I fail donors with complete self-awareness and no actual misgivings

I love the idea of supporting creators with a modest sustaining gift. Each month, a titch of my income goes to Substack subscriptions, some Act Blue candidates, and Patreon. Donors keep the interesting stuff happening.

How I Waded In To The Pond of Promotion

So I set up my own Patreon. Immediately hit a wall. Creating exclusive content is the exact opposite of what I do. From December 29, 2005, I have created content that’s free. It took years for me to even moderate comments.

Since we began, I have paid the blogging bills myself. Yes, ads generate a bit of revenue, about $40/month. Doesn’t cover much. And I have a few donors at modest levels. I appreciate them.

I could layer in more ads. But that simply creates more barriers between readers and the content. Driving readers away is the opposite of what I want to do.

Over the years, a lot of people have trusted me with their stories – AMPLIFY, In Memoriam, Political Q&A, and more. How am I supposed to create exclusive content from their stories? Why would I even want to?

So, while I do have a Patreon, my tiers are boring. I try to write a letter to the donors. But I forget. I try to send cat photos. But that feels insincere because I definitely posted those pics on Instagram a few days ago.

I understand that the creator culture requires a direct connection. I absolutely need the financial support to carry on. But … when it comes down to how I spend my time, I’m going to choose my work for everyone over crafting to an exclusive few.

Is there a market for non-exclusive content readers might have missed? Is that trite or fetch?

Should Critter Pics Be a Reward?

During the worst years of the pandemic, I sent a critter pic every single day to my friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. Just because. My pets. The feral. The urban wildlife. My photos, trail cam photos.

I loved it. Often, a few folx sent pics back. It was intimate and fun. It created hope in a dark time.

But it was a bit of work, moving across platforms, remembering who was on my list.

Now, I suppose I could do that for patrons. But I know myself and I would quickly switch to posting on my blog.

A blog is not a newsletter or an album or painting or the prelude to a book. I’m not aspiring to be more than I am. I want to keep doing what’s worked for nearly 20 years. I just need a model that isn’t reliant on privileges for the privileged.

There will be no t-shirts or merch. Maybe if we redo the logo for 2025, maybe, a sticker featuring all three logos. Maybe. But what on earth would exclusive content look like? I would not respect someone who wanted a piece of the blog all for themselves.

Offering acknowledgment, not exclusivity

I do try to connect with my monthly donors. I fail with complete self-awareness and no actual misgivings. I do feel like they deserve some acknowledgment, absolutely. But not exclusivity.

Isn’t part of the reason you show up due to my bluntness, my “lay the cards on the table” approach? Because you value that in another decade, there will be a record of things others have forgotten. You like how I pull back the curtain on LGBTQ identity, disabilities, violent childhoods, local arts, and more for everyone to see from a new pov?

I would love if you supported us with a recurring or one time donation. But, please do it because you want me to focus on creating more content for everyone, not just for you.

I’ll keep considering that sticker idea. You consider what this blog means to you and your community.

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