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Patreon for Writers

by Kent Bax

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a platform for content creators to showcase and disseminate their works and, potentially, obtain a sustainable income, all the while connecting you, the author, with your fan base. Patreon is more in line with a subscription-based program, than say a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

Having a successful Patreon database with subscriptions will hopefully allow authors to utilize this potential new revenue stream, enabling them to devote more time to their writing and using this money for better book covers, editing and marketing.

Patreon for Writers

How Does Patreon Work?

As an author you need to be aware that publishing costs money; money, perhaps that you may not actually have on hand, so in the end you need to bootstrap. As such, utilizing platforms like Patreon allows you to set up and sell tier-based rewards to your more ardent followers. This could be based on the latest 10 000 words written, the release of a new chapter or even the finished book. Or maybe scheduled around a time period, where you ask for funding each month to assist the entirety of the writing process.

The pricing for tiers starts as low as $1 with the only limit being the generosity of you followers.

Patreon, of course, takes its fees to keep the whole system up and running. It’s a business, after all.

There are Three Different Fees on Patreon

  1. There is a 5% fee from Patreon on successfully processed payments
  2. The payment processing fee which is charged via PayPal. Stripe and various credit cards.
  3. And finally the withdrawal fee from the Patreon account to your bank, PayPal account, etc.

More detailed explanations on fees can be found here.

How to Use Praeton as a Writer

Patreon isn't about asking for money from your followers, but rather offering them the ability to pay you.

Three key points to remember when using Patreon (and other social media) are:

  • Authenticity
  • Connection
  • Clarity.

Be clear about patron rewards and managing expectations from the start. You need to state from the beginning whether or not your patrons can expect a full copy of the book once it’s finished. This would be part of their patronage to you, separate from the current patron tiers.

Use your Patreon as you might with your Instagram account (if you have one). This is to say, that I'd equate it to offering your readers a backstage pass to your writing process. You could talk about your morning writing routine, give out sneak peeks of the next novel, give them progress updates and places from where you derive your inspiration. Be interactive, respond to these people’s questions and provide unique content to these users, along with those reward tiers.

Creating a Patreon account isn't about milking the users and you shouldn’t expect this to be a get- rich-quick solution. It’s not going to happen. If you go in with this mindset, you will fail.

Ensure that you provide content of value, and on a regular basis. Most of all, be authentic in your communication and interaction with your supports.

What about Amazon and KDP Select exclusivity?

KDP Select is great, 70% royalty earnings on sales in most markets. Your book is also included in Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library entitling you to a share of the KDP Select Global Fund for pages read of your book. Finally marketing tools such as the ability to offer countdown deals and free book promotions.

When you enroll a book in KDP Select, you're committing to making the digital format of that book available exclusively through the Amazon KDP system while it's enrolled in the program for at least 90 days.

All content enrolled in KDP Select must remain for sale through the Kindle Store only. If a digital version of your book appears to be available for pre-order, for sale, or for free elsewhere (such as on your website or blog, or a third party’s website), then it is not eligible for KDP Select and your book will be removed from Amazon in violation of their terms and conditions.

How does this affect your use of Patreon? Well for starters you won’t be able to offer your existing catalogue to your patrons as tier rewards in digital format if the books are enrolled in the Select program, or if you wish to do so in the future. As this would then violate the exclusivity clause in your contract with Amazon and may lead to your entire catalogue being thrown out and new submissions suspended.

So, what about once you've finished the current novel you are writing and disseminating it to your patrons? Well, Patreon falls under the category of a third party website according to Amazon’s terms and conditions. So where does that leave you?

You'll need to ensure that going forward with KDP enrolment of that title, the chapters given away account for less than 10% of the total of the book and that the book in its entirety is not available as pledge rewards on your Patreon page.

Final Thoughts on Using Patreon:

So, if you’re debating starting a Patreon for your writing, first think about the size of your audience, and what exactly you have to offer. And if you do go through with it, don’t fret when you don’t immediately shoot into the triple digits. It may take some time. However, if you are either an established artist, or just starting out and would like to get noticed. this may be a useful platform for all. Finally, I would also like to say that One Stop Fiction is in no way affiliated to Patreon. We pass this information on merely as a suggestion.