...the best ongoing fundraising model I've ever had for my writing is the "bonus story" approach, where every $X, I write and post an "Other Tales" selection on the site, a little side story or standalone or "Meanwhile" or flash backwards or forwards, or whatever.
It's a useful writing exercise because it helps keep me rooted in the world of the story and thinking about the bigger picture, because it means if I'm stuck on the main story I can always change tracks, and because more writing is more good.
And it's a useful fundraising approach because there's a tangible benefit, the benchmarks are low enough that people don't need to be assured that their contribution does actually help reach it, and there's a constant on-screen reminder that while I do this for free, I do depend on it for money, so I have to actively remind people less.
And honestly, some of the stories that have come out of the Other Tales/bonus story approach are among the best things I've written, to the point where I'm thinking about making an anthology out of some of them that I think would appeal to general fantasy fans.
But the thing is, I haven't consistently used this approach for years.
And the reason I haven't, essentially, is the Centipede's Dilemma
. (Warning: Link to TVTropes. Clear your schedule as needed before clicking.)
It was fine when I was just doing bonus stories, but then I added in side stories, like the story with Mackenzie's brother that was supposed to run once a month for a 13 months. And other stories earned as perks for specific fundraisers. And things like that.
See, when I've got all those things to juggle, I start worrying about how it all works... what "counts" as a bonus story, what "counts" as fulfilling the terms of the fundraisers, how it all fits together with the general publishing schedule, and so on. And I don't just think it, of course, I overthink it. Because I'm naturally an analytical and reflective person. And the thing is, there's no clear answer on any of it, which is why I spend so long thinking and not doing that it eventually gets overshadowed by present and future crises, and then forgotten except for the odd moments when I remember it, think about it, and get worried. And that's how the whole thing falls apart.
But the thing is, there's a reason there's no clear answer for things like this, and that is that I'm not following anyone else's model here. I'm doing what works for me and making it up as I go.
And with that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and revive the bonus story bank idea. While my long-term goal is going to be to get enough money through Patreon every month to serve as a living wage, until my sponsorship levels are quite a bit firmer, I'm not going to be taking Patreon donations into account here. This is strictly bonus
. I don't think I need to worry too much about making sure my current patrons still have an incentive to support my work, since "supporting my work" is already the main goal there. But in order to up the ante a bit, I am going to make my MU drafts folder visible to patrons starting at the beginning of next month, which will allow them to see potential future stories shaping up, alongside the current drafts.
Slightly re-shuffling the "support blurbs" on Tales of MU to make them more noticeable (as static things have a way of fading into the background, and I no longer feel like Patreon is a thing that requires as much explanation as it did when I first joined it) was already something on my "I should really do this sometime/more often" list, but I went ahead and added a bonus bank back on to the website
when I did it. It's very bare-bones for now, but I'm still playing with it, as I'm playing with the other content there in the sidebar.This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/611811.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.