Monday, September 25, 2017

What Are My Words Worth?

As the business of writing changes, writers have to change with it. The inability to see & adapt to that reality creates a situation where those writers—all artists, for that matter—may eventually find themselves behind the curve, or even completely lost, stuck trying to achieve things few writers can. I feel the time has come to redefine success, at least for myself. Joining the ranks of artists using Patreon is my attempt to do just that, by using an age old method of financing that takes advantage of modern technology.

For those of you who may not be aware of the history of patronage in art, it is a system that has been around nearly as long as art itself. It rose to prominence in Europe, in particular, feeding the movement that became the Renaissance. While the patronage model fell out of favor for a while, due in large part to the rise of a middle class during the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the internet allows for a new, more egalitarian version of a model that allowed artists to focus on the art rather than survival.

Philosophically, I’ve come to a conclusion about writing: Anything worth reading shouldn't need a price tag. Because of that, I've decided to offer everything I've written & will write for free. You won't even find ads on my blogs. I want my readers to view my work without distractions. As one of my readers, you get to decide what my words are worth to you, not a publisher, not the market.

This doesn’t mean I won’t make money off publishing my work. On the contrary, I may very well still self-publish compilations of my writing. As I’ve discovered, fans of particular writers will purchase those writers’ books, whether or not they’ve already read the work, if only to have the author sign it. But just because you’re willing to pay for my work, that doesn’t mean you can, or should have to, in order to enjoy it.

Joining Patreon also allows for an evolved concept of writing. The physical book, itself, is no longer the standard format for writing. With the advent of electronic publishing, the concept of labeling any written work as “finished” is irrelevant. I periodically edit pieces I posted years ago. This creates an opportunity for readers to be more than that. My readers will be witnesses to my process, especially as I release & revise new work. This may not only prove fascinating to my readers, but may also provide insight for the fellow writers who are part of my audience.

It also allows me to reward the readers that decide to support me. Right now, for a commitment of as little as $1.00, you will get Limerick Rolled by me. Every patron gets a handwritten limerick, inspired by them & signed by me. I will also post those limericks on a running Limerick Roll Call, unless you choose to remain anonymous. I will post other rewards as I come up with them. 

On that note, you will notice I am not listing amounts on my Patreon page, only the number of patrons. This is being done intentionally, to dissuade comparisons between what my readers are giving. You decide what my words are worth to you. No pressure!

If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit I’m tired. I’m tired of submitting work. I’m tired of rejections. I’m tired of being told why my work won’t sell. I’m tired of the having to hustle so hard: invest time, effort, money, even tears for little, if any, returns. My work speaks for itself, & my readers will let me know how the work speaks to them. If I earn it, perhaps Patreon will help free me from having to juggle a full time job & my art, a relationship where, in my experience, the art suffers.

Now, the ball is in your court, readers. How much are my words worth to you? Let me know be visiting my page on Patreon. 

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