Patreon?

I’m currently at the curiosity stage about Patreon.
That is, I’m curious if it would be a worthwhile attempt to fund my writing (not to mention help contribute towards my student loan), but aside from the odd google search–or the odder topic to search for on search engines that reward me for searching 😉 — I haven’t really looked into it that much.

What is Patreon?

From what I have seen of Patreon, both in looking at other people’s profiles on there and the various articles people have written about it, it is a crowdfunding platform similar to kickstarter: the person requiring funds describes a project of their making, asks for pledges from people who wish to support that project, and offers rewards for different levels of pledges.

And that is where the similarity ends. Because Kickstarter is designed to fund one single project, with a definite “end date,” or at least an expected one, and the person doing that project typically doesn’t see the money until around that date.
Further, I believe they have the option to cancel the project (and refund all that money) if they don’t reach certain preferred amounts.
Patreon, on the other hand, is designed with ongoing projects in mind. It’s not intended for that one video, it’s intended for your entire YouTube channel, for continuing to make videos. It’s not meant for that one book, it’s meant for the writer to keep writing even after that first book is published. It’s not built around that one game, it’s built around the indie developer continuing to make his or her mark with as many games as they can come up with. And so on.
And with Patreon, the pledges are set up on a monthly basis.

Is Patreon right for me?

Whether Patreon is right for the individual is something that only that individual can decide.
They can, however, try to bounce ideas off other people, which is exactly what I’m doing here, and ask advice from and offer it to anyone else who’s interested based on what they already know about it.

The question is, what do I have that I could offer that would be worth setting up a Patreon account?
What do I have that would be worth giving as rewards if I set up such an account?
What would someone be interested in supporting me for?

Early access to my writing, possibly.
Patrons could theoretically see each of certain short stories before such time as I’ve put them together and compiled them into an anthology, or see certain novels on a chapter by chapter basis before that novel is completed as a novel.

Early access to videos? I’m not quite as certain there.
Patreon does say it’s suitable for YouTube videos, but I’m not sure what their set-up is for posting them. Not to mention, most of my YouTube videos are gaming videos (copyright) and the rest are random nonsense things that I doubt anyone would care to fund (Haunted Lamp), or the occasional video from rides I’ve taken.
If I offered the ride videos as the the most likely option, I think I’d technically be asking people to fund my trips and help me afford a better camera. And maybe, eventually, a newer motorcycle. (Dare to dream. 😉 )

And what of higher-level rewards?
I’ve seen some artists offering sketch requests, writers offering free ebooks, magazines offering extra stories, YouTubers offering to simply add patrons to a list of those who contributed, game developers including emblems or badges designed by patrons, and musicians offering concert tickets. And more.
Now, I am no artist or musician or game developer. “Sketches” would likely be of my own characters, and they’d be drawn by someone I’ve commissioned for the job. And the emblems and tickets are beyond me. I might want to try something once I’ve finished with this game scripting class, but I won’t hold my breath on that one just yet.

But I wonder… could I offer those free ebooks?
Or perhaps an autographed print copy for higher-level pledges (to account for publishing costs, naturally, since I am self-published).
And if I expect to become a “professional” writer someday, I suppose I’d have to be willing to include writing “commissions” of some sort among my list of rewards… but only to the higher level rewards, simply to ensure I still have time for my own writing.

And what about videos?
Would a list of contributers be sufficient in a video for low-level pledges? What would work for higher-level pledges?

And finally, would I be better off doing all this on one account… or making one profile for writing and another for the YouTube travel videos?

Summary

All this is speculation at the moment. Curiosity, like I said.
Whether I’d actually make any money at this, even enough to have “spending money” (without my dad constantly ragging on me about where I keep getting money from 😉 ) let alone to pay that student loan, obviously depends on having the traffic for it, and having the patrons willing to offer pledges. And the lower the pledges offered, the more patrons I’d need.
But I do need to learn to market myself better regardless, and it wouldn’t exactly cost me anything to try the site.
But the question remains: should I try it? And what should I do with it if I do try?

So… any thoughts on this?
Is anybody else out there interested in trying out Patreon, or already using it? What are your goals for the site, and what would you like to offer your patrons?

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