It’s OK to patronise me (on Patreon)

by Leigh Matthews on July 10, 2015

the house that books builtFor a while now, I’ve been dreaming up a crowdfunding campaign for the new novel (the sequel to Don’t Bang the Barista!). Why should authors with traditional publishers get all the fun (and terror) of an advance for second and subsequent novels?

It seems that every week a new article springs up somewhere in the corners of the Internet bemoaning the death of the publishing industry, especially in Canada, especially for women, and especially for niche authors. The beauty of being a queer author, though, is that I rarely do things the traditional way, so I’m not expecting my next novel to be snapped up by Penguin Random House in anticipation of $100,000 in sales and a healthy $20,000 advance (although that would be great).

Don’t get me wrong, thanks to enthusiastic readers who bought my first and second novels, I’m no longer riddled with doubt about having no audience for my work. However, the challenge remains that it’s hard to feel justified in carving out time to work on a novel (or poems, or short stories), when there are bills to be paid and no steady income. As a freelance writer, most of the time when I’m not actively working for clients goes towards finding new clients, maintaining an online profile on various freelancer sites like PeoplePerHour and setting up systems so I can be more organised about invoicing and taxes and continued professional development (I write medical copy, specialising in nutrition).

Thankfully, after five years freelancing, I’m getting to be in a pretty good spot, with some lovely long-term clients who give me work that I find both intellectually and creatively stimulating. I even have the occasional couple of days where I have no work and yet don’t start panicking that my career is over.

This means that I have been writing more creative fiction and poetry, getting more involved in all things literary in Vancouver (I’ll be performing at Queer Arts Festival’s Queerotica – Queer Arts Festival 2015 Vancouver event on July 24th), and generally bolstering my confidence when saying, “I’m a writer!”

In an attempt to continue this current optimistic outlook when carving out time to work on things that do not immediately pay my rent, I’ve signed up to Patreon.


Patreon – helping dismantle the image of the ‘starving artist’, one pledge at a time.

The Patreon site offers creative professionals an opportunity to get support for their work through regular pledges that can start at as little as a dollar. It is an amazing way to support fellow artists and give people some reassurance that not only are they not working in a void, they may actually be paid for the work they do!

Although it’s not really intended to be used for crowdfunding projects, I’ve decided to use Patreon for the new novel I’m writing – the sequel to Don’t Bang the Barista!

There are various pledge levels, all of which are currently one-off pledges rather than monthly support. These are payable only when milestones are reached, and most mean that pledgers will receive a signed copy of the sequel when it’s published. I’m aiming for the novel to be out early in 2016, with extracts to be published on this site in advance of that. I may even do a few little video readings for your delectation.

The average advance for a novel is $5,000-10,000 – I’m shooting for just $1,500, which will cover my rent, bills and basic food for a month. Clearly I need some money for ginspiration as well, so, if you enjoyed my previous novels, are excited for the next novel, or just want to help out a writer, go check out my Patreon page. There’s a heat-activated Don’t Bang the Barista! coffee mug as one of the rewards, and you know you need that in your life.


PS: As a reward for reading more of my musings, here’s a summertime poem.


That summer
I chased you
Your careless mouth
Slipping over mine
As we swung up into branches
Gossiped, hidden by the rustle of leaves

Our only sustenance
Each other
And the sweet crunch and suck of apples
Their peel yielding, warm from the sun

When you grew tired
You’d drop
And rush to the sea

I’d follow
A tangle of branches, of limbs
Slipping over rocks
Ankle deep in slimy samphire
Slicing my flesh on broken shells
Scurrying to slip into the water with you
(The salt!)
(The salt!)
To kiss you
Was to be charmed
To be sated
To be stung with lust.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Hyodio August 13, 2015 at 2:26 am

When I was in my early teens and buying stakcs of romance pocket novels to read on the weekend, I mistakenly bought a m/m novel. I tried to read it, but the story was dry and didn’t draw me in. When I think of picking up the novel by mistake, I wonder how a m/m novel got placed in the general population of romance novels. I think it’s great, but suspect it was a mistake.I don’t think I thought about m/m love stories again until Six Feet Under. I thought the David and Keith characters were well written and more realistic than most couples on TV.I don’t recall falling for the heat that two men can create on screen or in fiction until I saw Brokeback Mountain. Besides the sensuality that I felt (and it did affect me in a way that I had never been affected before), the love story of Ennis and Jack was like no other I had seen on film. All the credit goes to that sparse story and Ang Lee’s great direction and Heath and Jake’s wonderfully organic portrayal of two tortured men.From there I found Brian and Justin, whom I still adore, and basically, any beloved couple I have found after that is credited back to Ennis and Jack and Brian and Justin and to the wonderful actors who portrayed these important roles.As a side note, I will venture to say that there was special care put into Brokeback Mountain to tell a story of hope and heartbreak. The story was not spoon-fed to us. We had to feel it to get it. Too many romance movies are silly and simple and just don’t work. I think becvause so many people like the easy spoon-fed stuff than something so organic as Brokeback Mountain that Hollywood doesn’t strive to be original. And then, of course, if the fanfiction writers weren’t so amazing, the m/m love stories would never pop off their respective screens.Kudos to you, Keira!


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