Three hard earned lessons on building a Patreon

This was originally published as part of my regular newsletter, which you can sign up for here. Over the last 4 months I’ve built up my Patreon account from $18 to $176 and with luck it’ll carry on growing ;) Here are three lessons I’ve learned.

1. Getting new backers is hard! But worth it.
A monthly donation, even of $3, is something most people put a lot of thought into before committing to. Even though patrons can stop at any time, most people don’t want to start unless they’re going to continue. But once a backer does sign up, it’s like having a new friend, and a great boost to your confidence as a creator.

2. Your patrons are people who like you and your work.
Patrons are often more interested in you, and seeing you succeed, than in just getting a new story or essay to read. Of my 32 patrons, not one is a family member or close friend. But they are people I have connected with through my writing, and that I often talk with on platforms like Twitter. It’s a great feeling when those people decide they value what I do enough to help me carry on.

3. Patreon is a creative space.
I soon realised that Patreon was, for me as a writer, a space to create in, not just a place to collect donations. Throughout July I’ve been posting a daily series of posts on overcoming creative fear, and connecting with the signal of our creativity. These posts have also become a discussion forum for my patrons, and future posts will be guest authored by some of them. And of course they’ve helped to attract a number of new backers.

Later this year I’ll be publishing a serial fiction as part of my Patreon work. I’d love it if you got involved.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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