Right – finally placed the physical book orders for the Kickstarter. Which means there are something like three hundred books on their way to me, and many more whizzing about the globe to various other places. It’s very exciting, except for the part where all that great Kickstarter money I had suddenly stopped being quite so much Kickstarter money because I spent nearly $4000 on copies of my own books. Whoops.
Which transitions us to this weekend’s topic, which is “future of the blog.” Due to reasons having mainly to do with the peculiar academic politics of the school at which I was teaching, my classes for this semester were abruptly taken away a week before Christmas. (Short form – some upper division classes taught by senior faculty were underenrolled and got cancelled, and so mine got taken away to give to them because I’m an adjunct and thus can have all my classes cut without warning or notice and there’s not even a problem.) This is not a massive crisis, but it means that finances grow a little tighter, especially with the whole big thing with the Wonder Woman money, and, long and short of it, I need to do some thinking about how to increase the amount of money my writing makes me in the short-to-medium term.
Right now I’m considering two plans, which I’d like to lay out in their broad strokes and let people chime in on what they think is the better idea.
Plan One: Kick More Starts
In this plan, I’d run, probably in March, a Kickstarter for The Last War in Albion, likely with a target of about $3000. This would fund it through the start of coverage of Watchmen, which will begin with Chapter Twelve. (Or possibly thirteen – Swamp Thing might need more than one chapter because frankly, I don’t want them to be much longer than ten parts) I’d collect that into a first volume as a book, and then decide whether book two (The Battle of Watchmen) needs a Kickstarter to fund it as well. (In all likelihood the answer would be yes, and my goal would be to raise a couple of thousand dollars via Kickstarter roughly every calendar year.)
This is, broadly speaking, the “big projects” model, in which I would maintain a bunch of high profile projects. It has its obvious plusses and minuses, but is certainly a sound and plausible model for a writer to support himself over time.
Plan Two: Patreon
Recently coming to prominence, however, is another crowdfunding platform called Patreon. The model of Patreon is based not on fundraising for big projects, but on small payments for content created on a regular basis. It’s designed more for webcomics artists, musicians, and, oh hey, bloggers. Basically, people would be able to set a recurring charge up where, whenever I make new content, they pay some small amount – $.50, $1, $5, whatever. You can set a monthly cap, and so there’s all the safeguards you’d expect.
Under this plan, I’d set one up. Probably it would be for Last War in Albion and substantive Tuesday content – that is, Tuesday content that seems to me to be a sizable morsel of creativity and not a sort of spongy and fun bonus thing. (A book launch announcement manifestly would not count. The Chelsea Manning stuff all would.) It would feel weird to accept money for Eruditorum entries this late in the game, but I would probably politely note that if you want to support me for that, you can certainly still contribute. Alternatively, I might call the unit of content being paid for “a week of content.” The details are fungible.
In this model, big projects would still happen, but they’d be the consequence of patronage. In all likelihood, once Eruditorum wrapped, I would hold an open discussion with patrons to choose which of various ideas I’m considering I’ll do next. Some ideas might be serialized exclusively to patrons, others might go on the blog, but the idea would be a core of ongoing supporters who get a lot of say in the sort of work I do, with the goal of then adapting that work to books to sell to a larger audience.
I have my views on which is more interesting, appealing, and likely to succeed, but for now I want to keep quiet and let people discuss it. So, given that this blog needs to garner more financial support over the next year, how would you, my readers, prefer I go about that?