29 June 2015

Why Your Subscription Means So Much

So, the Bridgetown Patreon has been going for a couple of weeks now and I've released four items of content and I have a small Aladdin's Cave of gifts for the first 100 subscribers. So far, as you can tell from the page, things haven't been going so well.

Copy has been retooled, videos have been re-shot, re-edited, re-rendered and re-uploaded. Subscriber bonuses have been generated. General subscription content has been released and the free stuff has been pointed to and given a little bit of a spit and polish.

In addition I have conscripted friends (not close ones but, yes, still friends) to have a look at the Patreon page and see if it looks okay. So far the two major criticisms have been 1. I am not charging enough, I should set my prices higher and 2. I am taking my subscriptions in dollars and not pounds.

Well, I have done a little towards 1, knocking out the largely redundant $2 subscription level. I would now say that the $5 is the "reasonable" sub level with $1 being firmly the "token" subscription level. As to the second, well, there's not much I can do about that at present. Maybe one day Patreon will do currency conversions for the international market. Honestly I think that was a bit of a bizarre critique. Worrying though if others are put off by the presence of the $ sign.

So, hopefully, one day I will have tweaked the page enough to make the attractiveness of the proposition clear. Until then I just have to keep working at it.

There is a problem though.

Working at my current level is not sustainable in the long term. Market forces would dictate that if no-one wants to participate in puzzles, games and interactive stories set in a comic fantasy universe the Patreon will have to go. Okay, so I am the author but already I feel that would be kind of a shame.

I have played Levercastle on and off for over five years now. The players absolutely love it because of its playfulness and humour. I have had unlooked for compliments come my way regarding the stories too. Those first three books I did to please myself, so knowing that they pleased others too was a good thing.

I know that with a few subscribers we, that is I as the author and the audience as participators in the ongoing creation of the Faerie world I have created, could have a real good time. To a certain extent it's not about living off Patreon money as it is that it's about people buying in to Levercastle/Bridgetown and the idea that an author can produce some great content independently for a low price.

In all honesty I think that just sponsoring anyone who's producing something you like on Patreon is an important act beyond the money that you pledge. It says 'I believe in this artist, sure, but I also believe in independent art. I believe in artists being paid directly for their work without having to also buy the work of a bunch of administrators and middle men too."

It's the same kind of philosophy as all the other crowdfunding platforms out there, in a way it's slightly better because you are paying for work done via the medium of "paid posts" it's not some elaborate investment opportunity you're paying for things that have actually been produced.

I didn't go with Patreon arbitrarily. I think it's a superb platform and I am keen to subscribe to projects that I believe in myself.

Maybe I am fooling myself with Bridgetown and it's actually not that good. Fair enough. But just because you don't think my stuff is good enough to subscribe to doesn't mean that there's not something else that is. Why not have a look about on Patreon? You're not just chipping in a dollar, you're validating artists who are doing work you can support and you're helping in a small way to realise someone else's dreams.

It's bonkers to think it I suppose but I have always believed that helping other people get what they dream of (world domination notwithstanding) will one day lead to me getting mine. My recent setbacks have done nothing to discourage me from this way of thinking.

Please feel free to let me know what you think.

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