And so it begins.
After all the hinting, on Sunday I began a serialised novel on Patreon. So far so-as-much-as-expected-it-would-be, although I haven’t pushed the project beyond my own Twitter and Facebook accounts yet. It’s hard to try and drum up a buzz when all you have is one chapter up. The rest shall come, but I have s schedule and it shall be kept. This is a serialised novel. Not Nam. There are rules.
But what I’d like to do here is address why Patreon. Why not go the traditional publishing route of approaching an agent and then hitting the established publishers, or putting the whole thing finished on Amazon? Well, for a few reasons. I’d always thought traditional publishing would be the way forward. I even have a published friend who said they would give my finished MS to their agent, bypassing the dread slush pile. But the thing is, I want control. The horror stories creeping ever insistently into the news about how writer’s pay is going forever down (while big name publishers’ profits are going up) meant I didn’t want a part of that rank pie. You know Amy Schumer? She seems nice. But the news she was recently paid $8m for a single book of her life (she’s my age and hasn’t lived through a war – how interesting could it be?) automatically made me think, “And how many mid-tier authors were shuffled off the pile to make room for her?” I didn’t want to be one of those authors, deemed unworthy of attention if I don’t make the New York Times bestseller list every release.
So why not Amazon kindle?
Because hundreds of thousands of others have already had the same thought. It’s hard to be heard amid all that noise. Of course many do, and they work for it. But with that work comes a large dose of luck. Luck is of course essential in any endeavour, but launching a book on the good ship Kindle requires a good dose more than usual.
And also, and here comes my socialist sense of fairness again, and call me crazy if you want, but I think a company, especially one as profitable as Amazon, should pay their taxes.
So, where does that leave me? I wondering the same thing when I learnt about Patreon. Ongoing crowd funding support and, and this was the big sell, an open conversation with backers. It gives the opportunity for communication directly with the consumers of your art in a way which hasn’t been available before.
So, in a nutshell, that’s why. It’s a little more scary doing it this way. The idea of someone looking at a finished product and taking or leaving it is one think, the idea of someone taking Brood Parasites now and leaving it midway through and me seeing it is something else entirely. But I still hold this is the way for me. Let’s see how it goes.