Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Have you heard of Patreon? It’s a company that empowers crowd-sourced patronage of the arts, including but not limited to authors. By pledging monthly support at one of various patronage tiers, each with its own level of perks and rewards, you’re able to support your favorite writers directly. I have recently started my own, and it is my fondest wish that your patronage does not include me.
You may know me as famous author Bill Ferris. But I am also a single dad with a full-time job and not very much time to write. By supporting my Patreon, you’re just one more person for whom I must drop what I’m doing and cobble together your monthly rewards, which are terrible. Worse, this busywork distracts me from my main writing projects, to say nothing of spending time with my family or doing my mentally taxing day job.
However, it has come to my attention that you don’t like me, or are at the very least indifferent to my suffering. You are willing to prey upon my greed and bottomless need for praise and validation in exchange for a few lousy entertainments once per month, to diminishing returns. So be it. Behold, the instruments of my destruction. Do your worst, patrons.
Tier 1: Nuisance ($1 or more per month)
You believe you’re supporting me, and I know your heart’s in the right place. You’ll get access to my Patron-only blog, which is a thing I apparently have to write now.
Tier 2: Least-favorite Friend ($5 or more per month)
You’ll get access to my Patron-only blog, as well as a forum where you can ask me questions like I’m some kind of advice columnist, and I’ll be honor-bound to give you guidance of dubious quality. Think of all the things you could buy for five bucks–an ice cream cone, a magazine, a bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s; these are all things that could bring you joy without burdening me with extra work and without further raising your expectations, which I guarantee I won’t live up to.
Tier 3: Troll ($10 or more per month)
Jeez, you’re really serious about this, aren’t you? What do you actually think you’re going to get that’ll be worth $10? I guess I’m now contractually obligated to give you all the “rewards” mentioned above, PLUS the raw, unedited, poorly organized first draft of whatever story, novel, or essay I happen to be working on at the moment. (You’ll notice I capitalized the word “plus” here to imply this is not a perk, but a threat.)
Tier 4: Antagonist ($25 or more per month)
Oh, sorry, I didn’t notice you’d decided to contribute at this level, as I was busy playing catch with my sons whom, by the way, are growing up so fast and will not for long see the world through the innocent eyes of children. Welp, no time for that now, because I guess have to do a live chat/Q&A session with my $25 subscribers. During the sesh, you’ll get to ask me profound questions about writing that I will be ill-equipped to answer. You’ll get to see firsthand that I am terrible company in a group setting, an experience made all the more awkward over the distance of a Google Hangout. If you’re local, however, you can come to my house and chat face-to-face, at which time my children will personally spit in your beer.
Tier 5: Nemesis ($50 or more per month)
What is wrong with you?! You could subscribe to HBO and watch Game of Thrones legally and have money to spare. How do you have this money sitting around? At this tier, in addition to all the junk I’ve mentioned before, I’ll name one of my characters after you, and “you” will send you postcards from behind the scenes of the book. And you can better believe, you sadistic son of a bitch, that I’m going to subject “you” to a gruesome death for making me do all this nonsense. I dare you to support me at this level, coward. Come at me.
Tier 6: You’re the Devil, Literally the Devil ($100 or more per month)
If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’re clearly a sociopath, which I must grudgingly respect. I guess this means that after I send you all that other garbage I promised your less-evil peers, I’ll have to write you a bespoke piece of flash fiction every month, a format that’s short enough to churn out in a hurry but in which I have never sold a short story, so that should tell you something. And I’ll put you in the acknowledgements of my next book. There, I will acknowledge that you’re a cruel bastard who delights in the torment of others. I will put that on your conscience. I will put it on your tombstone.
Tier 7: Okay, Fine ($1000 or more per month)
You are a great person and I want to be your friend. You can come to my house whenever you like. You can spit in my beer.
Do you have a Patreon of your own? Do you use it to support other writers? Share your thoughts in the comments!
About Bill Ferris
After college, Bill Ferris left Nebraska for Florida to become a rich and famous rock star. Failing that, he picked up the pen to become a rich and famous novelist. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and looks forward to a life of poverty and ridicule.
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