Patreon: My Experience

Hi everyone,

I’ve officially been on Patreon for two weeks now! How’s it going? Is it worth it? Is it complicated to use?

In short…brill, yes, no.

But what’s it all about? For those of you who are Patreon-curious, the idea is very simple. In days of yore artistic types such as authors, poets, painters and musicians would have patrons who would help them to afford to live while they created their works of art. Patreon does the same thing, allowing people who want to support the arts or creation of something new to choose a person or project that they like and help to fund it.

starvingwriter
“Starving Author” a self portrait by Craig Hallam

How is that different from Kickstarter, I hear you cry? Well, on Patreon you’re choosing a person that you believe in. You’re not taking one project, making it happen, then getting something at the end of it, you’re helping a person to reach their ongoing goals and receiving ongoing rewards as a thank you. An artists can have a monthly amount that they need to reach in order to be able to create full-time, or perhaps like myself they need help with the travel costs to attend events and book signings across the country. To me, that travel is absolutely essential to expanding and maintaining my readership. Also, instead of a one-off payoff like Kickstarter, patrons receive brand-new work from their favourite creators every month, often well before anyone else.

So, how hard is it to set up? Ridiculously easy. Within an hour or so I had my page ready to go. The system that they have in place is so easy to navigate through and the Patreon team have taken great pains to make sure that easy-to-read information is available on everything that you might be trying to do. The whole site is written with a chilled vibe and friendly atmosphere.

Two things to be aware of! You will need to submit your page for approval (to make sure that you’re not being sketchy) before it goes live. However, it took mine about two hours to come back so hardly a long wait. Secondly, you’ll need to fill out some kind of tax form. However, before you start to panic as I did, the forms are right there on the site, all clickable boxes, and Patreon has added super easy guidance so that you know what to put in each box. They then sort your tax FOR YOU. So anything that ends up in your bank account at the end of the month is yours and yours alone. No messing. How awesome is that?

Basically, I’m very happy with it so far. I think that this is exactly what struggling artistic types like me really need to be able to make beautiful things to share with you. I only have six patrons at the minute but I’m already half way to being able to afford the costs for one event table a month. That’s amazing! I really can’t express how lucky I feel to have such lovely people supporting me. And the real beauty of being a patron are the tiers. You can decide to be a patron for as much or as little a month as you like, and not only do you get the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping out your favourite artist (because every penny counts and is much appreciated) but you get to see some great new work, too.

My patrons are getting some really fun new material. Patreon is giving me an opportunity to share poetry, short stories and experiences that are just a bit different, a bit more vital or expressive or avant-garde that might struggle to get published elsewhere but I get to share it with you all, anyway. So far, patrons are getting access to:

  • Brand new spooky poetry for a collection called “Rhyme beyond Reason”
  • Also new poetry based on the Down Days novella about my experiences of living with anxiety and depression. This will be collected and printed, too.
  • A serialised novella, Oshibana Complex, which is a hopeful, philosophical, dystopian cyberpunk story featuring non-binary characters, all about the final evolution of humanity (whatever that may be…)
  • New and exclusive Alan Shaw stories just for patrons!

I’m also looking forward to meeting goals which will allow me to print the collections mentioned above and pay an artist as they should be to draw my Steampunk comic book, Aethertide. I’m eager for you to all meet Olivia and Raisa as they leap between dimensions.

All of these things are possible with Patreon and it’s a very exciting time. Because these are things that, once in print, I can not only take to the book signings, but also send to patrons before anyone else gets to see them.

What Patreon builds is a loving, interactive and supportive relationship between creator and patron. It really does give me the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on with me for the last two weeks. If Patreon sounds like something that you might be interested in either starting or joining, here’s the link:

http://www.patreon.com/craighallam

If you would consider sharing the link around, I would really appreciate it. You’ll be helping me to build my career, creating wild new pieces of writing and maybe even eat at the same time 😀

 

As always, thanks for reading, folks.

Emi: The Search Begins

Hi everyone,

With the completion of my dark fantasy novella, Emi, I find myself at a familiar point in the writing-to-shelf process. As my usual publisher, Inspired Quill, doesn’t print novella length fiction (and I can’t blame them as they’re stacked with new author releases right now, too), I’m on the hunt.

What am I looking for? A needle in a haystack. The story is far too long for magazine publication as almost all won’t take stories over 10k words and fewer serialise. I need a publisher who not only publishes shorter novels (Emi weighs in at around 25.5k words), but one that’s willing to take a chance on a very different kind of story. The romantic in me aspires to the likes of Clive Barker whose novella The Hellbound Heart is a personal fav and legendary in the horror genre (it was the story on which Hellraiser was based). However, good old reality tells me that I’m definitely not Mr. Barker.

I know that I can’t possibly compete for the attention of the likes of the BIG publishers such as Tor or Gollancz, and they often have such strict criteria for stories that my genre-ignoring efforts never meet what they’re looking for. I need an indie publisher, just like IQ, who are willing to just read it and, hopefully, they’ll like it when they do.

I’m starting to remember how much I hated this part of the process. Surfing the net isn’t the right word when it comes to looking for publishers and publications. Trawling, perhaps? Net cast wide, tugging along. There are so many publishers and publications out there, all trying to get themselves noticed, their work out there, their dream fulfilled. And then there are the other authors like me, smothering the publishers with our queries and submissions. We’re insufferable, we really are.

It sounds terrible, but we don’t just want to find any old publisher, either. Find one that’s too new and inexperienced, your book will never be seen. Find one that has an ego and you’re equally scuppered. The minefield extends as far as the eye can see. And this little tug boat, along with a fleet of others, just wants to find a safe harbour where we can drop off our fish.

I think I might be stretching this metaphor a bit far, now.

But, you get what I mean. While we’re all happy to just get our work in print, we also need to be careful that we don’t sell ourselves short. That book that you’ve worked was hard work, and you want it to do well. So you need a publisher who will work with you, and help you to reach your goal with a view to helping them make a little money and gain recognition right along with you (if you’re lucky enough to get some, of course).

If I can’t find a publisher, I might go back to self-publishing like I did with Not Before Bed all those years ago. It’s a daunting thought as I’m very aware that I suck at it. That’s why Inspired Quill have been so amazing. They know what they’re doing and it means that I don’t have to. Still, needs must, and the few people who have read Emi have said it’s the best thing I’ve written (not hard, I know). It’d be a shame if it never saw light of day.

So, there we are. I just wanted to share with you all where I’m at. In the meantime, the work on spreading the word about Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw #2 continues ready for March next year. I can’t wait for you guys to read it. I hope you all like it.

 

Thanks for reading!