Late Night Thoughts (and Some Decisions) About My Patreon Account

I’d meant to write this much earlier in the day, but ended up spending much of today working on grant application preparations. (There are a couple of times throughout the year where entire days at a stretch, more or less, are given over to doing so.)

Ever since Patreon got hacked I have been thinking about my account there. About what I post and why. About the goal of having it catalyze me to write new fiction and keep writing new fiction. And the ever-problematic nature of losing first run copyright to new work by posting to Patreon. In the eyes of most publications, anyway. And, rightly, given that one is being paid for the dissemination of said work to readers directly — that Patreon Patrons are in effect buying the right to see it.

A funny thing happened after I started the Patreon account. It gave me the boost in getting around to writing that I’d hoped for. But so does setting a word count goal as part of a daily to-do list. (Most of the time, as other factors tend to affect that.) And the longer I was carrying on with the account, the more it became one more thing I had to do every month. It became less an impetus and more inertia.

Perhaps it just timed out poorly with a prolonged and enervating apartment hunt, the happy but also exhausting move this month, a heavy grant application season, and a fair amount of freelance work. But somewhere along the way the Patreon schedule stopped being helpful.

Especially where selling fiction is concerned:

That Patreon account was never about making money. But I do believe in being paid for the fiction I publish. And if I cannot sell my work and be compensated for it monetarily after posting new work to Patreon, then the system there is actively working against me.

So after taking a couple of weeks to think it over, I’m going to be shutting down my Patreon account. I’m still looking into whether that means I need to just strip out all the posted content and disconnect the auto-payments generated from Patrons, or if I can simply deactivate my account there. (I gather it’s possibly to simply downgrade one’s account to being a Patron only, and I may do that as a last resort.)

This also means I can stop shilling for it once a month. Which is excellent. Because that always feels very strange. And I’d rather be telling people about anthology projects I’m involved in or editing. Or magazines or other publications I’ve sold work to. Therein, there’s a sense of community — of promoting multiple people. Simply promoting myself always feels an odd thing. And I tend to dislike the taste of it.

Which, I will note, is a personal preference. And not a disparagement of the practice of or necessity for self-promotion. Especially by or from voices who are classically or continuously ignored, marginalized, or targeted, and who need to be heard. Amal El-Mohtar put the case for people speaking up for their own work and its value most eloquently in her article Of Awards Eligibility Lists and Unbearable Smugness.

In any case, I think I’m rather done with Patreon. It’s a good system in many ways, and I have seen other people’s whose work I love make it work for them, and work well. But for my own requirements it’s not the thing I need.

An interesting experiment though. And worth having seen the inside of it.

But now on to other pursuits and projects.

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