If you’ve been a longtime follower or reader, consider also becoming a member. Your membership helps me write empowering stories for kids and make newsletters, podcasts, and essays for creative practicioners. In short: Your support helps me do more of what I do best.
Publishing income is unpredictable; advances and royalties come in sporadically, depending on how quickly I write new books (and, of course, how well those books do). But the books themselves, if they are to be good, won’t be rushed; they take the time they need to take. In order to sustain myself, particularly through leaner stretches, I do a mix of writing-adjacent things to supplement my income, such as manuscript coaching, talks at conferences and festivals, and visits to schools and libraries.
Your patronage is an essential part of this mix. It’s another species in this ecosystem, and a vital one at that. The benefit is not just the predictability of recurring monthly contributions, but also where those contributions allow me to direct my energies. Projects like my weekly Sunday Letter, or See You on the Bookshelf, a podcast I produced about the making of See You in the Cosmos. As far as time and effort went, this podcast was a pretty inefficient way of promoting the book. But, to me, it needed to exist—for aspiring authors, for those curious about the publishing industry, for fans who’d finished the book and wanted to know more about its making, and for myself, as a way of reflecting on and making sense of those months of my life.
Some of my favorite sites and organizations work largely through patronage—Wikipedia, NPR, kottke.org—and I believe that an artistic practice can work this way, too. We unlock the commons, build a bond of creative interdependence, between me and you; between us and everyone else.
In addition to the above, your support covers basic operating expenses like podcast hosting and newsletter sending (currently totaling ~$40/month), and gives me space to work on both smaller, near-term projects like the following:
- A more-browseable Sunday Letter archive that surfaces “best of” letters from the last seven years.
- Full transcripts of all the episodes/interviews of See You on the Bookshelf.
- A detailed write-up of how I manage my finances as an full-time author, especially in planning and budgeting to smooth out irregular income.
And, with enough member support, broader-timescale ones like:
- Audio versions of new Sunday letters.
- A significantly lengthier follow-up to my widely-shared essay on The Slow Web.
- Other audio-visual projects around the writing and publishing process (oh boy, do I have some ideas here).
Subsidized visits to schools and libraries.
One of the joys of being a children’s writer is getting to interact with students. Author visits, as mentioned before, are also a source of income. But this presents a problem: the schools or libraries that bring in authors are often the ones who can afford to bring in authors. That’s why I do discounted—or in some cases, free—visits to those lacking the resources, but on rare occasions I have had to turn down visits because I couldn’t make the numbers and travel costs work. Your support will also go toward subsidizing these visits; enable me to both earn my standard rate, and reach students I wouldn’t otherwise reach.
Other perks and details.
Members will be added to an occasional mailing list for future purposes. (I have some thoughts about these purposes, but for now I’d rather not overpromise—at the very least it’ll include early beta access to new projects). If you want to contribute a different amount, or in a different way, email me.