Not Your Usual BN Post… looking to the future of Beyond NERVA

This is a bit of an unusual post from me, but I’m running into IRL realities that need to be addressed that directly impact Beyond NERVA.
This blog and page are the most important thing to me, and are a thing that I want to continue to expand in the way that I have for about the past year. I genuinely believe that I’ve found a niche that no-one else has attempted to fill. Winchell Chung (otherwise known as Nyrath the Nearly Great [in his words, I tend to use Legendary when I reference him]) has built an incredible resource for all astronuclear geeks, but he himself says that he’s focused on helping Hard SF writers. (he also started the page in the late 1990s, so he’s got about two decades of development on me).
Beyond NERVA, on the other hand, looks at the nitty-gritty of making the potential power of astronuclear engineering into a reality. This is why I’m focusing on things like test stands, experiments that have been conducted, and making the various technical publications be MORE accessible. I tend to put out something closer to a serial white paper than a traditional blog (typically, a blog post here, without visuals, runs about 15 pages, with about that many direct references), and this takes a lot of time and effort on my part.
This page is a labor of love, but it also consumes (on average, whenever my job at the moment allows) between 30 and 60 hours a week of my time… and real life sucks. I have bills, I have a spouse, and I have to eat, have the lights on, have internet… and most especially, the free wordpress account is starting to creak at the seams.
I also am REALLY interested in starting up the YouTube channel, but again, this is a huge investment of time to get the channel built up. In about 200 hours of searching, I’ve found that the vast majority of the visuals that I’m needing simply aren’t available, and while I’ve been working to develop my knowledge in Blender, audio recording and editing, and video edition, this is still going to be an additional several hundred hours before I can start putting out video content.
So… I’m looking at monetizing my page. This isn’t really something that I WANT to do, but it’s something that I NEED to do. With WordPress (my current host), this is $25.00 a month, charged yearly, which also gives me the chance to have a MUCH better, and far more accessible, website design for all the work that I do that ISN’T the blog (about 50% of it by time, BTW).
This is FAR outside my current monetary capabilities. $300 isn’t much to many of you, but to many of you that’s a huge chunk of money, and I fall into the second category. Even that is the tip of the iceberg, what with my time investment and other considerations for building a webpage, much less a YT channel.
So, I’m looking at options for crowdfunding, and for rewards for said crowdfunding. I want to keep the content free, and not plagued by spam, but don’t object to advertisers or sponsors (as long as I can continue to publish as I see fit… any sponsored content will be clearly labeled as such, and any sponsored blog posts will still have serious questions and examinations of the systems proposed in the post).
The obvious choice is Patreon, but what the rewards are, I don’t really know. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the basics of astronuclear engineering (over 300 pages in… and still trying to stop talking about solid core NTRs!) What are your ideas for what good rewards would be?
Kickstarter has many advantages, for getting the webpage up and running, but again, the rewards are something that I struggle with.
What is worth money to you? What is worth a donation of a particular amount that I can continue to pursue this project? How can I incentivize you to help me in this project?
Please, comment, or PM me, or send me an email. I want to continue to be able to produce this content, and I think that we’re building something important here. That $300 initial cost (and about 40 hours of my time initially, with additional time dependent on moderation time) will allow me to build a forum on the website, do embedded features that simply aren’t available to me right now, upgrade the appearance and accessibility of the webpage… and anything more will allow me to eat, and keep the internet going, and other real-life stuff.
I look forward to your feedback!

Categories: Uncategorized

6 replies »

  1. I’ve really liked your content here, and I’d be happy to support it on patreon. I don’t really care about rewards there, and to be completely honest I don’t care about visuals – I use an RSS reader, after all. But if a couple bucks a month makes it easier for you to produce (or host!) content, I’m all for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you!

    Every bit will help. Part of this post is letting people know that I’m going to be monetizing. A bigger part is not making my audience think I’m ignoring their needs, wants, and access to what I’ve been doing.

    Also… I’d say about 30% of the original content on BN isn’t in the blog, but on the page. I would encourage you to check out the page itself every once in a while. A fair bit – but definitely not all- is refocused stuff I cover on the blog, but I do a lot that isn’t the blog as well 😉


      • The links across the bottom of the home screen have a lot more information than the blog posts. Some of it is recycled from the posts, but a lot of it is new.

        Since it’s more typically organized, a lot more things fit there that don’t fit in the blog posts, either due to time or space constraints


  3. Patreon is fine if you do something like split the blog stuff between new and retro, put the retro stuff behind a patreon supporter private page/post for say 6 months, then release the retro stuff on the normal blog afterwards (think early access to collated technical history that’s not in a convenient proper digest form elsewhere, since you are effectively a focused subject matter historian). Maybe take some hints from Scott Lowther who runs the Aerospace Projects Review series of collated technical documents, who sells both smaller articles/subjects piecemeal and a general patreon for ongoing support (plus occasional requests for paypal donations for specific spelunking side-quests for technical data from offline libraries far away requiring a roadtrip).
    See https://www.patreon.com/user/posts?u=197906


    • Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out!

      I am definitely cool with doing “premium content,” for lack of a better term, I’m just trying to figure out what that split should be. I’m also looking at (appropriate) ads as well (no adsense nonsense).

      A lot of the Rover stuff I cover directly leads into the modern projects is my only concern with your specific idea. The hot fire test posts are a great example of that: the fact that we can’t open-air test fire public health and safety is fear mongering, but no one had addressed that directly… anywhere except one very carefully worded fact sheet from the DOE in the mid 90s.

      I like the general idea, though. I have been collating information for a reactor-by-reactor breakdown of all the Rover and NERVA engines, which may fit the bill… Another idea would be my source list, with links (I’m sitting on almost 20 gigs of papers, already reasonably well collated, that I could post for patrons) that would be easier for people to locate information without finding the post or page I discussed the topic on and find the source there.

      I still want to put out the same publicly available, long-form type blogs, but want to be able to provide something… unique for patrons.

      Once I get the 3d modeling and custom graphics off the ground (probably another 3-4 months), I’ll be able to do things like offer models for 3d printing engines or components, Patreon-only extended videos of engines and spacecraft, and that sort of thing. Again, though, that’s a few months away.

      As to early access, if you want to see the text early, and get tidbits of random astronuclear geekery I run across (like a paper on how to use an NTR to turn the ISS into a lunar cycler), as well as finds from other space nuclear enthusiasts, check out our Facebook group! Once I’ve got some funding coming in to cover Web costs, there’ll be a forum here (probably with a Patreon/donor only/premium section as well, a la L2 on nasaspaceflight).


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