Pride and Prejudice

Dear Patreon:

Once I’ve sent out Christmas Haiku to everyone who were subscribers to my campaign on December 18th, my relationship with your platform as a creator is over. I’ll still continue to pledge to three people whose work deserves my respect and support, but I won’t be reinstated pledges I cancelled, and I certainly won’t support anyone else who uses the service again. I think it is worth explaining to you why an about face over the ridiculous issue of fees doesn’t change a single thing for someone like me.

I’m still not convinced you grasp what the problem is to begin with.

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The main reason I chose your service was not, I now realise, the convenience of a one-stop crowdfunding experience. Being busy with other things did make the platform really attractive, and that was backed up with the appearance of a group of people who appeared to genuinely care about creative process and not the bottom line. Of course it matters to get paid for your work, but with this being problematic at present in the real world, virtual success will undoubtedly begin to mirror issues elsewhere. Not everybody will be bringing in thousands of dollars a month and now you realise just how many people depended on the tiny gifts of faith to keep them sane, I suspect there could well be some pause for thought.

However, my biggest complaint, and the reason why even with the about face in your attitude I won’t return, is the belief that for every creator, money matters more than  process. It is the modern, hugely misguided belief that how much you earn is the best reflection of any true success, and when companies like you define modus operandi for the platform in financial statements… Principles matter, and cannot be swept under a carpet: when you decide to provide handy links for creators to help claw back lost cash it is clear that principle is far less important than your initial assertions would suggest. If this were just about money however it could be far more dispassionately rationalised, but there is an integrity gap that continues not to be filled, and that bothers me greatly.

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It may also seem disingenuous for me to continue funding people on your platform, but I have pledged support to these people and that will not be affected by whatever suspect business decisions you make, either now or in the future. I’m fairly confident, looking at my cancelled pledges, that those people won’t lose a lot of sleep over my principled stance either, so nobody that I care about really loses, except myself, which continues to be of some interest to those who are now approaching me with surprise. Why, if the platform was so convenient and useful, do I now decide to leave and not come back?

Your exit surveys are criminally vague when it comes to challenging pledges over reasoning: you have to care enough about someone when you take their money away to then admit the real truth as to that withdrawal of funds, and most individuals when they choose to crowdfund to begin with won’t want to admit they can no longer afford to do so on departure. Amazingly though, nobody was backwards in coming forwards around the reasons why they cancelled over this affair. Looking objectively at my individual cases, I don’t believe any more that Patreon really does care about people like them or me. From what I have seen and heard, what I believe is that it matters more to produce a profitable business model that can be sold in time to the highest bidder. I am not special or individual, we are simply users to be counted as assets.

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However, without all of this I would not have been encouraged leave and go it alone: without six months where it became apparent I had material that could be sold, there would no be the confidence to move forward and pursue my dreams. I think that’s what makes this whole sordid affair even more upsetting: I trusted your platform to mirror my own integrity, and it failed. My good opinion once lost is lost for ever. I might say that in jest, but there’s a good reason why Darcy is one of my favourite characters in English literature. He and I are both shy, nervous and reticent to reveal ourselves in public. Once we put faith in something and it becomes a personal experience, to have that faith ignored and effectively dismissed as not important is not a blow that we will easily recover from.

I don’t want to be a successful businesswoman. I need to be a happy creator. Your platform seems to believe I have to be one to become the other, and that’s not true. I don’t want to be associated publicly with people who aren’t interested in artistic integrity, unless it makes them a profit. Therefore, I’ll find another way to help support myself, and you are no longer part of that process.

I hope you think long and hard about the damage you have done, not only to your brand, but to people like me whose trust is lost forever.

This is Mine

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There’s a ‘thing’ doing the rounds currently on Twitter, which promises that for every ‘like’ one can garner, a fact about that person’s life will be revealed. Here’s a fact for you: I’ve been doing this for seven years, on and off, across multiple platforms. All you need to know is here, if the time is given to sit and read, but that’s the issue with social media. If it takes longer than 45 seconds to consume, you’ve forgotten it anyway. Needless to say, there’s one simple trick to knowing me better, you can just ask. Or, if you subscribe here I can promise, every day, to reveal a fascinating fact about myself if you read to the end of the post. I won’t get mad if you skip the other stuff either: at least you turned up.

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Yesterday was awesome, not gonna lie. To and from the Gym was a breeze, when very little aggravated affected muscle groups. The trick, of course, is to not do anything that might. The Octane was tough, but probably because there’s been no serious exertion for several weeks. That should get easier every day, and only under supervision will ‘serious’ weights happen, though press ups today should be doable and that can be an effective fill in going forward. Mostly, I am waiting for the all clear from my body to know when I can ramp stuff up again, and in the meantime working on all of my core to strengthen it and prevent the possibility of the umbilical hernia popping again. Once the work for the day is done? I’ll be off down the Gym.

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However what mattered more was finally organising a bunch of domestic shit that has laid dormant for a while, and might never have been completed were it not for my 12 year old’s searingly accurate take-down of what happens when parents stop focussing on the domestic. As a result, three bags of recycling are outside, and the front room is tidier than I can recall for quite some time. The trick of course is to learn from this and not let the issues pile up over time, which is why I need to make a day next week to go out and finally cancel a credit card, pay in some money and shut a bank account. Then there’s a list of ‘maintenance’ jobs to do and, as soon as I am back to lifting duties again, serious attacks on dirty parts of the house.

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Then there’s the Patreon, which I sat down and talked over last night with the husband. I’d not factored surgery into my timescales and as I’d planned to early launch tomorrow… well, frankly I’m not ready to go. The last time I rushed myself into a major project it was never completed and that’s not something that can afford to be done when I’m going to take people’s money. Therefore, we will launch in June, but not until the 15th, which means Early Access will now be available on the 12th. I’m still missing a Patreon reward that needs to be chased from the manufacturers, so hopefully I can get that in house too before the new deadline. All this will be detailed on the Patreon site later, but you heard it here first. Consider this an additional reward for your loyalty, or summat.

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So there you have it. Starting tomorrow, we’ll do a proper countdown and try and drum up some serious interest. I can do marketing, I’m sure we can make the whole shonky mess work and still look professional…


Fact of the Day

I told my first story to an audience in Primary School. I made it up, on the spot and it went down so well I made the story into a daily serial…

Every Day is like Sunday

Ah, Easter. This is the time in our house where chores get done, shit gets thrown away and long-overdue promises are finally fulfilled. Today therefore is a fairly typical day of Resurrection: the garden is now cleared of all the rubbish from last week, and we have a man scheduled to come properly remove the last two stubborn tree trunks and roots, so that’s a boatload of progress. Husband is recovered enough from his second bout of elective surgery to go ride a bike, and with the kids at my parents, I have the house to myself. As the end of the Easter break looms large, I find myself thinking about how much has changed in the last four months because, like it or not, I’m in a vastly different place YET AGAIN to where I was this time last year.

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I love the life I have. It wasn’t awful before, but now there’s a measure of real control and confidence that simply didn’t exist previously. There’s been a couple of genuinely fuzzy days since last Thursday, I won’t lie, but coming out of the back of everything there remains an optimism that I don’t ever really remember owning. Having cast the die on the Patreon, I’m ready to order the Tier rewards to offer to people to sign up with, because I’m absolutely determined to make this entire venture as professional and polished as possible. That means four tiers of participation, from Casual to Hardcore (and yes they’ll be named after game styles because HEY I CAN IT IS MY PATREON) and a real excitement of what this could mean long term. I’m still quietly stunned that with the minimal amount of advertising the @InternetofWords Twitter account already has followers in double figures. That alone makes me think this whole amazing thing MIGHT JUST WORK.

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Then, there has to be content, and there’s already lots of ideas on the table. I’m going to be consulting with some trusted people in the next week as to whether they think these ideas have merit long term, and which should be developed as a priority. Once that’s all in place, starting the beginning of May it is time to just dive in and work on as much as possible so when everything goes live in June we’re future proofed until the end of the year. I hope I’ll have some of you along for the journey, and the plan is to use CoPromote as a means to see if there’s new followers to pick up along the way. There’ll be other means to generate interest too, if it all works out. Only time will tell.

For now, it is time to enjoy a lazy Sunday for all it is worth.

High and Dry

Two jumps in a week
I bet you think that’s pretty clever, don’t you boy?

I knew for a while that I wasn’t happy writing for other people. Once upon a time it was legitimisation, that being employed by somebody else meant that it was true, I could write, because I’d get a small monetary recompense every month that proved it. After a while, however, something quietly sublimated within. If somebody else would validate this, that could mean others would too, perhaps enough to sustain my own projects. The problem with sites such as Patreon however is that so many of the people I respect and look to think they’re a con. By becoming a user you are effectively asking your subscriber base to pay for shit that you could really do for yourself. The one that always gets brought up is the ‘please pay for me to go to this Convention so I can continue to provide content for you’ and yes, that’s where I’d draw the line too. Take the holiday for yourself, don’t expect others to pay for that, and THEN make your content separately.

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I have Mick Montgomery to thank for my rethink on crowdfunding, which happened just before he got accepted for a dream gaming job last year. He made me realise that if we focussed solely on content generation and never looked past the job in hand, that there was justification in asking people to fund. He was trying to get me to accept a wage, which at the time I can remember being quite hostile to the idea that I’d be paid for a project that was pretty much 90% of his effort: I just turned up and read stuff! It made me consider the possibilities, and make a key distinction between why you ask for money and then what that money does. The key, ultimately, is transparency. It has to be very clear, right from the word go, what people will be paying for. Once that was reconciled, I wanted to be able to put 100% effort into the process. That meant yesterday, I handed in my notice on the weekly column with a clear conscience.

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I’d love to build my part up by saying I don’t have a clue what happens next, but that would be a big, fat, dirty lie. There would not have been the cutting of all these cords unless there was a goal, and there is. What I’m planning to do is make a unique profession around what and how I write, but not expect anyone to pick up the tab for the extras. That means when I offer tier rewards they’ll be exclusively around content written just for Patreon. This isn’t me asking you to fund a book, or send me on courses. If I want to learn to write, that’s my cost to cover. What you will do however is allow me to begin a journey from scratch, and if I can do that right then it will be easier later on to get other people to invest and believe in me. I’ll be filling in details on what happens next when we get into May, and the Patreon will launch June 1st.

I promise you, it will be worth your attention.