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.

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My terrible poems…

Someone once said to me “is there anything you don’t do” when I said I’d have a go at pretty much anything when it comes to my writing. Screenplays, comic scripts, prose, haiku, I’ve had a bash at it all. With varying degrees of success (mostly varying into the “that was abysmal” area of the gauge). But one thing I’m really quite terrible at is poetry. I don’t think I’ve read enough of it, or know enough about it, to have a decent idea of what makes a poem good or how one works and another doesn’t.

But… (you were waiting for the “but” weren’t you?)

Despite all that, I kind of enjoy writing poetry. Especially when i’m having a blank spot with my prose. It’s a great way of making your brain take a step back and do something different. And I find that even thought my poems are pretty damn terrible, the occasional line comes out of them that I can then use in my prose later.

And so, because I love you all (or hate you, depending on your perspective) I’m going to subject you to….I mean…let you read some of my poems! These should come with a government health warning, so remember to ward yourself against the dark arts before you read on.

A Tree

In coldness I’m naked,
In heat I’m stifled with clothing.
My feet are bare in the rain,
My skin splits int he sun.
I eat nothing,
Say nothing,
And watch politely as you
roll and screech and chew
at my feet.
 
 

The Fence

They said the grass is greener.
So here I am, to find out;
To frolic on your rockery;
To peep inside your potting shed.
 
I hopped the fence,
landing bare foot on your lawn,
And marveled at the greener than green,
the new scented breeze.
 
But now I’m ready to go back home
to familiar soil,
I see that on this side
the fence
is higher from the ground.
 
 

Short sighted

I don’t want to know
every hammer that forged you,
only to study you as you are.
 
Let me admire the scar
as part of you.
the strike of an expert chisel
 
Rather than some half-remembered story.
I’ll trace the coloured lines
across your skin
 
Not questioning what whim of
inspiration decorated you.
You were born with them,
 
Only moments ago
when we met and nothing
you have done matters now.
 
With no past to spit at each other,
no future to plan,
or weighted expectation,
we’ll exist only in this moment
and those like it.
 
 

Well, I hope you enjoyed them, or at least didn’t pluck your eyes from your head in disgust. Any comments, as always, are most welcome.

Thanks for reading.

 

World Poetry Day

In order to celebrate World Poetry Day, I thought I’d share some of my favourite ditties with you! I know that poetry has a reputation for being an elitist pursuit, but that really has gone the way of the Dodo. With poets like Roger McGough and Mike McGee bringing the humour back to poetry, there’s really no reason that everyone can’t enjoy it. With that in mind, here’s a few of my favs for you all to peruse.

Antigonish by Hughes Mearns

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

I’m not…but if I were by Mike McGee

(Click to listen)

Christina by Louis MacNeice

It all began so easy
With bricks upon the floor
Building motley houses
And knocking down your houses
And always building more.

The doll was called Christina,
Her under-wear was lace,
She smiled while you dressed her
And when you then undressed her
She kept a smiling face.

Until the day she tumbled
And broke herself in two
And her legs and arms were hollow
And her yellow head was hollow
Behind her eyes of blue.

He went to bed with a lady
Somewhere seen before,
He heard the name Christina
And suddenly saw Christina
Dead on the nursery floor.

 

I Am Not Sleeping by Roger McGough

I don’t want any of that

“We’re gathered here today

to celebrate his life, not mourn his passing.”

Oh yes you are. Get one thing straight,

you’re not here to celebrate

but mourn until it hurts.

I want wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I want sobs, and I want them

uncontrollable. I want women

flinging themselves on the coffin

and I want them inconsolable.

Don’t dwell on my past but on your future.

For what you see is what you’ll be

and sooner than you think.

So get weeping. Fill yourselves with dread.

For I am not sleeping. I am dead.

 

 

Thanks for  reading!

Haiku

That’s right, kids, I don’t just write short stories. And, to be honest, I avoid poetry like the plague. But Haiku are nice little snippets that I can get really engrossed in. Sorting them into syllables is like a little creative writing brain-teaser. A  crossword for authors, if you like. And so I can’t get enough of them! Now, I know that traditionally, haiku are supposed to reference a season at some point, and theyre supposed to follow the 5/7/5 syllable rule, but some of these don’t. What can I say, I’m a callous, literary rebel. But anyway, have a look. I hope you enjoy them.

Meteor Shower 
Sparks shed a trail.
Atmospheric Grinder.
Wormwood coming home.
 
 
The Beautician
Above a crest of
plastic breasts and Matalan tan,
not much goes on.
 
 
Guitar
Poor dusty Fender,
Missing a string, out of tune.
I’ll pick you up soon.
 
 
Made-up words
If there is one thing
I absitivley hate,
it’s comboined words.
 
 
Woman on the train
New haircut, old face.
New bagm new shoes, new coat.
Same old face.
 
 
View from a frosted window
Trees expose themselves,
despite Winter’s bitter bite.
Rough, naked skins.
 

That’s enough for now, I reckon. Hope you enjoyed them.

Thanks for reading.