One of the options you may want to think about instead of a Patreon, especially since they changed their pricing structure, is to have a membership program on your website. With a membership program, your subscribers (patrons) will pay you a certain amount of money each month and that will be processed through your payment gateway like Paypal or Stripe. (You'd pay those fees anyway with Patreon on top of what they charge you.) You can still set up tiers if you want and a good membership plugin for your website will also allow you to structure the benefits and information.

Today I'm going to review one of the options: Paid Memberships Pro, which contains a free option as well as a pro/paid one.

I'm currently using this plugin on one of my author sites. I'm also familiar with another plugin I'll be reviewing next, but wanted to see how this compared.

Out of the box, Paid Memberships Pro (free) seems to be straight forward for the non-technical user and setting it up didn't take long. Because I have two different free offerings on my site, I have two free membership tiers (because I'm assuming my fantasy readership doesn't really overlap with my women's literature one). However, I'll be adding a paid tier soon. One of my concerns with this is that because the teirs aren't stacked, it's tough to see how I can grant someone access to the free tier in the same genre as the paid one (i.e. someone who reads the paid fantasy story will want to probably read the free fantasy story too without making a second "membership"), and things can start to become complex fairly quickly.

Additionally, there's a constant nag, which goes against WordPress' terms to upgrade to a paid support plan. ($297 year for a single site install). Now, I work in technology and understand how important is. However, I find this push, as well as the curt support I received when I asked a question about using their API, which is something I'm familiar with, to be a huge turn off.

While I like some of the features, I do find it a bit clunkier, and the use of numerous additional plugins to accomplish things, rather than having them built into the software itself can tend to lead to bloat. I'd like a smoother API so it can work with other newsletter plugins rather than relying on their support and custom programming, especially since that initial outreach to support, which was just a general inquiry about the API left such a bad taste in my mouth.

If you like a slick graphical interface and don't need anything too complex, then the free plugin of Paid Memberships Pro may work for you. But the yearly subscription model gets very pricey very fast and for most authors I know, it simply wouldn't pay for itself.

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