An alternative funding model for authors 1 Comment


There is an alternative funding model for authors. We are all familiar with the standard author funding model. Write a book, promote the book, sell books… But that is not the only game in town.

The alternative funding model takes a little outside of the box thinking and is not going to be suitable for all authors. In fact, this alternative funding model is almost certainly better suited to poets and short form fiction writers.

BlogThis is how it works.

First, you need a valid platform. A blog or youtube channel is best. Either way, it really only works once you have built up at least a small following.

With your platform, you distribute a taste of what you produce. For free.

I know what you are thinking – this is crazy, how do I profit from giving my work away? Stay with me, this is quite an unusual model.

Anything that can be provided to your following in regular and probably bite-sized portions is good. This is why this model works so well for poets – producing a video each week or month of you performing your work is a viable undertaking. As might be giving away one chapter a week of your novel as an ebook.

Really any distribution over time which fans will keep coming back for. As you have probably already worked out, this is not for traditionally published authors. At least not for work that is sold that way. It can, however, work if you have content that maybe does not fit with the world of traditional publishing.

This is how you get paid.

Now you have your regular freely available content, you ask for donations. Which doesn’t work! British Pounds

Asking for donations doesn’t work because you need to keep asking. Anyone who has tried it will tell you that it is not a reliable way to get paid.

Instead, what you want is some system whereby people can pledge an amount they will not miss for something that they value. A system that lets you bill all your supporters at once.

With sites like Patreon, you can do exactly this. Then each time you put out an item you can bill your supporters. Which means you produce the work, give it away, and then get paid. You can even offer exclusive content to your supporters as an incentive to keep supporting you.

This is how a lot of “youtube stars” make a living. Why shouldn’t authors do the same?

This alternative funding model works because once your supporters have signed up, they will be charged whatever small amount they are offering automatically. While a few dollars or pounds is not going to make a huge difference, a few hundred supporters offering a few quid suddenly starts to look like a reliable income.

If you sign up to Patreon using this link, you will receive a bonus based on the number of patrons you recruit in the first 30 days.

One author that is using this approach is Seanan McGuire. Seanan is currently taking in $9,478 for each short story. Another, Tefler, is earning $2,610 per chapter written.

It is free to sign up to Patreon and you only pay 5% in fees which seems reasonable as it means you will always earn far more than it costs.


About Matthew Brown

Matthew is a writer and Geek from Kent (UK). He is the founder and current chair of Thanet Creative as well as head geek for Author Buzz. His ambitions include appearing on TableTop with Wil Wheaton and seeing a film or TV series based on something he wrote.


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