Writers on Patreon: Build Your Database

Repeat after me: your writing is a business.

Your writing is a business.

Feel the need to wash your mouth to get that bitter taste out of your mouth? Good.

Whether or not you like it your writing is a business. Why else are you creating a Patreon page? Now that we have that unpleasant business out of the way I’d like to share some facts from my non-profit experience.

First and foremost you need to build an audience. And just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. One thing you need to understand is that, although you may have hundreds of followers, only a small percentage of those followers will actually become donors.

Why?

Not everyone has the financial freedom to become a Patron to all of their favorite followers, but over time they may be able to. Think long-

Organize Your Database

Patreon has a lot of work to do to develop its CRM system, though that doesn’t mean you can’t start building your professional database now. As a database manager and administrator for a few non-profits I have a general idea of what information you need to build your campaign.

My number one recommendation is to build your database on a spreadsheet. Who do you think will support you? Do you have their contact information? Write it all down using this simple Patreon Database. 

Identifying Donors

NP_Donor

Be smart about your relationship management and asks. Will you really ask an art student to make a pledge? Or your retired aunt who only wants to be a patron of the arts? Supporters are everywhere! Studying your data will give you a general idea of who your fans are. Sort them into the following categories:

  1. Potential Donors

Potential Donors are fans you’ve identified as most likely to give. And yes, this probably means your mom, or anyone who has both the monetary capacity to give and passion for your creative work.

  1. One Time Donors

In the non-profit world a one time donor could be someone who attends a special event, donates, but doesn’t volunteer or make a pledge for a recurring donation. For a writer you could consider a one time donor someone who will buy your book. Maybe they will purchase a book once, and they like it enough, but may not buy again.

  1. Not Donors

It’s ok if you realize that you have more “not donors” than potential donors! Most of your fanbase will fall into this category, but they are still very important for your campaign. New (and often young) writers want to jumpstart their career and start making money right away, but many are also fans and friends of other creatives also looking to start a career. These people, though they cannot donate, can be mobilized as volunteers to spread the word about your great work! These are people who will forward emails and share your work on social media. Treat them well!

Prepare Your Campaign

By categorizing your fans you can write specific letters for campaigns. For potential donors you will want to write a letter encouraging them to use Patreon to support your projects. Your general fans you’ll want to mention it but not ask too heavily for support, so on and so forth…

But before any of that you need to set up your Patreon page and campaign…

  1. Patreon for New Writers
  2. Building your Fanbase
  3. How to organize your personal database using an Excel spreadsheet
  4. Building your Patreon Page
  5. Working with Artists: How to Make Your Budget Work for You
  6. Ongoing campaigns: The Ask Event Model
  7. Collaboration and Launch!

 

Patreon for New Writers: Building a Fanbase

In all of human history there is probably no better time to be a writer than now. The Internet has smashed through the floodgates, and stigma over self-publishing is letting up quite a bit as new and respected writers are making names for themselves.

For this blog post I’ll go over some examples of big writers I’ve seen utilize the Internet to build a following. Although there are certainly more (and equally talented) indie writers I’ve highlighted these three case studies to demonstrate different methods for building a fanbase.

Continue reading

Gerald's GameGerald’s Game by Stephen King

Gerald’s Game is one of the few Stephen King novels I have not read, so when I picked it up I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for. It was one of those novels I was hesitant about picking up–how could King write 300 pages about a woman being tied to a bed, and still make it interesting?

Overshadowed by some of his more popular novels, such as IT, Gerald’s Game focuses less on horror of the alien and unknown and more on the horror of the self. The story follows a woman named Jessie, who travels to a cabin with her husband Gerald for a romantic getaway. To spice things up a bit Gerald handcuffs Jessie to the bed for some kinky sexytimes. Jessie, already unhappy with her marriage, has second thoughts about this “experiment” and asks Gerald to stop. When he refuses, Jessie kicks him. Gerald suffers a heart attack, leaving Jessie naked and handcuffed to the bed, unable to free herself or help Gerald, now dead on the floor.

Over the course of twenty-eight hours Jessie recalls her father’s sexual abuse, looks back closely on her life, and really, really wants a drink of water. All the while she fears being watched by an intruder in the house.

The story’s strengths lie in King’s oddly specific details, and the horror of a romantic getaway gone wrong, and Jessie’s deteriorating emotional state that eventually propels her into her escape. As Jessie lies there she remembers her past, which make up the bulk of the book.

It is no doubt horror. Horror not only from the claustrophobic situation, but of the situations leading up to it. A pattern of betrayal from men in her life she trusted–first her father, and then her husband refusing to stop his game when she asked. I ended up reading this book every night until I finished it in a week. However, I had to stop when Jessie escaped her handcuffs. Though I don’t normally get nauseated when reading horror, there was something very unnerving about the degloving scene. Because there is hardly an antagonist, save for the dog formerly known as Prince and the mysterious night-time visitor, the focus on the gory details lies as naked and exposed on the page as Jessie is on the bed.

The ending could have been stronger, and carries a similar tone to the ending of Misery: our hero escapes, but is no longer the same. The revelation of the identity of her mysterious visitor punctures the emotional fallout and resolution I was looking for.

Although not one of King’s better books, Gerald’s Game is a quick read and demonstrates King’s ability to delve into a character’s mind and spin it out into 300 pages. If you enjoyed Misery, then you might also enjoy this story, as it also takes place in one setting and focuses on internal character development. However, if another Pennywise you are looking for, then you may find yourself disappointed. Overall I enjoyed the story, and do not regret reading it.

View all my reviews

Patreon For New Writers

Patreon wordmark (black)

My Experience

I’m a writer with a day job, and my work experience covers digital marketing for small businesses/non-profits and database management for non-profit organizations. That’s just a fancy way of saying that I help maintain an accurate constituent database and update their Facebook pages.

In fall 2015 I created a Patreon page out of curiosity. As a fundraising platform it was still a new-fangled thing, and I was curious. My creator page did not actually go live with a proper “hard” campaign until January 2017, as several personal things affected my launch. After a soft and hard launch my pledges have stabilized, which allows me to pursue more creative projects I haven’t been able to do before! Continue reading

I Have Bias (So You Should Buy This)

Shift (The Faceless Book 1)Shift by Rikkaine Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll begin my review with a disclaimer: I’ve known the author’s work for a while. Years, in fact. Now that my bias is out there, I’ll move on to the review, which you should totally read despite my bias. Or, perhaps you should read my review because of it.

When I picked up Shift to read over a weekend I wasn’t certain what to expect. I knew the plot synopsis, as Ms. Thompson shared it online while it was being queried for traditional publishing, but I missed being part of the original beta reader group. In hindsight, I’m glad I got to read the final product first, as I was unhindered by bias and early drafts.

Shift will appeal to fans of YA books such as Hunger Games and Twilight (sans the romance).With nods to particular fandoms sure to give certain readers grins, the story follows aspiring animator Alyson Gale, who is swept into a conspiracy involving shapeshifters. Although Shift is short compared to other modern YA books, Ms. Thompson serves the reader a dense narrative. The heavy, emotional scenes are laden with genuine sorrow, which balance the rush of adrenaline as the heroes dash through the narrative. In pursuit or being hunted is for you to discover on your own.

Shift contains minor LGBTQ themes, which enhances the narrative and the world the characters inhabit. It’s tightly edited, with alternating chapters from two POV characters whose storylines eventually intertwine. In short: great story, interesting worldbuilding, and action scenes that will carry you through time and leave you wondering where your afternoon went.

It’s been such a pleasure watching Rikkaine Thompson’s work grow over the years, and the culmination of all her hard work was such a joy to read.
View all my reviews