Taking the Plunge – New Tiers and New Projects

October 11th, 2021

This is not a blog I had expected to be writing any time soon. Hell, this is a blog I was unsure I would ever write. It really does show how impactful these last two years have been. I don’t think I’ve ever lived through a pair of years that changed so many people and so many things. At the start of 2020, I would have never imagined that I would be at the head of such an incredible community of people, let alone imagining the success I would find within this space as a result of said community. It blows me away every passing day and I know I thank you all often, but I will do it plenty more today since, as I am about to explain, this has all quite literally changed my life.

I have decided to take the plunge and begin my journey down the treacherous path of writing full-time. Yes, I am now going to dedicate myself to making writing a full-time career and have officially given up my pre-existing career as a professional athlete to do so. This was not an easy decision. It was probably the hardest choice I’ve ever made, but I think I have known it was coming for some time now. It simply came a bit sooner than I had expected.

I don’t think anyone here wants the whole rant about why I decided to pursue writing full-time and why I gave up a large part of my life, so I will give a brief summary. 

Despite being in quite a horrible position financially at the end of 2020, I have done quite well in 2021. Patreon has played a large part in this, as did athletics. It being an Olympic year boosted income a great deal, plus I was finally paid a large sum of money that I have been owed since the summer of 2019. When taking this successful year and combining it with the fact that, as of now, my monthly expenses are very low, I have managed to save more than enough money to sustain me for quite some time even if this path leads nowhere. Joys of being young, single, and from a small and scarcely known neck of the woods. I also find myself with a number of easy fallbacks if this doesn’t work. The Canadian government will pay tuition for any school I choose to attend any time in the next five years. I suppose there are some perks to having represented Canada internationally. I have no plans to go off to school in that time. I have always said that was not a route I would be happy with and I have always been confident I would succeed in spite of that unconventional methodology. But if this avenue leads nowhere, I do have that. I am also very confident I could slide into a number of jobs once I am a proven writer who is published, whether the published material succeeds or not. 

Athletics just also hasn’t been  what it used to be for me. There was a time when it was all-consuming and when it was the thing that made me happiest, but somewhere along the road, that changed. I still enjoy the major showcase events, but that is a whole lot of one’s life to pour into something for one or two highs a year — if one is fortunate enough to find oneself on that stage in the first place. 

There are also injuries to contend with. I will not dox my age — the time may come when I reveal my identity to this community, but that day has not yet arrived — but I am quite young and my body has already felt the brunt of spending most of my life as a high-performance athlete in one regard or another. This year alone, I managed to basically destroy my knee, damage my Achilles, and reaggrivate both my back and hamstring. That is to say nothing of the damage to my shoulder and wrist that has been present for years. I would like to be mobile by the time I have hopefully settled down with a family and I never wish to find myself in a position that sees that mobility jeopardized. 

Without airing dirty laundry, athletics just isn’t worth it from a pragmatic perspective. If you are one of the top few guys in the world, then yes, you are paid very handsomely but for most professionals, that is not their reality. This year was an exception in terms of income due to the Olympic cycle and fees that I should have been paid almost two years ago. When taking those things out of the equation, I already make more money writing for all of you lovely people than I did running for my country. 

This isn’t me being bitter or chasing the money, it’s just me stepping back and honestly evaluating a situation. Somebody told me earlier this year that I was slowly killing myself for next to nothing, and though it was a blatant hyperbole, I find that the point has stuck. It is also just difficult to make progress writing — which not only pays more but is something I find myself enjoying more than I have ever enjoyed anything else — when I am so entrenched in something as inherently demanding as athletics. It isn’t just the schedule; it is the mental, emotional, and physical fatigue that sport unleashes upon those who partake in it at the highest of levels. 

I appreciate the time I have spent in athletics. It teaches many lessons that will stick with me until the day I die. I have met incredible people who I will forever keep in contact with. I grew up in a family that dealt with its fair share of hardships. Sport is the only way I have ever travelled. Athletics allowed me to see parts of the world I would never have seen. That is the part I will miss the most. Perhaps I will reach a financial point at which I feel comfortable spending the money to travel for myself, but we shall see. For all these reasons and many more, I am immensely grateful that I was fortunate enough to be one of the few people to make sport a career and to have experienced what it feels like to wear your country’s flag proudly upon your chest. That feeling will forever be with me but for the outlined reasons above, I have decided to give it up.

Writing is my passion. I have known this for some time now but have been terrified to take this leap. I am still terrified to take this leap. I have some cushioning financially, but that will not last forever. Perhaps this decision will squander the good start I have made as an adult. Perhaps it will be a decision I regret in years to come. The fact of the matter is that, until that time comes, I will never know.

I will pick up quick jobs in my personal life as boosts but for now, I will be mostly reliant upon the generosity of all you wonderful people. With that being said, if you do enjoy my work, wish to support me on my journey, and have the income to spare, a pledge on Patreon would mean more to me than you ever know. Now that I am doing this full-time, I will be able to produce more content than ever before and I will be able to meet the desires of my patrons with greater ease. I will do whatever it takes to grow that platform. If there are any perks you don’t see on that page that you think I could add to bring yourself or others in, I am all ears. 

I am already looking to expand both my content and the page itself. I will actually take this opportunity to announce the new major perk I am adding to an existing tier, as well as a number of new tiers and perk adjustments. The additional perk ties into a new endeavour that I will now be embarking on since I am now making a career out of this. 

I have decided to start my very own podcast that is yet unnamed! I have purchased a high-quality microphone for the endeavour and am excited to explore this new avenue. For those of you who have listened to Lee McCusker’s excellent “Writer’s Block” podcast, it will be similar to that in some ways. 

Unlike Lee, I will be posting this podcast on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music, HOWEVER, anyone who signs up to the $3 tier or higher on my Patreon page will get early access to the major podcast each month. I am going to record a shorter podcast each week that will serve as an update about both writing and my life in general. I have tried audio editing enough that I know it is not a skill I will ever possess, but Athena — the angel that she is — has volunteered for the task. These weekly iterations will be kept short so that the amount of editing Athena has to do is reasonable. If we feel we can lengthen them, then that is something we will look to do. 

Once a month, there will be a much longer episode of the podcast during which I invite a guest on. These will be full-length podcasts that will probably go up in the final week of each month. They will be recorded as close to the beginning of the month as possible and patrons will gain access to them AS SOON AS THEY ARE EDITED. That will mean patrons have all major podcasts ALMOST A MONTH BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. The minor ones may be released early to patrons as well, but it would be by days, not weeks since they will, again, serve as general updates that will be relevant to everyone. So, again, sign up to the $3 tier on Patreon and get all of these major podcasts ALMOST A FULL MONTH EARLY if that is something that interests you.

The new tiers will range greatly in price, so I do not expect anyone to sign up to the more expensive ones. With these new tiers, I will also be slightly adjusting which perk falls under which tier. Don’t worry, all early chapters will still be available for anyone at the $5 tier or higher. I have no plans of ever changing that. It will be the higher-tier perks that are affected. 

The first new tier will be priced at $20 and will contain all the perks that apply to patrons at the $15 level — your name on the Angels of Chaos page on ACI100.com, all early chapters, podcasts, and hard copies of all of my original fiction once it is published — as well as the perk of being able to create their own custom Discord role. This means they will be able to pick the name and the colour and it will be their second highest role on the server. This is something I have been asked about a surprising number of times since launching my Patreon page. I really didn’t think it would be much of an incentive and am still quite skeptical, but there’s no harm in making the tier; it doesn’t cost me anything. Just like always, this perk applies to both this tier and all above it so for anyone who is currently pledging $20 or more per month, my Discord mods or I will be reaching out to you and getting your custom roles sorted ASAP.

Now, for the tier adjustments because they largely play into the newer tiers. I will go through the affected tiers in ascending order since I believe it will make this easier. If I don’t mention a tier, that means nothing has changed. 

I have added a tier at $30. Anyone who pledges at this tier will have their name written at the end of all chapters I publish. I initially had this at a higher Patreon tier, but I have decided to move it down to this one. Some perks got moved up, as you will see, but others got moved down. 

The $35 tier saw quite a shift. I have raised the amount of money one needs to pledge to have their name written in the dedication section of my original fiction by a substantial amount, so that is no longer at this tier. I have replaced it with something that I think some may find interesting, though. All members at this tier will have the opportunity to feature as a guest on the podcast if they so choose. I will message anyone at this tier or higher personally and ask if that is something they would like to do. If it is, we will work out a time and date that works on both of our ends. Again, all of these perks apply to all tiers above as well. 

Members at the $50 tier will be able to hop on a call with me at a predetermined time to discuss fanfiction or whatever else is on your mind. These calls will be spoiler free, but feel free to just chat, or use it as a Q&A, or whatever else you fancy doing. 

The biggest change comes to the $75 tier. I have decided that all members who are generous enough to pledge such a substantial sum of money will gain access to the quarterly one-shots I write for upper-tier patrons. This was initially limited to my top two tiers, but upon a second look, that was a little bit ridiculous and really only there because I wanted to round them out a year ago without any expectations that anyone would ever sign up to the higher tiers. I think it’s fairer at this tier. They take a lot of time and effort to write so I want them to be exclusive to my most generous patrons, but I think this tier is a bit more reasonable. The first quarterly one-shot, Fire and Ice, is available for all patrons at this tier or higher right now!

These last six tiers are where things get really pricey, so I will skim over them quickly. Pledgers at the $100 tier will have the opportunity to have a minor character in my original work, members at the $125 tier will be able to use their 30 minute call to discuss that original work, spoiler free. Members at the $150 tier will have their name published in the dedication section of my original fiction upon publication, members at the $175 tier can hop on a call with me and ask any spoiler-related questions they like pertaining to my fanfiction, whilst members at the $200 tier can do the same for my original fiction. Keep in mind that I will only reveal very minor spoilers for my original series for obvious reasons. Mostly just worldbuilding type of things. Members at the $250 tier will gain access to any special edition copies of my novels once they are published after three months of pledging.

I have also revamped the page in general. Most of the tier names have been completely changed. They were based heavily upon mythology the first go around to play into the culture on the Discord server, but times have changed. I now have a very set outline for my high fantasy series, so the tiers are geared towards that. Anything you haven’t heard of is linked to that series. Things like Vicanians, Avaeryans, and Othrians refer to the people living in different regions of the world. The Nilithm and Pryo Nilithm are creatures of my own creation. Things like that. I just think it is a more relevant spin on tiers even if you all won’t get to see why for quite some time. I will be updating the descriptions some time this week to add some flavour, so that may even give you guys a small preview of my own original world.

I would like to stress that I have no expectations of people pledging at expensive tiers. They are there for the few people who have done so in the past, but I am grateful for even the smallest of pledges.

If there is anything you think I could add to my Patreon page, let me know. Anything that will bring in more income is something I am willing to at least look at so long as it is not completely unethical. If there is anything you think I could be doing to bring in more readers and/or patrons, feel free to make suggestions. I am currently looking to get all of my works posted on other sites like Wattpad and WebNovels.com to try and expand my audience and bring in more members, but there may be other avenues I have not yet explored. Perhaps setting certain Patreon goals. Maybe once I hit a certain amount of income or number of patrons per month, I can do something special or something along those lines. Again, I am all ears.

This is a risky endeavour that terrifies me more than anything else I have ever done, but without resistance, there can be no growth. My goal is obviously not to rely on Patreon for the rest of my life. I have already started working on an original novel. My hope is that in the coming years, my original fiction will be my primary source of income and Patreon will turn into an additional revenue stream since I don’t see myself not writing fanfiction — even then. I will be looking to have that novel and its corresponding series traditionally published so that I can bring as many eyes to my work as possible and because, as an author, I think we all dream of being published properly and seeing our novels in bookstores around the world. That is a very lofty goal — I am nothing if not ambitious — but considering the path I now walk, it would be foolish of me not to aim for the stars.

The good thing for all you lovely people is that this will lead to more chapters! I will still not be posting any new stories other than the quarterly one-shots for top-tier patrons until I start finishing some of my epic-length works, but content should arrive with more regularity for stories like Conjoining of Paragons. I have always been ahead on stories like Ashes of Chaos and Perversion of Purity, so the differences in those stories may not be felt by most of my readers. Patrons will DEFINITELY notice the uptake in activity, though, and I am looking forward to seeing how you guys react to all I have planned. It will be nice to reach some of those big moments sooner than I had originally anticipated. 

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you all personally. To my patrons, this dream would be impossible without you. Whether I succeed or I fail, it is thanks to all of you that I can call writing my career, at least for now. If you are not a patron, enjoy my work, and feel so inclined, your support on that platform now more than ever would make a profound difference in my life. My family is certainly not in a position to be a safety net, so I am taking a massive risk in dedicating my life to this. 

Whether you pledge or not, I am grateful. Everyone who has joined the Discord server has helped to forge a community I am so incredibly proud of and that I genuinely love. Many of you people are as much a part of my life as those I meet with face-to-face on a regular basis. I never thought I would say that, but it’s true and I cannot thank you all enough. For those who may not be on Discord but who read my work, you all as well. You are what helped get me started, you are part of the number of people who helped make me believe I had a talent for writing, and you are part of this wonderful community that first caught my attention.

I am extremely nervous to see what the future brings, but I am also excited and I hope that you all are as well. I hope all is well with each and every single one of you and I wish you all the best.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!

Cheers

Ace

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