Buckle in babes. It is gonna be a lot.
For reference today I’m going to be talking about Patreon, Medium, and other specifically writing related hustles.
Before I get into my feelings, I really want to stress that yes, YES OF COURSE as I tell my patrons every month I appreciate the fuck out of them. They have fed me, helped me pay bills and they are great.
As far as the platform itself goes, I love Patreon. Very simple. I enjoy it in terms of the user experience.
My problems have more to do with eh, okay.
Let’s start with engagement with both my current audience, my social media audience, and other maybe or likely not interested people.
I’ve done (I’m looking at them) no less than six 4 question surveys in the last year.
The first survey was a single question survey posted on Patreon, Twitter, Tumblr, facebook and in my newsletter.
Would you be interested in occasional to bi-weekly shortish podcast type posts about writing as a Patreon perk?
1 yes. 4 no. 1 no with a I can’t afford Patreon.
Across my social media, I have approximately 5k followers with probably about 500 overlaps.
I reran the poll several more times and got no further responses.
So that was useless time spent for me.
Another data gathering thing I did was via twitter specifically.
I posted this freebie read and asked folks the same question and specifically asked for it to be shared. The tweet had about 250 impressions, 10 likes, 4 retweets, 0 replies and 6 clicks.
I have more data but the upshot of my promotional efforts, engagement efforts and more so asking my community for what I need, is failure.
At this point, I know how to use my technology. I do what a lot of the advice (as I am ALWAYS talking about) and frankly it ain’t gon’ work. I’ve been on this quest to figure out some kind of sustainability for my income and writing, and I just am not sure it is going to work out for me.
Part of the problem is who I am. I am a Black Queer Purple lipstick wearing loudmouth. I am not palatable on any level to a lot of people. I know that. Quite frankly, at this point I’ve given up trying to not do the work that works for me. I accepted that a long time ago.
That said, if you do some quick googling you’ll see that as it is, there is generally a lack of support for POC creators, Black women and femmes in particular. Our fundraisers go unfunded, we do a lot of heavy intellectual lifting, we deal with a lot of specific marginalizations that result in not much cash for most of us. The reality is that for every ONE funded, successful Black woman/femme author, there are hundreds of us struggling.
I think I’ve reached the understanding that unless something very drastic happens, I will not be one of those top tier folks. That’s okay. I don’t need that.
That brings me to this.
I can’t find the entry but really, the world at large, my network, is not super interested in my hustle and my work in general. This is something as I’ve mentioned before that has been a problem since I started. I work at it.
Some stuff I do:
- I offer a shit ton of free stuff. Fiction, poetry, non-fiction. Social justice. Etc etc.
- I ask my community for what I need. If you can’t buy, please share. If you’ve been here a while you’ve seen it.
- Offer and create resources.
- Make a variety of methods for support clear and available.
This shit takes time and effort. A lot of my time spent working on trying to upgrade my Patreon to give readers more bang for the bucks, to share literary work, is honestly a waste.
With Patreon specifically, I am feeling really conflicted. I average around 40 patrons and the most number of folks who read the patron only stuff is less than 80% of those subscribed. What has happened is that over the last year, my patrons have steadily declined and I can see from the data that likely they weren’t interested in what I was offering but they might have been feelings support and they dropped off.
This leads me to a few things.
- Folks don’t really like where Cycle 2 is going.
- Folks don’t care about the work they just want to offer some support.
I have asked how folks are feelin and we already went over engagement so bloop. Except for a core of ride or die folks. I have a list and literally the most shares, thoughts and support come from about ten people who have been doing it for years. Y’alls are the real Gs and I am not talking about you.
#2 y’all. It just makes me feel bad. I appreciate and need the support so much, but I am not about that rookin folks life and don’t want folks paying for shit they don’t actually want. Part of why I was looking into offering extra goodies would be to draw in those folks who maybe don’t like urban fantasy but would want writing class downloads, exercises, AMAs etc. However, if there’s no interest it can’t happen.
The other thing is this. My Patreon project is a LOT of work. All in with everything else I do, I probably write about 7-10k words a month. 95% of those are free. 100% of that involves a lot of emotional labor. I work a full time job. I feel like I’m just burning myself down for nothing.
I have to play capitalism too. I have to eat. I also feel like my grand experiment in sustainability etc is just a big ole fail. I also get really depressed.
The depression is why I haven’t posted in a minute. I get discouraged when I go all in to help my community, show up and provide for folks and not very many people respond. I did this list of folks who need financial help and it took DAYS of me asking where THOUSANDS of folks could see and it was a struggle.
I get discouraged when I literally take the step of making EVERYTHING that I charge for seriously financially accessible. For Patreon in particular, my intention was not to set tiers but to leave it at, hey if all you have is a dollar per month you get this stuff too. My lit stuff at etsy is 5$ and under. And I can’t get shares or responses.
I’m discouraged. I’m tired.
And really, if people just don’t want what I have to offer it is fine. But, that also means that I will need to scale WAY back on what I give for free because, as much as my heart says to just give everyone everything, that is unsustainable and bitch gotta eat.
I have been doing some lit world submitting and that is good. I’m at a bit of a personal impasse I suppose. I’m sad because my dreams of things I KNOW I can provide and that would be a great value to folks cannot go forward if I cannot get the eyes and shit.
I’m accepting that my social capital does not translate well to my work as a writer.
I’ve accepted that for a lot of folks I’m just a big nope.
I dunno y’all.