How to be a writer on Patreon ~ You can absolutely be a writer and make money on Patreon!
In fact, making money as a writer is much easier than you think. Patreon is no different—as long as you know the secrets that I’m going to share in this article.
Patreon is “a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid.” The website boasts 20,000 users worldwide.
Here are the simple steps you can take to become a writer on Patreon: Sign up for a free account, set your pricing tiers, choose what to publish and offer, and engage regularly with your Patreon community. It’s free to join, but Patreon does take a small percentage of your monthly earnings.
It’s surprisngly simple to set up and start making money on Patreon. In this ultimate guide, I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, and answer the most common questions creatives have when starting their Patreon journey.
Here’s what you’ll get by reading the rest of this post:
- The complete process for how to be a writer on Patreon
- Insider tips for how to make even more money on Patreon
- Mistakes beginners make on Patreon (so that you can avoid them!)
Sit back, relax, and let’s talk about how to be a successful writer on Patreon.
Suggested read: How to Become a Writer for SNL
How To Start a Patreon
Your first step is to set up a free Patreon account. I’m going to walk you through the process with screenshots that show you exactly what to do.
Before you start, I highly suggest you spend some time on Patreon studying accounts by other writers and authors. This is by far the best way to figure out what kind of Patreon account you want to create and how to customize the platform for your needs.
First, here’s a quick overview:
- Go to Patreon.com.
- Click the red “Get Started Button” in the center of the screen.
- Complete the signup page.
- Select the categories that best describe your content.
- Select whether or not your content will contain adult themes.
- Choose your preferred currency.
- Select whether or not you want to offer merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, etc).
- Choose a social media account to connect to your Patreon to get a custom URL.
Now, Let’s look at a series of screenshots to walk you through each major step.
Go to Patreon and click “Get Started.”
Next, fill out the signup page or click “Sign up with Google”. I recommend signing up with Google to save time.
Next, select the categories that best describe your content. I would choose “writing and journalism” and “communities” or “videos”. You can also choose “other.”
Next, select whether or not your content will include adult images or themes.
Then select the currency you prefer. Since I’m in the U.S. at this point, I’d select US dollars.
Next, select whether or not you want to offer merchandise. I suggest that you say, “Yes.” Why not offer a way for your community to connect with you, market your brand, and support your work?
Finally, connect a social media account to your Patreon to get a custom URL. You definitely want a custom Patreon URL for brand purposes. Select the social media account of your choice. If you have one, I suggest that you connect your YouTube channel to your Patreon.
Congratulations! You now have a Patreon. Now you can customize your account to promote your personal brand, content, and work.
Here’s a video with lots of great tips for setting up your Patreon account:
Best Practices for Customizing Your Patreon Account
I highly recommended that you completely fill out your Patreon profile. This means adding an appropriate profile image, writing a description of your account, choosing your custom URL, and uploading a short intro video.
I suggest that your intro video uses good lighting (even natural lighting if you don’t have fancy lights), good resolution, and good audio. You can even create an intro video that doesn’t include your face. Instead, your video might consist of graphics, screen recordings, or an animation.
Be creative, authentic, and introduce new patrons to your content.
Your video intro options:
- Trailer format
- Show off content or a project
- Introduce who you are as a creator
Again, studying the accounts and intro videos of other creators is the best way to learn.
Here are a few examples of excellent intro videos:
There are also a few things you probably want to avoid in your video:
- Avoid long videos
- Avoid unfocused or meandering stories or background
- Avoid overly personal sharing
- Avoid begging or pleading
Part of customizing your account is choosing payment tiers. Basically, patrons progressively pay you more with each tier, usually for additional content or access to you.
That brings us to how you get paid as a Patreon writer. Let’s talk more about the money!
How Writers Make Money on Patreon
As you customize your Patreon account, you will choose how you want your patrons to pay—monthly or by each piece of content. Monthly “subscriptions” are the most popular form of payment method. I highly recommend you choose the monthly option to create an ongoing, sustainable income as a writer on Patreon.
On your account, go to the “Getting Paid” tab. Once you get there, you can choose how you want to get paid. Note that you must completely set up your account (profile pictures, about you section, etc.) to be eligible to get receive payments.
Under the current model, you can choose between three pricing plans: lite, pro, and premium. You can sign up for any plan for free, however, Patreon offers more tools to creators in the pro and premium plans.
Patron also gets a bigger cut of your earnings with certain plans:
- Patreon takes 5% of your earnings with the Lite plan
- Patreon takes 8% of your earnings with the Pro plan
- Patreon takes 12% of your earnings with the Premium plan.
I suggest you start with the Lite plan and build from there. You can also change your plan as you grow your Patreon community. I also suggest that you move to the Pro plan as soon as possible, as the Pro plan allows you to create “tiers”. Tiers are different options for your patrons to support you. Typically, you provide more content or access for higher tiers. Patrons also pay more for higher tiers.
You can make money in so many different ways on Patreon. It’s helpful to consider all of the different ways—and experiment with a few—before going all-in on any one method.
As a writer, you can make money on Patreon by:
- Releasing chapters of a book
- Exclusive content (blog posts, articles, books, videos, webinars, etc.)
- Names in published work (including digital works)
- Podcasts and audio recordings
- One-on-one chats or services with readers
- Exclusive insider or behind-the-scenes information
- Personal access to you and your services
A few cool things to note is that your Patreon supporters can pay monthly for access to you and your work. You can creatively offer all sorts of freebies and extras.
Some authors even use Patreon to get paid to write the first draft of their novels that they plan to later publish in full on other platforms.
Here is how a few authors make money on the platform:
- Nicole Dieker of The Write Life makes $355.00 per month from 46 patrons who get access to a new chapter of her book each week.
- Jenna Moreci offers early access to YouTube videos, suggestion boxes, and access to an exclusive writing community on Discord. She makes $1,845 per month with 572 patrons.
- Tim Pratt offers exclusive excerpts to future projects, audio recordings, and signed and illustrated short story chapbooks. He makes $722.00 per month with 210 patrons.
- Other notable authors, writers, and journalists on Patreon.
How Much Money Can Writers Make on Patreon?
You certainly can make a ton of money.
If you already bring an existing community to the platform, you can easily make hundreds or thousands per month. A side income stream is definitely possible, as is a full-time income that you develop over time. However, Patreon is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a legitimate membership site for monetizing a community of fans around you and your content.
With that said, your earning potential is almost unlimited.
Throughout this post, I’ll share examples of how much specific writers make on Patreon. I hope this inspires you to launch your account.
Here are two quick examples:
- N. K. Jemisin makes $5,000 per month with 1,445 patrons.
- Laurie Penny makes $3,000 per month with 628 patrons.
Patreon Tier Ideas for Writers
Author and YouTuber Emily Harvey shares her thoughts and best tips for making money on Patreon:
Here is a list of tier ideas for writers:
- Access to published work
- Access to unpublished work
- Letters from characters
- Use a patron’s name as a character in a future story
- Extra or bonus material
- Personalized stories
- Signed copies of books
- Video greetings
- Early peaks at future works
- Collaborate with patrons on a story idea
- Author podcast
- Character interviews
- Downloadables (templates, tip sheets, etc.)
- Diary entries from characters
- Physical products
Here are a few suggestions for pricing your tiers from Crowd Crux:
- $1-$3 for exclusive content or digital subscriptions.
- $5-$10 for behind-the-scenes content, print photos, webinars, and live Q&As.
- $10+ for early access to future content, live one-on-ones, coaching, custom content like artwork, etc.
According to Patreon, three tiers is enough to build a solid membership community.
Can you make a free tier?
There is no current way to create a free tier. The minimum pledge is $1. You can choose to provide as much content as you want for even a minimal fee.
How do you get paid on Patreon?
You can set up a direct deposit into your bank account through Stripe. You can also set up payment through Payoneer, Paypal, or certain credit cards.
Patreon pays you monthly, usually around the 4th or 5th of the month.
How To Publish on Patreon
You can easily publish on Patreon.
Here are the simple steps:
- Go to the Posts section of your account.
- Click on “New”.
- Choose a post type (text, video, image, audio, live stream, link, or poll)
- On this page, you can create or upload your content.
- You can also select which of your tiers has access to your content.
- Finally, you hit the “Publish now” button.
How Often Should You Post?
Each creator decides how often to post. The most important aspect of posting is to choose a schedule and stick to your schedule. Consistent posting of valuable content is how you grow your Patreon community.
I suggest that you start by posting at least monthly, and weekly if possible.
That way you build up a regular fanbase around your content. As you grow, you can change your publishing schedule to fit your current needs and goals for the platform. You can even poll your patrons to see how often they prefer content.
You may be surprised that they want content more or less frequently—or even different forms of content.
Before we hop off this section, I would caution you to create a schedule that doesn’t intrude on your writing time. Creating new content for Patreon, or any other platform, is the first priority. See if you can upcycle existing content, combine past projects, or turn past content into new mediums—such as convert text into an audio recording or video.
Pro Tips For Maximizing Your Patreon Potential
There are certain “insider” hacks for maximizing your earnings as an artist on Patreon. I’ve collected the best tips here so that you can get a head start as soon as you launch.
Prime Your Launch
The most successful launches usually require some planning and build-up for a few days, weeks, or months before you hit the “Launch” button.
How do you build momentum for your launch?
- Create content before you launch.
- Select a day to launch (I suggest that you give yourself at least 30 days).
- Share your launch date on social media.
- Share your launch date on your email list.
- Share your launch date on your YouTube channel.
- Tease the content you will provide during the period right before you launch.
Writers often ask, “When should I launch?” There’s no clear answer to this question, but I suggest that you launch right away and start building your community. If you wait until you have 20K followers on social media, you might leave lots of money on the table.
As an account creator, you have the option to set goals. You can set earnings goals or community building goals. It’s completely up to you which kind of goal you want to establish.
Some creators ignore goals, but I suggest that you leverage them.
Many patrons enjoy goals because they serve as a way to “team up with” the creator to accomplish something. It’s a way for them to connect with you by helping you reach targeted numbers. People like targets, so don’t skimp on your goals.
You can set low or high goals. I suggest that you set lower goals in the hundreds when you first start your account. Why? Because you will reach these lower goals quicker, allowing you to create “early wins” for you and your budding community.
Each time you reach a goal, you can celebrate with your patrons.
As your community grows, raise your goals higher and higher. This creates constant tension (positive tension) for your community. Trust me, it works!
Videos are an excellent way to create even more connections with your audience. Written content is wonderful, but video provides an extra layer of intimacy because it shows your face and voice. You can also demonstrate a product or service more easily on video.
You can make simple videos with you webcam or phone. If you have an nice camera, even better.
We’ve already talked about your intro video, but you can release other kinds of videos, too:
- Book or excerpt readings
- Book signings
- Character backstories
- Show locations from the book (cheaper than travel lol)
Link a Community Building App
You may be thinking, “I thought Patreon was for building community?” You are right, but other apps like Discord will provide you even more exclusive access and interaction with your community.
You can even offer access to this exclusive community through one of the payment tiers on Patreon. That way, you earn money from offering this deeper connection with your community. In the community app, you can answer questions, offer even more content, and otherwise interact with your patrons.
As a bonus, you now have an “audience” outside of Patreon. You can bring that audience anywhere—your personal website, email list, YouTube channel, etc. Even if Patreon (the company) goes out of business, you still have your audience.
Experiment with Different Rewards
You can change the rewards you offer at any time. One best practice with Patreon is to experiment with your rewards, especially when your account is new.
Test out different rewards and tier structures. Keep what works and ditch what doesn’t work. YouTuber Aaron Rutten says this is one of his keys to getting three times as many patrons. You may be surprised at what works for you.
For example, Aaron took something he had previously offered for free elsewhere, updated it, and then offered it on Patreon. That’s when he saw his most explosive growth. So, it’s not always that you need to create new content. Sometimes, you may be missing an opportunity to update and use something that already exists.
As usual, it’s also a great idea to poll your audience about what they want. Try to send out an audience poll at least once or twice a year.
Patreon For Fanfiction Writers
One interesting way to make money on Patreon is to write fanfiction. Many fanfiction authors use Patreon as a repository for donations. Believe it or not, some fanfiction authors make thousands of dollars per month.
Here are some examples of fanfiction writers on Patreon:
What do fanfiction authors offer? Preference in Q&As, access to stories, access to Discord, special badges, shout outs in videos, and unreleased content.
Disclaimer: Some writers caution against fanfiction on Patreon because of potential copyright laws.
Fantasy Writers on Patreon
There are all kinds of writers on Patreon from nearly every genre. No matter what you write, you can make money on the platform. Fantasy is no exception.
Check out the list of fantasy writers below. It’s a good idea to study their profiles, their tiers, and what they offer to their community.
Fantasy writers on Patreon:
- Ari Marmell
- Chris Vines
- Author C. Swallow
- Chris Vines
- MonsterBait ~ Author C.M. Nascosta
- Harry Conolly
Patreon For Poetry
What about poetry? Can you make money on Patreon as a poet? Absolutely.
There are many poets on Patreon. And some are making truckloads of money each month. That’s exciting because many platforms don’t work well for poetry.
Check out this case study. Although Leena Norms does not share how much she is making each month, her account page lists that she has 2001 patrons. She uses a “price per project” model with a minimum $1 fee. As of this writing, she has posted five times in the last month.
With a little creative calculation, you can see how she might very easily bring in hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month. If only 25% (500) of her patrons bought all five projects, she earned approximately $2501.25. If 50% (1000) of her patrons bought them, she earned around a whopping $5,000.00
Examples of poets on Patreon:
Summary of How to Be a Writer on Patreon
Since this is a long post, here’s a quick summary of the best tips:
- Study the accounts of popular artists on Patreon in your same genre or niche
- Create a Patreon account
- Fill out your complete profile
- Create a welcome video
- Create content for your account before you launch
- Select your pricing tiers
- Build up to your launch for at least 30 days
- Experiment with different rewards
- Publish consistently
- Link your account to a community-building app like Discord
- Poll your community a few times per year
Thanks for reading this article. I have lots of articles about making money online as a writer, so please check those out before you go.
Here are a few posts I personally recommend:
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