Patreon for Writers: Collaborate and Publish

You Did It!

Congratulations, you’ve officially launched your Patreon page! By preparing your launch you’ve set yourself up better than the majority of creators.  You launched your page, but so what? Launching your page alone won’t get you donations. According to Kickstarter, the first 24 hours of a campaign are the most important. With your lists in place, your emails scheduled, your social media shoutouts posted, you will have an initial surge of donations before they taper off. Here are three ongoing tasks that will always be a part of your fundraising efforts:

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You, Me and Gift Management

But wait a minute, I’m a writer, what do I have anything to do with gift management?? Doesn’t Patreon do that for me? And what exactly is “gift management”?

Patreon has the tools for relationship management and will be your gift processor, but the majority of gift management will fall to you.

I am a former professional Gifts Administrator. While I’m not moonlighting as a fledging Flintlock Fantasy Writer or spending too much time on social media, I spend my day processing checks, cash, stock, wires, and matching gifts for non-profits. Understanding where your money comes from, how to process it, and how to acknowledge those gifts can mean the success or failure of a Campaign.

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Nether Light by Shaun Paul Stevens: Book Review

Nether Light follows Guyen, a young biracial man who is shipwrecked upon Sendal shores. Upon arriving in the city proper, he and his twin brother Yemeylan are thrown into Sendal’s working caste system, where people are given employment based on their Talents. 

This oil-light epic fantasy series feels like walking through the world as Daniel in Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This dark world, lit by harsh sodalamps and adorned with the 18th century’s iconic tricorne hats, hosts a decaying magic. Citizens are inoculated with a Concoction at birth to Bind them against a creeping pandemic that causes madness and turns them into creatures (the Unbound) that resemble the Grunts that haunt Daniel so.   

Guyen, who is of Krellan and Sendali descent, struggles to survive in a country where his heritage is looked down upon. Upon getting his Binding tested to receive his Sendali citizenship, it is discovered that he is Purebound: he is naturally resistant to the maddenings. He is shipped off to the Devotions, where he studies to become a Bindcrafter and seek the cure for Yemeylan, whose Binding is weakening and risks losing his citizenship and mind. 

Magic system nerds will surely be intrigued by Faze, the magic Guyen stumbles to learn alongside his other studies. Although Nether Light doesn’t dive too deeply into a hard magic system, it is hinted that there is surely more to come in additional Bindcrafter books. 

Should you pick up this book? 

This book will delight those who love delving into a fantasy world, Nether Light will be sure to satisfy. It is a slow burn novel that takes its time to reveal the true plot, which binds Guyen into politics, fantasy science, and the fate of the Binding. It is a leisurely stroll through the world as told through the eyes of a young foreigner.

Readers who enjoy The Stormlight Archive and who long for additional Flintlock fantasy will enjoy Nether Light. The slow pacing and exploration of Guyen’s daily life early on in the book will deter some readers, however, through Guyen the reader learns of the world and what is at stake. 

Nether Light is a delightful independent book by Shaun Paul Stevens that catapults it above many other independent fantasy books by the virtue of its impressive worldbuilding. You can buy it here from Amazon.


For those who prefer a faster-paced story, but who are interested in the Bindcrafter universe, readers may check out Deliverance at Van Demon’s Keep, which follows a Ranker named Kiprick. Kiprick must rescue miners who are trapped with Unbound, who have infiltrated the mine.

Patreon for Writers: Ongoing Campaigns

Campaigns?!

Such a scary word, but never fear, gentle writer, for this is the fun part!

In the non-profit world, I have experience with two kinds of fundraising: the Annual Fund and the Campaign.

These two types are the bread and butter of fundraising for annual operations and specific projects, be that capital (ie buildings) or productions (music festivals, scholarships, etc). Similar techniques can be used for your writing projects depending on your goals. Let’s take a look at how a non-profit model can help you understand and build your campaign.

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Urban Legends

 

Urban legends are something every child grew up with, at least here in America. They’re the kind of stories told over crackling campfires, gooey s’mores, and in the deep, dark woods. While they fall into a similar category as creepypastas, urban legends typically have similar formats (wayward hikers on the road, a creepy graveyard, former occupants going bump in the night) but are unique to the area.

Unlike creepypastas, which thrive in the void of the Internet, each urban legend has a distinctly local flavor. With every unsettling crime comes the ghosts of its victims. The spirits of those who died in accidents haunt their violent pasts. And creepy somethings inhabit the empty space between the crumbling drywall of abandoned buildings.

There’s no shortage of urban legends around my area, and my favorite urban legend from Ventura County, California is about the Charman.

The Charman

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In the aftermath of the devastating 2017-2018 Thomas Fire, there’s no shortage of fear around wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

Local legend says that there is a haunted bridge near the old RV campgrounds in Ojai, California called Camp Comfort, where the homeless folks live and the Charman frightens drivers in the dead of night.

Creek Road is an undulating mountain road locals take to avoid traffic on Highway 33. Drivers speed along all its curves, avoiding deer, rocks tumbling down the mountainside, and the occasional ghost hitchhiking among the long dry grass.   

The story changes depending on which local you talk to. Some folks say a motorcyclist died along the windy mountain road. Others say it’s the spirit of a firefighter who died during the last great wildfire in the 1980’s. But what is certain is that something haunts the road and that certain something is a burning man who terrifies drivers who stop on the bridge just outside of Camp Comfort.

Locals even have cocktails named after him! If you’re ever in town, be sure to try out the Charman Margarita (traditional margarita with hot sauce) at Seafresh. 

Of course, in all of the 18 years here I’ve never once seen the Charman on the bridge. But maybe, when I’m driving home one night, that will all change!

The McWaterford Witch

For writers, using urban legends as part of their eerie little tales allows for great creativity. In my upcoming short story, “The McWaterford Witch,” a group of girls on a camping trip witness an urban legend that comes to life. The horror arises from their own fear: that something will happen to one of them. For who knows what lurks in the woods at night?

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This blog post is part of the Secrets in Our Cities Scavenger Hunt. You can participate by visiting all of the participating blogs, a list of which can be found in the introduction post on the Just-Us League’s website.

Once you’ve gathered all of the clues, figure out the secret line and submit it. One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Secrets in Our Cities, and three lucky winners will receive ebook copies.

The Scavenger Hunt will be open until midnight EST on November 5th, 2018. The winners will be announced on the Just-Us League’s blog on November 7th, 2018. Your information will only be used to contact you if you win a prize.