David Nash - Writer

Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Mystery – Oh My!

Bye Bye Patreon

Well, I tried Patreon for a while and, frankly I have only myself to blame for not seeing what was obvious from the beginning. Patreon is a great platform if you are an established artist with a wide support base and lots of followers. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a nice support base and lots of followers you immediately vanish into the back of the bus. Here’s what I mean. Patreon claims to have over 50,000 creators on its site and over a million patrons. I’m sure that’s true. I’m also sure it’s almost completely unverifiable. Why? because, unless you are in the top twenty of one of the Patreon categories, or you are selected for special review there is NO way I could find to see who is a Patreon Creator. Now I estimate that Patreon has about 600 slots for the top twenty in each of their categories (although some people appear multiple times so it’s probably a bit less.) The also have another 20 slots that they rotate as someone new and interesting to watch. But, do the math. The people in the top slots aren’t going to move. Out of 50,000 only about 1,000 are ever visible on the site. and of those about 240 are going to be visible for one month or less.

Now being promoted by Patreon could possibly generate a lot of revenue for you. However, if you do not make their top 20, the only way to get visibility is thru your own advertising. Unlike Kickstarter and other similar fund raising platforms, I cannot pick an area I’m interested in an see ALL the creators in that area. There are no online message boards where I can get information on other creators either. I can only see the top 20.

So, if I do all the advertising, if I do all the marketing, if I create all the interest to go to a Patreon website and make the top 20 – then I get the privilege of letting Patreon collect money for me and they take a cut. (A cut besides the services they use to actually process the money that is.) And, they will chase people who don’t pay.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t want those people. The ones who don’t pay – and I don’t want you to chase them. If they want to pay me – fine. If they change their minds – fine. I don’t need a bunch of disgruntled people who have been hounded for a payment saying bad things about me. I don’t need them getting on social media to berate my work in revenge. I write novels. I tell stories that are meant to entertain. If you like a story, buy it. If you don’t like my writing, don’t buy it. That’s fair.

I like the idea of Patreon. I think that there is a place for patronage in the arts. But, I don’t like being walled away until I’m popular enough to make your top 20 list so I can emerge from obscurity to make you money now that I’m “good enough”. To those in their top twenty groups – congratulations. I’m sure you worked hard to earn that spot and the way the system is set up you will be very hard to dislodge from it. To those who haven’t managed to get there don’t feel bad. Maybe Patreon will wake up and make all the creator’s work available for people to see like Kickstarter and other platforms.

I just don’t have time to wait around for it.

What are you afraid of?

“I will not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration…”

Frank Herbert, Dune

Everybody has fears.  Things they are afraid to do.  Right now, try to think of the five things you really want to accomplish, but haven’t.  These are the things that pop into your mind as soon as you think of stuff you have been putting off.    They might be big things, or little things.  They might take a long time, or they might be done very quickly.  They all have one thing in common.  You have been thinking about doing them for a long time, but for whatever reason, you just haven’t gotten them done.

Of course, you have reasons why they aren’t happening…

“It will take a long time to do, and I haven’t got the time right now.”

“It’s expensive, and I don’t have the money.”

“It’s going to cause a lot of chaos, and I don’t want to deal with the hassle right now.”

There are many reasons to wait.

Here is the real reason…

You are afraid.

It’s really that simple.   You are afraid of the consequences of failure.  You might not get it done.  You might go broke.  You might not be able to deal with the chaos.  In your mind, you have made the job larger, harder, more difficult, more challenging.  You have made the consequences of failure more dire, more painful, more damaging.  You mentally hold off starting – because as long as you don’t start, you don’t have to face those possible consequences.

In short, you are afraid.

You’re wrong.

You are already facing the consequences – and you ARE losing.

Why?  You are holding yourself back from success.

Your brain is smart.  It knows when you’re lying to yourself.  So, your subconscious keeps bringing up the things you CAN do.  The things you WANT to do.  The things you are AFRAID to try to do.

You may be putting off starting that new business because you don’t have money.  But , your subconscious mind sees other people accomplishing the goal – starting new businesses on a shoestring – and being successful.

You may be putting off starting a new relationship, or ending a bad one, because you fear the pain of loneliness, or rejection.  However, your brain sees others trying and succeeding in ending bad relationships or starting new ones.  So, your subconscious brings up the things you WANT to accomplish but you’re afraid to try.

Here’s the big surprise… your brain only brings up the things you COULD accomplish if you tried.

Think about it.  There are dozens of things that you have probably thought about trying.

“It would be cool to swim the Atlantic Ocean.”

“I’d like to walk on the moon.”

You have hundreds of ideas that you think about in passing every year.  But, does your brain bring them all up?  No, it only reminds you of the ones that you really want, and you are capable of achieving.

So, you when say, “It would be cool to swim the Atlantic Ocean,”  your brain reasons, “You can swim, but you don’t have the endurance to swim that far.  You think it would be fun, but it’s a lot of hard work and you would likely drown.  You don’t really want to accomplish that goal – you just want the fame that would come with the accomplishment. “

And the thought fades from your mind…

However, when you say, “I should quit my job and start my own company,” your brain says, “Well, the people at your current company are taking advantage of you.  They are working you long hours for less money than you are worth.  Other people have successfully started a career in this area. You have the necessary skills or could learn them.  This is something you could do and it would make you happier and more content with your life.”

But, then you get afraid.

“I might not get a job.  My old company might give me bad references.  The market is unstable.  I could go out and things could sour suddenly and I would lose everything.”

And the fear grows.  It’s vague and insidious.  You don’t reject the idea, instead you decide to think about it later.  You don’t ACT.

But, since you can do it, your subconscious holds onto the idea!  It keeps bringing it up whenever you have time to do something new.  It doesn’t let go.  However, you are afraid.  Therefore, you make the penalties of failure greater in your mind, trying to push it away.  It will be more painful than you can endure.  You will lose everything you have gained.  However, your subconscious knows that it is a lie.  The penalties are not that great.  You will not see the world end if you fail.  So, it keeps pushing.

I created this quote whenever I find myself procrastinating. Feel free to use it. I find it helps me get started.

“If you try and lose, you pay the price of failure once.  If you don’t try, you pay the price of failure every day.”

So, break the cycle.

Look at those five items.  Realize you CAN do them.  All it takes is one small step to begin.

Ask yourself, what is the smallest single active thing I can do to get this thing going?  Could you write a new resume?  Should you create a business plan?  Should you get up a half hour earlier in the morning to give yourself time?  Should you go to bed a bit earlier so you will be well rested?   Don’t just plan to start.  Do something to start.  You don’t reach the finish line without taking a first step.

Fear is not just the mind killer.  It is a success killer and a happiness killer.  Fortunately, the prescription is provided in the rest of Herbert’s famous quote…

“…I will face my fear.  I will allow it to pass over me and through me.  And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.  Where fear has gone there will be nothing.  Only I will remain.”

Be successful. Be happy.  Be yourself.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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