How I set up my @Patreon campaign (2 of 2) (#ChanceEncounter #interactive #novel #amwriting)

 

In my previous blog post, I briefly discussed how I set up the “Overview” page of my Patreon Campaign for “Chance Encounter“, my “choose-your-own-adventure” interactive novel for extremists. In this follow-up post, I will discuss the other aspects of the campaign, including but not limited to rewards, goals and ongoing promotions.

After setting up my “Overview” page, the next step is to consider the kind of rewards I want to give my patrons. I need to decide on the levels of support, or “memberships” — patrons can pledge $1 per month for a start, then it goes up to $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and so on. Believe it or not, I have seen prominent artists/writers requesting and receiving $1000 per month. Sounds crazy, hey? I know some artists truly deserve such support, but it remains difficult to imagine how hard they work to serve their readers while trying to meet the demands of their publishers.

Obviously, those who pledge more support should receive more rewards. But what are the best rewards? As a writer, what can I offer my readers? Well, as a reader, I enjoy reading anything and everything about my favourite authors — all the titles they have published, how they write their books, what influences their choices of genres, forms, characters, plots and settings, what inspires them to write, what they do in their spare time, etc. I like reading about their professional development and achievements, as well as reviews of their work.

So I start out with a “thank-you” note and a sample reading of “Chance Encounter” for all who pledge to support it as a creative project. The gratitude is essential. As for the sample reading, it is to give readers a “flavour” of my proposed work, and to let them know that I have started my project and am working on it. i.e. It is not something existing only in my head.

Many artists only offer a “thank-you” note at the $1/month level. I choose a different approach, because $1/month could grow to $12/year and more. If I want people to continue supporting me, then I should continue rewarding them. This is why I pledge to provide all my patrons with periodical updates on the research and development progress of my proposed project. As a writer, I think it is important to let people “in” as early as possible in my creative journey. Particularly in the case of “Chance Encounter” as an interactive novel, it would be great to generate some sort of interactivity from the start.

So, what else can I offer to my readers at the $2/month level and up? Well, thanks to Petreon, I know that many patrons are artists themselves, including writers. We all know that one of the best ways to support writers is to read and review their books. So I pledge to read and review one new or backlist title that my fellow writers may have, and to promote that book by posting my review and/or its URL on Patreon, Amazon, Goodreads and Twitter. In this way, not only do I get to thank my patrons using existing skills and resources, but it also becomes part of my continued efforts to support established and emerging writers across the world.

After that, it is just a matter of offering more rewards as the support levels go up. Ideal offers from writers to readers may include but are not limited to: online access to the latest draft, digital downloads of the work-in-progress, monthly Q&A sessions to address readers’ questions and comments, free copies of the published digital book, signed copies of the published print book, special mention in the book’s “acknowledgement” page, etc. I have also seen artists offering to “hang out” with patrons via Skype and phone calls on special occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

But the “grand prize” seems to be having the book’s characters named after its biggest supporters. This idea suits me well, because “Chance Encounter” as a “choose-your-own-adventure” novel has 12 characters and a total of 64 storylines. Each character may appear somewhere along one or more storylines, with brand new adventures or acting as “fixed points in time”, so that readers get to appreciate the dynamic and complex construct that is human interaction in reality and beyond. Somehow all of these parallel realities combine to form a universe that is the mysterious, multifaceted humanity.

Again, when choosing rewards, it is important to think long-term. Am I capable of delivering all the rewards that i have pledged, in terms of time, energy and technological capacities? (For example, I do know how to create files in MOBI, ePUB and PDF formats for my patrons to download.) It is also necessary to keep in mind that in the case of Patreon, $2 means $2 each month, and that can lead to $24 per year, which is roughly the price of a print book here in Australia. Alternatively, $24 can buy me six mugs of cappuccino in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, enough to keep me warm and awake throughout the night to complete drafting one of my 64 storylines, which contains seven chapters of 600 words each, plus two options at the end of each chapter for readers to choose their next adventures. Never underestimate what $1 or $2 can do.

Now, the goals. These are the targets I want to reach if/when I get the kind of patronage I need. Based on various successful Patreon campaigns I have seen, I set not one but three goals, just in case I am lucky enough to catch more attention than what I ask for. I also notice how some of the artists/writers fulfilled their promises when they reached their goals. i.e. They really quitted their jobs and are now working full-time on their arts!

Finally, there is a “thank-you” note to write. Then I can formally launch my campaign and start posting to my community. Patreon offers a lot of advice on frequent and effective self-promotion. One of their suggestions is to contact as many family members, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances as possible. Even just one patron willing to sign up can help to pave the way that leads to success. Another suggestion is to post often and through as many social media platforms as possible. I learn to link my Twitter page to my Patreon Campaign, and to develop a habit of writing something to my potential patrons everyday. It is very much like blogging. I am glad to have one more platform to promote the books I have reviewed.

I look forward to discovering what practical and/or symbolic results my Patreon Campaign will produce. It is a great learning exercise so far, and, as I mentioned in one of my posts, it is ver informing, as I get to know myself better in the process of trying to get others to know me and my writing. I get to accept what it is about my proposed project that can be achieved with a lot of hard work, and what is far-fetching and should remain only as a writer’s fantasy.

It remains my hope that these two blog posts of mine can be of some use to you, in your own efforts to find support for your artistic career. Good luck.

 

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