Saturday, December 9, 2017

ways to support my work (on Patreon or otherwise)

Note added subsequently: I have decided to suspend the "Patreon work-around" that I describe in this post, as it was simply too much work to maintain. So if you want to support my work, you can either do it via Patreon, or else make some kind of one-time small donation/gift to me via PayPal – instructions on how to do so can be found below...

I have been (and continue to be) on Patreon, where people who appreciate my writings can pledge support for me at levels starting at $1 a month, with the possibility of rewards such as free e-books, signed copies of my books, or even me writing blogposts on a topic of their choice at higher levels. All patrons (regardless of pledge level) can access "for your eyes only" posts, where I share behind-the-scenes updates, unpublished writings & recordings, and other goodies.

Patreon has made a HUGE impact on my life. As a self-employed writer and speaker/performer with no other outside income, I've had to spend much of my time scrounging up freelance work, speaking gigs, and other odd jobs in order to make ends meet. But thanks to the generous support of my patrons, I've since been able to commit way more time to 1) concentrating on writing future books, and 2) publishing free, accessible, ad-free essays (on either Medium or my blog) on topics that I am most interested in writing about (particularly LGBTQIA+, feminist, and social justice issues). Most of these essays would never have been published by mainstream news/media outlets as is (as most editors favor short pieces that remain on an "activism 101" level).

So Patreon has been a real blessing for me, and I highly encourage you to support me there!

But... some people would rather not join Patreon. And others have decided to leave that platform due to a recent change in their processing fees. [note: shortly after posting this, Patreon went back to the old system!] So for those who wish to support me, but do not want to be on Patreon, I have created the following alternative:

Just go to - there you can enter any amount as a gift to me. For those who enter $12 or more (aka, the equivalent of the theoretical $1 pledge per month for one year), as a thank you, I will add you to a private email list (probably through MailChimp). Then, at the beginning of each month, I will send out an email that includes links to PDF copies of all my Patreon posts for the previous month, plus any unpublished writings/recordings/etc. that were included with them. So if you're an ex-Patreon supporter, you'll still get all the behind-the-scenes updates.

Admittedly, it is not a perfect work around. Unlike on Patreon, you won't be able to scroll through older posts. And since it will be too difficult to keep track of who gifted me what, I won't be able to easily give out rewards to people at higher levels (although maybe I'll do one-time offers, where for a certain amount I'll give out a free e-book or signed book?). It requires that you have a PayPal account, and there is no easy way to make the payments recurring, but I will include the same link at the bottom of each email - so if you're someone who pledged $5 a month on Patreon, you could simply gift me $5 every time you receive a monthly email from me, or any time that it's convenient for you. (Or you could just do a once-a-year donation if you prefer). The lack of automation will be a big downside for both of us (more work for you if you want to space out payments, less stability on my end not knowing how much I will receive each month). But for the time being, it will have to do.  

People suggested alternative platforms (e.g., Kickstarter Drip), but after looking into them, I decided against using them for the following reasons:

1) Even if these alternative platforms seem better right now, they could always change the way they operate in the future (as Patreon recently did).
2) It would be a lot of work on my end to maintain two different platforms (e.g., formatting the same posts for two separate sites, keeping track of two different lists of patrons, etc.). In contrast, for the PayPal/email list combo, I can simply save PDFs of my Patreon posts, upload them, then email you the links to download them.
3) Some people expressed frustration with the fact that Patreon was taking any cut of their pledge. (It used to be they took 5%, I got 88-ish%, and the rest went to processing fees; now I will get 95% of each pledge, with the processing fees being placed on patrons instead.) But the thing is, any platform is going to have to take *some* money to pay for running their operation. At least with my PayPal/email list alternative, as imperfect as it may be, you will know that 100% of the money you gift me is going directly to me.

So if this appeals you, here's the link once again: - on the first window that pops up, enter the amount you wish to gift me. The second window will ask for method of payment - if you pay through PayPal, there's no transaction fee; for credit cards, there's a tiny fee (33¢ when I tested it). The third window has a box to "Add a note" - please write the word "support" along with the email address where you'd like to receive monthly thank-you emails from me. Or if you don't want to receive emails, simply write "no emails" and I won't add you to the list. (If you leave this field blank, I will send emails to the address associated with your PayPal account.) I plan to start sending out emails in January.

Whatever you decide, thank you for supporting my work any way you can, monetarily or otherwise! And if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me.