20BooksEdinburgh was a blast – the weather was baking hot (!!!), almost unheard of in Scotland, great company of old and new writing friends, all like-minded people across disparate genres, and a mixed programme that brought something to everyone.
Some of the information duplicated that from 20BooksLondon, so I won’t repeat as you can find it on this page of posts.
As the conference is aimed at writers at all stages of their careers, some of the presentations, particularly those on writing craft, were very basic, while some of those on advertising whizzed past with more information than I could take in, assuming a level of knowledge I’m not sure many of us have yet attained. Hey ho, the slides and extra info were provided for us (online, to reduce paper), so I have those squirreled away for the future, along with the notes I took at the time.
What I will do, is pick out the parts that were (a) new to me, and (b) new to almost everybody! As indie authors, we have to accept the ever-changing nature of our business, and try to adapt and stay up to date as far as possible to remain effective.
Today, I’m picking on PATREON.
This came up during a presentation on the second day by DAKOTA KROUT, on building a brand and fan base.
9:00 AM Cover Elements – Stuart Bache
10:00 AM Release Strategies – Craig Martelle & Michael Anderle
11:30 AM Building a Brand & Fan Base by Dakota Krout
12:15 PM Power of Networking by Jon Brazee & Kevin McLaughlin
1:00 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Marketing to the right readers – Derek Murphy
3:00 PM Being productive while holding down a full-time, day job – panel with Martha Carr, Katie Forrest, and more
4:00 PM Guest speaker reload – Q&A
5:00 PM Wrap up
6:00 PM Informal events
If you don’t know who Dakota Krout is, let me introduce him as an example of one of the high-powered authors gathered at this conference – all at their own cost (they buy a ticket just like the attendees, and fund their own travel and accommodation), holding true to the ethos of 20Books, that of giving back to the author community.
That’s him, on the left of the kilted speaker (big cheese, Craig Martell).
Dakota released a book the day before the conference began. It went straight to no.14 overall in the Amazon store!
Here’s how it looks 10 days on:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#1 in Teen & Young Adult Sword & Sorcery Fantasy eBooks
#1 in Teen & Young Adult Humorous eBooks
#1 in Strategy Gaming
And from his presentation, his credentials:
• Audible: Top 5 Fantasy of 2017.
• Audible Listener’s Choice September 2018.
• 40,000+ combined reviews on Amazon and Audible, 4.5-5 stars overall.
• About $500,000 personal income in 2018.
An author worth listening to, methinks.
I’ll cover more of his presentation in another post, but this was one thing I might think about implementing sooner, rather than later. You need to have a certain level of fan base to make much from it, but as it doesn’t cost anything to set up, even a small regular income would be worth it, and it might also work as an incentive to keep to the production schedule!
Fans sign up to Patreon to get rewards. They can choose their own financial tier for their regular payment (I support one author’s newsletter this way at $2 per month, as she puts loads of time and effort into free marketing for others), with different tiers providing different rewards. In this case, chapters of the next book each month, instead of having to wait for the finished article.
Dakota stressed the importance of delivering fully and precisely on rewards.
At the end of each newly released book is a link, saying that the next 10 chapters of the following book are ready for them to read and comment on if they sign up to Patreon. This allows readers to become involved in the creative process, and possibly help steer the book to a limited degree. Readers love to help and be involved, and this enables them to do that to a greater extent than previously possible.
Each Patreon decides how much they think the rewards are worth. Dakota sets pricing tiers which they can choose from, the only difference in the reward being how soon they get the chapters.
ALL Patreons get an ARC of the book before publication (these are in KU, so this is essential to comply with Amazon’s TOS). This will be an unedited ARC, so many Patreons go on to also buy the published version. As these Patreons are already paying $5 per month, they have already paid for the book, even if they don’t buy the finished product – and without the author losing a chunk to Amazon!
Many of these people will review the book, whether they bought it at release or not.
Benefits to the Patreons
- They feel involved in the creative process
- They get to see the book before ordinary customers
- They might be offered special editions with added content as collectors items
Benefits to the author
- Regular income.
- A set deadline to keep productivity up to scratch.
- Develop a closer relationship with fans that turns them into superfans.
- Find fans willing to do other stuff, e.g. Dakota now pays one of this fans to do his social media, and another regularly checks reviews to bring highlights (good and bad) to his attention, saving Dakota from needing to look at his own reviews – we all know how that can bring highs and, unfortunately, terrible lows that we don’t need as they can wreak havoc with our self-belief.
Sound interesting to you? Patreon is something that has been simmering at the back of my mind, but I’ve been unsure how to leverage it, and this provided an outline of an already successful model.
Do any of you use Patreon already? Do share your strategy and results, please.