I had known about Patreon for a while, but over this past weekend, I finally got around to setting up support for some of my favorite people. I decided to do this now because Monday was the anniversary of the event that got me started down the road to being a podcaster. (For the unfamiliar, Patreon is a tool that lets fans of creative people become patrons of their work, so that the creators receive an ongoing income stream from their ongoing creative endeavors. Patrons can decide how much to tip their favorite creative people per piece of content they create.)
Monday, January 26 was the ninth anniversary of the day I started my part-time job at the library at my university. My job was to sort and de-duplicate old records and put them into archival envelopes. Once I started that job, I had 12-15 hours per week to spend performing semi-mindless manual labor all by myself, and my supervisors said I was allowed to listen to music with headphones. It was 2006, and I had just discovered podcasting thanks to Wil Wheaton‘s blog and his new-at-the-time podcast, Radio Free Burrito (of which he recently wrote a brief history here). In addition to music, I burned all the RFB episodes up to that point to CDs (yes, really. I got a generic MP3 player, then a secondhand iPod, later on) and listened to them while I worked. In the comments to one of those episodes, somebody linked to Podiobooks.com, and I was instantly hooked on the wealth of stories that were available there.
Matthew Wayne Selznick’s Brave Men Run: A Novel of the Sovereign Era was one of the many Podiobooks I listened to while sorting and de-duping records as a broke college student. Now that I have a real, grown-up job, I’m finally going to pay the author what I think those many hours of entertainment were worth through his storefront. Not only that, but I’m going to support his current and future creative endeavors by making a pledge via Patreon. That first adventure in his Sovereign Era universe definitely left me wanting more, and while that first Podiobook all those years ago was free, I’m happy to pay for its sequel, Pilgrimage, and the ongoing serialized short-fiction project that complements the two novels, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights. I’ve written enough novel drafts to have some idea of how much time and effort went into all that fiction, and I believe it deserves to be rewarded.
The other creative person whose work I have enjoyed, and who I am proud to support, is M. Alice LeGrow. I linked to one of Marty’s blog posts about her work in my own blog post about cosplay. Her posts about being a birthday party princess can be funny, heartbreaking, insightful, informative, or any combination of the above, but they’re always a delight to read. I believe in the value and importance of her party-princessing endeavors, especially when they’re for charity, and I’m doing my part to enable her to keep doing what she’s doing for a long time.
In the past few years, I’ve been a part-time freelance worker myself (although the most creative thing I’ve done on a freelance basis has been voice acting). Through that experience, I’ve learned that entertainment and the things people create have value, and so does the time they spent creating it. I’ve also learned that many creative people, including the two I linked to above, would really love to earn some or all of their living through the things they create. I’m supporting them on Patreon because I value what they’re doing and want to help them achieve that dream.