Become a Member

Your patronage helps me write empowering stories for kids and make newsletters, podcasts, and more for creative practitioners. In short: Your support helps me do more of what I do best. All memberships come with the same benefits; they’re scaled according to ability to give.

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Why memberships?

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 work 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. A good example is See You on the Bookshelf, a podcast I produced about the making of See You in the Cosmos. As far as time, effort, and reach 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, – 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.

Member benefits.

In addition to the above, your support covers basic operating expenses – domains, hosting, and various digital tools and software subscriptions (in 2021, these costs average ~$190/month). Your support also lets me devote time to nice-to-haves for readers. Member-supported initiatives from the past include:

  • A more-browseable Sunday Letter archive that surfaces tags and “best of” letters from the last seven years.
  • Full transcripts of all the episodes/interviews of See You on the Bookshelf.

And with enough member support, I’d love to tackle broader-timescale projects like:

  • An audio podcast for my Sunday Letter.
  • A detailed write-up (small book?) of how I manage my finances as a full-time author, especially in planning and budgeting to smooth out irregular income.
  • 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 updates on member-funded initiatives and previews of works-in-progress. The latter will involve things that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with a broader audience before completion. Once or twice a year, I also hold a couple weeks of one-on-one office hours chats with members, which I will continue doing until it’s no longer sustainable.

If you would like to contribute a different amount, or if you’re a university student of limited means (I’ve been there!) and would like a free membership, email me.