I’ve been thinking about a Patreon. What do you think?

by Diane Duane

A little background first.

Over the past few months, on and off, I’ve been reorganizing the household’s records-keeping system (which has all too often devolved into variants of the Put It In A Shoebox And Forget About It school of behavior: better than nothing, I guess, but not really useful when you need to put your hand on one specific thing in a hurry. As has happened occasionally this last year).

So… redoing the filing. Woo woo: how glamorous this mad gay whirl of a writer’s life can become. (Gah.)

Yet one of the more interesting side effects of this situation is that unusual things turn up.

Like this.


The formatting of the page and the material it’s typed on tell me that this came out of David Gerrold’s first-generation “printer” — an IBM Selectric cabled to his original NorthStar computer — back when I was still working for him just after the publication of The Door Into Fire. So: around 1979/1980ish. The story is not complete, but I know how it ends. I can finish it now. ๐Ÿ™‚

…Or this. (Coincidentally in the same universe, though older still):



It was 1973 when I drew and watercolored this map — so, still in nursing school.ย  (You can see I was still in my heavily-Tolkien-influenced period.) And somewhat to my astonishment, in the file folder behind that map is a hundred and forty-one pages of Middle Kingdoms fiction that has never been seen by anyone but me: a 30,000+ word novella, complete.

And every time I ran across one of these things I thought, “There must be some organized way to share this stuff with people.”

(And make a little extra living money off it, whispers the un-shut-uppable businesswoman-voice in the background.)

And then the idea came creeping in.

There are a lot of creative people I respect who’ve joined Patreon. Why not me? It’s worth running the idea up the flagpole, at least.

The idea is that contributions to the Patreon from my side would look like:

  • Short fiction in new universes
  • Rare / unusual archival material, either in scanned form or transcribed (and sometimes updated)
  • New works in the Young Wizards universe, particularly in the new-ish Interim Errantry brand, made available for viewing by patrons before they go public in the Ebooks Direct store or for other online sales
  • Snippets from already-announced works that will be traditionally published: as in Young Wizards book 11 (still untitled) or other new out-of-genre works
  • A weekly podcast from wherever (I’ve been looking at PodOMatic and it seems like it might be a good fit for me: also it integrates directly with Patreon, which is useful).
  • And other stuff I haven’t thought of yet

Rewards would include things like, well, for example — at the higher end of rewards — that map up there. I’m not sentimental about keeping originals. Copies work fine for me. But who knows, someone else might like to have the thing I actually made. I’m still looking around to see what the less-expensive level rewards would look like. (For example: high quality reproductions of similar works. Etc etc.)

So here’s the deal. Would you join my Patreon if I started one?ย  Please use the polling form / device here to signal what you think. And please be serious with me here: if you wouldn’t be able to contribute from the outset, don’t answer the poll as if you would.

[poll id=”2″]

Finally, everyone should understand this. I intend to make this work from my end, but if the output in time and energy is not supported by the income at the contributor end, I’ll kill the Patreon sooner rather than later. All our time is precious, and energy is doubly so; and if mine turns out not to be producing an acceptable return at this end, then that’ll be that.

Okay? Let me know what you think. And thank you!

ETA: Here’s Patreon’s quick-explanation video.

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Keleri November 12, 2016 - 4:06 pm

I think you should proceed if you get a positive response on the poll– you have a lot of potential material for rewards! Many prospective patreoners don’t have nearly as good a plan. You should be alright. One policy you might want to employ is to award patrons (or certain levels of rewards, since part of the appeal is instant access to the “inner circle”, as it were) only after the first month of payments have gone in. It’s unfortunately quite easy to pledge, download all the intangible rewards (or even demand a tangible one!), and then revoke payment before anything goes through.

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 5:04 pm

I’ve seen some complaints about that kind of thing, yeah. Will find a way to manage it if I do go down this road.

P J Evans November 12, 2016 - 4:18 pm

Being retired, I’m short on money, but I’d throw some in your direction when I can. (It requires that the Patreon take plastic, though.)

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 5:03 pm

I hear you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks.

Andrew Timson November 12, 2016 - 4:27 pm

I went with “maybe”. If the fiction pieces (especially longer stuff like the Interim Errantry works) are put out in ePub like your online store, so the Patreon is basically a form of Early Access, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. If it’s only intended to be readable on a computer, and I’d have to convert it myself to read it on an ereader, I’d have to see more details on the prices/rewards.

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 5:03 pm

Still looking at exactly how it’s going to be structured, so keep an eye on this…

Robotech_Master November 12, 2016 - 4:37 pm

It sounds like a terrific idea, and a number of other authors seem to do well with Patreonsโ€”including Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, with whom you shared one of my podcasts back in the day. Given how well they did with their past “Storytellers Bowl” fundraising projects, it’s not so surprising they’d do well with the current one, too.

But remember what happened with your last project where you raised money for a story that wasn’t complete but you knew how it ended. (Is the final version of that book/ebook coming out any time soon, by the way?)

I hope I don’t sound like I’m pointing fingers or placing blame, because that’s not my intention at all. I know you felt worse about all that than anybody else. I just think that if you’re considering whether to go through with something like this, you need to be sure that you can meet the small-but-regular creator obligations of a Patreon with regularity. You certainly don’t need another reason to feel bad month after month.

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 5:02 pm

I know exactly where you’re coming from, and I get you. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And yes, the final ebook version has been available to subscribers for a long while, and [secondary to disk crashes that killed my subscriber database a couple of times over] we’re hunting down and taking care of those subbers who have subs for the hard copy books. The website is also about to have a relaunch to complete this work and get ready for the book going public as part of an omnibus edition in ’17, assuming we can get the first two reverted.)

As for anything that would be offered on the Patreon: it will either be micro snippets where noncompletion is understood from the start, or work that’s complete already. The burned hand, etc etc…

Robotech_Master November 12, 2016 - 6:17 pm

Could you let me know where I’d go about getting that final ebook version? I seem to have missed the memo. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I honestly can’t remember whether I was signed up for a hard copy or not.

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 6:43 pm

Drop me an email so I can put you in the database properly and I’ll get a copy out to you ASAP. Let me know what format you want (.epub, Kindle, etc…)

Carol November 13, 2016 - 5:04 am

I think I am one of those hard copy subscribers! If we are in this category, should we wait to hear from you or forward you our original confirmation email? (just checked, found it)

dianeduane November 13, 2016 - 2:58 pm

No harm in you emailing me with the number. Use the Ebooks Direct email, OK? At this link: http://ebooksdirect.co/pages/contact-us

Audrey Falconer November 12, 2016 - 7:49 pm

Everything Robotech_Master said. I would love to leap at this but I’d want to be sure it didn’t end up as another source of increasing stress and escaping timelines/deadlines. After all, the final result of that other project was *fabulous* and ended up making me very happy indeed and after the event I am very happy indeed that I did contribute to that particular project.

Would want to see more details about this one before voting.

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Thanks very much. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s no rush about anything: this is, as I said, just a poll.

Audrey Falconer November 12, 2016 - 9:30 pm

Oh, yes, that one is a top priority! :+>

dianeduane November 12, 2016 - 9:40 pm

Yep. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miaka November 13, 2016 - 1:15 am

I put “answer hazy” because things are in a bit of a weird spot for my family right now, otherwise it would have been “Shut up and take my money!” I definitely would sign up if you did open a Patreon, but I can’t promise I’d be able to do so right away.

Tina Connell November 13, 2016 - 1:21 am

I think it’s a great idea. I’m already supporting two Patreons (LA Gilman and Jim Wright).

Your Door Into Fire, which we bought back in ’79 or ’80, while you were still in the States, was my first introduction to the concept of gay relations, as it wasn’t an issue for me or anyone I knew ‘back in the day’ (well, perhaps something earlier by MZB, but yours was more clearly explicated).

I thought it was great — tastefully and sensitively written, and although (as I said) it had never been anything I especially thought about prior, it laid the groundwork for my understanding when it did eventually become a better-known social issue. I am greatly looking forward to book four.

Lee November 15, 2016 - 3:32 pm

“Shut up and take my money” is perfect. I can only purchase so much from ebooks direct!
(Made even more tantalizing with teases of Four Kingdoms… …and Young Wizards)

Hmm... November 21, 2016 - 4:45 pm

I’d love to support a Patreon for you! But…I don’t have a credit card or any way of signing up for something that requires recurring payments. I hope that any stories you release will only be early access for Patrons, and will be released for the general public to read / purchase later?

Comentator November 27, 2016 - 6:29 am

I’ve never done a Patreon, but ultimately the answer is that if you write something, I will read (and pay for) it. (After being able to pay for things like food, but only slightly.) If Patreon seems like a good way to organize that, “Shut up and take my money.” I don’t really know if it would work well or not, but I think you’re probably the one in the best position to answer that โ€” though I for one would not regret trying it for a while even if it didn’t go on forever.

Comments are closed.

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