The End of My Patreon

Yes. You read that right. It’s been a long, strange journey, but my Patreon will be shutting down and reverting to a patron-only page so I can continue supporting the creators I’ve pledged to, effective at some point late in the evening on August 29th, 2018. The reason I’ve chosen that date is to ensure I cut it off before Patreon even thinks about starting to bill you; Patrons probably noticed that I paused my creator page this past month so you weren’t billed on the last cycle.

This means that any files you want to grab, get them before then. If anything has expired off (I hate that Patreon does that) and you need it, please comment on Patreon and let me know so I can re-upload it.

What? Why? Is the Criminal Intentions series ending? Do Patrons have to pay for the books now?

That’s a lot. Let’s cover the pertinent things in brief and then I’ll ramble at y’all about the finer details:

Why? Many, many, many reasons. We’ll get to those in a sec.

No, the Criminal Intentions series is not ending. It’s continuing on Amazon.

However, former Patrons will never have to pay for the books for the life of the series, all the way out to the end.

All the books? All the free?

Yes. Whether I end the series in Season Three or Season Five, Patrons will receive every book for free from this point out. That’s anywhere from 39 to 65 books, depending on where I end the series. No matter if you pledged at the $1 tier or the $50 tier, for one month or for six months, when I send out ARC files every month prior to Amazon release I’ll also be sending the books to former Patrons via email – only with no expectation to review unless you want to. It’s one way I can show my gratitude for the support you’ve offered, and how much of a difference you’ve all made in my life.

This is only applicable to Patrons who signed up before this news was originally announced via Patreon on August 20th, 2018.

I have everyone’s emails from the export of pledge data, and the emails will start with S1E4 once I finish it and get it properly edited before its October 10th Amazon release date. If at any point you don’t want to receive them, you can just reply to the email and let me know, and I’ll remove you from the distribution group.

I adore y’all. I really do. And I hope this is a step in making up for being so delinquent.

If you adore your Patrons so much, why are you closing your Patreon?

Hoh boy. This is where it gets complicated. Let’s break this down.

I’ve reached a point in my career where Patreon pledges are no longer life or death for me regarding financial sustainability and sheer survival, and it feels unethical to accept Patron support that other creators need more than I do.

I’m going to be honest: there was a time when Patreon pledges were the only reason I could pay my rent, or eat, or afford my meds. I was struggling for a good long while, and Patron support meant everything to me. I’ve been so grateful, and so appreciative that I’ve been lucky enough to have such kind people willing to take a chance on me.

Originally the plan with Criminal Intentions was to build my Patreon up into a significant portion of a hopefully sustainable author income, sort of balancing between Amazon revenues and Patreon pledges for early and bonus content. That plan, however, changed when my career + my work life went through some major shifts, overall adjusting my outlook for how and what I do as an author, and shifting where both Patreon and CI fit into those plans.

While all this change has been pretty drastic, it’s also been…honestly, amazing. I’ve never known what it was like to not be poor and scraping until now. I’ve never known what it was like to have healthcare when I need it until now. I feel like I can finally breathe and feel hopeful about my life, career, and health, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a large amount of that feeling and my success is because y’all were in my corner. You’re wonderful, generous people, and I don’t even know how to describe the overwhelming outpouring of respect and admiration I have for you.

But I also know that you have other creators you support. I know money’s not infinite. I know many creators still rely on those Patreon pledges for food, rent, life-saving meds. They need that support – while I’m in a place where, with my sustainable income outside of Patreon stabilizing, I wouldn’t feel right accepting Patron support when you could be funneling those pledges toward creators who need it more.

It feels like the ethical thing to do, basically. Freeing up what you’ve pledged to me, so you can pledge it to other creators you love and show them the same support and kindness you’ve shown me.

All of these changes in my life also mean new opportunities have opened up for me with a few amazing people, and I can’t balance those opportunities and extra Patreon content at the same time.

I’ll be announcing a few new projects on a couple of other platforms coming in the next few months – people and publishers who’ve reached out to me inviting me to work on some really exciting things.

However, that means more time commitments, and reallocating how I focus my efforts. Even if I woke up tomorrow somehow magically caught up on my tier level commitments, I still wouldn’t be able to fit in consistently producing monthly extra content like I might have before these new things happened.

The past few months have proven that with my mental and physical health being so erratic, Patreon is not a platform I work well on.

So I’ve always been a burst writer, with fallow periods in between; I can produce six months’ worth of content in one or two months sometimes, but then I kind of plotz and die for a while and turn into mush. A lot of that has to do with my erratic, unpredictable mental health; I never know when I’m going to go into a slump that I can’t break out of even with meds and self-motivation, or how long it will take to lift.

Compound that with worsening physical health from my immune disorder, and it’s no longer a given that I can fight out at least a few days per month to hardcore blitz content. Again, this is a change and a realization that has happened over recent months. I still have the capacity to produce one novel per month, but anything else is nebulous and inconsistent.

That might have flown when I was several months ahead on content, and could take fallow periods and still have things prepared to deliver on time. But…well…everything happened. SantinoGate, RiptideGate, major job upheaval, this fucking house trying to kill me. And I lost all my lead time, and the longer it took me to try to forge on, the more of a guilt spiral I fell into, and the less I was capable of as my wonky brain chemicals kicked me around and stole my spoons.

I don’t want to keep trying to promise I can deliver bonus content this month, then hating myself when I fail, then feeling guilty when you’re so patient and understanding, and just digging myself into a deeper and deeper mental hole only to further fuck up my body trying to cram everything.

My brain, basically, is an arsehole.

I’m never going to catch up after the sheer riotous hell of the last few months.

It’s just not possible. Not when I’m also staying on top of the current monthly release schedule on Amazon; there is no way I will go back to being able to deliver each novel on Patreon three months before Amazon anymore. Not without the aid of some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gadgets I don’t have on hand.

These past few months have just been…way too much, even not counting the upheaval of changing jobs twice in as many months. I am a walking disaster, y’all. Like, I think I brought a curse to this house. Exploding hot water heater, dead furnace, backed up sewer main, raw sewage in the shower, collapsing deck, electrical outlets frying my appliances, cat killing my TV, dead animal in the heating ducts leading to hordes of invading blowflies. Not to mention all the people in and out fixing and cleaning up after all that. This shite has consumed my life and my focus, and that’s time and energy and attention I can’t get back or somehow rewind. If I try, everything else is going to fall apart.

…I’ll let y’all know if the house starts whispering at me to get out.

I’m no longer able to deliver certain content that was originally planned because my computer now lacks the capability.

Primarily, the audio recordings and sketches. This computer is dying, y’all. Many of you probably saw just last week on Twitter when it lost its shite and it took me hours to get it going again. I can barely have my email client and a Word doc open at the same time. I’m copy-pasting and saving this post as I write it out of panic for another black screen.

This dying behemoth just doesn’t have the juice anymore to either run Adobe Audition so I can record audio and clean out the background noise, or to manage sketching in Photoshop with real-time brush strokes. I’m hoping to get a new computer soon, but it’ll still be a while and that ship has sailed.

So what happens to the bonus content, such as extra scenes, interviews, playlists, etc?

It’s being moved to the VIP Section of my website, with other content posted as free for newsletter subscribers – and it will continue to be free for newsletter subscribers. However for former Patrons, if you don’t want to join the newsletter, you can find the password for this section in the Patreon version of this post.

I should have everything up there by now; I’ve also posted a few new things both there and on Patreon, including the CI S1E3 episode playlist and another bonus scene.Β I’ve also finally gotten my shite together and posted my pre-Patreon backlist files for the appropriate tier levels on Patreon, so you have a few days left to grab those.

I will still be producing occasional new bonus content and posting it to the VIP section, but it’ll be on an at-whim basis rather than monthly.

I’ll probably also do occasional AMAs via Twitter, and maybe some series trivia (like, you know, what song the person in the final scene of S1E3 is humming as they walk away).

Special Notice for all $25+ Patrons

I will be reaching out to you individually via email in the coming month; each of you will receive signed paperback copies of the first three episodes of the series, regardless of whether you were a $25+ patron for one month or three.

I will also be reaching out to $50 patrons regarding input in a future episode.

Other Future Steps

I’ve removed the Patreon release schedule from my website, and all links to the Patreon page from the book descriptions, etc. If you find any remaining links, I’d appreciate if you let me know. I’ve also removed my Ko-Fi link from the main website menu. That’s another area where people’s kindness made a massive difference in my ability to survive, but it’s no longer a life-or-death thing for me and I’d rather people sent those donations to people with greater need even though I love you for the sentiment behind wanting to offer support.

Okay, so all that makes sense, but you still vanished and weren’t very responsive, and you kind of let us down.

I did, and I’m sorry for that. My anxiety basically started flipping the fuck out to the point where I couldn’t even load the Patreon page without being afraid I’d see that alert that I’d lost someone or disappointed someone, so I just avoided it. Hyperventilated a few times. Completely forgot about the monthly AMAs when my brain went swiss-cheesy with stress. Hated myself more and more when I said “soon” and “soon” never came.

I just kind of went into a complete shutdown spiral over my inability to cope, the overwhelming shitestorm that was my daily life, and the feeling of failure, and I didn’t give you the communication, transparent updates, and responses you deserved. Turtling is a thing I do, but it’s not really a good thing. I’m deeply sorry, and I understand if you feel disappointed.

I hope that transitioning all Patrons to lifetime free recipients of the full series is a step in beginning to compensate for that, but if there’s anything else I can do for y’all or anything you’d like me to answer, just let me know and I’ll do my best.

For a writer, I’m falling short on words right now to tell you how much I appreciate you, and how much your support and patience mean to me. It’s this feeling in my chest that’s at once heavy and warm, overwhelming and breathless. You are all the most amazing people, and I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you.

Thank you. For everything.

<3,
-X

A revised version of this post with Patron-only information appeared on my Patreon on August 20th, 2018.