I was asked this question by one of my dearest friends, who didn’t really understand what Patreon is all about and its benefits. I have actually been meaning to say more about this, and her question allowed me to go deeper into it and explain why I am now on Patreon. I will share my response to her, and add my answers to other commonly asked questions in relation to my use of Patreon. I hope this will help you to make up your mind one way or another about Patreon, and hopefully result in you joining me there, either as a Creator or one of my Patrons, or both 🙂
Patreon is a platform that enables Patrons from all around the world to support Creators from all over the world to continue to create art works that the Patrons appreciate. Alexis and Megan say it is like a monthly tip jar. Patrons can be anyone. They are people who value Art and Creativity, and appreciate that even when it doesn’t cost money to create, it takes time – and time is money. Creators can also be Patrons of other Creators, as I am on Patreon.
Creators are creative artists, who create blogs, magazines, tv shows, comedy, films, music, audio books, podcasts, paintings, cartoons, photography, games, apps etc. They are people whose talents may not truly be appreciated without fame, and who usually fund their own passions until they are recognised for it. Patreon allows them to not only survive as artists, but to thrive and achieve success (and even fame), through the support they receive from Patrons. Creators can receive support on a monthly basis or per article/piece they produce.
So, by becoming a Patron of my work, you are saying that you are reading my write-ups and stories and eagerly awaiting more! You are saying that you appreciate the time that I put into it, which I would otherwise be using to work in another capacity to provide for myself and my family. You are also saying that you believe in my ministry, and you want more people to read my writings and be blessed by them. You can say all this by pledging $1 or more a month.
As a Patron, you also fund my projects. I am on Patreon creating blog posts, story series, ebooks, audio books and films. It costs money to edit, publish, print and promote books. It costs money to make audio books and films too, which I intend to do with all my series ultimately. Your support will ensure that I have the capital to pursue these projects and touch more lives, because the truth is not everyone reads. Many would rather listen to a book or watch a film or series on television. I want to share my stories with them too and impact them with God’s Word.
Patreon takes your contribution from your card or PayPal account at the start of each month. They keep 5% as commission and give me the rest (after payment/transfer fees). Nigerians can now get unto PayPal, as long as you have a bank account and a debit card. You can also use your Mastercard or Visa card directly on Patreon. I would, however, recommend using PayPal for peace of mind.
I appreciate all my patrons by giving them special benefits that others don’t get. The more you pledge, the more benefits I give you. For $1 a month, you get access to my audio-books, even though you can’t download, you can listen online. You also get to read private posts from me, that are not published on my blog, and participate in Patron-only promotions. For $5, you get previous benefits, plus early access to my seasonal story series, A Small World!
For $10 a month, you get early access to my ebooks and can download them too. For $20, you can download my audio books. For $25, you can also get the hard copies of all my books! Check out my Patreon page to see all the benefits I offer my Patrons. I got creative from $50 monthly!
You can think of the benefits as my way of saying THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ME AND PARTNERING WITH ME. It isn’t that you purchased my books, because you actually didn’t. You just supported me, and were particularly generous, and for me, giving you those benefits is the LEAST that I can do. You can, however, sign up to become a Patron without accepting any benefits from me, like one of my Patrons is doing. The benefits are there for those who want them 🙂 If you can think of more benefits/incentives, do suggest to me.
As a Creator, being on Patreon means that I can actually earn a living as a full-time writer, if I get enough Patrons. I can devote as much of my time to writing the many stories and articles God inspires me to write, without stressing about the time I am not using to work and make money for my family. I am working…like musicians, actors etc, doing what I love and I am gifted at, and being supported to keep on doing it, without financial worries.
I love Patreon because it allows me to share my creations with people who I know BELIEVE in me and appreciate what I do! I know that you love it, and I feel good, knowing that, whatever the size of my Facebook or WordPress followers, my fans on Patreon are real and truly care about my ministry. It is exciting for me and deeply encouraging when I see that someone else has placed value in my labour of love.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Doesn’t the Bible say “freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8)? Is it right for you to receive payment to do God’s work?
Someone actually asked a similar question when I said I was going to start using advertising on my blog as a way of sustaining this ministry. My response to them HERE might help you. But to answer your question simply, my work for God is free! My blog is free. All my stories are available on my blog freely and will continue to be (Update: Some of my published works are no longer freely available to the public. I have changed my mind on this, because, as an Author, not all my content can be free).
I am not charging people to receive the Gospel. Watching a film, listening to an audio book and reading a printed book or even an eBook is a privilege. These are additional resources that cost money to produce. So, while the message is free, the material is not.
Whether or not it is right for me to receive support from those who value my ministry, you can decide after considering that Jesus told His disciples to receive what was given to them while in ministry, because “…the labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). Paul also attested to this when he wrote to the Corinthians, and said “For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (1 Cor 9:10-11). And finally, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor 9:14). To those who would argue that Paul supported himself in ministry as a Tent-Maker, please READ THIS!
I trust God to provide for me, and He uses people like you who value my ministry and want to support me to reach a wider audience. Whether or not I get Patrons, I won’t stop writing as God grants me utterance. And by His grace, I will produce eBooks, audio books and films too! But by asking you to support, I am inviting you to not only bless me and others who get to read my books or watch my films, but to bless yourself by being a partaker in this ministry!
2. Are you concerned that your reward system may be showing favouritism to the rich? Why not give everyone the same reward?
Does God give everyone the same reward? Have you not read the parable of the talents? Jesus actually said, “to him who has, more shall be given…” (Matt 13:12).
But really, it is not my place to judge the generosity of my Patrons. I am simply appreciating each person according to the level of support I receive from them. They are all giving out of their limited means or abundance, and only God can know who among them is truly being generous. And He is the one who will bless them accordingly! What I am giving is just material tokens and incentive for people to give more (if they are able). Like I said, people can refuse to collect any benefits.
3. Won’t receiving money for ministry compromise your message?
I have considered this too. If a Patron comes along to support me with say $500 monthly (for this tier, you get listed in the credits on the films I produce), but doesn’t like my teaching on sexual immorality, they can decide to discontinue their support at anytime, because I won’t change my message to keep their support! Without the message, I am NOTHING! Again, no one is paying for the Message…that is a given. They are contributing towards the cost of the material.
On the other hand, having the support of Patrons, who value the message, to produce a Christian film, will give me (us) greater power to keep the message undiluted in the film! Going to unbelievers for sponsorship might mean that the end result is not truly the Gospel message. So it is important for me to receive backing from fellow Christians, and any unbelievers who decide to support are at risk of becoming Believers – Amen!
4. Can I give in support of your ministry without using Patreon?
Yes, you most certainly can! There’s a message at the side of my page about making donations, with my local bank account number for Naira transfers (FCMB – 4299176016). However, the thing with Patreon is that it encourages more people to give. When people see that other people are giving, and that they value what I do enough to support, they begin to see that it is worth their support too, and so may decide to give. So if you support me on Patreon, you are not only giving towards the ministry, you are PROMOTING it with your rubber stamp! So, in some ways, I prefer Patreon, even if they do take a percentage for using their platform.
I also prefer Patreon because it is a continual support. It isn’t a one-off. I don’t have to fundraise. I don’t have to remind people to give each month. Every time I post something on my blog, people can see that they can give online. Many people around the world can give securely, which they would otherwise be unable to do, unless they are local. So, I encourage those who can to go online and support me on Patreon. Make your pledge once, and you never have to be worry about forgetting, and you can stop at anytime you like.
5. Can I receive the same rewards if I make monthly contributions direct to your local account?
This is hard because it will be hard for me to control. The rewards are given on Patreon, because they have a control method. Patrons at different tiers do not all have the same access, and if you are not on Patreon at all, you won’t get access to Patron-only posts, which most of my posts are. There’s no dummy account I can create for you that you can use to gain access for the level of support you give. However, if you are a regular monthly contributor, I can offer you an annual gift, like printed books, eBook and audio book downloads, and credit in the films I create, according to your level of patronage and consistency. For further enquiry, please email email@example.com. (Update: It is now possible to have Patron-only access via blog.ufuomaee.org. Register and email me to let me know you would like to become a patron).
6. Are your books going to be available anywhere else for those who do not want to give monthly support?
Yes! My aim is to make my books widely available across stores locally and internationally, online and offline. I will make use of Amazon, Itunes, Okadabooks, Laterna Books and many other distributors, so that you can get your copy of my printed, eBooks and audio books conveniently.
Thanks to my good friend for inspiring this post. I hope it helps other people wondering about Patreon and supporting my ministry online. I appreciate whatever you are able to give. Even if you are unable to give right now, please share this post and any other posts on my blog that you like with your friends and family, so that they know about this ministry and how they can be a part of it! I appreciate your following and readership! God bless you 🙂
Photo credit: http://www.patreon.com
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