Kickstarter Panel

Just before Worldcon, I had the opportunity to travel to Kickstarter headquarters and participate in a discussion on short fiction. They’ve published the video from our panel:

Kickstarter Presents: New Trends In Sci-Fi and Fantasy

On Thursday August 7th, I’ll be participating on a panel at Kickstarter HQ about new trends in the genre, and offering tips for publishing your own SF/F stories.

The full panel lineup is:

  • Neil Clarke, editor of Clarkesworld magazine
  • Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, editors of the Long Hidden anthology
  • Alex Shvartsman, editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology series
  • Brian White, editor of Fireside magazine  
  • Margot Atwell (moderator), publishing community manager at Kickstarter

It’s free, but space is limited. The talk will run about an hour, with snacks and mingling to follow. Hope to see you there!

Event info:

Kickstarter Presents: New Trends In Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Thursday August 7 | 7 to 9:30pm
Kickstarter HQ
58 Kent Street
Brooklyn NY 11222

RSVP now: http://ow.ly/zKYoX

Upgrading soon

At long last, I can announce that my cyborg anthology, UPGRADED, is in the final stages of production and will be available in July.

 

upgraded

CONTENTS

Introduction by Neil Clarke
Come From Away by Madeline Ashby
No Place to Dream, but a Place to Die by Elizabeth Bear
Married by Helena Bell
A Cold Heart by Tobias S. Buckell
Honeycomb Girls by Erin Cashier
What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes by Jason K. Chapman
Wizard, Cabalist, Ascendant by Seth Dickinson
Seventh Sight by Greg Egan
Negative Space by Amanda Forrest
Mercury in Retrograde by Erin Hoffman
Tongtong’s Summer by Xia Jia
God Decay by Rich Larson
Always the Harvest by Yoon Ha Lee
The Regular by Ken Liu
Coastlines of the Stars by Alex Dally MacFarlane
Fusion by Greg Mellor
Memories and Wire by Mari Ness
Oil of Angles by Chen Qiufan
The Sarcophagus by Robert Reed
Synecdoche Oracles by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Tender by Rachel Swirsky
The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time by E. Catherine Tobler
Small Medicine by Genevieve Valentine
Collateral by Peter Watts
Taking the Ghost by A.C. Wise
Musée de l’Âme Seule by E. Lily Yu
About the Authors
About the Editor

Cover art by Julie Dillon

Coming soon in trade paperback and ebook formats. Preorder at Wyrm Publishing or email wyrmpublishing@gmail.com to be notified when this title is available to order.

Three Months on Patreon – Pros and Cons

12/18/14: An updated version of this post is available here.

We launched our Clarkesworld Magazine Patreon page nearly three months ago. In that time, I’ve heard from a lot of authors and editors who were interested in their service, but not sure if it was right for them. The requests have been picking up, so…

patreonlogo

 What is Patreon?

In their words:

Founded in May 2013 and based in San Francisco, California, Patreon was created to enable fans to support and engage with the artists and creators they love. Empowering a new generation of creators, Patreon is bringing patronage back to the 21st century.

In mine:

Patreon is a cross between subscriptions and Kickstarter. Unlike Kickstarter, Patreon doesn’t focus on a one-time project. It’s aimed at fundraising for long-term projects that include recurring creations, like issues of a magazine or episodes of a podcast. In our case, your Patreon pledge is a per-issue contribution to the magazine.

Why Patreon instead of PayPal?

  1. Patreon’s Patron Manager provides a nice and reliable interface that allows me to manage, track, and communicate with our supporters. I could probably build something similar, but the amount of time I’d have to invest (programming and supporting) is too significant. My time is better spent on the magazine.
  2. Yes, PayPal can collect recurring payments on set intervals. If you miss a month, PayPal still charges them. Not so with Patreon. This isn’t much of an issue for us, but I know it does impact others I’ve spoken to.
  3. Not everyone likes PayPal. There are people out there that are violently opposed to using their services in any way. Patreon supports credit cards and PayPal.
  4. You can do both. We still take one-time donations via PayPal. Having choices is good.

What do you think so far?

Like any fundraising there are going to be pros and cons:

Cons:

  1. Discoverability. My only major complaint. The odds of someone browsing Patreon’s site and discovering you are very slim. The search tools are very basic (and only work against the title of your project) and the featured creators and artists on their home page change rarely, if ever. They could learn a lot from Kickstarter’s approach when it comes to finding and featuring content.
    Note: They are working on this. Recently creators were asked to select categories their projects fit into. The options are not as detailed as I would have liked, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
  2. Payment processing. I know I’m being picky on this one, but since Patreon pledges are processed per-creation and charges applied run at the end of the month, you can run into serious timing issues. For example. If we post new “paid” content on the first of the month, anyone signing up on the second will not be billed until the end of the following month. That means it could take up to two months for their rewards to kick in. That confuses people. To get around it, I made the final podcast of the month our paid content instead of the new issue announcement. This change causes the majority of new Patrons to have their reward start the next month. I suppose they could add something that would allow a Patreon to pledge support starting as of the first of the month or with the most recent paid creation, but that’s probably too confusing too. It’s the whole do I start a subscription with the current issue or next issue debate. If you aren’t providing rewards, this probably isn’t as big a deal.
  3. New. I’ve had to explain Patreon to a lot of people. Instead of focusing on marketing our presence there, I’ve had to convince people they are a trustworthy organization. This will pass as more people hear about them. Certainly nothing I can fault them for.

Pros:

  1. Support and service. They’ve been fantastic to work with and unlike many companies, they appear to be very open to customer feedback. Everyone I’ve spoken with there is on top of their game. There have been several software updates and each has been flawless. Heck, they even negotiated a better rate with their payment processor and passed along the savings.(My background is in technology. It takes a lot to impress me.)
  2. Growing community. I’ve noticed a lot of new projects launch on Patreon in the last three months. As things move forward, I believe discoverability will eventually find its way to the Pros list and when that happens, there will be a marketing benefit for all of us as our Patrons discover what else is out there.
  3. We’re getting paid. We currently have pledges of just over $200 per issue and we have been receiving payments. It may not sound like a lot (particular compared to some of the YouTube-based projects earning thousands per episode), but it does boost our bottom line and every bit helps. At this point, I remain optimistic about the service and it’s ability to become a significant source of revenue for the magazine.
  4. Opportunity. I’ve said most of it above, but I also believe there is some benefit for the field. Literary projects are still a small percentage of what’s on Patreon. I think we’re on the leading edge of something that will only grow in size as more from the science fiction community discover it.

Closing Thoughts

It should be fairly obvious by now that I’m optimistic about Patreon and our future with them. While I do have some issues, I believe they can (or will be) worked resolved in timely manner. While I highly recommend their service, to see value from it, you will have to heavily market your presence there. It’s not all that different from tossing a book up on Amazon. This isn’t magic.

That said:
Visit patreon.com/clarkesworld and sign up to become one of Clarkesworld’s patrons today!

Questions? Comments?

UPGRADED: The Final 24 Hours

We’ve entered the final 24 hours for UPGRADED, my kickstarter cyborg anthology. It’s been an amazing experience. The project has been fully-funded and we’ve unlocked two of the stretch goals (four extra stories and a pay rate increase for our authors). As I write this, we are $2250 short of the stretch goal for funding the audio edition of this book.

THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN ENDS AT 3PM EST ON FRIDAY.  I would appreciate it if you help get out the word as the campaign comes to a close. Reaching that stretch goal would be awesome.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/clarkesworld/upgraded-a-cyborg-anthology-edited-by-neil-clarke

This project will have original stories by:

  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Helena Bell
  • Tobias S. Buckell
  • Pat Cadigan
  • Greg Egan
  • Xia Jia
  • Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Ken Liu
  • Chen Qiufan
  • Robert Reed
  • E. Catherine Tobler
  • Genevieve Valentine
  • Peter Watts
  • E. Lily Yu

…and several more to be announced soon. Julie Dillon will provide the cover art.

I want to say thank you to everyone that has participated so far. This is a very personal project and your support has not only made this dream a reality, but also helped me reclaim July 12th from the land of scary near-death experiences. Thank you!