The Future of This Site

(16 comments)

Hey all. It's not the Broadchurch post. Sorry. That'll go up tomorrow. I need to use the big Monday post for something else this week. Because there's a chance that when the Capaldi era of TARDIS Eruditorum ends I'm going to retire as a blogger. I don't really want to do this, but there's some things that have to happen for me to be confident that I can avoid it. Most of them involve the Patreon going significantly higher than it currently is. Like, to around $600 a post. I'll explain the details below.

Three years ago, when Jill and I moved to Ithaca, she took a significant pay cut to do it, and in order to make the finances work I had to take up a part time job. I haven't made a big fuss out of this because I enjoy some measure of privacy, but it's been the big reason why my output over the last few years has been a bit sporadic. It's why I've struggled at getting new Eruditoroum volumes out (or indeed revisions of the old ones), writing new Last War in Albion, or really doing anything that isn't the weekly blog: because I literally have about 30 hours less a week to do it all in. I had hoped that I could make that balance work better, but I clearly can't. And I'm coming towards a point where I might have to choose between trying to go back to writing full time and getting my output back towards where I can do weird projects like Neoreaction a Basilisk and get more books out or taking a full-time position somewhere and dramatically paring back my writing. As in, I've put an application for a full-time position at the place I'm working, and as it stands if I get it would give serious thought to taking it.

If that hapened, I would probably choose to focus on the weird side projects. I'd put books out occasionally and step back from blogging. The weekly grind makes money and is fun, but if I can only do one sort of thing it's going to be the big ambitious stuff that takes more than a week to write. But I really don't want to do that. I have ADHD (wow, this post is just full of confessions I've avoided making), and frankly a 9-5 job is really bad for my mental health. Writing is good for my mental health, and more fulfilling to boot. I really want to make wriitng work as a career. But to do that, it needs to pay more. About $15,000 a year more, specifically. Some of that can be achieved through book sales and Kickstarters. If I went back to writing full time I could commit to a book a year, and with it a Kickstarter a year. But the easiest route to that is via the Patreon, hence the $600 goal, which would make about $10k a year more for me and leave me confident I could get the rest from other sources and thus disinclined to take an a different job.

Now, some caveats about that. It will have to be a sustainable $600. One insane person who pledges $100 a post or something is not sustainable; I can't trust that they woudn't grow bored or have their financial circumstances change. It also has to be a $600 that's willing to back me when I do things that aren't Doctor Who. I'd be willing to let Patrons have some say in my direction, but I can't just start grinding out weekly posts on Big Finish. So my specific next project is negotiable—I could be talked into doing Last War in Albion over the Tori Amos blog, for instance, or to some short run projects. (I've got a really fun six or seven post series in mind about novels teenage girls learned about sexuality from.) But it literally can't be Doctor Who cause I'm gonna run out of episodes agian soon and have to wait until the Chibnall era ends to start up again. So, like, while I welcome your money under any circumstances, please think about that if you back to keep me blogging.

I'm also very willing to listen to other writing opportunities. If you own a platform that could publish me and want to talk to me about writing something, please get in touch. My email is snowspinner at gmail. I'm really open-minded as to how that $15k a year happens, so long as it happens in a way that feels reasonably sustainable. 

To be clear, I might also end up continuing to awkwardly split time between blogging and the part time gig. As it stands, I'm just applying. But the underlying problems that make full-time work tempting aren't going to go away, and the $600 figure remains the number at which I can guarantee that this isn't a problem anymore by not only not taking the job but departing the part-time position as well and throwing my full attention back to writing in a way I haven't been able to do since early 2016.

And look, if you can't give or give more, I understand. Money is tight. I hate having to do this. I hate feeling like I'm guilting people into support. And I want you to know that regardless of what happens, my time writing Eruditorum is a highlight of my life. I will always be proud of the work I've done here. I will always be proud of the community we've built here. You are all wonderful and if it doesn't work out so that I can keep doing this, I need you to know that I still love and appreciate every one of you. 

But the long and short of it is that if you want an absolute guarantee that I will continue blogging for the long-term, my Patreon needs to go up to $600 a post. Here's the link again.

P.S: Sorry about the massive volume of spam lately. We're under a sustained attack that's been resistant to our usual fixes. Anna thinks we've implemented a solution, so fingers crossed, but there's a slight chance that legitimate comments aren't going to go through. If you're having trouble posting, drop me an e-mail. Again, snowspinner at gmail.

Comments

mx_mond 2 months ago

Bumped my pledge to a slightly larger, but sustainable amount.

You’re one of my very favourite writers and I’m very sorry you’re struggling. I hope things work out okay and that you get to a point where writing is sustainable.

I also really appreciate you talking openly about all this stuff. I’m a beginning writer who holds down a full-time job along with some frequent odd jobs and I really struggle with regular writing output. It is in some ways reassuring to know I’m not the only one struggling.

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David Gerard 2 months ago

> I also really appreciate you talking openly about all this stuff.

yep. nuts and bolts stuff is invaluable.

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Przemek 2 months ago

Yeah. Thank you for that.

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Aylwin 2 months ago

Trying to head off a what seems like a possible misunderstanding (though this may be me misunderstanding the situation, in which case please ignore me). It sounds to me as though you are being sarcastic because you think David Gerard was being sarcastic. I'm pretty certain he was being sincere.

If you were being sincere as well, I apologise for making a fuss over nothing. I just don't want there to be any needless ill-feeling.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 2 months ago

I took Przemek as agreeing with David and thanking me for being open about the financial side of my work.

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Przemek 2 months ago

Yes, I was agreeing with David. Sorry for the confusion.

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David Gerard 2 months ago

also chatted elswhere to Elizabeth about how excellent it is when writers can about the nuts'n'bolts of writer finances

basically talking about it, if you're safe to do so, is sending out a loud "you are not alone" :-)

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Aylwin 2 months ago

Ah, so I was fussing about nothing. Sorry all.

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Przemek 2 months ago

I'll see what I can do. I think I can pledge a little more, I just have to crunch the numbers. If I'm able to help, I will.

Your writing is consistently brilliant and has changed the way I understand media. Many times. And you have greatly influenced my own writing. And anyway, if trans bloggers living under Trump don't deserve my money, who does?

As a writer struggling with a full-time job, I deeply sympathize. And I hope your financial troubles go away real soon.

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Sleepyscholar 2 months ago

I've been reading and enjoying the site for so long, my signing up for the Patreon is really a belated paying-up for work the fruits of which I've already received. Sorry it's not higher than it is (an extended period in my 20s as a *cough* freelance writer scuppered any chances of me being well-off at this point in my life).

I came here for the Doctor Who, but I find the other material a very welcome opportunity to enjoy other things that I might not otherwise have heard about.

I also don't think you need to apologize about the spam posts. I've felt particular sympathy for Christine, whose latest post for some reason attracted 127 Russian bots. Who knew they were Kate Bush fans?

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Brian B. 2 months ago

I've joined, then. In the past I've just bought all your books, using, as a reason not to do more, my financial limits: that I'm getting by as a self-employed tutor with one part-time classroom job -- an insecure life I do greatly enjoy and am good at -- because my ADHD reliably caused full-time teaching jobs to leave me cripplingly depressed.

But, well, if I can scrape by that way myself, I can sure as hell find a way to help you do it too. I am interested in both Last War in Albion and a Tori Amos blog, for what it's worth.

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Jen A Blue 2 months ago

Canceled a pledge to someone else who'd moved on to projects I wasn't that interested in, which freed up enough money to double my pledge to you. It's not much but I hope it helps!

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Roy 2 months ago

I was doing $5/week but only twice/month out of some confusion over how Patreon used to do frequency. I don't know how that counted towards your total before but I've just changed it to really once/week.

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Daru 2 months ago

Really sorry to hear that things are tough El, and thanks for opening up. I switch between part time work and freelance (which sometimes dries up) . Though things have been a bit tighter financially for me recently, I’m sure I can look at bumping up my pledge a bit, so I’ll do that tomorrow.

Your work is some of my favourite out there and I really appreciate what you do. Ok personally with less who and more LWIA and the Tori Amos project.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 2 months ago

Thank you so much to everyone.

One thing I want to clarify is that it's not that things are especially tight. I mean, some weeks they are and some weeks they aren't, but that's life under capitalism. Jill and I do OK. We're happy and comfortable.

It really is just that splitting my weeks between a part time job that basically eats the entirety of three days a week and the writing I want to do is unsustainable. I kinda have to commit to one or the other. And as it stands the writing doesn't make sense to commit to.

But holy shit, y'all are getting it hella close to that point, and I'm in humbled, shocked awe. As many times as I've done the crowdfunding appeal, I never get used to the astonishing feeling of being supported and having my work valued this much. Thank you all so much.

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Daru 2 months ago

Had a look at my pledges and was able to bump up some more money onto yours El. Not much, but a little more monthly overall. Really glad to support you as supporting your work isn't just about getting blog posts and writing from you (which is great!) but for me is also about being a part of a vibrant, creative and important little community that inspires me (all of it!)

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