I’ve had a Patreon account for years. And over the years, I’ve changed what I offer there quite often. As a writer, I typically offer writing, of course. However, how that’s emerged over time kenos shifting as I try to find a way to make this platform profitable for me. Is Patreon the right place for writers to make money these days?
What is Patreon?
If you’re not familiar with it, Patreon is a platform that you can use to support individuals and small businesses. People offer monthly or per-item memberships. You can pay different amounts, as low as $1 per month, to receive a variety of different things from people, especially artists. For example, I support a friend who puts out some type of visual artwork video five days per week. You can find random people to support there. However, I think most people find the folks they want to support first (their friends, the people they follow on social media) and then only later choose to support their Patreon.
What I Offer on Patreon as a Writer
As mentioned, I have changed what I offer through the site again and again. For a long time, I offered a single newsletter to those people who were interested in my work related to researching the health benefits of crochet. I’d send the newsletter out once per month to people on my Patreon list.
Then I started trying to offer different things at different tiers. I offered creative mentorship, written thank you cards, packages of ephemera. I tried a lot of things.
Now I’ve gone back to the beginning. I’ve decided to launch a Patreon-only blog. It’s a place where I write (mostly) about the intersection of mental health and creativity. This is the topic in life that I’m most passionate about. I want to get paid to write about it. Can Patreon be a place for that?
You Need An Existing Following for Patreon to Work
I don’t think most people go on to Patreon to find interesting people to support. In other words, I think it’s a platform that you direct people to in the hopes that they’ll support you. Obviously only a percentage of your followers on another platform will move to Patreon and support you there. So, if I have a following on Instagram or Facebook or my own mailing list, then I can direct them to Patreon. Some will sign up and some won’t.
As a result, it seems like you probably need an existing audience in order to really make money on Patreon. I know, for example, that Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls as well as the genius book “The Art of Asking” has a strong following on Patreon. But she got her following other places. (“The Art of Asking” is all about crowdsourcing funding. It’s a great read!)
Non-Financial Benefits of Patreon
I’ve never made a lot of money through Patreon. At times, however, it provided a nice steady kittle extra bit of monthly income. It’s low at the moment and I’m hoping to grow it. But I’m also enjoying some of the non-financial benefits of writing my Patreon-only blog.
First of all, it’s a space for me to be fully creative. I’m not writing for algorithms or ad income like you naturally do when writing for a public blog or even for a magazine. Therefore, I’m able to change up a lot of the “online writing rules” for a more creative approach to writing. I hope this will allow my voice to grow.
Second, the people who really support me get to see my process. Moreover, they can respond to it. I feel like I get a lot of terrific small community support through Patreon. Other social media platforms are noisy. The people who follow me don’t always see my work. But because they pay for it, even just a little bit per month, they do stop and pay attention to what I’m doing here.
Finally, I really believe in supporting artists and writers directly. Patreon is a way to do that. So, if I’m using it then I’m making more people aware of it. Even if they support someone else instead of me, that makes me happy.
Do you use Patreon? What have your experiences been?