Tag Archives: patreon

Things I am up to

The last few months have been a little bit crazy for me, with numerous changes to my day jobs. I am at present publicist for two authors, two publishing houses and a community venue. I’m doing newsletter and press work for a local group focused on sustainability. I’m doing evening work at events as well. Alongside this, I’m the colourist for the graphic novel series Hopeless Maine and we’re working on the next book. Here’s some art from that:

I’ve had a Patreon page for more than a year now, and it’s helped me keep moving with my own creativity, and it helps as an income stream as well. Thanks to Patreon support, I spent what spare time I had in September putting together a collection of poetry – Mapping the Contours. I also coloured the cover. This is a collection about relationship with landscape. I had it printed locally in the end so the only way to get copies is via Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/641871660/mapping-the-contours-poetry

I have two cunning plans following on from this. Firstly, I’m going to serialise a Hopeless Maine novella on my Patreon page for people at the Dustcat level. This is a story set before the graphic novel series and mostly following the exploits of Annamarie Nightshade; resident witch on the island. I shall be putting up a chapter a month. It seemed a good way to share the story, and I will be publishing it by other means, eventually. If you’d like to be able to read that, saunter over to https://www.patreon.com/NimueB

I setup Patreon with the idea that I’d write new things every month by way of content. Serialising an otherwise unavailable book of course isn’t a ‘new thing’ but, it will help me find the time and energy to work on another small book. What I plan to do next is a small book of elemental meditations. As with Mapping the Contours, Patreon supporters will get an e-copy. If you sign up at this point for Patreon, you can of course wander through the old posts and pick up your own e-version. You can sign up for a month, read everything that’s up there already and then leave, should you want, but you won’t get the novella that way!

For the really dedicated, there’s a Glass Heron level with quarterly physical postings. I’ve just sent hard copies of Mapping the Contours to my Glass Herons.  When I get the little meditations book together, I’ll send that out, too, and then that too will go to Etsy so anyone else who wants one can get copies.

I try to give away as much as I can (this blog, what I do on youtube, informal mentoring, volunteer work). But, I’m not independently wealthy, and the practical reality is that if I have to use most of my time and energy on bill paying jobs, I don’t create as much. This last year, Patreon support has really helped me keep going creatively. It is both an incentive and a vote of confidence. If you love someone and they have a Patreon page, just giving them a dollar a month can mean a great deal. When lots of people do that, creators can pay their bills – and many do depend on this income stream to keep afloat. It’s also a gesture of belief and valuing, and that makes a lot of odds too.

Subscribing to this blog is also a gesture of support and valuing that I really appreciate, and knowing there are lots of people who want to read my ramblings has kept me blogging steadfastly for years. Thank you for taking an interest in what I do.

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Things I am up to

Thus far this year has not gone to plan. I’m increasingly fine with that. One of the things I didn’t get to do I’m glad I missed – the feeling of having dodged a bullet there. I’ve become involved unexpectedly in other projects as well.

I’ve just launched a new column on The Hopeless Vendetta – Mrs Beaten is judging you. Mrs Beaten is the sort of character who worries about whether the orphans are speaking proper English, and complains about their poor postures while ignoring the fact that half of them have rickets. She’s all about appearances. Writing satire always means the risk of people thinking I’m serious, and to make this even more exposed, I’m doing cartoons for it. Tom is now working on the next Hopeless Maine graphic novel and I really don’t want to take any of his time away from that. Mrs Beaten will be unleashed on Sundays, you can find her here –hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/category/hopeless-tales/mrs-beaten/ 

I’m still blogging alternative wheel of the year stuff for Sage Woman every month. I blog intermittently at Moon Books. I’m writing a regular Quiet Revolution column for Pagan Dawn, and I’m writing about tree activism for the Pagan Federation International.

Over on Patreon, I’m putting up content every week, including new poetry, and fragments of fiction that may eventually turn into a thing.

Alongside this, I’m doing a bit of online campaign work for The Woodland Trust and helping out where I can with The Pagan Federation Disabilities Online Team. I am behind on learning sign language, but I do have a chant written for the next festival.

I’m supporting a number of authors who are at various stages of trying to get their work into the world. I feel strongly that getting your work out there should not depend on being able to pay. I don’t want to live in a world where arts careers are only for those who have a lot of privilege to begin with. So, where people need help and can’t afford to pay for it, I do what I can. Which is, I fear, a very small drop in the ocean of what’s needed. One of the reasons I’m reviewing every week is that it’s an easy way of helping people make their books more visible. I only review books I feel largely positive about.

Quite a lot of my time goes into unpaid work. Donating via the ko-fi link, (thank you those of you who have already done this) and supporting me on Patreon (thank you!) helps me stay viable while giving my time and skills to other people. It helps me afford to continue with Tom not taking as many illustration commissions so as to focus on getting Hopeless Maine out there. It gives me time for my own speculative work rather than having to focus on the things that are definitely going to pay. It makes losing money on events less scary, too. Train fares cost a lot, and we need to get out there to meet people and promote our work, but in the short term it is all too easy to lose money on this.

Of course much of this is true for many creative people. Having resources to invest in developing your work can be really difficult if you’re barely scraping a living. Creating part time isn’t a good answer for many people and it brings us back again to only getting creators who are in good health and well resourced. If you support the creators you love – in any small way you can – you help keep them going. Review them, re-tweet them, tell a friend. And if you can throw money at them, know that it makes an enormous difference. A hundred dollars a month on Patreon can easily be the different between keeping going and not keeping going.

If you want to wave money at me, you can do so here.
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


Doing things for money

My economic situation has improved significantly in the last year, freeing up more resources for leisure stuff and a better diet. Both have had a huge impact on my mental and physical health and on my creativity. A brain is powered by food, and the relationship between poverty, diet and poor mental health is something I intend to come back to.

Of course I have heard all the arguments the other way – art should be made for love, not money. Druid work should be given away freely as it’s not spiritual to ask for money. To do that you have to be independently wealthy, have a partner who can fund everything, or be in such good health that you can work two jobs. That logic leaves us with creativity and priesthood as options only for the privileged. I’m not cool with that.

The internet gives us the means to have many things for free – it is one of the great powers of this technology. It brings us to new challenges and new ways of doing things. It has never been easier for an indy creator to find an audience, but it has probably never been harder to earn a living in this way. It is one of the reasons I find Patreon so exciting as a model. Using Patreon means that, as a creator, you can just put your stuff out there. If people love you enough, they can drop a few dollars in the hat each month, and get some extras for so doing.

I’ve been using Patreon for a couple of months now. It’s got me writing short stories and poetry on a much more regular basis, and I’m using it to host a monthly newsletter as well. Having people willing to put in the hat for this, and to support my other work, has really helped me emotionally. At the moment, the extra money is not a game changer, but I’ve thought about how I would use extra money should this grow.

One of my goals is to be able to justify making at least one video a month. The odds are this would involve poetry, songs, short stories and filming things that are not my face. I’ve been dabbling a bit as it is and have a couple of videos to finish and release in the autumn. Beyond that, my goal is to be able to afford to use some of Tom’s time on a cartoon strip we’ve wanted to do for years. It’s called The Wrong Dog. Ultimately, my major goal is more space. This could be studio space in the short term, but longer term I need to live somewhere else. The living room /dining room/writer space/ office/studio/storage area arrangement frankly doesn’t work very well for doing any of the things we need to do.

Having more income gives me more scope to invest in my wellbeing. It might mean being able to afford a weekly Tai Chi class – something I really want to do. I could use some extra funding to take courses to develop my skills and ideas. I’ve done some single day workshops through the summer, and that’s been decidedly good for me. I have fantasies about going on holiday.

Here are the things my household is doing for money, should you feel so moved…

Patreon

Books for sale on Amazon   and Book Depository  (most of my stuff can be bought anywhere that sells books)

Etsy (for posters and Tom Brown original art) https://www.etsy.com/shop/MothFestival

If you want to support a creative person but can’t throw money at them, pointing at their work, reviewing them, and the like is a really great help and always appreciated. Feedback is good, too. Most of us unfamous creative folk keep going because we think someone might just want it – putting a hand up to being the person who wants the stuff can help keep a person making and sharing.

 


Putting out the hat

There’s a moment when you start a busking set, when the empty hat goes out, and you have not yet begun to sing or play, and you don’t know how people are going to react. For me, that pause before beginning has always felt the most exposed.

Yesterday, I put out a hat, and waited nervously to see if anyone would find what I’m doing worth responding to. The first coins in the hat are always a massive morale boost. They affirm that it was worth the exposure. Thus far, Patreon is turning out to feel exactly like busking.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that I have a lot of issues with how the creative industries work. I struggle personally because it’s hard to make a living as a writer, and doing other things to pay the bills doesn’t leave me with much brain or energy for doing the creative stuff. I also need people to create for – I write this blog every day because there are people who want to read it, and that keeps me going. So long as someone wants to read it, I’ll keep writing.

I said recently that I wouldn’t ask for donations to keep doing this. I have put out a hat, but it’s not exactly for this blog. There’s a link at the top of this site now that says ‘support this blog’ because that’s short, but it’s not accurate! Much of the point of doing the Patreon page is to create a space where I can do other things.

So, for $1 a month you get a monthly newsletter with stuff about whatever I’m doing, and you also get one small original creative piece. For $5 a month you get that plus another modestly sized bit of creativity. My aim is to be putting out content there every week, eventually, if enough people sign up to make that viable. A lot of Patreon pages offer multiple levels for support, but, I would rather give things to more people. I’m only going to create extra levels if there’s tangible stuff to send out into the world.

I’m already feeling cheered by the few dollars that are in the hat for each month. I am imagining what could come next in terms of pushing out creatively. I’m hoping it will work and that there will turn out to be enough people who like what I do and want me to do more of it. I think it’s possible. It would only take a small percentage of blog followers to throw a dollar in the hat for my life to change radically.

I like the idea also of having scope to keep giving stuff away – here, and on youtube, and wherever else makes sense – and have support come back to me for doing that. It’s a key part of how Patreon works. It’s the other side of gift economy, the side that allows people to gift back to creators if they want to, on whatever terms they like. And nobody has to. So long as someone throws the odd coin in the hat, the busking continues…

For the first time in years, I feel hopeful about creating. It doesn’t feel entirely pointless and futile because a couple of people have already responded. So, if you want to come with me on this adventure, I would be delighted, and if that wouldn’t work for you – I’ll still be here, making my work freely available, and with a bit of luck and a fair wind, I’ll be better resourced to keep doing that.

https://www.patreon.com/NimueB


The art of supporting people

The internet has changed how many of us work. It’s created a culture where free is normal. There are some very good aspects to this – not least that many of us are too poor to pay for all the music, stories, art, essays, films etc we might want in our lives. I do not want to live in a world where poverty is a barrier to accessing culture and ideas, so as a matter of principle, I will always give a percentage of my work away. Currently that’s in the form of this blog, a free audio novel and a webcomic. You can support me by buying my books.

Many creative people live very marginal lives, financially speaking. Many art forms take a lot of time, so either you work full time for a pittance (big advances are very rare indeed), or you do something else to pay the bills and use your leisure time to create things. And no, making art of any kind to a professional standard cannot fairly be considered to be a leisure activity because it’s a demanding thing to do and requires discipline and considerable effort. My world is a better place because other people go to that effort to paint, write, sing, and think to the very best of their abilities. I want people who create to be able to do so, and this, for me, is also a matter of principle.

While in many ways the internet in recent years has reduced the earnings of creative people (platforms like youtube and amazon get rich, creators do not, for the greater part) it may also offer solutions. One of those solutions is Patreon. This is basically the old style patronage model re-imagined. Go back a hundred years and further, and it was normal for authors, composers and the rest to be sponsored by a wealthy patron. For whatever reasons, people with silly amounts of money don’t seem to want to spend that on creativity anymore. What the internet gives us, is a more democratic approach, where you don’t need an Earl to make it work.

Go to www.Patreon.com and you can give just $1 a month to support the work of someone you like. Someone whose work you enjoy for free, most likely. They will give you extra perks for doing this, so you get to be more involved in what they do. There are many creative people who are so marginal financially that a reliable $200 dollars a month can make the difference between eating passably and living on toast. 200 people who like what someone does enough to offer $1 a month in support can change everything for a creative person. This is a model that works. Most people using it will not become wealthy by most standards – many will still be very poor by any normal measure, but they will have a better shot at keeping roofs over their heads and having food to eat, and this is important.

If we want a good standard of creative, thoughtful work, we need people who are able to do more than a couple of hours a week on it. If we want the things we love, we have to take care of the people making those things, we cannot ask them to live on air. If you give a tiny amount in support of a creator you value, you can be part of an epic change for them individually, and for how money works in our world.

Let me round off by pointing you at some people…

Award winning Illustrator and graphic novelist Eric Orchard (and no, even with those credentials, he can’t afford the website and art gear he needs)  https://www.patreon.com/user?u=162929

Druid and blogger Cat Treadwell (who does a great deal of unpaid work, and is not an infinite resource)  https://www.patreon.com/user?u=396293