Why I Depend on Patronage to Continue Writing

Patrons are amazing. They truly are. They’re generous and supportive, and having patrons is a built-in audience and community.

Why does my work need patronage?

The two primary reasons I depend on patrons are:

  • I cannot afford to produce literature and art on my own yet.
  • Because I’m not self-sustainable yet, I see patrons as a type of Universal validation that I shouldn’t give up, that I’m not alone on this journey. I see it as connective community while I work through the tangles of artistry and self-sustainability.

Patrons are the ones I think about when I’m tired and think I can’t possibly do one more paragraph before bed. They’re the ones I think about then I dream about putting up a permanent storyboard, or commissioning art for a new cover; because I want those supporters to enjoy the journey with me, to have as much fun as I’m having, to be a part of something adventurous even if it’s only through the Patreon updates and the books that result.

With that in mind, I’m adjusting the milestone markers and goals.

When I set up this account I imagined a $500 a month goal as being a big stretch. And it was, perhaps too much. In a year and a half, patrons have held on, supporting and participating and being along for the journey. I built the milestone packages and prepared to send them out, but after a year and a half we haven’t hit the mark.

I cannot send the packages out (thank you notes, and such) until we hit the milestone, or the Patreon service will not be thrilled with me jumping the gun, and I’ll also be on the hook to repeat the rewards if we suddenly make the goal.

I’ve been able to send out little gifts here and there off the record, a copy of the book, a starbucks card and a thing or two to long term supporters without violating the milestone metric in the system. But I just don’t feel like it’s enough and I want to be able to send out these gift packages to those who have so long been encouraging, supportive, and have helped make the last book a reality.

So, I’m adjusting the milestones to put us in range of being able to send those packages out. It’s also good timing in that now I can redirect the goals between milestones, and give a better explanation of what I use the funds for and how patrons can participate in the long-term process of my work.

Between the new milestones, I will still be writing, sending out beta packages, hiring editors, layout designers, and publishing my books. The milestones are just added bonus content between novels to keep my patrons and readers engaged in the adventure.

 

By restructuring the milestones I’m building in a way that I can also support other artists by commissioning art and audio recordings. This restructure will also allow patrons to be involved in the building and release of the on-line world building guide for The Pillars of Dawn series; chat forums, art and glossaries, and a searchable database of definitions.

In the higher levels of the milestone goals I’ll be able to produce postcards and collectable pieces for patrons to add to their own smash albums, and or scrapbooks and watch the progress of the build out happen with each milestone gift.

I’m also building in a way that I can begin to spread out my book distribution, and aim for the long-term goal of a small west coast book tour, and a fixed point at when I can begin producing other writers under the BQP label.

The first milestone will be cut to $300. That means for our first goal, we’re only 11$ a month away from that marker.

With that achievement, I’ll be able to send out the reward packages (smash albums, thank you notes, postcards and such) and cross that goal off the list! BAM!

Then I will lower the next goal to $500. That way if Patrons have been holding on for the reward they can opt out after the first milestone is met, and we can start on the next one with a clean slate.

When we do hit the $500 a month milestone, I’ll commission a piece of art from AM Sartor, that supports the world of Aria and the books. We’ve discussed the possibility of a character sketch, a map, or an image of something from the series glossary. When we hit this goal, I’ll reveal the sketch plans and commission the art, then add a postcard print to all the milestone packages.

At this marker, I will purchase the website that will later allow me to build a forum, community discussion board and an interactive library, glossary and The Pillars of Dawn Compendium online.

When we hit the $750 dollar a month milestone I will commission and release the full audio book of Sinnet of Dragons to my patrons. Then publish it online for sale.

When we hit a $750 a month marker I’ll also be able to invest in a better video setup. With this I’ll begin adding videos about writing craft, story structure, world building and character development. I’ll add these videos to the middle tiers and make them available to Patrons a month before they go live to the public.

At this goal, I’ll be able to say I am halfway sustainable. With this goal I will commission new art from AM Sartor, and launch the online glossary for the Pillars of Dawn series, and worlds. I’ll also begin including some of my own sketches and album imagery. I’ll begin building out the world with a Wikipedia style dictionary on the website, and adding character bios, backgrounds and images will allow readers to search for histories, links and information on what’s happening to the books, and the storylines therein.

This goal excites me more than any of the other goals, because I’ll finally be able to begin putting the matrix of ten books into a reader-interactive database and chat forum before the books are even finished. Huzzah!!

Want to talk to other readers about what you’re experiencing with the books? Want to look up the image of Xabien’s dragon, Scorn? Or a map of the city of Barriette? Want to connect to other team Fable or team Maya readers?

All these new interactive active parts will begin to unlock for every $200 we add to the monthly Patreon site from here forward. As we build on the Patreon service, the webtools, information and art will begin to unlock and fill in. This will allow for more interactive experiences and reader conversations.

New art and website glossary points unlocked. Add a print postcard to the milestone packages for collectors.

Commission and publish the full audio book of ‘Murder of Crows. Release to Patrons first.

New art and website glossary points unlocked. Add a print postcard to the milestone packages for collectors.

New art and website glossary points unlocked. Add a print postcard to the milestone packages for collectors.

New art and website glossary points unlocked. Add a print postcard to the milestone packages for collectors.

At this milestone goal, I will be 100% covered as an artist and can begin to truly throw myself into the development of the publishing house so I can begin to publish other artists under the BlissQuest Publishing label. What does this mean?

BlissQuest Publishing is the world’s first fair trade publishing model. Once established we will be able to offer healthcare, retirement planning, and shared royalties to artists.

I’ll be able to begin wrangling financing, searching for and applying for grants, and networking with writers and storytellers.

Why wait until the $2000 a month goal?

As many know, I’m picking up odd jobs, teaching gigs, and contractor positions while I work on my books. At the $2000 dollar a month goal, I’ll be able to let those energy and time drains go, and re-direct those hours toward BQP. In the grand scheme of support and long-term sustainability, I’ll be able to focus on bigger plans when my basic needs are covered.

At this milestone, I will be able to begin plotting distribution to larger bookstores, and schedule a tour on the west coast. A very small book tour from Southern California, to Alaska will be put on the map and built into a plan to attempt the tour near a new book launch, to promote the newest book in the Pillars of Dawn series, and gather support for the next books in the queue.

New stretch goals to come!!

Become my patron at Patreon.

A dollar a month, or twelve bucks a year is helpful. Everything helps, because it builds community and lets us all connect. Plus, you’ll get monthly updates on what’s happening!

Opt-in for as long as you want and quit anytime. Accounts are charged on the first of the month, so if you want to opt out, do it before your card is charged. No questions asked.

All support is appreciated.

Not everyone can afford to be a financial patron. I totally understand this.

But everyone can be a supporter by spreading the word, putting up reviews, sharing the links, and telling their friends. It costs nothing but a moment, and it makes all the difference in the world. This keeps me writing. This makes the long-term dream viable.

If you like my work, please spread the good. That alone is so powerful and so much appreciated.

Thank you again for everything. For your support and encouragement and all the well wishes. Not a day goes by that I’m not steeped in gratitude and wonderment that I have such a mighty community and supportive net.