How I’m Using Patreon to Write a Book (& More)
A few years ago, I wrote a book.
I say, “a book”: it’s an autobiography, so… just a reeallly long blog post, basically. About me, and my life. Because everyone wants to read that, right?
Anyway, I wrote this book – or the first draft of this book, rather – not because I thought it was wildly interesting or anything, but purely because I just wanted to get some of the stories it contains down on paper: or screen, as the case may be. Once it was done, my original intention was to go back over it, edit it down, and maybe release it on Amazon, along with my other books, but, well, that didn’t happen, obviously. Instead, it just lay there, tucked away on my hard drive, where it slowly but surely became yet another one of those things on an increasingly long list of Things I Really Should Get Round to Doing, But Almost Certainly Won’t.
Every so often, I remember the book, and all of the plans I had for the book. Then I remember all of the things standing in the way of me actually doing any more work on it, and so the book gets pushed to the back of my mind again, and, until a few weeks ago, I’d assumed that’s where it would stay.
Then I discovered Patreon.
Patreon, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a membership site which aims to help content creators get paid for their work, by allowing readers to sign-up for benefits like early access to specific content, or bonus content created purely for patrons. So, in other words, it’s a place where writers/bloggers/artists/whatever create content which subscribers pay to access. It’s used by many different people, in many different ways, but one of the ways it’s often used is by authors trying to motivate themselves to write books, and bloggers looking to monetise their content, and, this week, I decided to join them.
My Patreon account can be found here, and I’m going to be using it in three main ways:
To finally finish that book
Every month, I’m going to be releasing a new chapter of the book over on Patreon, exclusively available to subscribers. The idea is that, by making the commitment to do this, I basically have no more excuses: I have to get each chapter finished and online by the end of each month, no matter what.
Er, that’s totally do-able… right?
To publish bonus blog posts, that aren’t available elsewhere
For me, one of the most frustrating things about blogging has always been the fact that the stories I really want to write always tend to be the ones I know I really shouldn’t write – or shouldn’t publish on my blog, at least – for one reason or another.
Like the most awkward twenty-minutes of my life, for instance: an incident which lasted just a few minutes, but which I’ve been reliving in my head ever since it happened, just a couple of weeks ago. I’m cringing just thinking about it, in fact: cringing… but also itching to write about it, and a little bit frustrated by the knowledge that, as it was a work-related thing, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to write about it here, on a public blog that absolutely anyone can read.
Or that thing that happened at the end of 2015, and which culminated in Terry having to give evidence in the ensuing court case, earlier this year, with us both being harassed and threatened over it, to the point where we had to call the police, on more than one occasion. (No, I promise I’m not making this up: I really wish I was…)
There have been quite a few stories that fell into that category over the years. They’re not all embarrassing ones (I mean, a lot of them are, obviously, because this IS me we’re talking about, after all…), and they thankfully aren’t all super-serious ones, either, but they are, nevertheless, stories I’ve always wanted to tell, but have resisted the urge to put into the public domain, in a rare moment of good sense.
With the ability Patreon gives creators to publish content to a smaller, more private audience, though – and, more importantly, to know who’s actually reading it – I’m finally able to tell some of those top secret stories. And by ‘top secret’ I mean, ‘not really, but that is kind of how it feels to me, tbh.’
Just to be clear, these Patreon-only posts aren’t in any way a replacement for the blog, which will continue as it always has: they’re posts that I would never publish here, for a variety of reasons. So it’s definitely not the case that I’m taking content away from the blog, and posting it somewhere else: Forever Amber will continue to be my main priority, and will continue to be updated with the same kind of posts you’ve come to expect – it’s just that I’ll now also be writing a monthly bonus post on Patreon, which will be something I wouldn’t feel comfortable publishing here. These posts will generally be longer (Yes, really…), or more in-depth pieces, and some might be a little bit more… “controversial” would probably be the wrong word here, but just.. things I wouldn’t normally write on a totally public platform.
The first of these posts will go live on Monday, and will be all about that really awkward incident I mentioned above. No, I’m still not over it…
(Oh, and I’ll also be posting random other pieces of content, like polls (The first one is up now, actually, asking for your help naming my next book), photos, and other behind-the-scenes stuff that isn’t available elsewhere.)
Personalised blogging advice
Finally, I get tons of request for blogging advice every month, and while I’ve covered various different blog-related topics both here on the blog itself, and in my book, My Blogging Secrets, I’m really aware that what a lot of the people who contact me are looking for is something a bit more personal. Unfortunately, that’s something I’ve just not been able to offer, because, as much as I’d like to help, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Through Patreon, however, I’m going to be offering a limited number of slots per month for people looking for personalised blogging advice, with subscribers to this package being able to ask one question per month, which I’ll answer by providing advice tailored to their blog. Or I’ll try to, at least…
To address the elephant in the room, meanwhile, this is obviously a paid subscription model, which I totally understand isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If it’s not for you, I just want to stress again that this isn’t a replacement for the blog: in fact, if it goes well, I’m hoping it will actually help this site, by allowing me to move towards removing the adverts, and create more content, without having to worry about sponsored posts or other methods of monetisation. Or that’s the plan, anyway…