Ad-Free For Patrons and Year-End Fundraiser Push

on December 10, 2014 in MU Blog

Hey, folks!

First, I wanted to let you all know that things are not as bad as they were at the end of November and even looking slightly more hopeful on the family health front. Thank you for your patience and support.

Second, I wanted to announce that after one year of using Patreon… sometimes somewhat tentatively due to its newness and some growing pains with its payout schedule (now resolved!)… we’ve now reached the second milestone of $400/month. As promised, I have now implemented an option for patrons to view the MU site ad-free.

Because I lack the capability of directly integrating the site and Patreon, there are two steps here. The first is that you must register an account on this site. You don’t have to be a patron to register. Registration provides some element of authentication since no one else can be signed in with your name, and it may result in fewer of your comments being stuck in moderation, especially if you browse from many different locations.

I’ll be comparing new accounts’ email addresses to my Patreon sponsor list and enabling ad-free viewing on ones that match. If you’re not on Patreon, you can get in on this for as little as $1/month. It doesn’t matter if you register on Tales of MU first or sign up for Patreon first. When I get a new account in either place, I’ll check it against the other.

The way Patreon works for those who haven’t been following it is that you pledge an amount of support every month. At the start of the month,y our pledge is processed and a few days later the processed pledges come to me. In addition to the perk of ad-free viewing, I post works in progress to my Patreon stream and give patrons access to my newsletter and story archive, which contains all my self-published material in text and HTML form. I have been a little gunshy around Patreon again because of various glitches and hitches as they were a very new service when I signed up, but they’ve grown and I’ve grown on them, and I’m going to be taking more advantage of the Patreon stream in 2015 for things like private Q&A sessions, world-building fluff, and writing workshops.

Some of these will be open to everyone (COME ONE, COME ALL, COME SEE WHAT YOU’RE MISSING!), some will be patron-only.

Third item of business: while I’m focusing on building more Patreon support as a solution for my long-term financial needs, new pledges don’t do much to alleviate immediate needs. I am in a bit of a crunch after my November troubles, and I could really use some immediate support.

More than that just getting out of the current hole, I would like to be able to start the new year with a greater degree of financial security, something that can only happen if I have some padding in my bank account. With the family health stuff going on, I have more than enough stressful things I can’t control taking up space in my head while I’m trying to sit here and think about air ships and elves and nymphs. There’s also the fact that things are more expensive when you don’t have a lot of money to begin with. I’m paying higher monthly rates for a lot of essential services that offer discounted annual packages, plus the ever-present threat of overdraft and late fees. If I can get to the point where I’m not paying any important bills month to month, life will be less stressful.

I am still fulfilling perks from my moving fundraiser, bit by bit (the last two OTs being part of this)… if I could go back in time and give myself one tip, it would have been to think of the move and subsequent adjustments as a year-long thing instead of something that would happen once and then be over. While I’m still digging out of that, I can’t commit to writing more stories or making and mailing things out as fundraiser perks.

Here’s what I can do. I don’t usually read the comments on my own writing, but while setting up the sign-in stuff I saw some of the discussion on the last Other Tales between people delving into the worldbuilding and mythology of the MUniverse, which is actually a topic I have some small amount of interest in, if you can believe that.

After a long struggle with insecurity and stage fright, I have finally gotten over my fear of speaking into recording devices. So for every $100 I bring in before the end of the year in donations, I will record myself discussing a topic of history, worldbuilding, or lore (note: these are not hard and fast categories, I say all three to make it more open-ended) in the MUniverse.

I’ll let the community throw out ideas for what I should discuss, though I’ll make the selections and in some cases it will be based on what I’m ready to reveal or find not. If you personally contribute $100 all by yourself? You can pick a topic, plus I’ll give the community a pick. I won’t talk recent personal history of characters in the main line story. “What’s the real deal with Acantha?” or “Please confirm Character X is evil.” isn’t world building. If your proposed topic is too spoilery for me to say much, I’ll give you the choice of me talking around it so you can maybe get some more background information, or you choosing another topic.

Most of these recordings will be done in audio, a sort of MU podcast, though I may do some on YouTube as I’ve been working on getting my video recording stuff set up.

I’ve put the donations I’ve already received this week up in a counter on the site, replacing the bonus story bank. I’ll do another Other Tale this weekend, though after that we hit the holidays and I’ll need a break. I will simply be taking the week of Christmas off as it’s kind of an important one for my family this year. Thank you for your understanding.

Feel free to use the comments on this post to throw out topics, though bear in mind that without your contributions, they’ll just sit there.


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15 Responses to “Ad-Free For Patrons and Year-End Fundraiser Push”

  1. zeel says:

    Awesome! And first post as a site member, cool. . .

    May I suggest that registered users no longer be restricted to 5 minutes to edit?

    Oh cool, the dashboard lists all recent comments (across posts), convenient.

    Current score: 0
    • I’ll be looking at solutions for that, but it’s possible I’ll have to change comment plugin to one that requires login. Which would be okay since anyone can register now; the plugin I’m using now is kind of kludgy, in my opinion, since it had to get around the lack of registration.

      Current score: 0
      • Nocker says:

        I have no idea how much work this’d take on your end, or how it turned out from your apparent last foray, but have you considered forums as an option by any chance?

        A lot of older chapters have a link saying “talk about this on the forums!” then link to a site that hasn’t got any but a years old promise to put some in. It’d resolve the issue of comment threads and expiry quite handly since that’s where more persistant and lengthy comments usually go anyway.

        Current score: 0
        • zeel says:

          There have been at least two MU forums over the years. Both died. Unfortunately the MU community is either too small, or not vocal enough to sustain one.
          (well I assume the second one died, I forgot where it was and there are no links anywhere. . .)
          Forums are clearly better than comment sections, especially when we get threads like last OT going. The issue is that for whatever reason previous attempts have just sort of. . . collapsed. It devolves into threads that are just two people arguing.

          What we really need is new readers, especially more talkative ones. This would make a forum viable again, and obviously be good for business all around.

          Therefore I suggest a Patreon goal: At some amount start advertising, like a lot.

          Current score: 0
          • Also on the subject of advertising: as soon as I’m not skating by month to month any more (which more Patreon plus more ebook sales is inching me towards), my advertising income is going to go back to being my advertising budget instead of my emergency funds.

            I also have some promotion plans for 2015 that I think will do some good things.

            Current score: 0
            • Nocker says:

              MU strikes me as one of those things you could probably try making work for you rather than you it.

              Have you considered taking to Kickstarter or Indiegogo for something like a MU tabletop? You’ve been doing Game Design over on livejournal so you could probably make that or some other system work for you. All you’d really need to do is just rearrange stuff you’ve already written down into a playable system and you’re good to go.

              Current score: 0
        • Yeah, I’ve been removing the outdated forum links from old chapters as I compile them for ebooks. I don’t have any intention of hosting a forum again; it’s too demanding. If someone wants to take responsibility for a fan forum, I woudln’t mind linking to it, just as long as it doesn’t reflect negatively on me and my work (i.e., no reddit-style temples of free speech at all cost.)

          Years ago some people from the original MU forums set up an unofficial one, but that was at a time period when my memory problems were at their worst and so I don’t have any clue who specifically was involved in it or where it was, much less if it’s still running.

          (To the related question of if I’ll try to revive a MU wiki: also nope. Too much heavy lifting for me to do while also writing the story. But I would fully support a true fan-driven wikia or something.)

          Current score: 0
          • zeel says:

            You don’t happen to have any backups of that Wiki do you?

            As to the forum, I would love to try it out if anyone else want’s to give me a hand. I don’t have the time to dedicate to doing a one man show though.

            Current score: 0
            • I think I can still download the database from it, which you might be able to import into a wikimedia-based wiki if it’s not too far out of date. But one of the problems is that I didn’t have the resources to keep security patches and things up to date so it was spammed to heck and back. I don’t know how many of the articles are anything but ads for sexual enhancement pills.

              Current score: 0
  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m subscribed to you through Paypal — should I switch to Patreon if I want to access the ad-freeness, or are you crosschecking email addresses? Is one or the other better for you?

    Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      You should go to Patreon for the bonus content alone.

      Current score: 1
    • Jennifer, I saw your registration and I almost added you without checking because I know you’re a supporter, but then I realized you’re on PayPal.

      I tell you, I was and am tempted to say that I don’t care where the support is, just that it’s there, but the reality is that PayPal requires so much more maintenance and bookkeeping than Patreon does, and it doesn’t have anything so nice and orderly as Patreon’s patron manager. If Patreon had existed years ago, I would have started over there instead of ever getting into PayPal subscriptions.

      So reluctantly, I have to say that this is a Patreon-only perk, though you’re more than welcome to switch. Thank you!

      Current score: 1
      • Jennifer says:

        OK, swap I shall! Not actually a problem or anything, just need to take the time to actually do it…

        Current score: 1
  3. zeel says:

    Wow, the bank is almost double full.

    Current score: 0
  4. Arancaytar says:

    Oops, my emails didn’t match. Luckily WP let me change it.

    Current score: 0