For those of you who’ve been watching, I deleted my Patreon.
I didn’t do it casually, or joyfully. I’m angry about it, really. I don’t like feeling like this was the best move I could’ve made, and if I’d felt like I could’ve made a better choice, I would have. It may have even been the wrong move in the long run, but at the moment, it felt like the best path out of a bad situation. Given the same circumstances again, I’d likely have made the same decision over, however much I feel like it sucked.
For those of you who weren’t involved in the kerfuffle, Patreon announced not too long back that they were going to change their fee structure. In essence, they hadn’t really thought about the ways in which their new system penalized folks making small-dollar amounts on Patreon, and they didn’t give their users a way to pay the fees that were about to land hard on their patrons. So a lot of patrons pulled their money out or consolidated down to a few big donations in anticipation of the fee restructure, and a lot of creatives lost out. And yes, I know they didn’t actually roll it out, but the announcement of the reversal came after the execution of my cancellation, so by the time I knew it wasn’t going to happen, I had already thrown the switch.
I still don’t know how I feel about Patreon. On the one hand, I love it in theory. I love the ideas it enabled. I love knowing there are people even in my immediate social circle who’re able to take care of themselves because they’re getting support in ways they couldn’t before. I really do think Patreon as a concept is fantastic. And yet, I can’t help but feel that if the people who believed in Patreon believed it that strongly, they would’ve built it as a non-profit. They could’ve open-sourced their software. They could’ve done a lot more to support people in their creative endeavors, without actively hurting themselves in the process, simply by not thinking “we have to make bank on this idea.”
Not that I don’t think Jack and company deserve to be paid either, but contrast Patreon with a platform like LiberaPay, which is explicitly both a non-profit and funds itself as one of the projects on its own site. They’re eating their own dogfood in ways Patreon explicitly aren’t, but easily could have. And I bet that Patreon’s decision process here would’ve been different if they’d opted to get their funding from their own site in the same way that LiberaPay has. Not being their own client explicitly meant that they weren’t feeling the pain of their users until a mass of patrons walked on them.
It didn’t help any that in the time I had the Patreon going, I got precisely one person outside my extant social circle for two months, and all the rest of the money came from folks I already knew. It felt uncomfortably extractive as a result. I don’t need the money, strictly speaking. I was using it to pay down debt on the house and the mold renovations, but asking my close social circle for that felt awkward and I didn’t really feel right about that, even if they thought it was okay.
I wanted this to be the post wherein I talked about what I was doing to replace Patreon, but that’s unfortunately still in the works. I downloaded Give for WordPress with the intent of rolling my own donation system, but they only offer PayPal in their free offering, and I’d rather see people use burning Washingtons to light their bongs than give another penny to human dumpster-fire Peter “Monopolies Are Good Actually” Thiel. I’m not opposed to paying for a service I’m going to use, but the license for their payment gateway plugins, even at the cheapest, would eat a month’s income off of what I was making in donations, and the only gateways they have that support recurring charges right now are… Stripe and PayPal. Stripe’s fees are actually higher than PayPal’s, and, well, PayPal’s a garbage fire and I hate using it. I hate them so badly that I hate knowing other people use it, so much do they vex me. I hate PayPal more than I hate Facebook, they’re so bad. Zuckerberg may be stupid, but Thiel meets my definition of evil. So, I don’t have a replacement set up through my own site.
I did create a LiberaPay account. I’m at least going to get links for that up in the near future on things, as well as their button, but I’m not going to try to do the same tiers of rewards. As awesome as the results were, I ended up not being able to hold to 1300 words ever, just because of how I write. That meant a lot of time drift as stories got away from me, which was hella fun but more time than I budgeted for things. At a minimum, I’ll probably get a queue up somewhere showing what I have ready for writing, with some system for folks to vote for what they’d like to see get written next.
Also, this month, there won’t be a story going up immediately on the deadline, because I wrote something for submission! Circlet Press is taking submissions for an anthology they call Fantastic Beasts and Where to F*** Them, and… well, with a title like that I had to get involved. The piece is called “Familiar Flesh” and I can’t wait to get to editing it. If it gets accepted, of course I’ll send out a link to the book. If it doesn’t, I may make the story available through Gumroad. I’ve made an account there, but I’m not going to post a link to it because there’s nothing there yet. Hopefully they can live up to the promises on their blog about being able to support adult content going forward, or it’ll be one more platform I can’t really use.
I still don’t really have a long-term solution for “how to support myself on my writing in a way that feels good to me.” I’d love to do it on story sales, but I’ve had what emotionally feels like very little success in getting an audience for my words. I could always just it on as a labor of love, but unlike changelings, I can’t eat love. Even if I’m never getting off of the IT treadmill, it’d be nice to have the dream of a future in which I didn’t have to twiddle bits for a living either.
It’s a sacrifice working day to day
For little money just tips for pay