Posts Tagged ‘patreon’

Patreon Rights Grab?

I got a disturbing email from one of the other authors I follow, Holly Lisle, this morning, concerning Patreon.

We all know Patreon, right? It gives people the ability to give some amount of money to creators (musicians, artists, writers, etc.) they like to help them continue to be able to make creative content. I made a page myself some time ago, though I have been very bad at it.

So Holly, in her email, said she was cancelling her Patreon because of some troubling wording in the Terms of Use.

The wording is:

“By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. The purpose of this license is to allow us to operate Patreon, promote Patreon and promote your content on Patreon. We are not trying to steal your content or use it in an exploitative way.”

While Patreon says in other places that 100% of your content is owned by you, and it doesn’t use it, the fact that this wording exists (and there’s no way for a creator to take permission away from Patreon if they change their minds in the future) is problematic.

There’s more on this here.

I do have some questions. How long has this wording been there? Is it as bad as it sounds? I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

But I did think I would cancel my page until I had a better idea of what this means, and it turns out that it’s not live anyway. Har. Apparently I went to edit it at some point and did not publish the changes, and so it’s just sitting in some weird limbo.

(Good job, Kit.)

But, anyway, I thought I’d put this out there, in case other people have Patreons and would also like to think about what this means for them.

Aside from that, I hope everyone is having a pretty good Thursday.

Patreon Research

Well, squiders, I wrote most of a blog post yesterday, and it just wasn’t gelling. The longer it went on, the less sense I felt it was making. And then I got distracted by things and I never posted it, and, believe me, that is for the best.

Yes, yes, it is.

Anyway, what I got distracted by is actually a better post topic, so let’s do that instead.

I’ve had a Patreon for…oh, who knows. Two years, maybe? Three? It is something I set up and then have never quite figured out how to work with it, so mostly I stare at it out of the corner of my eye in the hopes that I will magically figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with it.

And every now and then I poke at it, tweaking things here and there, which doesn’t especially help but feels somewhat productive.

Patreon helpfully sends out a newsletter with tips on attracting patrons and growing your audience and tools to use and whatnot, though they seemed to be mostly geared toward people who work in podcasts, music, or video (probably because these seem to be the most success categories on the site). They recently sent out an email about a section of their app that allows creators to easily take video of their process which got me thinking about my poor, mostly abandoned Patreon again.

(Also I checked out the app, but apparently they recently changed it and everyone hates everything about it, so I’m going to leave that alone for now.)

So I spent some time yesterday looking specifically at other SFF writers on Patreon who seem to be doing decently, to see what they’re doing.

These people fell into two categories:

  1. Larger name authors who are probably leveraging an existing fanbase (including award-winning authors like Kameron Hurley and self-pub gold standard Lindsay Buroker). I kind of looked at these but I figure that what’s working for them is probably out of my reach at this moment.
  2. Authors I hadn’t heard of

So I poked through category 2. And here are the trends I noticed:

  • Most people had “per item” payment tiers rather than monthly tiers. So every time they finished a short story or a chapter or whatever, their patrons would be charged.
  • The people with the most patrons were extremely productive. One was writing 50-60K words a month on a regular basis, and most of the other ones were putting out at least 2-3 novels a year.
  • A lot of Patreons (especially ones with monthly tiers) were focused on a certain project, like a series of novels or shorts related to a series. Very few were “support me on everything I write.”

I have a video intro because that was highly recommended when I set up the account–not a single one of the others I looked at yesterday had one. I guess that makes sense. If you’re working in visual media like most people on the site, why wouldn’t you do a video? But for a writer, where the story is going to be most important, hooray, it looks like one isn’t necessary. Which is fantastic, because I’m going to take my down. When I get around to it.

So, I’m wondering, if I want a specific project Patreon where I can generate a lot of content and potentially build on something that already has fans, maybe I should modify mine to be specifically about the City of Hope and Ruin sequel. The book has had decent buzz and Siri and I have had people asking about a sequel since immediately after it came out. Or maybe I can make a separate page that both Siri and I can have access to? Not sure about that–it might be one page per account (in which case maybe Siri wants to make one?).

I’ll have to ask her about it.

Does anyone have any experience with Patreon, as a creator or as a patron? What has worked for you, or what do the creators that you follow do that you like?

Nonfiction Poll, Videocast Thoughts, and Other Sundry

Hey, guess what, squiders. I found my paper for the Shards library book talk. It was under my bed. Sigh. Who the heck knows why. (There were also cat hairballs under my bed, alas.) Too late to save me now.

(One would think I would put it someplace where I can find it now, but it’s still on my nightstand. Authors: not always the most organized people. We can follow a character arc to its completion but can’t remember where we put our socks.)

Nonfiction! Let’s start back up. I’ve got two options for the next one instead of giving you the giant list.

I’m good with either though I have already done a lot of work on the outlining one, so if you want to make my life easier… >_>

So, it sounds like people like the videocast idea! I like it too, and I actually have a pretty decent set-up for doing video which I’ve used previously for interviews and whatnot, so it wouldn’t be hard to get going! But logistics, logistics. You have to be consistent. If you were to tune in to said videocast, how often would you want to? Once a month? Twice a month? Once a week? I’m thinking they’ll be relatively short, at least at first, 10-15 minutes.

I’m also pondering tying them into my Patreon. My Patreon is an ongoing adventure in “marketing that I don’t really understand but am fiddling about with” and I know that not consistently producing content for it helps it not at all (the problem of course being that I don’t really know what sort of content people want over there). The videos won’t be limited to Patreon subscribers, but maybe I could release them a day early or something. Who knows? Not me!

I’m attending an online marketing conference this week, which has been interesting. I’m doing the free versus the paid option, so I have the day of to watch the conference videos before they disappear, which has been challenging. Thus far it’s been a good reminder of things, and I have learned a few new things to try. But it–and some networking I’ve done over the past few weeks–have reminded me that hey, there are some points of this marketing/publishing part that I’m good at–good enough to teach other people–and that I’m not as terrible as I sometimes feel like I am. So that’s been really nice.

I’d like to do another book-related thing this month. Which do you guys like better, the readalongs or the library book sale find reviews? I mean, it’s too late to do a readalong for this month, but we could get one rolling for the holiday season (not like the holiday season needs more stuff, but hey).

Found anything cool lately, squiders? Please let me know your thoughts!

Marketing and Nonfiction Ponderings

I’ve found something fantastic, Squiders–a marketing videocast aimed specifically at indie speculative fiction writers. I cannot tell you how excellent this is. I have taken so many marketing courses, attended so many webinars, and read so many articles and books, and for the most part they seem to be aimed at nonfiction writers, which is a totally different animal. If they even address fiction, it’s more wishywashy, because there’s a formula you can use for nonfic and it will more or less work, but fiction is a weird and unpredictable animal and what works for some people won’t do anything for others.

So it’s so great to see people who have been moderately successful in not only fiction, but my own genre, talk about what they’ve tried, what’s worked, what hasn’t, and so forth. They also have other authors and people like Mark Coker (who runs Smashwords) on as guests. It’s been around for almost two years now, and I’m trolling the archives at the moment, watching a video here or there that seems like it will be relevant. If this sounds like something you would also be interested in, you can find it here. (Or go to YouTube and search “marketing sff” which I have found also works.)

Speaking of nonfiction, I started my nonfiction series last January and have all of a book and a half to show for my time. I’m finding it really hard to make progress, which has been a bit baffling, because I do nonfic writing all the time for my contract positions as well as here at this blog. So I’m considering an experiment–maybe I could write a series of blog posts for one of the books and then modify and expand those to into a book. How does that sound? The book series is on writing motivation as well as basic skills like outlining, so it’s not out of scope for the blog in general. If people sound generally okay with the idea, I’ll do a poll to see which subject is most interesting to you guys.

(In case people are wondering, my hope is to have all seven books done before I start publishing so I can maintain a regular publication schedule. I also have some journals and workbooks planned to go along with the series as well.)

My last pondering for the day is about Patreon. I set it up, oh, a year and a half ago? And I will admit that I’ve done a really terrible job of doing anything with it, partly because the whole platform kind of confuses me, and partly because there seemed to be very little interest from my readers as well. (You can see my Patreon page here.)

Since this obviously isn’t working for anyone, I’m thinking about revamping it, lowering the price of the reward tiers, and focusing it on a single project, so that it would be kind of a “How an Author Writes a Book” sort of thing, where patrons could watch the entire process from idea generation through to publication. I’m not sure if that’s actually interesting to people, but it seems like it would be easier to connect with than just random tidbits about a variety of projects. Thoughts, Squiders?

Anything of note with you, or that you’ve seen about the interwebs? Anything really interesting that you’ve taken notice of?