What’s next after Patreon?

Updates are at the bottom.

I just finished watching a video about the enshittification of Patreon, and, well, this video basically confirmed all of my suspicions about the venture backed service. Then again, I’m actually starting to realize that all tech platforms are going down this road, which is why I’m focusing on building my own digital garden and sticking with the indie web, or independent web, as it were. I pay for my own website, my mailing list, and that’s basically it. There’s no way I’m paying for ad space on any platform. People have to be joking, right? I’m never paying anybody to promote my content. Besides, I love guerrilla marketing far better because the people that shout out my work have a genuine reason, they want to shout me out, not because I gave them money.

That being said, of course my street team gets extra/exclusive stuff. They are the folks that keep me thriving and going, so their needs come first. If you see an acknowledgement or a shout out to my street team with some personal name’s thrown in with my books or stories, that’s because, well, my street team does a heck of a job marketing my work. It’s a mutual understanding. Also, my street team loves it when I name characters after them.

Plot twist! The two above paragraphs will have you believe that I have this marketing thing all figured out. When, in reality, I couldn’t do effective marketing well enough to save my life. I still don’t understand what a brand is, even after having read countless blogs on the subject, I don’t know how to make my stuff eye catching or eye candy, I don’t know how to generate hype, I don’t know how to build up hype, and a whole host of other marketing imperfections.

This is probably why my Patreon never took off to the degree I wanted it to. But then again, I’ve always been a very slow writer. Even with a literary agent now, I sometimes write maybe 100 words a day. Sometimes I write 1,000. Sometimes I write 500 words in six months. Sometimes I write 2,000 words in a day. This is also partially why I make my own writing residencies. I’m just too disabled and too inconsistently productive to get them to like me, long term, if even at all. The past post still holds true. I’m ineligible for most writing residencies, disabilities or no disabilities, because of my perceived lack of creativity and productivity. Patreon doesn’t like creators like me and that’s what the above video and this live stream response by an artist show, that Patreon doesn’t want to have slow artists anymore.

Because I could see Patreon taking quite a nose dive for a while now, I began to search for some Patreon alternatives. I was astonished to find that there wasn’t a single Patreon alternative that actually catered to the writers and artists by giving them all, and I do mean all, of the features Patreon had in the beginning. The ability to charge per creation was a huge boom for me when it was available to me but even though I’ve been grandfathered in to whatever plan thing they have now, I’ve stopped using the site completely. It just isn’t for me, the small creator, anymore. It’s for these artists and otherwise that do their art full time as their business. It isn’t for those disabled people like me that sometimes can’t write for days or weeks because you don’t have any spoons or working on other things.

I’m not alone in kind of being stuck with Patreon because there’s no good alternative. There’s alternatives that come very, very, close, like Comradery for example, but as good as they are, in fact, the best alternative in my opinion, because the community is small right now and perhaps because of how taxes work on digital items, I don’t think they will have features like being able to charge supporters every time I publish a new blog post. I also suspect this is why Patreon is trying to hide the charge per creation feature completely.

All of the other Patreon alternatives don’t even come close to being what Patreon was. In fact, someone made this post explaining in wonderful detail how to make a Patreon alternative.

It’s astonishing how so many tech people want to build the next Patreon without understanding why people used Patreon in the first place. Again, here’s exactly how to compete with Patreon. I want what this user wants, a viable alternative that actually sets out to be what Patreon tried to be, but without the venture capital. The more I see venture capitalists never being satisfied with just making a profit but instead they just want more more and more, you can’t convince me that venture capital is a worthy loan. That’s honestly all it is, anyway, is a glorified loan, and I honestly don’t understand why people think that’s a good way to get money for your thing. I don’t get it and the more platforms decline because they are trying to appease investors, the less I want anything to do with venture capital backed anything.

Speaking of venture capital, I, quite literally, don’t understand why Patreon needed venture capital investments in the first place. If you build a website for all creators to make money off fans, and make it super easy, geared towards artists, you have an endless bank just flowing in. There’s no need for hyper growth. In fact, there’s no need for any kind of hyper growth under this model. Quite literally, if you get creators across all the industries, they will certainly draw more and more people to the site. The only thing you’d need to do is moderate and take care of taxes. Patreon got a huge sum of venture capital and then, well, the Patreon investors keep wanting a bigger return on their investment and this means Patreon has to innovate even if it makes no sense like this shift. A website like this shouldn’t innovate, though. In fact, because they are trying to innovate rather than just be sustainable is the very reason why they are driving creators like me away.

So, there’s problems with Patreon. What’s next?

Fully delete  my Patreon account. Even in the time it took me to write this post, Patreon made it harder to delete accounts so I want to do it while I still can.

Direct people to support me elsewhere, especially my website. This will be the best and would be wicked epic when I can finally get my website to be a place where people can support me directly. I love my little sometimes imperfect space on the web. No matter how long it takes, this site will be a full digital garden one day for me and me only. Ah yes, true bliss.

Keep doing the writing thing and probably set up a shop here on my website for stuff I can’t sell elsewhere. It’s going to be a combination of a trunk store and affiliate store, because I love promoting other people’s works.

And, of course, continue to try to run away from Enshittification and keep retreating to my digital garden while begging people to send me cookies/treats to the below address.

Bonus if you send me some non-US treats/cookies/candy because I like those the best. I also love non alcoholic drinks, too! I’m open to receiving all kinds of packages! This is how people have made it into my dedications pages and acknowledgement pages, and had characters named after them even before my street team could blink!

Robert Kingett

1321 UPLAND DR PMB 17504

HOUSTON, TX, 77043-4718

Patreon alternatives with pay per post/pay per creation.

Because having a monthly tip jar doesn’t interest me, at all, as a creator, I wanted to highlight alternatives I could find that allows me to charge supporters per post.

Here’s how this would work. I write a post, I tick/check a box, and people get charged for it. This is far more attractive to me than a monthly tip jar.

Patreon still offers per creation billing for now but I doubt they will for long, so this is why I am listing alternatives.

I find it astonishing very few of the below Patreon alternatives offer this feature. Again, this is how to compete with Patreon.

  1. Tipeee has this for now.

Previous post, my website is the best Patreon alternative.

At the time I write this, I’m wishing I could support every one of my favorite creators on their own websites instead of whatever platform they’ve chosen. The thing is, I’m the only one out of my fellow writer friends and artist friends that keeps their website their hub for everything. Everybody else uses platforms, including internet spaces like social media to essentially pay rent to host content. In short, none of the creators I support have their own websites. They all stay on platforms like Patreon.

This lovely thing explaining how to make a Patreon alternative really hits home for me today. As does this reaction to the Patreon downfall documentary. The original video is here detailing how Patreon rose, and how Patreon is falling now.

The thing is, because other creators stay locked into Patreon and other platforms, I’m essentially locked in, too. If I delete my account, that creator’s content will never reach me. I’m locked out of seeing the content they want me to see. Meanwhile, with Webrings and the Indie WEB, I can read and love art without an account. I love Webrings because they allow me to browse different towns and try something new in a different virtual town. Personal websites will always be fun for me, much more fun than what the internet has morphed into. The internet turned into a giant money printer instead of an ecosystem where people can talk to each other. You’d think this would be perfect for me as an artist. Well, it’s not, partially because the goal isn’t to help us make money. The goal is to get us to help them make money and then, them, in this scenario can be any platform. Every tech startup. Everything is backed by something something investor.

This is partially why I’m focusing on my own website more, and, by extension, the Indie WEB. I’ve written before about some fantastic directories and otherwise to get you started with feeds and blogs and personal websites and all the good things about the small web.

I don’t know how this shift happened to me, but I guess I just became very tired of having to create another account somewhere. I know many writers and otherwise are on Substack, and they have RSS feeds, for now, but again, that’s just another platform. I believe that, eventually, Substack will get rid of the RSS feeds and become such a paywalled nightmare that people will just stop visiting Substack publications. I honestly hope people take the time to reflect, build their own digital garden somewhere, and have us go to their own space. That’s what I’m doing, is funneling people to my own space. If you want to keep up with me, you come into my space. I’m certainly not going to come to you on whatever platform you enjoy. Sorry not sorry! Besides, my website is easy to read, which is a unique feature these days. I’m just waiting on the day someone sends me an email that proclaims,

Hey! Your website is broken. Text is big, there’s no dialog box asking me to sign up anywhere, and I can actually read your content without having an experience visiting your website.

Speaking of experience, I’m starting to viscerally hate that word, especially when used by tech people. Maybe it’s because I’m an old fizzle nostril, but maybe websites don’t need to be disrupted. Maybe they don’t always have to be experiences. Maybe reading your website is enough. Then again, I strongly suspect this is why tech enthusiasts legitimately believe the book is broken and needs to be innovative. To them, the reading experience is broken because there’s nothing aiding the imagination. Imagination is all in the hands of the artist and that, to them, is incomprehensible. Your, ahem, experience, is a collaboration between the artist and your imagination. It’s symmetry that will forever last the test of time. Imagination is also just fantastic innovation! I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Until recently, I was fine with platforms, and I was also fine with paying rent. Here, have  cuts of my income and my content because you’re providing a service to me. I legitimately wouldn’t want to run everything myself. The thing is, if done well, I’d be more than happy to throw my money at you. Just provide the service you promised, never change, continue to get my agreed upon monthly rent and we’re all good. Patreon doesn’t provide that service, though. At least, not in the creator centric way it used to. This is why, well, I decided to get my own website. Is it as convenient as Patreon? Nope, because my website still doesn’t have a, pay me now, button, like Patreon does, but it does have more direct ways to give money to me.

I legitimately love the one feature Patreon has where creators can check a box and people are charged for the thing, they just released into the world without having to wait for a monthly payment. This way, people could publish elsewhere, but still get paid for the work they do, elsewhere. The fact no other Patreon alternative offers this is mindboggling to me. Then again, all these other, ahem, alternatives, are trying to make an alternative without understanding the core audience they are targeting in the first place. Again, nobody knows how to make a Patreon alternative. This is ironically why my website is the best Patreon alternative for myself.

My website will update with stuff by me, but I’m not beholden to an investor. Heck, I’m not even beholden to you, really. The only thing I need to keep doing is pay my web host. People can choose to help with web hosting costs or not. Either way, my website won’t suddenly speed towards making investors happy overnight. My website and my own web space is, quite literally, immune to Enshittification. It’s the best decision I ever made, and it is evergreen enough to where that, in all actuality, as platforms come and go, well, I’ll still be here in my little corner not relying on another platform to fold. Even the Fediverse, which is currently going through its highwire moment, will eventually fade as well. Personal websites will always stand tall and prosper, even as platform after platform dies. All I need to do is pay my host and, boom! You have stuff to read and more. The best part about this arrangement is, if my current hosting company decides they want hyper growth at all costs and starts doing things that harm my online presence, I can just pack up and move. I’m not at all locked in. You can come with me, no matter where I go.

Also, I’m super curious, isn’t it a breath of fresh air knowing you can type in my website URL and have a sense of what you’re going to see when you land here as a repeat person? The layout won’t suddenly change, a new blog post might be added, but it’s familiar to you. Isn’t that comforting? I know it is to me, and I’m the one that built this thing. Imperfect, buggy sometimes, but it’s familiar and comforting, no?

All done soaping for the day. Now that I’ve had my say, I’ll go back to exploring Webrings and trying to figure out how to get that pay me now checkbox on my website. Will I ever succeed? Who knows, my garden is never perfect, but that’s ironically what I love about personal websites. None of them is perfect. It shows off what the internet used to be, a place where we all explored each other’s homes instead of, well, whatever it is now.