The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.
-Marsellus Wallace, Pulp Fiction
Throughout the course of my decade-long writing (and now publishing) career, I’ve been of a mind that the world owes me nothing. It’s a weird thing, an artist’s relationship with payment. In the same way that some might side-eye the writer for having the audacity to ask for money (whether too much or at all) for her work, the artist herself feels slightly strange about these requests, as though they are tantamount to standing on a strip of concrete on a busy thoroughfare, holding a sign, hoping for some spare change. I’m happy to report that while my stance on the world hasn’t changed (and why would it? the world is very clear in what it feels it owes me), my thoughts on receiving compensation for my work indeed have. The reason for this shift is quite simple: in the past year I’ve devoted my time to it. I’m not talking about my free time, but rather the eight hours a day or so you would devote to a job. I love this life. I am devoted to this life.
I’ll explain to you what exactly this Patreon account is, how it works, and how you’ll be helping if you contribute. Also, I’m going to attempt to dismantle the stigma placed on Patreon and other crowdfunding platforms.
Before I start any of this, however, I’d like to be completely clear: I am going to succeed. When I ran my Kickstarter campaign for Broken River, I said, “I will make a life out of this, or I will die trying.” That’s not hyperbole. I’m already successful; in five years I’ll be comfortable. Because, if I’m not anything else, I am a talented, hustling, stubborn son of a bitch.
Let’s talk about what Patreon isn’t. You’re not paying me to do nothing. You’re not paying me to think about what I might do in the future. What you’re doing, is you’re paying me for short pieces that I actually create. If you pledge a dollar per piece, what that means is that you will donate only when that piece goes live. This is what baffles me the most about people who hate on this system: you aren’t paying for anything you’re not getting. What you agreeing to do when you pledge, is to put a dollar in my pocket when I produce something worthwhile.
For a while, I considered putting each installment of Cash on the Side up on Kindle. To my mind, Patreon is a smarter way to go about that, because it acts as a subscription service. You are agreeing to pay a small amount for every serialized piece of content that I put out, rather than waiting and paying a lump sum when that content is anthologized in a physical book. This works better for me, because I am immediately paid for my work, rather than having to wait the months it might take for Amazon or Lightning Source to pay me. This works better for you, because you get to see the series as it’s intended to be seen, on a part-by-part basis.
Of course, you don’t have to give me shit. It’s going to exist regardless. Again, this is an open guitar case. Let’s say you don’t want to spend more than five dollars a month. You set your limit at a dollar per creation, and then you set your max at five dollars. If I release seven pieces in that month, you’ve given me five dollars, and you get the other two free. That’s fine. I want you to read it. I wouldn’t put it out otherwise. There’s no paywall here. It’s just what you want to give. I think that’s rad.
It’s both a free promotion and a potential source of income. And that’s entirely up to you, and as long as you read the words, god bless whatever choice you’ve made.
GET A REAL JOB
I tend to google “x sucks” whenever I’m engaging in an activity, just to see all the sides of it. And oh man, there are a lot of Patreon haters. So I’m going to address that, because frankly I think most of the critiques are stupid, and at worst, they’re fucking insulting to me and anyone else who’s chosen this life.
There’s a pervasive idea that artists should not be paid for their art, as it is a “hobby” and “not a real job.”
It’s not a hobby. Disc golf is a hobby. You load up the car with beer and friends, go out to a course, throw a frisbee, talk shit, and get drunk.
Writing is much more akin to other jobs I’ve had. For example, when I delivered furniture, I hated waking up early, I hated the heavy lifting, and I hated dealing with the occasional asshole. But on a moment-to-moment basis, I actually really enjoyed sitting in the truck with my friends, shooting the shit, laughing, exploring the city. So, there was a balance. When it comes to writing, I still hate waking up early, I hate that I get dizzy from hours staring at a screen, and I hate the way my neck hurts from sitting in this chair all day. But I love the act of creation, I love seeing a book come to fruition, and I love the friends I’ve made along the way deeply.
You’re not giving money to me to go hang-gliding every weekend. You’re not giving me money so that I can sit inside all day and build model train sets. You’re not giving me money to work on my golf swing. You’re choosing to donate for actual works that I have created.
Thank you, all of you. If you’ve bought my books, or bought a Broken River book, or shared it on Facebook/Twitter. Thank you. I actually, legitimately get a little choked up at the thought that anyone might take that time. I don’t need anything else from you. You’re perfect just the way you are. Patreon, however, gives me an opportunity, for those who can afford it, to subsidize my life a little, so that I might keep doing what I’m doing without all the bullshit. To anyone who donates, I can’t express the gratitude I feel toward you. For those who don’t, shit, I probably wouldn’t either. But I love you, just the same.
Here’s the account.
Take it easy.