I have a Patreon that, frankly, I don’t use. I started it a while ago because I figured that was what I had to do as a writer in this new digital age.
To be obscenely honest, I don’t think I could keep up with a Patreon. I thought it would be great because I could put all my writing scribbles and stuff that goes into making my books up there but I don’t really have any will to do so. Not because I’m massively protective of my original scribbles, I literally have zero desire whatsoever to do such a thing. Well, now. Later could be a waterfall of scribble works and such. Plus, I have this blog. Maybe I would do a separate tumblr or something but that’s still “More Work That I Have No Desire To Do”.
Not to mention, there are monthly awards for patrons. I can’t come up with something monthly and I have a disorder to consider on top of that, it just wouldn’t work. If I get too much stuff to do, I don’t write. I get flustered instead. Nothing gets done when I’m flustered.
I’m more of a maker, so I’m better at selling Stuff™ than I am at selling a personality. This means that I probably am more likely to have a random webshop selling book stuff (woo, buying my works direct from me) instead of telling people to donate monthly.
I feel weird at the concept of people donating monthly because it makes me feel beholden to their feelings and thoughts in a way. And what if I say or do something they don’t like (because I have a personality and feelings and thoughts and opinions)? They’re going to feel upset that they threw money at me in the first place. At least with a product, it’s a little different because you were buying a product, not access to my personality.
How I see it:
Throw money at a person: I like the things you do, you are the product.
Throw money at a thing a person makes: I like the things you make, your things are the product.
It’s a little different because I myself do check who I buy from to make sure they’re not a terrible person (in my perspective). If the person is misogynist? I’m extremely not likely to spend on their product, I rather hunt down a dupe or something better across the internet. If I already own the product, I can chuck it out, shelve it permanently or, if it is a recent purchase, return it for a full refund. But that’s different than shelling out money to a person because of their personality, which includes that misogyny. No refunds on that. Nothing to throw out for that.
I feel more comfy at people purchasing my things than simply throwing money at me. At least I feel less … bad? … about it. They got to walk away with something I made instead of me feeling “Ohhhhh, prepare to feel utterly disappointed when I’m not matching the person you are imagining in your head.”
Also, I currently have a job, I work in the field of libraries. I know good and well if I lost that job, I would feel radically different but that’s a bridge I’ll cross if I get there (and hopefully I don’t, that bridge sucks). Even if the worst would occur, I still would rather have a webshop instead of a Patreon because making things for people to buy is better to me than them just shelling out money at me blindly.
I have seen many writers muse on this and say “well, look at it like this, they are paying you to create”. I get that totally … but what if they think your writing has gone sour or you finally wrote something they hated? Back to square one.
Remember, I’m from the music industry and worked with promotions so I know a thing or two about fan culture on the business side – fans can easily get an odd and, at times, very undeserved sense of “I own you” level entitlement. Want to see it in action? Look at some of the things that get said at K-pop stars, especially when they get sick. Or at popular musicians if you don’t feel like crossing the (unbelievably low) language barrier. When you are selling a product (your book, your music, etc), you can at least remind the fan “No, you own your copy of their artistic work, which you chose to have. All the artist owes you is their immense appreciation but you don’t own their life.” When the person is the product, that gets a bit harder to say because it is the person/persona/personality they are paying for. The less of a real product you have to give them, the more that odd entitlement grows. What if I mention I had a meal and it had meat in it? Some fan may feel like since they shell out money to my Patreon for me to continue my artistic livelihood, they have a say in telling me that I need to stop eating meat because they themselves do not eat meat. (By the by, I am developing a major interest in plant-based meats/impossible meat so that’s a work in progress. Vegan food finally got tastier and priced reasonably enough to mimic real meat – but I am currently an omnivore, no matter what. I really like Lightlife and Gardin, though.) Here’s the thing: that would make me too uncomfortable. I have already seen it happen with my more noteworthy friends, they don’t like it and neither do I. There’s offering your opinion and insight but then there is “you need to do this because I give you money to exist”. Or if the person the fan is doling out money to reveals they are dating or something else fairly innocuous but can be treated like a bombshell revelation.
So, yeah. I’m still going to let the Patreon lay fallow since there are no patrons on it and it took a lot of work to put it up and I’ve no idea if I’ll actually do something with it but I’m not too interested in doing something with it.
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