I'm really excited about the next year of writing. Having a community of readers on Patreon is very empowering. Although most of my posts there are exclusive to my patrons, this post---Shiny New Year---is public and sums up the previous ten months of Patreon, which will give you a hint of just how deeply we will be wading into fiction in the coming year.
I'm going to be polling subscribers in the coming weeks to see if there are any changes I need to make to how I do things there, and what types of rewards they'd like to see in the future, and about the possibility of adding a tier. Because Patreon is sort of a walled-garden in that only my supporters have access to material I'm posting it's much more conducive to discussion between author and readers than any other platform online. There's no signal to noise ratio because there's no noise. My subscribers want to be there, want to read my fiction (or book reviews), and want to support me as I continue to write. They frequently get extras over and above the promised rewards, and they get access to the author and can comment on everything I post. I get paid for my work and enjoy chatting with my readers in a troll-free environment. (Every time I use the word "troll" with the contemporary meaning, I always have the vague feeling that it's some kind of slur to traditional trolls. My apologies to any ancient beings who may be offended.)
I'm creating a huge repository of science fiction and fantasy on Patreon with the support of my subscribers and that's enormously gratifying. The path from author's brain to publication is typically a long one; with Patreon, readers don't have to wait to get new fiction, and it's basically instant gratification for me, too. I'm enjoying using Patreon to essentially produce serialized fiction for my longer works, though everything of a certain length will eventually be published elsewhere (and my patrons credited with their support when it does). It's also a good place for my short fiction between being written and being published elsewhere. At present most of what I'm writing is being produced exclusively for my Patreon subscribers. If you want to read anything new by me that's the only place you can get it. Things will eventually trickle out to the rest of the world as works are published, but again, there's that long twisty road to publication to negotiate and I appreciate having an income, however modest, while I'm writing and getting what I write from point A to point B.
If you, for whatever reason, think authors working this way are dubious, then you don't know the long and ever-growing list of award-winning authors who are also using Patreon to cover between the small infrequent royalty checks (which is pocket change rather than a living wage for most authors). It's actually possible now for authors who don't get million dollar advances to make a living writing, thanks to Patreon subscribers. I'm not there yet, but it's only been ten months. Like most authors and creators on Patreon, the entry-level tier is only $1. Which makes supporting a creator affordable for anyone. It doesn't sound like much, but the dollars add up. A large $1 subscriber base can provide a substantial income, especially when combined with subscribers at higher tiers.
But having subscribers makes me happy in a way that doesn't have anything to do with money. It makes me happy to write for my Patreon community of readers. It makes a difference knowing there are actual people I can connect with, who are waiting for my next bit of fiction, feeling a bit of happiness when they get that notification ping that says I've posted more fiction for them, and knowing that they're reading, while I wait and see what they like and comment.
We all need more fiction in our lives. I'm happy to provide! Welcome to the new year!