My Situation: I am Rebecca Patrick-Howard, author of more than 20 books. Some of them are true hauntings, some are paranormal mysteries, some are cozy mysteries with witches, and some don’t have anything to do with any of those things at all. 😊
I was a ghostwriter for many years but, luckily, back in 2014 my own books started taking off and I was eventually able to quit my full-time job to become a full-time author of my own material.
I have two popular series out: the Taryn’s Camera series-about a woman who sees the past through her camera-and the Kentucky Witches’ series. All 12 books have topped their Amazon categories and become certified “best sellers.”
I also create ghost hunting and paranormal videos with my kids, Sam and Iris (known on You Tube as “Ghost Kids”), and I’m working on a podcast called That Weird Family.
So why do I need YOU?
1) Help with marketing funds I’ve taught myself book marketing from the ground up. I even offer coaching services that provide marketing assistance to other authors. The knowledge is there, the funds aren’t. It’s become a Catch-22: you need to market for readers to find your books but if your readers can’t find your books then you aren’t earning royalties and, therefore, can’t market. And marketing is expensive. (More about that later)
2) Help with finding more “time.” I certain physical limitations that make it difficult for me not only to write, but also to engage in “normal” daily activities that I used to take for granted before I became ill–things like getting dressed, eating, walking to the bathroom, etc. To sustain my family’s way of life which, believe me, is nowhere near extravagant, I sometimes must take on additional writing jobs for other people. I may only be physically able to sit up and write for 2 hours a day; I would rather that time go toward my own books, rather than someone else’s.
As I think about a long-term self-sustaining plan, I have decided to branch out into two different areas:
1) More coaching services and courses: I’ve spent a lot of time helping out other indie authors over the past few years. I began to notice, however, that I was sometimes spending up to 3 or 4 hours a day answering questions, for free, in forums and in private messages. I’ve now decided to put together some basic and affordable coaching services and courses to help those authors out.
2) Donations. Other authors have suggested that Patreon as a way for readers to support my books, and as a way for me to offer exclusive material to them in return. So I am giving it a try!
The way this works is a reader can donate whatever they want per month and the donation is recurring each month after that. Can’t afford to pledge vey much? That is totally fine! Even $1 per month helps, honestly!
What’s Wrong With Me?
I have a chronic and progressive rare medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It’s a connective tissue disorder that has wreaked havoc all over my entire body. It causes chronic pain, organ rupture, and frequent dislocations. We thought that I had the hypermobility kind, which is still bad but survivable, but a year ago we learned that I have Vascular, which is much worse. I’ve lost several organs from the condition and now have a thoracic aneurysm which is growing at an alarming rate. There is no cure for EDS and we aren’t able to operate on my aneurysm, so all we do is manage the pain and various other symptoms that come with it.
My EDS has caused a Chiari Malformation, too. (Basically, my brain tonsils hang down into my neck which is NOT meant to happen.) Although I had brain surgery a couple of years ago, I still have neurological issues from the condition. Brain fog, nerve pain, forgetfulness, chronic Chiari headaches, the occasional CSF leaks in my skull, etc. are regular parts of my life. The EDS has also caused rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, gastroparesis, peptic stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue, bowel obstructions, hernias, and an array of other minor medical conditions. To be honest, it’s been difficult to enjoy the success I’ve earned because not only do I spend a lot of time trying to manage my symptoms, but I’m also facing medical bills of more than $90,000. (We pay more in monthly medical bills than we do for our mortgage and my student loans combined.)
I will NOT let the EDS or anything else stand in the way of my books, however. Although there are “bad days”, in which I have trouble performing basic functions, I just try to ride those out and write even harder and smarter on the “good” days. This is why, however, that I would prefer to put that energy towards my own books, rather than continue to take up extra writing jobs to pay for the marketing and other expenses that come along.
What I'll Use the Money For
My initial goal is $2.500/month. Sounds like a lot? This is where I will give you the marketing breakdown so that you can see exactly where the money goes and why it must go there…
Hosting. I need a good enough hosting plan to support my high spikes in traffic, so that I don't crash as people are trying to order my books or access the courses. Cost: $20 per monthMailChimp. This is the service I use to email posts out to my subscription list. This fee grows as the email list grows. It is currently: $50 per month
Amazon ads. Amazon ads are basically my best form of advertising. You know how, when you pull up a book that you want to read and there’s a big row of other books below it? We have to pay to get our books to show up there. Cost per month: $500
Facebook post "boosts". It used to be that whenever I made a post to my FB page, just about everyone saw it. Now they don’t. I have nearly 4,000 “likes” on my page but fewer than 100 people even see a post, unless I pay to “boost” it. When I announce a new book or promo on Facebook, this ensures that the post gets onto 1/3 or 1/2 of our Facebook followers' News Feeds. Cost: $300 per month
Promo services. Sometimes, as an author, I like putting my books on sale. It’s a “thank you” to my current readers who, perhaps, didn’t get the chance to read the book earlier. It also helps me bring in new readers. Those promo services like Robin Reads, ENT, Fussy Librarian, etc. all cost money. In fact, Book Bub charges me $400 just to run one promo for a single day. Cost: $400 per month
Me. My book sales are good, but I am no Stephen King. Like any other small business, it fluctuates from one month to the next. I may have a GREAT month, but then it’s followed by two slow ones. Keeping the internet on, so that I can actually update this page and upload my books to Amazon, and keeping the electric working is pretty essential to the whole writing process. Cost: $200 per month (internet and electric)
One editor. If you belong to a big publishing house, they hire an editor for you. That’s not an expense that you have to cover yourself. If you’re an indie author, however, you have to find a way to cover that cost. I have been through MANY editors. I once paid $800 to an editor who got awesome reviews, only to have to get the book re-edited because they missed so many mistakes. I finally found a GOOD editor who works well with me. Since I release a book almost every month, I have worked out a deal with her to keep her on retainer. Cost: $300 per month
That's the basics. With those things covered, my books can keep coming out regularly.
My long-term goal is to create a whole little empire of paranormal stuff. I want to rule the world! Okay, okay, just kidding. I am far too tired to rule the world. However, if I could reach $5,000 per month then I COULD start doing the following:
a weekly podcast with guests (including one patreon a month)
Create 2 “mini movies” of my books each year
Hire an assistant (a lot of help on those days in which I am unable to do much)
Create regular onsite videos (my kids and I love exploring old houses and going ghost hunting. We have a few of these videos up already but, if the monthly amount was more stable, then we would have more time and overhead to create more. Waverly Hills, Bob Mackeys, the Bell Witch cave, etc. )
Although my long-term goals would be amazing to hit, just being supported by readers’ generosity at ALL makes me infinitely grateful.
Anyway, thanks for ANY support you can offer, and thanks for continuing to be a reader!