Thursday 19 November 2020

Patreon - Why I'm Monetizing My Blog After Ten Years

Today, I’m launching a Patreon based around this blog.

Given there has been, over the last few years, what seems like hundreds of thousands of words written on blogs, and Twitter, about whether monetizing a book blog is a good/valid/terrible thing to do, I wanted to talk a little bit about why I’m doing so.

I’ve been considering monetizing for a couple of years now - even back when I was on a hiatus from blogging due to having a leadership role at college, I was wondering whether I should try it when I returned. I will admit that I was someone who, at one point, saw it as being something that bloggers shouldn’t do, just because that was the prevailing wisdom of most people I saw talking about it. But then I thought about it for a long time, read varying different opinions on it, and changed my views.

Changing My Mind

One of the things which most changed my mind on it was seeing the amount of wonderful content Jen over at Pop! Goes The Reader has been able to produce over the last year or two. I’ve been a Patron of hers for coming up to a year now, and it’s the best value for $5 a month that I can imagine. She posts incredibly comprehensive lists of upcoming releases every month, in addition to gorgeous wallpapers and fabulous recommendations guides on books on particular topics.

Doing things like this takes an incredible amount of time. I’m currently working on a couple of posts with 100 YA/MG recs, one for UK readers and one for US readers, and I’m enjoying it because it’s reminding me of so many fabulous books published this year, but I’ve spent the best part of 6 days on it so far (picking books as well as writing) and while I’d love to do more detailed posts along these lines, it would be nice to at least have the possibility of getting paid for them.

What's On Offer

That said, I really want as many people to be able to read them as possible, and I know that some of the target audience may not be in a position to pay, and don’t want to exclude them. So to start off with, I’m experimenting with early access to some of my bigger blog posts - starting with the aforementioned 2020 ones. They’ll be going up for everyone on the weekend of November 28th - 30th, but I’m going to give Patreon subscribers the chance to read them roughly a week early. I am going to be doing some exclusive content in the forms of recommendations lists for books on particular topics, with the aim being to do them twice a month, for people paying $3 or more, but the vast majority of what I write will still be free for everyone to access.

Finally, I’ve seen one or two ‘book recommendations’ services and as I pride myself on a pretty great knowledge of YA and MG books and knowing what will fit people’s tastes well, I’m going to include a tier allowing people to get personalised recommendations. While I’m always happy to give quick recommendations to people who tweet me, these will be a little more in-depth, with a couple of sentences on each book explaining why I think the person will really enjoy it. I’m going to try $5 a month for 3 recommendations, and will be happy to check out people’s Goodreads etc to do my best to make sure I’m not recommending them books they’ve already read. Of course, people will be able to ask for specific genres, books similar to a particular one they loved, or pretty much anything they can imagine. (Although once we venture away from YA and MG, my knowledge goes downhill fast, so from a value for money perspective, you may want to stick to them!)

The Future

I'm also really open to new ideas - if there's something you'd like to see me offer, please suggest it! You can comment on this blog post, or message/tweet me on Twitter @yayeahyeah.

How successful am I expecting this to be? I honestly have no idea. But for someone who’s tweeted a lot about book bloggers valuing themselves, and having the confidence in their output to consider charging for it if that’s what they want to do, it feels it’s time to back my words up by trying it for myself.

If you’d like to take a look at it, head over to my Patreon page to check it out and, hopefully, subscribe. Otherwise, I promise there’ll still be a lot of free content over here to enjoy!

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