Tuesday, May 24, 2016
I need your feedback, please
With the publication of my latest book, the time has come to look at my publishing activities overall, including this blog (which consumes up to 2 hours every day, finding material, preparing articles, and putting them up). Blogger is a free platform, which helps, but it has limitations. I need to think about a dedicated author Web site, which will include this blog, and also look into book promotion and other activities. This will probably be accompanied by a legal framework for my writing, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
The problem is, my blog doesn't generate any income. I don't want to generate funds by burdening my readers with advertisements. I know how I loathe them, so why should I inflict them on you? (Besides, I use ad blocking software, and I daresay many of you do as well.) However, if I'm to invest in the services of a Web site designer, pay for hosting and ongoing upgrades, and migrate my blog to a new platform, I need to find some way to pay for it all. Following my year-long hiatus in publishing, due to health reasons, I don't have the spare cash available to fund that sort of thing right now.
I've thought about setting up a so-called 'tip jar', where readers can make an ad hoc donation using Paypal. Unfortunately, such income isn't regular or reliable. One month I might do very well; the following month, I might be left with unpaid bills. It's just too chancy.
I'm therefore considering setting up a Patreon account, just as many other authors and artists have done. Patreon offers fans of an author or artist the opportunity to sponsor him or her on a regular basis, usually in return for sneak previews of their current work and/or a free copy of each book as it's published. I'm more than willing to adopt a similar approach, but I don't know how many readers will be interested in it. If I can find a thousand readers willing to contribute $5 per month, there are no worries. If there are only a hundred readers willing to contribute that much, and/or if average contributions are only a dollar or two . . . not so good.
I know other authors have succeeded in raising more than enough for such needs. Luminaries such as Howard Tayler (creator of Schlock Mercenary) and Zach Weinersmith (of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame) are relying on it to fund their operations. Can I also succeed? I guess that's up to you, dear readers. So, I'd be grateful if you'd please tell me in Comments whether you'd be interested in and/or willing to fund my operations through a regular monthly donation, and if so, approximately how much. In return, you'd get a free copy of every book or story I write, as soon as it's published, and probably a sneak peek every month at a chapter from my work in progress, as well as a discussion of current projects. I might also throw in some options like using your name for one of the characters in a book, in return for a donation. (I promise not to kill off your namesake too messily - unless you want me to, of course!)
I know some of you simply can't afford anything due to the circumstances of your lives. That's fine. I'm never going to insist on support in return for access to my Web site, or anything like that. All I want to do is investigate what's possible right now. If there's sufficient interest, I can start planning to contract with a Web designer and get things moving.
Thanks in advance for your feedback.