For some time, people have asked me why I’ve not set up a Patreon account for Not About Lumberjacks.
It’s always been a simple answer: “I created Not About Lumberjacks, in part, as a place to share my short stories. I wanted agents and others to see I’m prolific and have more to offer than just novels. Its existence alone served its purpose for me, and I feel strange asking for monetary support for such a thing.”
As the show found a small following of fans, the answer grew a bit: “Not About Lumberjacks is a thing wholly my own. To tie money to it means others have a right to certain demands, like a regular schedule. It’s a thing I produce when I can (I have a day job after all), and to make it seem like a thing I must do because people are paying me would take away much of what I love about doing the show. If I were to ever do something with Patreon, it would have to be separate from the stories on the show.”
A New Purpose?
Now that the current novel seems to have run its course with submissions, one of the main reasons for creating Not About Lumberjacks is behind me. Now that I’m considering releasing novellas and novels on the show, there’s even more of an effort with releases.
The purpose for the show, now, is solely about creating stories for the sake of creating [and releasing] stories. It no longer serves as an online repository of my other fiction for agents and editors.
But I still don’t like the thought of tying money to the stories released on the site. While many people treat Patreon like I do (funding to help creators I like do a thing, regardless of schedule and perks), others are all about schedules and perks. And with as little as a dollar offered a month, some people feel that’s payment enough to make wild demands.
The thought of Not About Lumberjacks becoming a thing I might potentially dread if I seek payment for the efforts going into stories is the main reason I’ve never considered taking anything from others in the five and a half years I’ve been doing the show for free.
But as people have pointed out to me [paraphrased]: “You deserve to be paid for your efforts. If you’re worried about those things, establish what people are paying for up front. (i.e. It’s not about monthly stories; it’s about helping a writer do their thing.) And if people give you grief about not releasing stories every month, even after you’ve established support does not come with those kinds of demands, you can afford to lose people like that.”
Good points, but it still left me wondering what I have to offer someone providing monetary support for all I do.
Behind the Scenes
Each time I release a story on Not About Lumberjacks, a few weeks later I release a behind-the-scenes episode called Behind the Cut. And while the stories get more listens than the behind-the-scenes episodes, as the show has gone on, Behind the Cut episodes have grown in popularity.
There are some listeners who love the look behind the stories as much as the stories. (And I always love putting Behind the Cut episodes together.)
I love seeing how people do the things they do, whether it’s a look at a “failed” writer deciding to make kitchen knives, watching artists paint, or how a mandolin company came to be. So it’s no surprise Behind the Cut episodes are loved, by some, just as much as the stories I share.
I can’t remember the specifics of the discussion, but when talking about Patreon with my wife, she said something along the lines of, “Make it not about the stories, then; make it about you and your processes.”
I’ve obviously shared looks at how I do things, here. I share things about Not About Lumberjacks stories with each release. I’ve shared peeks behind the curtain on social media sites.
But it’s all text and photos…
While I have a YouTube channel, it’s not updated frequently — and what’s there is quite random. For years, though, I’ve wanted to do more with video, even if it’s something short every couple weeks.
I’ve also wanted to do an audio feed about being a writer with a day job.
And while I limit Facebook to people I know, there are times I share chunky, reflective things that could easily be shared with a larger group.
Thinking about all the things I do (and things I’d like to add to what I make), that’s what my Patreon setup would be about. Sure, it would support Not About Lumberjacks, but it would be about much more than the show. It would be about process and progress, a thing always there allowing me to share what I’m up to and how I do things in the hope people find it interesting, entertaining, or even helpful with the things they are doing.
It would let me create a video and turn it into audio and text for those who prefer that. And if it is something people like and support, it would let me put more money into what I’m doing.
Right now, there are times life’s demands mean some things are a bit out of reach (or at least something saved for the future).
A Patreon setup would give fans of what I do even more access to how I do things…and help fund gear to do those things even better.