And Then Patreon Went and Changed Its Fee Business

Edit: Patreon changed its mind about implementing the fee changes. You can read about it here.

Okay, so Patreon has decided to change the way they charge fees. Until now, creators covered all of the fees that way when patrons were pledging a certain amount that was the true amount they were paying. Now, Patreon is moving some of the fees onto the patron. Creators will still get charged 5% and patrons will now get charged 2.9% + $0.35. You can read the full details here.

Patreon says that they did this to put more money into the creator’s pocket and to provide a more stable income because the fees we paid could vary month to month. Which sounds really nice.

But it’s really kind of not, when you think about it.

First of all, someone on Twitter pointed out that by charging both the creator and the patron, this makes Patreon more money. This is the reasoning I’m more likely to believe.

Second of all, creators are losing patrons left and right because of the fee change. They don’t want to pay the fees. And Patreon doesn’t suffer for that (they make plenty); the creators do.

I cherish all of the patrons that I have, but it’s no secret that I don’t have very many. I’m always actively trying to acquire more patrons as well as keep the ones that I have. This fee change does nothing to help me. It’s an asterisk on my selling point and it puts my current patrons in a bad position that makes them question if the fees are worth it to support me.

And all of this after I have everything ready to go for the next season of Muderville.

I’m now working on alternate methods of support. I have Ko-Fi and paypal.me. The fees associated with those are paid by me and me alone, so whoever buys me a cup of coffee or sends me money pays no fees. If I have patrons or potential patrons that would prefer this method, then I’m sure I can set up something here on the blog so people can still read Murderville, but support me through different means.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep plugging away and hope for the best.

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Writing Without a Day Job: The Adventure Begins

coinsChild learnin’ has come to an end for me.

This was not entirely unexpected (no need to go into details), though the timing was sooner than I anticipated.

What matters is that I am without a day job of some kind for the first time in six years.  I view this as both a blessing and a challenge. The challenge, obviously, is to pay my bills while also finding a new day job to help supplement my income, especially since I still haven’t replaced the floorset side hustle yet.

The blessing, though, comes in the form of opportunity. When I lost my floorset job, I chose to see it as a push from the Universe to really focus and promote my writing career. I’ve taken tentative steps in doing that. It’s still not something I’m entirely comfortable with. Without any day job, I have the opportunity to really push myself, to make writing my sole focus day job, at least for a little while.

I already had some projects in the works that were in this spirit. They’re going to have priority in the next couple of weeks, that’s for sure. Selling my books, getting patrons for Murderville, making the Storytime Jukebox better, all of that is going to be key. It’s the side of the business that I admit to not working hard enough on because I don’t want to be annoying. I don’t want to be a walking commercial, a constant promotion that ends up being tuned out. But considering how very little I do of it right now, I think a moderate increase wouldn’t be too over the top.

Also, I can no longer use the excuse of not having the time/energy to promote myself. Got plenty of it in the immediate future! No reason not to use some of that free time/free energy to cultivate and utilize some new promotional skills.

The point is that as optimistic as I am, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to survive without a steady day job of some kind. Most writers can’t. However, while I am looking for that new day job, I can take the time to elevate my writing career to a new level. That’s something long overdue.

So, here’s to the next adventure.

Endings are new beginnings and all that.

An Unexpected Push

ThinkingMy floorset days have come to an end.

The store I work for is closing for good on January 7th.

I’ve been there over four years. Sometimes the gig was a real hassle. I questioned whether or not it was worth the commute, the minimum wage, the sleep deprivation, the bullshit that accompanies every retail job. I seriously considered quitting multiple times, but never went through with it. In the end, the actual work and most of the people I worked with won me over. The money wasn’t great (child learnin’ has been my main source of income), but it really helped fill in the gaps between the ends I needed to meet, particularly during the Christmas/New Year holidays when it’s the only day job I worked.

Now I need something else to fill the gaps.

I’m feeling strangely optimistic about this. A few years ago, I would have been depressed and panicky, woe-is-me-ly about this whole thing. I would have felt like it was the Universe taking another shot at me, kicking me when I was already close to down. Not so much now.

Now, I feel like this is the Universe giving me a push.

This is a push to do something new. This is a push to get out of my comfort zone. This is a push for a new adventure.

This is a push to really work my writing and make my writing work for me.

I don’t make a lot of money from my writing, but now what money I do make will be very important. It will help fill the gaps. Self-promotion is going to be key. I’m going to have to talk about my writing A LOT MORE than I already do and not in the “here’s what I’m working on, here’s how I write, here’s my writerly thoughts” fashion. I’m talking in the “HEY, BUY MY WORDS” fashion.

Right now I’ve got three writing revenue streams going at the moment: my self-published titles, the Storytime Jukebox, and the upcoming Patreon project Murderville. I realize that I’m going to have to start submitting in earnest once again, but I’m also going to have to push these three things a lot harder than I have in the past. In the past, I didn’t want to be annoying or insistent. Now I’m going to be.

When I first found out about this turn of events yesterday and posted about it on Twitter, the people I know there were very supportive. I think that contributes to my optimism. I am blessed with knowing some really awesome folks who are really supportive of my endeavors and also really supportive of me in general. I really do appreciate them.

So, the new year will be starting off with an interesting challenge.

For once in my life, I feel up to it.

Decide the Fate of the Ivy Russell Novellas

Ivy novellas

I’m struggling with indecision so I decided the best thing to do is to take my dilemma out of my brains and leave it to someone else’s, namely yours.

Here’s the situation: the covers for the last three Ivy Russell novellas are still not done. I don’t know when (or if) they’ll be done. The disruption in my planned publishing schedule has been a drag, but it has also caused me to question repeatedly the best course of action to handling this change of plans. Every choice you see in the poll below are choices that I’ve seriously considered (and reconsidered and then considered again).

So, I put it to you, gentlefolk. What the hell should I do?

The poll will be open for a week.

Why The Timeless Man Got Postponed and Other Life Lessons

Cheaters and ChupacabrasI was supposed to self-publish The Timeless Man last month and the reason why I didn’t publish it is because it didn’t have a cover.

It’s like this.

A friend did the cover for the first Ivy Russell novella, Cheaters and Chupacabras. I decided that I wanted the other three novellas to use the same background, but a different symbol for each novella (for Cheaters it was the wedding rings). I asked this friend if they could do the symbols for the other three novellas earlier this year and they agreed.

But between illness and humidity (because that affects art when you’re working with water colors, kids) and communication issues, it’s now July and the cover still isn’t done. I’m not sure when it’s going to get done or what I’m going to do when it gets done since this has sort of jacked up my entire self-publishing timeline, not to mention it’s not just this cover that needs to not be plagued by humidity, but the next two as well and I don’t feel like it would be a good idea for me to try to publish anything until I have every cover done. And so, we limbo.

The last time I inquired about the covers, which was Tuesday night, in the course of our conversation, my friend said to me, “I thought you got mad and just did it yourself anyway.”

See, that’s the life lesson I’ve taken away from every interaction I’ve had like this and there have been a lot in my existence. People I work with or ask for help from or ask favors of don’t come through for me often, so I just end up doing it myself, if I’m able to do it at all. It’s now such a common occurrence that people just expect it to end this way.

And it’s all my fault.

When you come out of the birth canal (or in my case, c-section incision) as a preordained responsible, independent human, then that’s your label for life. People go to you for help and you help them because you can and that’s what the world tells responsible, independent humans to do.

But when the script gets flipped and the responsible, independent human needs help, nobody knows their lines anymore. They don’t know how to react. Because the responsible, independent humans have a tendency to attract and surround themselves with somewhat flaky, dependent humans that just aren’t up to the task of helping. They want to, but they just can’t. Because reasons. Or they will, but it’s on their timeline, which is completely out-of-sync with your timeline, and that’s just too damn bad because you should just be grateful that they’re helping you at all.

So, I don’t ask for favors very often because I know the likelihood of being blown off or disappointed is pretty high and when I do ask for a favor hoping that maybe this time will be that one time things are different and they end up being the same, yeah, I tend to stop asking and keep on slogging through life on my own, doing everything the hard way because it’s been made pretty obvious that I’m a responsible, independent human and therefore shouldn’t not require much in the way of help. So, yeah, I either get pissed and do it myself, or I find myself in limbo, at the mercy of someone else’s timeline.

Which sucks.

‘Cause it makes my books late.

 

Disclaimer: I love my friends, I really do! Even though some of them aren’t the greatest at helping me out when I need it, they still have other qualities that are absolutely marvelous. All of my friends have their faults, as do I (and I have more than most), but they’re all really good people.

I wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t.

Give me some credit here.

Writing–March Projects

green flowerYou may have noticed the lack of blog posts in the month of February. Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you didn’t care. Whatever the case, the point is that you can expect random and fewer blog posts to be the norm for a while. My world is in a bit of transition at the moment, sort of like when I had the existential crisis last year, except it’s less crisis, more change.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean that I’m not doing writer stuff. My goal to clear out my backlog of projects remains intact.

Last month I finished making notes on (Vampries) Made in America and it has all been put to the side for the moment. I’m sick of looking at it. I also finished revisions on Odd Section of Town and Firebugs and Other Insects. I’m satisfied with how they turned out for the most part and I think the next step for them is beta and minor tweaks/polish. I also wrote “A Ride in the Country”, which was actually less writing and more taking a chunk that didn’t make it into Night of the Nothing Man and revising it into it’s own little stand alone bit that will go into one of the anthologies.

Speaking of…

This month, I’m going to be working revising short stories that I’m going to use for future anthologies. I’ve already finished a revision on “Nadie Has a Dog” just a few days into the new month (productivity, what?). Also going to be revised this month “People Are Terrible”, “Cover Up” (a rough draft that I found that I think will go nicely in one of the anthologies), “The House Down the Road”, and “The Seaweed Man”. Of these four, it’s “The Seaweed Man” that’s going to take the most work. It’s going to be more of a rewrite than a revision.

Slowly, but slowly, the backlog decreases.

Writing–Redoing Rejected

RejectedNow that I’ve released my second self-published anthology, I guess I should point out that my first self-published anthology is no longer for sale (so if you managed to be one of the six people that bought it, congratulations, you got yourself a collector’s item now).

I made the executive decision to pull Rejected. I actually did it late last year. I didn’t think anyone would notice.

It was my first go in self-publishing and I’m still proud of it. It helped me get over my self-publishing fears and take the plunge, and I’m glad for that. And it felt good to get those stories off my board and out to be read. It was a real accomplishment on several levels.

But.

It definitely shows that it was my first shot at not only putting together an anthology, but also doing a self-published project. I’m not a pro at this now or anything, but I feel like I’ve improved. And I want that anthology to reflect it.

You see, I still love the stories and I want them to be read, but they deserve better presentation.

I plan on redoing the anthology. Maybe not as a redux of Rejected, exactly (which makes the title of this post somewhat misleading), but definitely as something better, maybe with a few new stories thrown in. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. By taking it off the market, I’ve kind of taken that first step.

If I don’t eventually follow through, I’m gonna look like a dick.

And the stories deserve better than a trip to oblivion because I’m a dick.

That’s what started this in the first place.

Writing–Time to Loosen Up

"TUESDAY" production sign

When I first started this blog, I set up themed days and a nice schedule that insured that I would update at least three times a week and I’d always have an idea of what the blog post would be for each given day. It was a way of establishing my blog, a safety net, in a way, so I never found myself slacking.

Now that I’ve been at this for a couple of years, I’m finding the safety net a little too constricting. There are times when I can’t think of anything I’d like to write for the Monday blog post, but month’s worth of Wednesday topics. There are times when I want to post something for Friday immediately…but it’s only Tuesday. And then there’s this new idea that I think Rerun Junkie should be its own thing instead of being relegated to just Fridays.

It’s time for me to loosen up and trust that I’ll be able to blog randomly, but regularly throughout the week. I need to trust that I’ve earned the freedom to roam a little, to blog when I want to without the restriction on days.

And of course, if it doesn’t work out, if I find the ideas drying up without a designated day or if I find myself posting too infrequently, the old structure will still be standing there for me to go back to.

But I feel like I need to bust out and start something new.

Time to liven up the joint.

Writing–Short Story Long

agile-testing-days-2010_13.JPG

I started writing a story at the beginning of the month tentatively titled “Gone Missing”. I’d had the idea for a long time for a story that centered around a town where missing people end up, but didn’t really have anything more than that. A few weeks ago the missing piece crashed down from idea-space, smacked in the brain, and I quickly jotted down the whole plot idea before I forgot it. I decided to start writing it as quickly as possible thinking it might be a good project to work on while struggling with my personal essay (that’s another post for another day).

Little did I know what my brain had wrought.

When I get an idea for a short story, it’s typically just that. Short. In fact, it’s been known to happen that what I think will be a decent sized short story turns out to be a piece of flash fiction. I have a tendency toward being short-winded (which sometimes causes me problems making word count during NaNoWriMo, but I digress). It’s been known that I’ve had to go back and add to my short story word count to make the minimum word count for a submission (“Land of the Voting Dead” is a published example of this).

So, I didn’t think anything of it when I started writing “Gone Missing”. I thought it might be on the longer side, like the first few drafts of “At 3:36” that hit between 14 and 20 pages. It was when I passed the 20 page point and realized that I wasn’t even half-way done yet that I knew I had something other than a short story on my hands.

Once it hit forty pages without hitting the climax, I figured that I had something close to a novella on my hands.  It sure as heck wasn’t a short story anymore.

I’ve never written a novella before and really never had the urge to, so it seems fitting that I’d blunder into it on accident. When I begin the revisions of this short story gone long, I’m going to revise it with novella in mind. Just to see what a little intention can do for this long tale.

As it stands, I’m enjoying this pleasant surprise.

I love it when an idea that I think is good (and I think most of mine are) develops into something so much better.

Writing–When the Brain Has Other Plans

I have trouble with my brain sometimes.

Here’s an example:

Last month, I got pretty tired of rewriting Spirited In Spite. It turned into quite the slog that I couldn’t wait to get through. And while I was doing this slog, all I was thinking about was how much I wanted to work on my short stories. In fact, towards the end of the rewrite and the end of the month, I did start working on my short stories as a kind of reward for getting through the rewrites.

It was easy to come to the conclusion that I was going to spend February working on my short stories.

About a week and a half into the month, I was tired of looking at these short stories (to my credit, I had three of them ready to submit and one of those I DID submit) and wanted to work on something else.

For some reason, that happens. My brain acts like a spoiled child. It gets what it wants, plays with it a minute, and then immediately wants to play with something else. It’s ridiculous and frustrating and clashes with my stubborn self and need to adhere to the goals set for me.

This time, though, I decided to compromise. After submitting one of the short stories, I took a break from them. Instead, I took the weekend and read one of my novel manuscripts (A Tale of Two Lady Killers), making some notes on it. On Monday, I went back to the short stories. The break helped me avoid the feeling of slogging. It helped me to avoid resenting the goals I’d set for myself and in the long run, accomplish them.

I have to remember that my pig-headedness is an asset only when I use it correctly. I also have to remember to be flexible with my goals. Sometimes my spoiled brat brain has a good point and maybe a day or two spent indulging it is for the best.

It’s more cooperative when I compromise.