Why I chose Ko-Fi to replace Patreon

Today is the last day of my How to Write a Novel launch, so I’m pulling this post from an email that just went out. I apologize for duplicating, but this needs to go to all my folks, and this is….

Efficient. Today, I need that.

Quick catch-up if you missed it.

I left Patreon.

When I left, I had no plan. I only knew that I could NOT stay on Patreon.

Within minutes of that first email going out, though, folks from my email list were sending me recommendations, and I checked out every single one of them.

Thank you very, very much.

One of them fit me — what I’m doing, the way I prefer to work.

Which is as follows:

  • I pay for the service. Me. JUST me.
  • The money folks pay to support me comes to me. Just me.

Here’s why that matters: 

When the person receiving the benefits of the service is also the person paying for the service, the service provider is on the hook to be honest, ethical, and competent, or lose the customer. This is the way Ko-Fi works.  I am Ko-Fi’s customer, it is my Service Provider. The relationship is very simple.

When the person receiving the benefits of the service is the bait that draws in people who pay for the service, and all the company has to do to keep money coming in is hold on to its bait, the people lured in to help the bait are not customers. They are sheep to be sheared by the company, which keeps its bait dependent on its services (such as they are) and maintains the bait’s captive audience, misusing them in any way it chooses for as long as the bait needs the funding… until someone spots the flaw. This is Patreon’s model, and I was Patreon’s bait.

A good number of folks supporting me on Patreon were only there because I was there, and they did NOT like the fees Patreon charged them to support me. I didn’t like them either, but that was the only way I knew. Now I have something better.

If you’re here as my reader and you would like to fund me, you can do that here: https://ko-fi.com/hollylisle

So what else is good about Ko-Fi besides the fact that it will not charge the folks who support you?

  • The free account is really free. I started with the free account, but there were already folks asking for ways to create a monthly subscription. You have to have the paid account for that, so I upgraded almost immediately.

The paid account creates a direct connection between you as the creator and Ko-Fi. You pay them, and they make not a single dime off your patrons — so their board of directors, if they ever decide to have one, CANNOT look at the folks supporting your work as sheep to be fleeced (Patreon’s business model). The Gold benefits are much nicer than anything Patreon offered.

Gold allows me to offer a base support level (in my case, the suggested one-time payment of $3) but ALSO lets folks decide if they want to make that monthly, if they want to pay with a credit card instead of Paypal, and they can increase the amount to whatever they want (in multiples of your baseline cup of coffee) using the little plus and minus buttons. Every single person who comes in to fund you gets to exactly personalize their level of support. Which is just freaking awesome.You can create rewards. I’m still struggling trying to figure out what those might be. I don’t want to go with raw first draft fiction this time. So… Ideas? If you’ve got one, just reply to this email and let me know.

  • If you go Gold, you get a “magic link.” (An affiliate link, but someone over there likes the word ‘magic.’)

My Ko-Fi “Magic Link” – If you are a content creator and you “go gold” using this link, you’ll save 10% permanently. This is an AFFILIATE link, which means Ko-Fi will pay me $3 for each person who signs up using that link. I offer the link because if you decide Ko-Fi is a good fit for you as a creator, the 10% discount will help you, and the three bucks will help me.

But I know there are folks opposed to affiliate links, so if you want to sign up without using the link above, just go to my plain link: https://ko-fi.com/hollylisle

You can create a free account from there, and see what I’ve done with my page so far.  I’m still figuring out my rewards — there aren’t any yet, but there will be.

This is not a condemnation of any of the services recommended to me that I did not choose. This is only me letting you know the direction I did choose, and why Ko-Fi stood out as something that fits my needs and my preferences.

To all of the folks who leapt in with “take a look at this,” THANK YOU. You are amazing, and wonderful, and I’m deeply grateful.


P.S. I’m hoping someone will have a great idea for a simple, inexpensive, not-massively-time-consuming idea I could offer as a reward for folks funding me.  If you have such an idea, please reply below.

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16 responses to “Why I chose Ko-Fi to replace Patreon”

  1. Vi Avatar

    Could you do the comparison between Kofi and Buy Me A Coffee, please? Which one do you choose? Thanks!

  2. Lori Avatar

    Hi Holly, I was doing a search for reviews for Ko-fi and there you were. 🙂 … first up congratulations on your booklist. Very impressive. 🙂
    So, back to Ko-fi. I like what I read on their website, but I had the same question there as I did with Patreon, and that is about granting rights. This is what Ko-fi says …’You retain all of your ownership rights in your content but you grant us and other users of our site a limited licence to use, store and copy that content and to distribute and make it available to third parties.’
    I’m going to query them as to what ‘limited licence’ actually amounts to, is it ‘fair use’ for extracts, that sort of thing. Have you had any engagement with Ko-fi about them using your work for this purpose?

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      They use only what I post on the site for them to use. I don’t do the same sorts of bonuses I did for Patreon, so they don’t have access to my fiction.

  3. Kirsten Avatar

    I left this idea over at Ko-Fi, but I’ll put it here as well since there’s a great conversation happening here already. 🙂
    I got this idea from your photo of your work space. I have this weird fascination with artist lofts and all the places where creative work is done.
    I thought about how many of your supporters are creatives themselves: writers, artists, musicians, gardeners, seamstresses, designers … and how in most cases creating is a lonely pursuit. We work in isolation, and especially in the early stages we don’t have much to share that can indicate progress. Other creatives understand this. The rest of the world, not so much.

    What if we could share these bits of our progress, on a regular schedule as you share yours? In a sort of artist’s community?

    More specifically, would there be a way we could each contribute a small image of whatever our work in progress happens to be, along with an image of your own progress, so we could all see where we are at? Then, if we wanted we could collect all these images into one big collage featuring everyone’s little bit- our collective creative journey. You might provide a theme idea for the month, for example what your workspace looks like, or your favorite writing instrument, or favorite accompanying beverage.

    To avoid copyright issues, and to remove any pressure, all this stuff would be in a private setting, just for your supporters, so that not only would we be supporting you and each other but you could support us in our endeavors, whatever they might be, as well.

    Your part in this would be to provide the place to upload our images, and then at the end of the month assemble the images (one per patron) into the collage alongside an image of your own progress. (I can help with that! Maybe something along the lines of the pending Holly’s Writing Classes front page.) The final collage could then be linked digitally and people could print it out from there if they like.

    I’m not sure about the execution and structure as this is still a really rough idea, but I think it would be fun, and something I would be happy to support and be involved with. Feel free to use any part of this idea or adapt it into something that works better for you.

  4. Wednesday Avatar

    Another idea. I follow a personal videos of a romance writer named Hilde McQueen because she’s so much fun to listen to, regardless I don’t write romance. She shares her writing schedules, her planning techniques, her writing space, the calendars and planners and journals she uses, anything surrounding the way she writes and creates. You might consider doing the same, fashioned on your own ways.

    I also remember you mentioning once that you love office products, notebooks, pens Etc. so you could blog about the toys that you use and find that help you write, that sort of thing. Because I’ve yet to find a writer who also doesn’t love not just the used to write, but also the ‘primitive’ analog equipment used to write or outline or create.

    I like the idea of sharing your writers space with us, or the antics of your cat, or just sit and talk to us. Because one thing I’ve noticed about your podcast with Becca is how interesting you are to listen to, when you’re talking about anything.

    Something else you might consider, is talking about how you created a dystopian World, Aura settle space world, or how you happened to start using Minecraft to build parts of your world, or how characters in your novels have given you fits… things readers as well as writers would like to just settle in and listen to you tell about.

    1. Weds Avatar

      Apologies for the typos. I’m dictating this in Google Voice, and it sometimes puts out gobbledygook.

    2. Holly Avatar

      “She shares her writing schedules, her planning techniques, her writing space, the calendars and planners and journals she uses, anything surrounding the way she writes and creates. You might consider doing the same, fashioned on your own ways.”

      Already doing that one… My podcast (with my daughter Rebecca) is Alone In a Room With Invisible People

      She’s funding the work she does on the podcast with her own Ko-Fi.

      1. Kirsten Avatar

        One of my favorite parts of the podcast is the beginning, where you and Rebecca talk about what you accomplished in the past week. I love hearing about how you overcome obstacles and make things happen!

  5. Wednesday Avatar

    Opportunity to purchase Holly-writer related stuff on CafePress and the European equivalent of CafePress, with Holly quotes. Like mugs and t-shirts and mouse pads.

    You’d only have to design it once, and you wouldn’t have to ship it, it would mean more revenue for you, and it’s not a members-only perc but hey… It came to mind. Maybe offer a new product discount to those who support you. Then up the price after a certain time.

    I’m a graphic designer as well as a writer, and would donate my time for free to design your stuff. I’m sure you have other readers who are also designers who would do the same. Heck, you can release notebooks and memo pads, Etc.

    Can start the Holly Lisle memorabilia series. Feature artwork from your covers. I don’t even think George RR Martin has done this. Yet.

    If you don’t want to go to the CafePress route, you could do journals on Amazon instead. Writers journals. One journal for every project. Using the Holly Lisle technique.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Those are both truly strange and cool ideas. Thank you.

  6. Amelia Avatar

    I really like all of the ideas Johanna had. Especially having sponsors’ names listed in the acknowledgments. For people who aren’t sponsoring large amounts each month, I could definitely understand how signed copies/prints could get expensive, but it would be really cool if sponsors had the opportunity to buy signed version (perhaps with an exclusive stamp or something?) for the price of an unsigned copy.

    I don’t know to what degree this would conflict with sharing published or unpublished work, but something like Cassandra Clare’s “snippets” would be really cool (Usually just a sentence to a couple of paragraphs of something that may or may not end up in the final book, but piques interest in readers).

    1. Holly Avatar

      Having sponsors listed in the Acks is a given. It was the baseline I had on Patreon, and I definitely want to continue that with that.

      As for snippets I do some of that here. Could move it THERE, I suppose…

      1. Johanna Avatar

        Oh, that reminds me of something cool that Cassandra Clare does that I forgot about. Sometimes, she posts scenes on her website that are from an already published story but from a DIFFERENT character’s POV. Obviously that doesn’t help with promotion, but it is a really neat little extra that I enjoy as a fan. She usually does this with her most romantic/sexy scenes, but I think it could work for other types of scenes, too. It’s fun for getting a look inside the head of a secondary character who might be really popular among readers but usually isn’t the POV person in the published work.

  7. Johanna Avatar

    Voting on book covers is fun. Getting a minor minor character named after you could be fun, or maybe just have your name put in the acknowledgements. A signed paperback copy of the book would be cool, or maybe just a signed print of the cover. An invitation to a private stream where people can ask you questions about what you’re writing, or maybe watch a cute little video of your desk/office.

    I always find it kinda neat to see WHERE people do their work. Especially since you have lots of index cards and notebooks and diagrams and other colorful things to get a glimpse of (without spoilers, of course). I also think it could be fun to read your reviews of books you’ve read recently, or games you’ve played, or movies/TV you’ve watched. You have interesting perspectives on story-telling, and I’ve always enjoyed reading what you have to say about other people’s work.

    I don’t know if you want tiered stuff? Like the way people do Kickstarter rewards? But maybe someone could be a guest on your podcast or something. I have no idea what they would say, lol, but maybe if they happen to be an aspiring writer themselves, they’d want to ask you and your daughter questions.

    Hope that’s helpful! Good luck!

    1. Holly Avatar

      I like the idea of a private stream. I like talking to people, and I actually have a pretty nice piece of software that would let me do that with small groups of folks at a time.

      1. Johanna Avatar

        Yeah, I think the exclusivity part of it could be really fun for people. I know that Taylor Swift sometimes hosts very small, intimate gatherings with her biggest fans, and let’s them hear songs from her upcoming album before it’s released.

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