Jeff & Will kick off this episode discussing the comments they got from members of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast community about authors offering subscriptions.
Authors Charlie Cochet and Victoria Sue discuss the creative freedoms and community engagement that they have found since beginning their subscriptions. They also share details on upcoming projects, and offer book recommendations.
Look for the next episode of Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Monday, February 12.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Discover MM on Ream (runs February 2 – March 2, 2024)
- Jeff Adams on Ream
- Charlie Cochet & Victoria Sue Interview
- Charlie Cochet on Patreon
- Victoria Sue on Ream
- Dario-Wicked Legacies by Victoria Sue
- Rebel Without a Claus by Charlie Cochet
- Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1) by Charlie Cochet
- The Last Alpha by Victoria Sue (exclusively on Ream)
- THIRDS: Beyond the Books Volume 1 by Charlie Cochet
- The Omega Thief by Victoria Sue (pre-order until March 5 2024)
- One Step Sideways (Enhanced World Security) by Victoria Sue (pre-order until May 1, 2024)
- Pick Me (Sunday Brothers Book 1) by May Archer
- Collide (Shades of Trouble Book 1) by Kitty Cox
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast Links
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Coming up on this episode, we’re talking to authors Charlie Cochet and Victoria Sue about the benefits they offer to readers through subscriptions.
Will: Welcome to episode 446 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of queer romance fiction. I’m Will, and with me, as always, is my co-host and husband, Jeff.
Jeff: Hello, Rainbow Romance Reader. It’s great to have you back for another episode of the show.
As always, this podcast is brought to you in part by our remarkable community on Patreon. Thanks to Brianna for recently joining the community. If you’d like more information about what we offer to patrons, including the opportunity to ask questions to our guests, just like Kati and RegencyFan do in this very episode, go to Patreon.com/BigGayFictionPodcast.
Will: Now, as we get started this week, we’ve got a promotion that we’re excited to tell you about that’s happening on the Ream platform. Several m/m authors have joined together for a Discover M/M on Ream promo. This is a great opportunity to discover authors who have started communities on Ream while also getting to sample some of their stories. There are more than a dozen authors and perhaps some of them will be new to you. We certainly found some new ones that we’re excited to check out. Now, this promo runs from February 2nd to March 2nd, so you’ve got 30 days to check it out. You can find details on the BookFunnel page at BigGayFictionPodcast.com/ream, or just use the links in the show notes.
Jeff: I’m really excited to be part of this promo alongside some other queer romance authors who are also on Ream. I announced in the last episode that I launched my community there, and you could follow me at ReamStories.com/JeffAdams to get some free short stories and even check out a new work in progress that I’m writing. Plus there’s some fun Valentine’s Day stuff coming up, which I’ll share more about in our next episode.
Subscription Comments from Our Patreon Community
Will: As we were putting together this mini series about communities and subscriptions, it made sense to hear from our podcast community on Patreon to find out if listeners were subscribing to authors and why. And here’s what some of them had to say.
Kati said she subscribes to three authors, two on Patreon and one on Ream. One is because they write bonus scenes, which is exclusive content that you can’t get anywhere else. They also do monthly podcasts about characters or a group of characters. When they have a book launch, they post the first two chapters early. One of the other authors she supports is because the author was going through a difficult time. And she noted that she doesn’t read all of her stuff, but some of her books are her absolute favorites and she rereads them a lot. That author posts chapters as she edits them, and then you get the book for free. The other author she subscribes to, is because she’s impatient and they are posting chapters early on their latest release. Kati also mentioned that none of the authors she follows do swag.
Jeff: Speaking of swag, we had a couple of patrons tell us why they weren’t interested in swag. Mary said that swag was her least favorite perk, and I quote here, “I’m an elder romance reader, so I’m trying to get rid of stuff.”
I feel you on that. Every now and then I find little bits of swag that are in the house from like previous GRL and everything. It’s like, oh my God, there’s so much paper involved here.
Mary was also super sweet and noted the exception of swag was podcast stickers that we happen to have sent out. So we appreciate that you, like our big gay fiction stickers. And, guess what, we were her very first subscription. So we’re glad we got you into the subscription thing, Mary.
Mary also shared why she supports authors with subscription. She does it primarily to support her authors and content providers. She notes that it’s not easy to make a living providing content and books in this economy. And if I want my favorites to keep doing what they love, then I wanna make that happen. I love engaging with them on the various platforms, the sneak peeks, the serials, et cetera. I really enjoy.
Will: RegencyFan is in that group also, and she said she was trying to get rid of things, not accumulate them. She does enjoy subscribing as a way to hear about the author’s writing process and what’s going on in their lives and things like what might be holding up a work in progress. She said, I’m subscribing so that the author can write more books for me to consume later. My intent is that the subscription helps remove some of the money worries so that the person can focus on writing, though I don’t wanna feel like I’m pouring money into a void. And she says that getting the updates is important so that she knows what’s going on.
Jeff: Guin had similar things to say to the others and that it was certainly a benefit to get to know more about the author’s writing process.
We also heard from Dee who does subscribe to podcasts, but so far has not been subscribing to authors. Dee said most of their reading is through audio books that they purchase and early access to chapters wasn’t something that they wanted.
And it’s interesting to see that the responses that we got from our community is actually exactly what we heard from Michael Evans in our last episode when he was talking to us about subscriptions and the Ream platform. He noted subscriptions won’t be for every reader, but for some, the early exclusive access and the ability to support a favorite author was exactly what they wanted to do.
Will: Thanks to Kati, Mary, RegencyFan, Guin, and Dee for sharing their perspectives with us.
Now let’s move on to our conversation with Charlie Cochet and Victoria Sue about their subscription offerings. Charlie is on Patreon and Victoria has her community on Ream. This is a really great discussion as they talk about what they offer to readers and what the response has been to those offerings. They also share how having a subscription community has given them more freedom in their storytelling. And of course, we had to find out what’s coming up from them, and they’ve also got some reading recommendations as well.
Charlie Cochet & Victoria Sue Interview
Jeff: Charlie and Victoria, welcome back to the show. It’s great to have you here.
Charlie: Thank you. It’s so great to be here.
Jeff: Now, even though you’ve both been on the show before, and our listeners probably know who you are. I’d like to get you both to introduce yourselves and in particular, tell us about what your latest book is. And Victoria, we’ll start with you.
Victoria: Hi. I’m Victoria Sue. For those that don’t know me, I’ve been writing gay romance or m/m romance, whatever you wanna call it, for nine years, I think now. And I’ve written in just about every genre imaginable, except cowboys. Don’t do cowboys because I’m a Brit, so we don’t have those. Mind you, having said that, we don’t have werewolf shifters either, and I’m pretty good with my imagination in that manner, so I should be able to do cowboys, but that’s a different subject.
Jeff: Tell us about your latest book. What is your latest out there that folks should pick up?
Victoria: Oh, actually I’ve done something different, and it came out today, it is called “Dario-Wicked Legacies,” and it’s a Mafia romance and it opens on a torture scene. So, I have never written anything like this before. And I think my beta readers are still recovering from it.
Jeff: That’s awesome. See, you could write cowboys one day. You do shifters. You just did mafia.
Victoria: And it is basically the premise is all the heirs to the mafia families, and it’s all about them kind of breaking down the barriers of the old guard La Familia and striking their own path. The first story starts when the guy who is supposed to be taking over finds out that his fiancé, was basically going to step over his dead body as she walked back down the aisle because she’d done a deal with the Irish. And he had to marry into a certain family to fulfill his legacy and to become a boss, the Don. And then he finds out that there’s a surprise half-brother.
Jeff: As there is in many stories.
Victoria: As there is. As there is, and that’s what happened. So, it’s pretty cool. I had such fun writing it, blood and all.
Jeff: Nice. And Charlie, tell us about you and your latest.
Charlie: My latest is like at the complete opposite spectrum of that. My latest was I released four Christmas novellas in the Four King Security universe. So, it was like, it was so much fun because it was just the whole King’s family together under one roof trying to help this town out and shenanigans ensue. So, it’s got all kinds of craziness happening and mischief. And the dogs are there too. So, it’s, it was a lot of fun. It was just madness in the snow.
Jeff: That could be a title in and of itself, madness in the snow.
Charlie: Madness in the snow. Yeah. And it fits. It fits them.
Jeff: Now, of course, we’re here to talk about subscriptions and each of you have started subscriptions. I’m curious, what are you offering readers within your subscriptions and kind of what inspired you to start making those offerings to readers?
Charlie: Well, I’ve been doing reader bonuses for a long time. Lots of reader extras since 2014 when my “THIRDS” series came out. I thought about launching a Patreon years ago when those books were coming out. But I just knew there was, with my schedule, there was no way. And so, I just kind of put it to one side. But as more social media platforms emerged, it was getting harder and harder for me to not be divided into so many places. It was really hard to know where to put what—extras and bonus materials for readers, and how to make it less confusing for them to find it. Because it was like, oh, make this available here and this available here. And then people were like, oh, where’s, where can I find that? And it was just getting to be way too much for me. I’m not a divide my focus into a hundred places in a person. Like I have enough with the characters in my head and the plot bunnies without trying to keep track of 10 different social media platforms.
So, I finally decided I was at a point in my career where launching a Patreon made sense because I could, put together a place for my readers to be all together where they have access to me, where they have access to all different kinds of extras and bonus material where they get to read chapters of the books before they’re released. They get the books once they’re released.
So, there’s all kinds of fun stuff, and there’s extras for all the different tiers. So, I do flash fiction, I do bonus scenes, polls, all kinds of stuff. So, I do it really with the reader in mind and what makes it worth it for them to be there. You know, why would they wanna pay me money every month to be subscribed to this platform. So, I launched in April of last year, 2023. And it’s fantastic. I’m really enjoying it.
Jeff: Victoria, what got you started as a way to connect with readers?
Victoria: I looked at doing something last year, beginning of this year. And I was originally going to look at Patreon because I hadn’t heard of Ream until the beginning of the year. But I eventually went with Ream because. I personally found it easier for readers to find authors that they like on there because it’s just storytellers, that’s all it is.
So that’s why I went in that direction. But why I originally decided to do something was I’ve had a, an active weekly newsletter for five, six years, something like that. And as Charlie said, it’s where do you keep all the extra stuff, the bonus scenes that you write for the books you coming out, the little Christmas fic-lets, the competitions, all that sort of stuff.
So, I love the fact that I’ve got it all in one place and one of the most popular things that my readers love as well is one of my tiers has an exclusive serial. It’s shifters because that’s kind of tends to be what I’m known for. And I’ve promised that serial will never go on KU, it will never be on a resale platform at all, except Ream, which obviously is behind a paywall, and that’s one of the most popular things that I’ve ever done.
They love all the fic-lits. They like, not sure that likes the proper word. Yes, they get early access, but it’s training readers who are used to binge reading an entire book in a couple of hours and then going on something else. And when we’re talking KU whale readers here, which is very heavy in our genre, to read a book in bite-size pieces. And a lot of them, they can’t change that mindset and a lot of them actually wait until I’ve maybe written 10 chapters, or I’ve done the whole book. But they pay because they’re like the extra stuff. The other things they can get as well, that’s the most popular.
And I think that helps to connect with readers. I do an awful lot of polls. I ask for names. I encourage them to comment as I’m writing and say, okay, we’re into the last five chapters here. Is there anything that didn’t make sense? Did you want something else to happen to make it your best story ever? Tell me. I’m not promising that I can do it. They always love that sort of feedback and I think it makes them feel involved.
Charlie: They’re great at catching things. Like I’ve had some readers in Patreon, as I put up chapters, they’re like, oh, by the way, did you realize you did this, or you spelled this, or you misspelled this? And it’s like, nobody else had caught it, but they caught it. And so, I make little notes of all the things that they catch as they read it because they’re reading everything before it’s edited. So, even proofread and everything. I think that’s really fun for them too because as they’re reading, they’re just like, oh my God, did you catch this? Did you catch this? And I’m like, oh no, awesome. Thank you. And I make a note of it so that when I’m going through edits, I can double check that it’s been caught, or fix it. It’s great.
Victoria: I actually changed the direction of a book based on it, some reader feedback. I wasn’t sure at all. So, I asked the readers and absolutely unanimously they wanted it to go in a different direction. So, I did, and I ended up scrubbing 10,000 words, but they were all yeah, come on, give us the new stuff. So worked out for both of us.
Jeff: As you’re putting this stuff up, how edited are you making it? Is it like raw first draft? Or you’ve read it back over and it’s pretty good? Or what state of the stories are the other readers getting from you?
Charlie: Well, I tend to write a very clean first draft because I’m constantly going back and rereading and reediting. So, by the time I finish a chapter, it’s ready for edits and proofing. So, I’m kind of happy that my process works that way, and it works well with the Patreon because once I post that chapter it’s very unlikely that much is gonna change. It will be proofed and edited, but there’s not, there’s usually not gonna be any big rewrites. And then as we go along, if there’s a chapter where it’s just like, ah, this is missing something, then once I’ve sorted that out and I’ve put it in, I’ll go back and put the edited version in so they can re-read it. But usually it’s pretty, it’s a pretty clean first draft. So, I post a chapter once it’s ready.
Victoria: I wish mine was.
Jeff: Me too.
Victoria: Oh, I so wish mine was. One of the fun things that they all like doing is, apart from two of my beta readers who are European, is they know that sometimes the language I use isn’t what an American should say or would say. Even after 10 years, I’m still doing it. And I like to call it my author voice now. But we have so much fun because they even have arguments between each other saying like, well, they might say this in Idaho, but they’re not going to say this in California or wherever. But that’s always been a big thing of the group as well. Do Americans say this? And they’re like you’ll have this huge argument depending on where in the country they live. And that’s the same with the guys in the subscription as well. They love doing that.
Jeff: That’s awesome.
From our Patreon community, we got questions from Kati and from RegencyFan, and you’ve kind of answered already a couple of these because they were kind of curious how you might use the platform to get feedback. But Kati looked at it a little closer in their question and asked about that fine line of getting feedback and getting some influence versus your initial idea. Victoria, you just talked about, scrubbing 10,000 words because of the feedback that you got there. Where do you think the line is between the story you wanna write and then the feedback that you’re getting and how those two come together? And Victoria, I’ll come back to you for that, since you have already opened the doorway that you have scrubbed 10,000 words.
Victoria: Yes, I did. But it needed doing. It needed doing. I’m confident in my own stories at this point in my career, so if somebody says, “Oh, wish you hadn’t done that.” But I know it’s right, I would say, “Sorry, but I know in my heart it’s the right thing to do. So, if you just bear with me, by the time we get to the end, you will understand direction I was going.”
But I love that the subscribes feel confident enough to chat and talk to you and give feedback. The whole, subscription service, to me, puts a face to the author. They are paying for personal access. So, I think you need to expect this sort of interaction.
Jeff: How do you feel about feedback, Charlie, especially since you have such done first drafts as you’re posting already.
Charlie: I think there’s, as an author especially when you’ve been doing this a while, you are very aware of where that line is because I know personally, and many authors, we are very protective of our intellectual property, and we don’t want to do anything that is going to affect it in any way.
So, I am always very aware of what kind of feedback I’m getting and the kind of influence that it has. So, there’s a big difference between asking your readers to come up with a character name, or I just had my patrons give me suggestions for one of the babies that were born in the series. And they gave me all kinds of names that they thought would fit. And then I picked one that I thought would fit better. But that’s not a story idea. So there, there is definitely a line. And so, it depends on the feedback because if somebody comes back and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t think that’s what should have happened. This is what should have happened.” And then I get a description of the scene or everything, then that’s like a no for me. If that makes sense. There is a very fine line in the type of feedback and what you take from it.
Victoria: Yes, I agree. You’re absolutely right, Charlie.
Jeff: Another interview that’s gonna be in this sequence is with Gregory Ashe. And I wanna pose a scenario to you that we talked about in that interview, which listeners will hear in the next episode, about writing essentially, like almost live, if you will. Like posting a chapter and then opening it up to be like, what do you wanna see happen next? And then either have a poll, so it’s almost choose your own adventure, or let people comment and decide out of the stuff that you get. How would you feel about writing in that? Because like Greg and I were like, that’s a lot of pressure to come up with the next thing. It’s almost like being a pantser, but not. Somebody else’s brain giving you the next thing. Would you ever try something like that?
Charlie: I think it very much depends on the author and kind of where your strengths are. Like, for those who are familiar with Clifton Strengths, so, like I need time to think about things. I need a lot of time to think about things. So that kind of thing would not work for me because I’m not a pantser and I can’t just spur the moment, come up with an entire next chapter. Like everything in my books has been thought out and thought about, and you know, my biggest struggle is not thinking things to death. So that kind of complete pantsing, spur of the moment just for my brain, it doesn’t work for me. Sounds fun though. Stressful for me, but it sounds fun to take part in.
Victoria: I’m the opposite of Charlie. I’m very much a discovery writer. I’ve tried for years to plot and it’s, it never goes to plan. I don’t think I could do that with a main novel. But one of the benefits of one of my tiers is that they get to choose a prompt for a short story, which is kind of the same thing. They can do existing characters, they can have a completely new one. One of the series that I do is paranormal. It’s about people being born with abilities. And a couple of prompts I’ve got say, well, what if they can do that? Or what if they can do this? And that’s good for kind of short stories that you know, you’re giving free to followers and stuff.
Charlie: For flash fiction, it’s great. The whole “THIRDS Beyond the Books” are just little short flash fictions written to prompts that readers have submitted. And it’s little things like, “Oh, can we see Dex when he was a teenager” and then come up with something fun for that prompt. But they’re, like I said, they’re maybe 2000 words, max 3000 sometimes. So, they’re just very short self-contained, not like an entire novel of 80,000 words.
Jeff: One of the other questions that came in from RegencyFan is how do you balance having a subscription, having a newsletter? You both have reader groups on Facebook. And still writing the books. How does all that balance and do you ever see, this is kind of my question that adds onto that, where the subscription may start to take over from one or more of those other platforms and become more of a primary point for communication.
Victoria: Yes, I think you’re right, to be honest. Because I spent more time on my subscription in the first few months setting it up, because like I said, I only started it in July, than I did on my newsletter. I kept on with my newsletter and I’m hoping that the newsletter readers now they have a central place to go to because how does a newsletter reader know that I wrote a story a year ago about a book that they’re reading right at this moment.
I don’t give a list every Saturday to what short stories that I wrote and things like that. So, it is a benefit for them, but it’s a knock-on benefit. That wasn’t my initial structure idea. To go to your second point about it being extra work. It isn’t for me because this is how I write. I would love to just start at chapter one of one story and then write it to the end. But I can’t, I literally can’t. I will be writing one story in the morning. I’ll be writing another story in the afternoon. And that’s me. So, I’m on my subscription. I’ve got four different, five different stories ongoing all the time that I update weekly,
Jeff: That’s amazing. That would break my brain.
Victoria: No, that helps me. That stimulates my brain. That’s how I work, so that’s why I love it so much.
Jeff: That’s awesome. And then your readers and your subscribers can read all of it or pay attention to the story they like the most.
Victoria: Yeah. Or they can save it until I’ve got a few, five or six chapters, and then have a little bit of a binge read or whatever. And then obviously there’s the shorts as well that they can look at.
Charlie: I am the complete opposite of that. My brain cannot handle working on more than one book at a time because I take so much time to think about things. I am a much slower writer, which reflects in the tears. But I started the Patreon because I knew that I was finally in a place where I had the time to dedicate to it. Because if you don’t have time, I highly recommend not starting a Patreon because this is something you do need to dedicate time to. And you know, this year I have certain number of books that I’m releasing and that gives me the time that I need to focus on Patreon. So even though I post one book at a time. I post, fewer chapters, but I polled my readers, and the majority of my patrons are there, not just for support, but for all the extras. They want all the bonus scenes, and character interviews, and all the little things. Because they’re very patient and they’re happy to wait for the book.
So, they love all the other stuff. So that means a lot of scheduling and I have a content calendar so that I know what content I need to work on for when and for what tiers because I wanna make sure that the tiers are balanced out as well and everyone is getting what they’re supposed to be getting.
So, I do a lot of character interviews and bonus scenes when books come out and flash fictions that they submit prompts on. I even do little chats from the King’s dogs, the puppies. They have their chats in the group, and they love that. So, I provide a lot of extras and that does take time, but I’m really enjoying it and I just make sure that I am giving it the focus that it deserves.
Victoria: I think doing extras like Charlie just described and that, I think for me personally, it keeps my creative well filled. It stimulates me into producing more things. And it also, it keeps me on track. For the first time in five years, I’ve got three books finished and ready to publish. Two are in edits. One was the one that came out today. But the other two, one’s in edits and one’s got one chapter to finish and that’s all. That’s because it’s kept my brain going.
Charlie: It’s very motivational because they’re so excited and you just, you see that excitement and hear that excitement every day, and that’s really inspiring for authors. It just makes you wanna do all the things. That’s what makes it fun.
Victoria: I don’t think readers understand how appreciative and how much their feedback and interaction, just saying, “Yeah, great.” Taking part in polls. Coming up with name ideas. I don’t think they honestly realize how much it helps. How much it stimulates us as authors, and how much it encourages to have bum in chair, and turn the computer on, and do this day after day like it’s a full-time job. And this is why. Because we get this sort of interaction.
Charlie: Yeah, it’s great to see as you’re writing something and you know, you see your comments from your patrons. They’re just like, “Oh my God, you made me cry, but I trust you. I trust that everything’s gonna be okay.” Or like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe you did that, or you did that to him and you’re so mean.” But you get that live feedback as you go so you can see you’re on the right track because you’re getting all these sentences with lots of exclamation marks on them.
Jeff: Why do you think this is like the time that we’re really seeing the rise of subscriptions? I feel like, in general over the last year, it’s been coming. But also, even within our genre here in m/m romance, the last six-ish months or so, I feel like almost every week I hear about somebody starting a subscription. Why is that?
Charlie: I think it’s because a lot of authors are starting to realize that we’re finally at a place and time where we can have control over our own careers. We can be the ones who make the decisions and we’re our own bosses. Like we don’t have to answer to a publisher. We can produce the audiobooks that we wanna produce. We can have a shop and have a say and control over our shops. We can have our subscription services where we get to communicate directly and form a community. For me personally, it’s that real realization of like, I have a career and I don’t want it to be dependent on one particular, platform.
Heaven forbid my Amazon account gets closed for whatever random reason. I can still pay my bills, I can still continue to write and pay for my health insurance. It’s not being beholden to just one entity and knowing that you have a say in your own world, and your artwork, and what you produce. I think that’s the biggest thing, like the biggest plus for me. And I’m loving every minute of it.
Victoria: What she said. Yeah, absolutely. Everything that Charlie just said. I think the rise of subscriptions also is because the authors now have a choice. I mean from you inviting different people on the podcast, Jeff. You’ve got choice between Patreon, Ream, and others actually doing their own thing on their own websites. You wouldn’t have had that two or three years ago. So that’s just shows the diversity that authors are now beginning to realize that they can do.
Charlie: Yeah, you’re not so restricted. I mean, there was a point where I didn’t have a choice of what I did with my characters or my books because I didn’t have that kind of control. And now it’s like I can do what I want with them and it’s a bigger deal than it seems, I think. And there’s so much available now to authors. It’s like, if you wanna go wide, there’s all these different places where you can go wide, and all these different places where you can sell your books, where you can sell your audio books. There’s direct sales on your website where you can make things available to readers that were not available before. But you have that control now. And I think subscriptions is a big thing because you are building your reader community, and you have control of it. Like nobody else is gonna come and say, your readers can’t read your stuff because I want them to read these people’s over here because ads or whatever, you know. You’re being creative and there are people there for your creativity.
Victoria: Well, you’re right. Your readers can’t get that specialized, exclusive book cover because the publisher, or whoever, decided that they wanted a certain book cover on your book, not you.
Charlie: Yeah, like I love all these what do they call ’em?
Victoria: Special editions?
Charlie: There’s the special editions, but there’s like the alternate covers.
Jeff: Oh, the variant covers.
Charlie: Yeah. Which I think is so much fun.
Jeff: Yeah, that’s where I get hooked a lot. It’s like, oh, I love that book. I already have that book, but ooh, that cover. I need that.
Charlie: Right? Yes. You’re just like, oh, wow. Shiny, like pretty, shiny.
Jeff: Every now, then I would do that with comic books. It’s like, oh, look at all these fancy covers for this one issue I love so much. Need that one. And now we see it coming to our genre a lot.
And I think with the subscriptions too, to kind of tie some of that back, like when we had Michael Evans on in the last episode talking about readers and why this was a good thing. It does take away the algorithm aspect. It does take away the platform not surfacing you as often, because you know who they are, you can interact with them, they can interact with you. And they’ll know what you post because most likely they’re getting an email that says, I posted this thing or that thing. They don’t have to worry about missing it on Facebook, or not having it surface up on Amazon, or whatever that is. It breaks down some barriers.
Charlie: Yeah, I especially love because as authors, we’re so used to doing all these giveaways, and all these different places, and there’s all these random submissions and it’s like I know that the stuff I sent to my readers they love because they’re there for it. You know, they’re my readers, they’re my fans. You know when they get merch, or they get signed paperbacks and stuff, they’re so happy because those readers are there for me and my work. Like I said, it’s not like random people who show up. They’re there for you. So, it changes a lot.
Jeff: For readers who haven’t really considered subscriptions yet, maybe they’re on the fence about it, or maybe this sequence of episodes we’re doing right now is really the first they’re hearing about it. What would be what you would say to them about why they actually might want to consider subscribing to a favorite author or two, or ten, depending on their budget.
Victoria: I think it’s the involvement first and foremost. It’s having personal interaction. It’s having exclusivity. They get to see the stuff first. They often are the only people that get to see the stuff. Like I said, I’ve got a four book serial that’s not gonna be sold anywhere else at all. That’s just gonna be for those guys. I think readers are ready for something different. And hopefully that this is what we’re giving them.
Charlie: I agree. And also, my patrons, they don’t have to worry about their comments disappearing into the ether or into a whole big thread. Or if they leave a comment, I see it. I always see it because I get notified and I see their comments and I can respond. Whereas like if readers leave me a comment, or ask me a question in my group, there’s a really good chance I might not see it because there’s just so many threads and comments and things going on that it’s just, it goes into my spam or it doesn’t show up. But also, Patreon offers a free membership, which I think is a really great place to start because you can get an idea of what the author is posting and see if that’s something that you get excited about and you want to read or more of.
I do public posts on my Patreon and sometimes I do public bonus scenes. So, I think even becoming a free member is a great way to kind of see what that author is up to, how often they post, what kind of content they post. But yeah, it’s a great place to, if you’re a fan of an author, you’re gonna find all their stuff there, all their updates, all their news, all their cover reveals and blurbs, and bonus stuff when that’s coming out.
My patrons always know everything first. So, if there’s a bonus scene coming, they’ll know about it first and they’ll get it first. A lot of the content is exclusive to them for fic-lits and stuff. It’s just a great place to be where your author is and all the stuff that they are creating for you.
Victoria: Yeah, exactly. Free followers is something that I’m doing on Ream as well that they do. And when I finished this, I’m actually about to publish a bonus end scene for the book that got published today. So, I didn’t have time to finish it and put it on, but they know it’s coming. And that’s gonna be for just basically anybody that follows me on there.
And the things like that. I mean, it was three and a half thousand words, but it was a nice little thing about a secondary character that I’m sure I’ll get questions asked about, if not so
Charlie: But the subscription’s a great place to know that’s where those things are gonna be. Like all the little bonus scenes that are linked at the end of my books, they’ll be on Patreon. They’ll be open and free to the public, but that’s where they’re gonna be because I can keep track of where everything is. And it makes it easy if a reader gets to the end of the book and they’re like, oh, there’s a bonus scene. You know where it’s gonna be. It’s always gonna be in the same place. You don’t have to go hunting for it in a million other places.
Jeff: That’s an interesting thing you just said, and I hadn’t considered that aspect of it before. But putting those bonus scenes that we might’ve previously offered to sign up for my email, get this prologue, get this bonus scene. It can now be if you’re following me on Ream or Patreon, here’s the link to it. And then that brings them into your ecosystem, if you will, but not on your email list. And it’s in here where everything else is. And then I guess for the reader too, they don’t have all these little pieces of things flying around on their e-reader or whatever. It’s all right here.
Charlie: Mm-hmm. Yup.
Victoria: It’s impossible. You’ve only got… Like I said, Charlie and I have been writing for nearly 10 years and probably 10 years plus for Charlie. But in all those years there’s no way you can, if you just do the newsletter, there isn’t somewhere to bring it together. I know a lot of people try it on the websites, but websites don’t have interaction.
Charlie: I tend to just do short stories on my website, like if it’s an actual short from some, you know, like, the “Heart to Heart” kind of anthology and stuff. But, like you said, it doesn’t really work for bonus.
Victoria: I used to. But I’ve just now, on my website when it says short stories, the link takes them to my Ream page. So, wherever they’re coming from, they go to the same place.
Charlie: Yeah, it’s great keeping it all just really simple.
Jeff: Now, you’ve each had your subscription under a year now. Charlie, you’re a little bit longer into it. You’re getting all this feedback from readers on the stuff you’re putting out there. What are you hearing in general about what they think of the fact that you’ve got this subscription and the things that they’re getting from it?
Charlie: So far, the feedback I’ve gotten has been very positive. But I think it’s, because… Like, yes, there’s a paywall, but I am also aware of the readers who can’t subscribe to paid Patreon. So, it’s not like just all my bonus content is on there. I still do bonus content for the public.
But it’s been very positive because a lot of them are there because they wanna support me. And I thought that was amazing because I, I did a poll and I asked them why they were there and I was really floored by how many of them, you know, I only gave them one choice. They couldn’t take multiple choices, and so many of them picked they were there because they wanted to support me as an author. And I thought that is incredible. So, it’s been very positive so far.
Victoria: I only started, like I said, in the summer. But for the first time I sent Christmas cards out to my subscribers from one of the teams in the books. It blew me away with the number of replies I got. And one of my subscribers even knitted me a little Christmas tree bell, the jingles. And I was this is amazing. And it came all the way from Wales as well. I’m just absolutely blown away by the encouragement, the love that you get shown, the ideas, the support. It’s incredible and I’m so thankful that we’ve got an opportunity to connect with our readers in this manner.
Jeff: We’ve talked a little bit about some of the stuff you might be planning in your subscriptions coming in 2024. Is there anything else you might like to tease out that is coming for anybody who might come and start to follow you there, what they can look forward to?
Victoria: I’ve got a new fantasy series that book one’s just about completed. It’s going to be published in March. For people who have read me before, it’s very similar to the “Alpha King” series. It’s shifters, but it’s set in a fantasy world. The first book is called “The Omega Thief,” and it’s very much the “Prince and the Pauper,” and that sort of trope. But like I said, book one’s finished that’s coming out in March. And I’ve also got daddy books that are coming out as well. And my spinoff series for my “Enhanced” series is being written on Patreon as well. And that’s coming out in book one’s coming out in May. And that’s on pre-order as well.
Charlie: So, I am going to be starting a serial on my Patreon, which I think is gonna be a lot of fun because I got such great feedback from the King’s Christmas stories and I had so much fun writing them that. I decided it would be a lot of fun to do a serial with those guys and get the patrons involved. And so, I think that’s gonna be a lot of fun.
And the book that I am starting now, the second “Royal Flush” book, that’s gonna be on Patreon and so is the second “TIN” book. And those two I have on schedule to release this year so all the chapters for those will be on Patreon.
And I’ll probably be adding stuff throughout the year because as you go, you kind of get a feel for things and you see what’s working, what’s not working. You ask for feedback on what kind of stuff they want more of or you know, what they wish they could see. So, I’m sure there’s gonna be more stuff on top of what’s already offered.
Jeff: That’s amazing. And as we wrap up, of course we’ve always gotta get recommendations here on the show. What are you guys reading that you have loved and that our listeners should check out?
Charlie: Right now, I’m reading the “Sunday Brothers” series by May Archer. Besides being an awesome person, I love her books. They are my comfort reads. So, I dunno how many times I’ve re-read the “Love and O’Leary” series. But yeah, I’m making my way through the “Sunday Brothers” series, so I’m a bit behind on my TBR list, so I’m plunging back into it, and I thought that would be a perfect place to start.
Victoria: I’m on a polyamory kick at the moment. And I discovered a new me author called Kitty Cox, and I read this four book series called “Shades of Trouble.” Now there is a female in it, but the interaction is definitely not secondary. There’s the four guys and a girl, and it’s one of the best. It’s got the best bi awakening scenes I have ever read. And the series absolutely blew me away. And I think I finished book four at something like 4:00 AM. And each book as well, there’s four of them. It’s on KU. Each book is well over 500 pages, so if anybody’s wanting to dive into something like that, she’s called Kitty Cox.
Jeff: Nice. I’ll have to check that out. That’s an author that is new to me. And of course, May Archer, you can’t go wrong with a May Archer book for the most…
Charlie: Nope, never have. I just love them so much.
Jeff: So, tell everyone where they can find your subscription so they could check out your tiers and follow you if they’re not already.
Charlie: You can just search Charlie Cochet on Patreon, or it’s patreon.com/charliecochet. And you can see all the tiers on there. You can see the public posts that are on there.
Victoria: Mine’s Victoria Sue on Ream Stories.
Jeff: We’ll get all of that into the show notes. Charlie and Victoria, thank you so much for coming to talk to us about subscriptions.
Victoria: You’re welcome.
Charlie: It’s always fun to be here.
This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, head on over to the show notes page for this episode at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. We’ve got links to absolutely everything that we’ve talked about in this episode.
Jeff: And thanks so much to Victoria and Charlie for talking with us about their subscription communities. I really loved hearing how much they enjoy having the connection with the readers that they have in those communities, and in particular what Victoria shared about the reader who sent her that crocheted Christmas ornament. I’ve seen a picture of it on social media. It is so adorable.
Will: All right, I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next on Monday, February 12th, Gregory Ashe will join us to talk about his community.
Jeff: Now Gregory runs his community off his own website, and we’ll talk to him about that and what he’s offering through Advanced Ashochism, including where he got that name from.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself, we want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kinds of stories we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then, keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.