Hi Dave, thanks for your question. I’m on the executive team at Patreon and was pretty bummed out reading this. The vast majority of creators on Patreon don’t use the platform at all like you’ve described it. I’m sorry you have that perception and maybe we can work to change it.
Patreon is a membership platform which means that we build all the tools to help creators power their membership businesses. We believe that direct membership from your biggest fans (i.e. patrons) is the best way to build and grow a sustainable, predictable creative business. Revenue from writing can be largely unpredictable and there are tons of writers on Patreon — independent journalists, novelists, short story writers, fiction, poetry, etc. — who are able to do significantly more with their writing because of income stability. Check out https://www.patreon.com/c/writing for more info or take a peek at N.K. Jemisin’s patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/nkjemisin (she’s an award-winning novelist).