-time attention to independent writing and researching. The only content that is exclusive to patrons are my weekly expressive writing prompts to unpack their unconscious biases. At the higher levels, I host a monthly virtual gathering over Zoom to go deeper. You can see my rewards at my Patreon page (although in May 2019, they’ll be changing as I’m moving from writing to documentary filmmaking).
One of my friends, a writer, who hosts a community on Patreon doesn’t publish any unique rewards at all. She merely says that their patronage, at any level, will help her to make content available for free on social media and other places she publishes. See her rewards here (BTW, Humans of NY does the same thing - view here).
My point is if you already have a following of loyal fans, they tend to not care about the rewards. That was me in the beginning when I launched my community in October 2017. I was so worried about delivering rewards that it was affecting my ability to write. I wanted to put something in the mail every 6-months, and highlight my patrons, and send them exclusive content every day. After a while, I found myself feeling VERY confined and trapped by my own commitments to my patrons.
At the end of the day, the fulfillment of rewards, as writers, can do more to hurt our creativity than help. I’ve found that only a small number of patrons really, really care about the rewards. Maybe less than 5%. I’ve built a community of true fans, and they simply want to support me at a level that aligns with their budget. Even when I announce that the reward levels are changing, patrons are typically like, “Meh. I’m just here to support you.”
I say all this because:
- Whatever rewards you offer, your true fans will support you regardless. So, aim to offer less rewards, especially ones that allow you to continue to tap into your creativity. For example, if you’re writing a book, then offer a chapter a week. It’s something you’re already doing without needing to create something brand spanking new.
- Perhaps your inquiry is simply to get confirmation of what you already know - that it’s not about the fulfillment of rewards, but the deep connection with your readers. If you lead from that place, I know that you’ll create tiers and reward levels that ignite your creativity.
- digital ebooks,
- bonus scenes
- deleted scenes
- early sharing of things like covers and ebooks (before everyone else)
- character discussions
- real-time what’s going on with my WIP (without spoilers at Patron request)
- discounts on print books and merchandise
- mention of Patrons in my back matter
I try to give each tier at least one thing a month, which works for me during my busiest months. If it’s making me stressed I review what I’m doing because I can’t work like that.
The main core of my Patreon is a weekly fiction podcast where I read my stories (alternating new and reprint) in episodic form, taking between 6-13 weeks to share a whole story, novelette or novella. This podcast is free for anyone to listen to but I make it clear that it’s made possible because of my Patreon subscribers. The novellas that are brand new then get edited, and I send ebook copies to all my subscribers before (usually a month before) they go on general sale.
I also am doing a written serialised version of an old unpublished novel of mine, fortnightly, exclusive (for now) to Patreon subscribers. There’s a bunch of other rewards here and there, and my $2+ subscribers get 3 exclusive short stories a year (around a year’s exclusivity).
I’m looking at paring back my Patreon content now because I had overreached myself and have to recalibrate. But what I’ve cut back on is extra non-fiction content, and pushing the prose serial back to fortnightly instead of weekly (which was killing me and made it hard to get anything else done).
I’m also removing all goal/milestones from my Patreon now, because it was stressing me out and most of them involved adding more work to my plate – instead when I come up with cool ideas I will do a special offer or two each year.
I’d really like to hear more from those of you who offer discounts on other purchases to your Patreon subscribers. How does this work? How do you phrase it?
Hey there Tansyrr!
I offer my ebooks at a discount to Patreons; I do that with a special coupon code only they get to use via the site that stores my ebooks (dpdcart.com currently). On our Patreon appreciation day last year, I gave them a 24-hour coupon to download all the books on that site for free. They seem to enjoy this perk.
I make a zine at the end of the year (both digital and physical) that is the Best of the Blog. Sometimes I think no one cares about it but then I’ve been visiting someone who is a Patron and discover that they have the blog out and readable by their guests or whatever. So i think they actually do really appreciate it - they just don’t always tell me.
The zine is kind of a pain in the ass to make but it’s also really helpful for me in that it gives me a sense of accomplishment of the year and I can be reflective about what I think the best posts of the year were, etc.
I make zines too! This year I decided to make it a quarterly thing for $10 up subscribers and I am also a musician so each zine comes with a music download. It is a bit of a chore to make them all, but I really enjoy sending them out and addressing the envelopes especially. It makes the idea that I have individuals supporting my work more tangible and real.
I give them a code for 5 or 10% off my Gumroad store, depending on the tier.
I haven’t used this yet, but I recently discovered that BookFunnel has Patreon integration:
Hello everyone. Some good thoughts here.
I’ve found that content trumps rewards when it comes to writing on Patreon. The request I get most often, either in the form of comments or messages, is “SPEED UP”. This can be hard to do when you don’t make enough from writing to do it full time.
For those of you that don’t post your content until it is all done, how do you keep your patrons engaged?
For those that do post your content as you write, how do you balance story content with peripheral content? Do your patrons respond well to side-stories, musings about the process, etc…?
Anna from the Creator Success team here. This is a great list, Pattyloof! I’ve also heard of a few creators offering their patrons text-based adventures as patron-only posts for folks on specific tiers [i.e. you devise an adventure for your most engaged patrons and let them participate in the post comments].
I’ve yet to yield huge results, but I’m sharing my novel chapter by chapter with patrons over the next few months. I put the first 3 chapters online for anyone to read, and make it clear that you can read the rest by joining up. It’s open to patrons of all tiers.
Be honest with your people - perhaps something like this: “I’d love to be able to write faster, but I also work full time (or whatever) and don’t make enough money at writing to cut back on my work hours. Want to join me on Patreon? That would help.”
I agree! Honesty is not only necessary, it often has surprisingly positive results.
Those comments tend to come from my patrons, who are already engaged with what I am doing. Any good tips for leveraging my existing patrons to get other people excited about what I am doing? Maybe I could run a referral program?
I thought about doing some sort of referral program but wasn’t sure how to implement it. Any ideas?
I publish journalesque updates once or twice a month. These are quite popular, and cover anything from discussion of what I’m working on and thinking about to ‘day in the life’ experiences to commentary on current events, etc.