Hello, I write choral music (YouTube playlist)
which I share online for free
, and this is funded by my kind supporters at Patreon
. I've been on Patreon for three years, and it has changed the way I work significantly. In this post I'm going to talk a bit about trying to increase my income, but I don't want it to sound as if I'm ungrateful to my existing patrons! They are all lovely and I am very thankful for their support.
I spent some time this afternoon setting up Hootsuite to tweet links to my work again, and it occurs to me that I'm possibly going about it the wrong way. I currently have a whole long list of tweets and use auto-schedule to put them in, then edit them to spread them out a bit more so I'm not just spamming people constantly.
That's fine -- but I usually link to each piece of music once per cycle, and a cycle takes around a week and a half.
It strikes me that it might be better to link to each piece of music two or three times per day for a set number of days, possibly as long as a week for the ones that have broader appeal/catchy tunes. This is because the signal:noise ratio on Twitter is really quite bad, and the 2500-ish people who follow me there are not going to see something if I only post it once. I would have to re-jig the wording a lot more because duplicate tweets tend to get rejected by Twitter, but this may actually be a feature rather than a bug.
Another advantage to the style I'm considering, of course, is that I can then focus on seasonally-appropriate pieces: both at the time they are relevant, and three, six and nine months beforehand (when people are planning repertoire, essentially; while they tend to do this in batches, some work a term ahead, some half a year, and so on). And more people singing my music means the sheet music gets in front of more people, and at least with my newer works, that means more people find out about my Patreon, and that's good.
So, I'm probably going to try this. I'll need to make a calendar, figure out when my various works are relevant and work backward from there to figure out when to link to the demo tracks.
If you use Hootsuite or another social media scheduling app, what have you found is the optimum amount of repetition for a link to a specific work of yours?
A second thing I'm thinking about: Patreon now has an option to hide the total pledge amount from would-be patrons. I'm wondering if I need to do this; have I hit a sort of ceiling where people think "oh, she gets about $306 for each new work, that's more than enough", and don't pledge? If I'm going to be a composer full-time, I need quite a lot more than this; currently I struggle to complete a new work each month. I'd like to get my teeth into longer works, but my time for that is limited when I'm trying to finish something each month so I can get paid; and I don't want to go too far toward really really short works (psalm chants and hymns) because right now I'm doing a PhD and it's important to maintain at least some reputation as A Serious Composer, and in my corner of the musical world that means not too much hymnody. I could rant about why this is wrong, but it won't change the situation.
Now, composers have almost always had the sort of "portfolio career" where they are doing all kinds of other stuff too, and I don't expect to be very different; my work is rather niche, and I'm not going to have the kind of success of someone with two orders of magnitude more twitter followers, for example. But what I'm trying to figure out is whether people are making a judgement about what I deserve to receive rather than what they're willing/able to contribute, and whether being less open about my income would help with that. Another option is talking a lot more about how much work composing actually is, but that runs the danger of getting whiny.
More data would hep me decide what to do! Do you reveal your crowdfunded income? Why or why not? Do you think people who could aren't pledging because my work is a bit too niche, or because I appear to be doing well enough already? I'll probably wait until 2018 to actually decide what to do about this, because I want to see if the planned change in tweeting habits makes a difference; but I'm interested in your experiences and ideas.