Patreon – Supporting Creatives

This week, I decided it was about time I became a Patreon. For those of you who haven’t heard of the business, Patreon offers artists, writers and other creatives payment through a voluntary scheme where you can sign up to pay the person regularly.

YouTubers, podcasters and bloggers often use Patreon, and Patreon subscribers get extra material such as additional audio content, Q and A sessions with the creator and more. I’ve been listening to The Creative Penn podcast for two years, and I’ve learned a lot from Joanna Penn and her guests.

The podcast is aimed at indie publishers, but it doesn’t concentrate on the marketing part of the business. Marketing is crucial for any self-publisher, but entire podcasts on the subject become dull after a while. They target a certain audience too—the people who have enough completed projects to market, when many of us are looking for advice about creating covers, finding a good editor, creating the right author mindset in the first place.

All aspects of writing

Joanna’s show talks about many aspects to writing—from growth, to protecting your intellectual property, scaling up your business and the craft of writing. Every podcast begins with news about the publishing industry which is always fascinating and useful.

Joanna is known for content marketing. Her podcast is a prime example. The aim behind content marketing is creating a relationship with audiences—in the hope they buy something from you, eventually. My two years’ free listening to the show needled my conscience. If you enjoy it and use it, pay for it…

I listen to a lot of podcasts and many of them are also Patreon-modelled too. So far I’ve ignored the pleas, though occasionally I unsubscribe, deciding that if I’m not willing to pay, I shouldn’t listen. The same applies for online news sites that ask for subscriptions, such as the Guardian. As I’m too mean (and also poor) to pay, I try not to read them.

Advice for diabetics

I’d love to make one of my blogs Patreon supported—the Diabetes Diet one is the more likely candidate as I write this with a doctor and we have useful advice to offer. (In contrast, this blog is a collection of witterings, the majority of it irrelevant to most of you.) But the Diabetes Diet website would need a design overhaul first, and some thought put into how you work a blog for Patreons so they get more than your average viewer. The idea is something to consider for 2019.

One of Joanna’s oft-repeated messages is the importance of multiple streams of income, so you aren’t dependent on one pay master. I have multiple streams of income; it’s just that none of them make me big sums of money. On the other hand, a varied working life makes me very happy. Picking the hours I work or don’t is another bonus. If I weigh up money versus happiness, I come down hard in favour of the ‘h’ word.

On a separate topic, the week kicked off well when my sister sent me a link to a Wikipedia page that mentioned me. My alma mater’s notable alumni included Emma Baird, author. (It’s an awfy wee school.) Whoop, whoop.

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Readers – Who Cares?

The cat mooching for food is Plan K.

The cat mooching for food is Plan K.

There’s a popular saying that I’m quite fond of – dance as if no-one’s watching…

I like to follow that advice myself, but as I tend to dance mostly in my own living room, no-one is watching anyway. Unless you count Google Maps’ sneaky satellite cameras beaming into our homes and my own peculiar moves might turn those cameras off right away anyway.

Let’s adapt that saying though – what about ‘write as if no-one is reading’? Or more importantly, as if you don’t particularly care if anyone does? I admit, defensiveness does motivate me here. “So, three trillion people aren’t reading my blogs – ah well, who cares anyway? I don’t need three trillion folks to read and comment on what I write.” That kind of thing y’know.

I love writing. It’s why I left my safe, well-paid office job and launched myself into the foolhardy venture of carving out a career as a full time writer. Plan A is that I complete the book I started last year (hey, two thirds of the way through), manage to get it published and it sells in sufficient quantities for me to make a living from it. The path to book selling, though, is littered with broken dreams and insane folks flogging books no-one knows about it, no-one reads and no-one buys.

So there’s Plan B too. Write a book, get it published and sell it in small quantities whilst also supplementing my income through freelance writing opportunities a la elance.com and people per hour.com.

Plans C and D also exist. Plan E is get a full-time job office job once more. Maybe I should make it Plan Z instead and figure out a few more creative options for how I can make money before that one has to be launched…

Create the world’s first paint-on non-orange fake tan? Make films of the cat mooching for food and turn him into a YouTube sensation, resulting in sponsorship from giant cat food manufacturer? Establish an online vintage shoe company? Write a diet book based purely on anecdotal evidence and with no scientific backing whatsoever?

But back to that writing for yourself malarkey. I’ll reference Joe Warnimont here, as that’s one of the messages he promotes. And if you aren’t actively trying to promote your blog (Facebook, Twitter, endlessly liking and commenting on other people’s stuff, finding guest bloggers, posting links to your blog on Q&A forums etc), then you can tackle any subject you want. I tried niche blogging – if you’ve ever Google-d anything relating to diet and fitness, you’ll realise why niche blogging is so incredibly popular – but my gnat-attention span wore out by post three and I soon resorted back to writing about anything which took my fancy that day.

My original understanding of a blog was that it was some kind of online diary. Blogging isn’t really about that any more – it’s about raising awareness, marketing your business, creating fresh content for your website, increasing traffic to websites and making money. Hey ho! For the moment, I’ll keep on writing as if no-one is reading. Creative fulfilment comes in many forms.

5 + 2 = Weight Loss?

I love the internet! The hours you can spend reading and researching (procrastinating on my part usually) jumping from link to link and seeing where it takes you… heaven!

Anyway, I have spent a considerable part of the weekend that has just passed researching the 5:2 diet, as I’m feeling a bit unhealthy and a wee bit bloated. (I fear too many of the lovely ‘C’ words in the form of chocolate, cheese and Cava have been in my life of late.) My BMI is fine, but I’d love to lose half a stone for my wedding.

Wee aside: do you think anyone ever achieves their perfect weight? Because we see so many images of skinny celebrities and our culture contains such strong messaging around the importance of appearance, can we ever feel slim enough? I’m horrified about the amount of time I spend thinking about my weight – it just feels so wasteful… But wasteful or not, back to today’s topic – a diet!

The 5:2 diet featured on a recent Horizon documentary* where a TV doctor followed the plan for a month – eating 600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week and eating normally (the recommendations for daily calorie intake for men and women, not pigging out obvs) for five days. The doctor lost a stone and also enjoyed additional health benefits, such as lowering his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Other rumoured benefits include reduced risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The idea does appeal to me – two hard days and the rest normal. A lot of people spoke about noticing losing weight off their middles, where my excess fat prefers to reside. So, I thought I might try it out, even if it is a fad and even if there are people lining up to condemn it. (Such is the power of anecdotal evidence over peer-reviewed clinical studies, hmm?!)

If anyone else has tried this diet and would like to share their experiences, please feel free to get in touch!

 

*This link doesn’t take you to the actual programme by the way, but you will find various extracts from the programme on YouTube.