We all know that special interest subjects need the support of their communities to survive, so here is a guest post from Katharine Kavanagh, a fellow writer who publishes the only English language website dedicated to circus critique, TheCircusDiaries.com.
‘I started writing The Circus Diaries as a solo blog in 2013 because I was fed up of never being able to find any information on the subjects I was interested in - contemporary circus. I was amazed by how many other people obviously felt the same frustration, as my viewing numbers went up very quickly and now, four years on, are at around 4500 views a month. Not bad for such a niche subject!
What started as a hobby has gradually taken over my life and, when people ask me what I do now, I tell them I’m a circus writer. The difficulty is, how to make such a career pay?
It’s really important to me to keep the site ad-free to avoid any perceived conflict of interests if I had to review a company or performer who also paid to advertise (I like to think I’d be fair, of course, but people might not see it that way and it could affect my reputation). I don’t want to put up a paywall for the service, as it was a desire for open access information that inspired me to get started in the first place.
So, what to do…
I figured that, if this was a service that people get benefit from - and the hit rates, comments and thank-you emails confirm they do - then perhaps these people might be willing to pay for the service, like you would a traditional magazine subscription? The solution was Patreon. Regular readers can contribute towards the costs of producing the content that they enjoy, whilst the one-off web wanderer can still find the articles and reviews for free.
Patreon is crowd-funding with a difference - there’s not a one-off goal to achieve, but an ongoing relationship based upon production of relevant and interesting content.
Of course, I’m always looking for more Patrons, and the minimum pledge is only $1 (about 80p to those of us in the UK!). You can cancel at any time if you don’t think you’re getting value for your money - or, on the other hand, you can increase your subscription accordingly!
If you’ve not heard of this platform before, why not sign up and check it out? If creatives can’t help each other out, how can we expect anyone else to?’
To see how it all works, sign up for circus updates direct to your inbox at https://www.patreon.com/thecircusdiaries