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So, today was going to be me discussing how I define the differences between science fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and science-fantasy, with a side of space opera versus pulp versus realism. And then, unfortunately, Patreon decided to screw over every creator at once, so a chunk of my time has been spent investigating the options available to me.
Honestly, my backers can often be the difference between a month with overdraft fees and a month without them; my day job hasn’t had a raise in evidence since the recession of 2008, and with all the economic dickery that’s been going on my paycheck doesn’t always make it all the way from one check to the next. A handful of people donating a few dollars a month is a wonderful thing, and it helps keep me in a mental place where I can make things. As such, Patreon’s decision to change how things are charged is a nightmare; I can’t ask anyone to pay their fees when someone offering $1 will suddenly find themselves being charged nearly half again that. I’d be willing to soak the fees on my side, but they’ve not made that an option, and there’s no indication they’ll be willing to do so.
On top of that, they’ve been extremely deceptive and sly about all of it, plying us with attempts to convince us that this is good for us, the creatives, when it really causes us to hemorrhage patrons who can’t afford the fees, claiming that there was ample positive feedback during their testing earlier this year without being able to produce any, inaccurate and misleading math that’s been thoroughly debunked, and so much more. They don’t want us to appear grateful, telling us to avoid “needy” language, and they’ve said they’d like to strip creatives who don’t earn enough from view, talking about “life-changing” success.
The thing is, all of their talk is bullshit. Nothing about this rollout helps the creators; the only positive feedback we’ve seen is from people with a personal stake on the Patreon and the occasional person completely uninvolved; and they outright lie in their math and have bogus charts. “Life-changing” success is when patrons make the difference between overdraft fees and none, between an artist being able to pick up an extra pack of cheap ramen so they can afford to have a meal when they’re hungry instead of measuring it out calorie by calorie, between a person who write short fiction on the side of their day job being able to pay the bills when they’d have had to choose between power, water, and heat otherwise.
Then there’s that thing about “needy” language. Needy. The phrasing makes it clear that Patreon doesn’t want us to thank our patrons. Seriously. While I know there are plenty of people who do this who figure it’s their due, the majority of creatives trying to do this to earn a buck are incredibly grateful for everyone who appreciates them. Authors love reviews of their books; artists love people complimenting their artwork; musicians like to hear about people enjoying their creations. We love what we do, even when we’re trying to find a way to make it pay so that we can afford to spend more time doing it. We’re grateful for every dollar that comes our way, and for every fan who cheers for us.
Patreon’s made t clear that they don’t get that about us, and that they have no idea where the big success stories actually come from – every creative out there that’s got a big fanbase with a lot of people willing to throw money at them started off as one of the small creators trying to figure out how to do what they love without going bankrupt. There are no big success stories without the ones who manage to squeak by at first. I’m grateful for every person who comes to read what I write, and for every dollar that comes my way.
Patreon’s people can wrap themselves in flypaper and go to the landfill. I’d rather ask each of you to support my work, and the work of other creators you like, however you can. In my case, that’s currently Paypal, and I plan to add a Ko-Fi and whatever other options I can in the near future.
Next time, I’ll bring all y’all that article on how I define those story groups. Promise.