I run a Patreon campaign to help support this blog, and this page is here to detail what that means and why I hope you are willing to support it. In case it isn’t clear, the blue letters take you to my Patreon campaign page, which you can get to also by clicking right here.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to sign up for paid subscriptions to independent content creators, such as myself, and it is often billed as something like a virtual tip jar. The platform was created in late 2013, which may explain why you haven’t heard of it yet if it is new to you, and it has been doing a great job of providing a way for people to provide a little regular monetary support to those who create content that benefits them. In this case, I’ll be producing this blog and some related materials. Most importantly to know, in case you’re skeptical, is that Patreon is a completely legitimate site.
How does Patreon work?
The long and the short is that Patreon allows those of you who wish to support me in this blog project to subscribe at a price of your choosing that you’d pay for each blog post that I produce. To count as content you’d pay for, I would have to post that content to my Patreon page and specify it as paid content, so anything I post here but not there remains completely free. Additionally, anything I post here is free to read here anyway whether you are a patron of the blog or not.
Even though all of my blog content will still show up here for free, I will probably put some other content up only on Patreon, specifically for paying patrons only. Any such content won’t appear here at all, and the only way you will have access to it is on my Patreon page by paying the required minimum to access it. I reserve the right to post teasers of that content here, which you can enjoy for free all you want. 🙂
I’ll probably run a post a week or so on this blog, maybe sometimes two if something strikes me, and that will be separate from any additional content I post on Patreon for paying patrons only. The way I’ll set up the Patreon account is to let you sign up per post, or otherwise per unit of content that I produce. Between that an the extra content, that might get unwieldy for you, and I recognize that and don’t expect to milk you dry that way. Patreon has an in-built way to keep you from signing up for a monster, though, by giving you the option to select a monthly maximum that you’re willing to donate to this project.
Here’s an example of what that means. Let’s say that you’re willing to pay two bucks for each piece of content that I produce associated with this Yin Style Baguazhang blog and its associated Patreon page, but you’re not willing to go over ten dollars total in any given calendar month. No big deal! And I say so knowing that between blog posts, training notes, and so on, I’m likely to produce quite a bit more than five pieces of content a month. Patreon gets it, and it allows you to set your payment settings up so that you pay two dollars for each piece of content I produce with a monthly maximum of ten dollars if you want. If you set it up like that, you’d pay ten dollars or less every month, in increments of two dollars per piece of content, and you would be getting each additional piece of content in that month after the fifth one for free. Because I’m not aiming to milk people for money and know I’ll probably post more than people want to pay for, I actually encourage you to think about it and cap yourself.
Additionally, you can modify your patronage or stop it at any time, so there’s no reason to feel like you’ll somehow be roped into anything you don’t want to be roped into. If I were a bit more smarmy, I’d put on my best infomercial voice and tell you that you can cancel any time!
For those that it helps, as I said, I’ll probably post four to six blog items per month plus four to six more pieces of additional paid-only content on the Patreon page (and here), so that might help you calculate what you’re willing to pay per piece of content that I produce and publish and where you want to put a monthly maximum.
For whatever it’s worth, Patreon takes your donation, subtracts a service charge (which is how they make money) and a processing charge (to pay the credit card company), and pays me the rest of what you pledge. From what I’ve seen, that works out to roughly 90-92% of what you pay going to me to support the work I’m doing with this blog, if you want to.
Do I expect you to pay?
In a word, no. I don’t expect anyone to pay, though I do appreciate anyone who is willing to. Again, the majority of the content that I’d produce, what I’d consider the blog, will all appear here free of charge and for anyone that wants it, and I’m almost as glad for readers as I am for patrons that pay me for what they get out of it.
At any rate, I’m pretty busy, and I do love practicing and spreading Yin Style Baguazhang, but getting a little money for my blogging efforts makes it a lot easier to stay motivated on thinking up, researching, writing, editing, and everything else that goes into producing a blog like this. So, I don’t really expect anyone to pay, but I also don’t really expect to keep writing on this blog for terribly long if I’m not getting compensated at least for my time. Right now, my goals with it are pretty modest so far as money goes: I’d like to pay my Internet bill with it. Beyond that, if it ever gets there, I hope it pays for my travel, lodging, and tuition when I go to train. If it miraculously were to get beyond that, I’d probably be surprised and grateful enough to do something embarrassing on video as a show of thanks.
What do I get for paying (since the content is available for free anyway)?
It would be pretty silly here to say “warm and fuzzies,” right? You know it’s true, though.
Really, though, that will depend somewhat. I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do with it, but I do intend to put some content behind a paywall or a tier of paywalls. For now, I’m intending to put the group training notes from our weekly Yin Style Baguazhang Study Group (Knoxville, TN) meetings behind a lower-tier paywall, so if you want to see the notes I keep and share with the local group, it will cost you a few bucks a week, up to your monthly maximum, which shouldn’t be a big deal because our classes have dues that you’re probably not paying. I’ll probably put kind of deeper, more personal, more detailed, and more esoteric thoughts behind yet a higher paywall, but I’m not sure yet.
So, what you really get, besides the warm-and-fuzzies, is to be part of what keeps me writing this thing in the first place and that will drive me to produce better content. I assure you, the more money I’m making in patronage, the more seriously I’m going to take producing the absolute best-quality content I can and the longer I’ll keep at it. It’s pretty simple, really. Content takes time, effort, and creativity to create, edit, produce, and publish, not to mention a bit of talent, and the more that I’m being compensated for all of that, the more I’ll put into the project. Not to mention that I can’t sit easily with being paid good money to produce crap. If people are paying me, I owe them great stuff for their hard-earned cash, period.
If I do pay, how much is appropriate, and what do you expect?
Again, I don’t actually expect you to pay, but let’s say you decide you are going to. I still don’t expect much. I’ll probably set minimum patronage at something really low like fifty cents or a dollar per post (and I’ll update this as I decide and as it changes), and I’ll have a paywall tier or two for special content like group training notes and, as they say, whatnot. I’m currently thinking a couple or a few bucks for access to group training notes (and perhaps other things that I think deserve it, like particularly detailed posts) and a few bucks more than that for whatever I might put in a higher tier (such as thoroughly researched essays, perhaps).
Most directly, anything you can afford and think it’s worth to you is more than I expect, so thanks very much for that.
Anything else I need to know?
Nope, I don’t think so. You can find my Patreon page here.