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Should I create a Patreon account?

Yesterday was one of those days. If I wasn’t spilling something I was knocking something over. If I wasn’t knocking something over I was stepping in something and tracking it onto the rug before I realized what I was carrying (thank you, neighbors’ unfenced dogs). If it wasn’t me breaking something, tracking something, or spilling something, it was Ava or the cat.

By the time afternoon walkies came around, I feared leaving the house lest a tree fall on me. Then I decided if I stayed in, a tree might fall on me. So Ava and I headed for the waterfront.

It was a lovely hour. We wandered around. We sat and watched the fishing boats come in. Ava sniffed and peed. I thought and gained a touch of perspective.

—–

Yesterday was also one of those days because I had to face an unpleasant fact: I’m making less than I’m spending.

Since spring, I’ve been spending money as if I had it. And I did have it — thanks to a low-interest, deferred-payment loan and donations from a handful of primo supporters. And I used it to make astonishing progress on fixing up Ye Olde Wreck, which enters the rainy season in better shape than I could ever have imagined. Between the donors’ generosity, The Wandering Monk’s phenomenally low hourly rate, and my own sweat equity … well, it was a miracle.

However, having money to spend from May through September created a happy illusion. Plain truth is, now that October’s arrived, my regular monthly bills exceed my regular monthly income. Which they usually didn’t in the past.

This is entirely my own fault. Before the loan and donations started coming in, I put some construction supplies on credit and I’m still paying that off. Last spring I also replaced Old Blue. But this time not with a $1,000 junker bought in cash. I wanted the car that was going to last me the rest of my life. I purchased a “pre-owned” hamster car. It has payments. Not very high payments. And I’m very, very happy to have a car that’s not about to collapse. I’ve also been making extra payments toward the principle, which is a good thing. And the credit card debt is at 0%. So I haven’t gone totally irresponsible.

But now I discover how it’s all adding up. Between vehicle payments and those construction supplies, I’m overextended.

Not a position I’m used to being in.

As I said, my own doing and my own responsibility to get out of. I’m not asking for a reader bailout. Next year I’ll hold another fundraiser. But donations are not the answer to bad management. Anyhow, I’ve already figured out how I can sell a few things and cut a few expenses.

In only one area am I considering turning to you. One potential cut would be to eliminate my Internet service. I use the ‘Net mainly for blogging and maintaining Claire’s Cabal. To avoid returning to library Internet service, I’m thinking about opening a Patreon account.

I’ve been reluctant to do this. In most cases, Patreon functions as a tip jar for small (though regular) “subscriptions” to creative endeavors. Commonly that means commitments of $1 or $2 a month.

Which ain’t hay if enough people do it. However, I feared Patreon might bring in tiny amounts while discouraging people from giving larger support to the blog during occasional fundraisers. The larger fundraisers are necessary both to keep me blogging and keep Ye Olde Wreck rising from the wreckage.

I still worry about Patreon’s possible long-term effect. However, it seems legit to look to small monthly “subscription fees” solely to cover the bare costs of keeping the blog and the Cabal online — that is, to cover their hosting fees and the ‘Net access they require. $60 a month would do that.

So. I’m asking you. Should I open a Patreon account? And if I did, do you think it would crash the fundraiser I plan for next year?

Whatever you help me decide, I am now off to begin selling a few items and taking a sharp implement to whatever pesky expenses can’t evade me.

21 Comments

  1. brew
    brew October 9, 2017 9:33 am

    How this might effect your annual fundraiser I don’t know, but personally I am very comfy with the Patreon model. I support several yooztoobz channels at $1 or $2 a month so I never missed the money. And like you said if just a few of us do so – that ain’t hay…

    I would not hesitate to support you via Patreon…

  2. Black Ort
    Black Ort October 9, 2017 10:26 am

    I agree with @Brew and would happily add you to my token payment list in Patreon. $12 a year that way would not distract me from the annual fundraiser, either.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty October 9, 2017 10:27 am

    Go for it! I could even afford to “subscribe” at that rate. 🙂

  4. Claire
    Claire October 9, 2017 10:54 am

    Thank you, guys. So far, so good. 🙂

    BTW, the fundraisers aren’t annual, though. They’ve been done at need (last year to raise the foundation and start the big drainage repair, two years before that to raise the roof), and you wonderful people have always risen to the occasion. Now that the blog is on its own, without support from Backwoods Home (and with Amazon having nerfed itself), it might make sense to go annual. But I’d like to avoid that. This year several behind-the-scenes gnomes got me through.

  5. Pat
    Pat October 9, 2017 12:35 pm

    “Should I create a Patreon account?”

    Yes, sounds like a good idea. And doesn’t seem like it would affect a fundraiser.

  6. Comrade X
    Comrade X October 9, 2017 1:18 pm

    Sounds good to me, I’m in if you go for it.

  7. fred
    fred October 9, 2017 2:01 pm

    Patreons’ co-founder is the guy from the band Pomplamoose (Jack Conte and wife Nataly Dawn).VERY good and creative people so at least the Karma is good IMO.

  8. fred
    fred October 9, 2017 2:08 pm

    So one day Jack says to himself…When did the record companies come to own the music (very recently in the timeline),then asked himself what did artists do before that? They had private parties that backed them so they could produce.

    Why cant we do that now he wondered? The rest is history,Patreon is a step back that uses todays tech to free artists from corporate control.

    Brilliant man to figure that out where it had escaped all the rest of us.

    No,I have no connection,just I was a Pomplamoose fan since they were young adults,very cute couple and Jack is a master of musical production techniques.Jack is an extremely intelligent character,Nataly has a nice voice too but thats a take it or leave it,you love or hate it.

  9. Bob
    Bob October 9, 2017 2:25 pm

    How does one who doesn’t use PayPal send you money?

  10. jed
    jed October 9, 2017 2:38 pm

    I look at it this way. So, you create a Patron account. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Okay, I don’t really know the answer to that. But I doubt it’d have any effect on other purpose-specific fundraisers. So why not give it a shot? Assuming there’s no goofy issues with how they forward the money on to you.

  11. Tahn
    Tahn October 9, 2017 2:58 pm

    Don’t know anything about it. Is there a way to use Patron for your artistic endeavors (not that writing is not artistic) and keep the current site for news and commentary? Eggs and baskets thing.

    Could you still get on line and post? Sorry my ignorance is showing.

  12. Claire
    Claire October 9, 2017 3:05 pm

    Tahn, although Patreon was set up for starving artists, writers, musicians, and such, blogging also counts as writing in their book. Having a Patreon account would not prevent me from using this site for news, commentary, art, maunderings, pictures of dogs, whatever.

    All Patreon does is give people a way to set up a (usually very small) monthly “subscription” to an artist, a YouTube channel, an inventor, a blogger … whatever.

  13. Claire
    Claire October 9, 2017 3:14 pm

    Bob – Thank you very much. For one who often doesn’t agree with my point of view, you’ve been a wonderfully loyal long-time reader.

    I’m not asking for donations right now. Next year I’ll have a “real” fundraiser and I’ll give people multiple ways to contribute. For the moment, I’m only investigating Patreon — and I know so little about them that I don’t even know how Patreon contributions are given or distributed.

    Now that so many people are saying Patreon would be okay with them, I’ll look into it.

    But for now, that’s all I need. I’ve already begun the process of selling off some stuff and reducing a few monthly bills to cover this — temporary, I promise — imbalance.

  14. Tahn
    Tahn October 9, 2017 4:32 pm

    I totally misunderstood Claire. Thanks for explaining to this old geezer. You are not changing the blog and Cabal over to Patreon (at a cost of $60. per month), you are merely adding a new potential income stream. Go for it.

  15. Jim B.
    Jim B. October 10, 2017 12:06 am

    Go for it.

    It’s not just the gun v-blogs that have become de-monetized, lots of v-blogs have suffered the same fate. Even Barbara4u2c had her videos de-monetized, loved her often sarcastic wit and quips. So lots of the v-bloggers are turning to other funding methods such as Patreon.

    I suspect “the video company” is trying to get the videos to “lean left” as well as trying to keep as much moolas as possible. I hope that someone will see an opportunity to compete with said company while providing a freer video community. Although, I also suspect the lawyers got involved as well.

    Now if someone would start a Gun-Tube….

  16. M
    M October 10, 2017 7:46 am

    Your creation of a Patreon account would probably finally be the kick in the ass for me to finally start paying content generators, rather than just disabling ad blocking on their sites.

    I’ll still continue to split my Amazon purchases between you and Comm2A.

    It probably wouldn’t make it less likely for me to throw in a bit more during a fundraiser, but I don’t know whether it’d be the case for everyone else.

  17. parabarbarian
    parabarbarian October 10, 2017 10:51 pm

    I contribute to two people on Patreon. Neither is making enough to retire on but it probably helps. A few readers may contribute just because they like you and — who knows? — that may be enough. However, I doubt it. In the end it will depend on what you have to offer potential patrons that they cannot get for free.

  18. Claire
    Claire October 11, 2017 7:09 am

    “In the end it will depend on what you have to offer potential patrons that they cannot get for free.”

    Claire’s Cabal was originally intended for that purpose but didn’t work out that way. Now it’s free. With Patreon, I’d be looking only for small contributions to cover the basic costs of keeping both sites online. If I really hoped to earn a living via Patreon, you’d be absolutely right. As is, I’m hoping people will want to make small payments to support what they’re already getting here and at the Cabal.

  19. AG
    AG October 12, 2017 1:24 pm

    $5.00 a month won’t be missed on this end.

  20. Claire
    Claire October 12, 2017 7:08 pm

    Thank you, AG.

    AND may I add for all you patrons who are also members of Claire’s Cabal: Silver is offering to match all Patreon subscriptions for a year. If you’re interested, log in at the Cabal, go to the Administrivia board, and look for his thread. PM him with the amount of your monthly subscription, and — abracadabra — it’s doubled.

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