Please take this anonymous five-question survey that will help me enormously in figuring out this new publishing model that I'm basically making up as I go along. (There are other pioneers, like Kameron Hurley. She is awesome and you should check out her page too.)
And now, here's the backstory. I've written a bunch of people about this already, several of whom are patrons, so please forgive the repetition.
When I founded this Patreon for short fiction, I formulated my contract with you as follows: that I'd only process your pledges if (1) I publicly performed a story or published it in a traditional market, and (2) if that market allowed me my intra-Patreon model of distribution, i.e. the e-books, audiobooks, and handmade booklets.
What I'm finding is that this model doesn't quite work.
Here's why: currently I get $900 per story from my patrons on Patreon every time I traditionally publish or perform a new story. That's incredible, and it's a good chunk toward my goal of making a living wage solely from my Patreon. But even though I'm having a lot of success placing stories (did I mention I just sold a story to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? HUGE COUP, MORE LATER!), and love the editors I'm working with (Ann VanderMeer! C.C. Finlay! Mahvesh Murad!), the fact remains that traditional publishers can't publish at nearly the rate I want to create, let alone the rate I need income. My stories are often tied up for months in the submission process, during which I can't submit them to anyone else. If they're rejected, all those months go to waste, and I have to submit them somewhere else where it's usually the same process. Even if they're accepted, it usually takes 6-9 months for them to be published, so that's 6-9 months before I can process your pledges, if that market agrees to my condition of intra-Patreon publishing. (For example, Tor does not. They publish the story online for free, which means anyone can read it; but the contract says I can't send you the e-books, audiobooks, or handmade booklets for a year.)
I want to stress that I fault no one for this, especially not the awesome editors I work with. Everyone's trying to survive and it's just how the system works.
So I'm trying to figure out a new system in which I have more control over a regular income.
One option is to switch to a per-month pledge. I'm leery of that, because it lets me off the hook of having to create consistently, and to be honest, I LIKE that pressure. Besides, I have a mortal fear of others thinking that I'm acting in bad faith. Switching to per-month makes me suspect myself.
A second option is to switch to a hybrid publishing model. That means that I publish some stories the traditional way (i.e. through an editor at a market like Tor.com or Outlook Springs); and others, I just decide they're ready, and send them to you. This begs the question of how I decide they stories are ready. Do I decide on my own? Do I hire an independent editor? What do you think?
So. This is what the survey is all about. Again: it's only five questions, and it's anonymous.
PLEASE feel free to ask any questions, ask for clarification, or add comments below.
Thank you SO, SO much for helping me think through this.