7 Jun 2017

Why should you support creators?

It's a very good question. 

Why should you, a hard-working, tax-paying citizen, pledge any of your precious cash to support me on Patreon when presumably I'm some artsy-fartsy type who lies on a chaise longue all day waiting for inspiration to strike?

Well, it's a fair point. There are plenty of other good causes you could be supporting, plenty of other crowdfunders to help people who are more in need than I am: those fundraising to cover surgery or cancer treatment expenses, for example. And you should definitely donate to them if you're able, and if you're looking for a way to make a difference to someone else's life. Their need is obviously much greater than mine; I'm a healthy, able-bodied person (touch wood!) and there simply is no comparison between life-or-death requests and my little ask.

However, if you're OK with that distinction, and are still up for funding the arts, stay with me while I explain the point of having a Patreonand assure you that it's not just a way for writers/artists/musicians/photographers etck to fund a life of sipping Absinthe/ Smirnoff and watching Jeremy Kyle. Well, not in this writer's case, anyway...

Writing pays ABYSMALLY. I promise you, it really does. For every J K Rowling or George R R R R (how many Rs? I forget) Martin you read about who's coining it in, there are about ten million other writers struggling to make even minimum wage from their writing.

That's not an exaggeration: a 2014 study by the Authors' Licensing and  Collection Society found the average salary for a full-time author is £11,000 a year (for the purposes of comparison, the over-25 minimum wage of £7.20 x 40hrs a week x 52 weeks = £14,976). Blame the internet and the death of print, blame the countless outlets constantly trying it on by asking people to write for "exposure" (read: FREE), but there it is. And don't even get me started about chasing down payments from outlets taking the mickey - I've just had to get my union (which I can barely afford to be a member of!) involved in squeezing payment out of a company who took 78 days (yes, that's 2 months and 18 days) to cough up. Unfortunately my gas and electricity provider doesn't accept "it's coming soon" as payment, funnily enough...

What about advances on books? I hear you cry? Well, to quote Holly from Red Dwarf, do me a lemon! Much like the tenet of sods' law that says to get a loan from a bank, first you must prove you don't need one, the authors most likely to get advances are those who don't need the money because they're already insanely successful (Oh, and Milo Yiannopolous but he messed that one right up, didn't he!) The vast majority of authors don't get advances precisely because we're relatively unknown and publishers aren't willing to gamble that they'll get their investment back. Also, small or indie publishers simply don't have the resources to pay advances. That is the camp I'm squarely in.

Long story short, this book that I'm writing won't earn me a cent until (optimistic estimate) June 2018 when royalties start coming in. That means it will have to be researched, written, fact-checked, proofread, edited, indexed (and these are all things I'll be doing myself), release forms for interviews gathered, permissions for artwork obtained (and any copyright fees paid by me, because there's no budget for illustrations) and submitted probably nine months before I see any money from it.

I'm not complaining - I promise! - but rather explaining how it all works. I love what I do so, so ridiculously much and I love working with a publisher who was willing to take a chance on some strange gobby chick from across the Atlantic and give me the creative control to bring my ideas to life. I know I'm insanely lucky to have such a fun job, and have people out there who actually want to read what I write who aren't related to me, or being bribed. 

That's why I want to make this book as fantastic as it can be, and that means funding the time to write it. Which is where you come in.

My extreme gratitude towards my readers means I want to reward anyone who supports me on Patreon with as much involvement in my writing as possible; from being able to pick the topic of my next blog post, to free copies of both my books, it's all there for the taking!

Thanks for your support x x x

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