Should bloggers charge for their writing?

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Mary E. Ulrich
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Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Mary E. Ulrich » December 7th, 2009, 9:34 pm

Hi Nathan,

With your devoted followers and reputation for great content, you could have created a paying community. You didn't. You chose a free forum for your readers.

Perhaps it is because you are affiliated with an agency, or another reason. I am wondering what you and your readers think about paying for blogs.

James Chartrand of Men With Pens fame has created quite a buzz about this topic. What do you think?

"Are Bloggers Creating Their Own Sweatshop?" http://menwithpens.ca/sweatshop-blogging

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Rick
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Rick » December 7th, 2009, 9:43 pm

Personally, I can't think of any blog I would pay to read or post on. There are just too many quality free ones out there. I think for writers who set out hoping to make money from blogging, dissapointment is the likely outcome. Then again, one could argue that goes for writing books, too.

A large number of bloggers do hope to make money indirectly from their blogs, by using the blog's free content as a lure to drive traffic to for-fee services or products. An example of this are author blogs. They wouldn't want to charge for the blog because they seek readers who come to the blog to buy their book, which is the real product.

So it depends on the blogger's specific motivation and goals.

linguista
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by linguista » December 7th, 2009, 11:00 pm

I agree with Rick. If you can get quality without paying, why would you pay?

As he also pointed out, many authors (as well as people in many other fields) use their blogs to drive traffic in other areas- like selling their books. And many bloggers have something to gain from people reading their blogs. Take this blog for example. Nathan Bransford is now highly visible as a result of the blog, and may receive more queries. But he's also doing himself a favour, because would-be authors can research how to format a query, what they should include, who to send to, etc, and so with the increase in volume, there will also be an increase in quality.

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Matera_the_Mad
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Matera_the_Mad » December 7th, 2009, 11:13 pm

How would a blog get a following in the first place if it wasn't free? The fact is, most blogs are so bad or so boring that readers should be paid LOL
A drum is empty always, and when the skin is rightly taut it gives right noise, right sound. Attention is like that.
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ElisabethMoore
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by ElisabethMoore » December 7th, 2009, 11:40 pm

Matera_the_Mad wrote:How would a blog get a following in the first place if it wasn't free? The fact is, most blogs are so bad or so boring that readers should be paid LOL
This.

Also, blogs are often used to generate attention for some other reason. Nathan is now the most queried agent according to QueryTracker. That's probably a seriously mixed blessing, but it also increases the likelihood that he will be queried with the next mega-bestseller. All he has to do is recognize it when it comes along.

In the agent business, there would be something vaguely icky about a for-pay blog or website in any case.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 8th, 2009, 1:40 am

I think this is an interesting question because while free definitely works for me, it makes the landscape really difficult for freelance authors and journalists who used to be paid for articles. I can write for free for HuffPo and my own blog because it's more important to me to raise my profile than to be paid for what I'm writing (plus I don't spend a huge amount of time per post).

At the same time, all the onslaught of free content from people like me makes it difficult for the real professionals, the journalists who really delve into a topic and who are now struggling to be paid for their content.

It's a tricky situation. Still, I limit free to blog posts. I wouldn't publish a book for free.

spinningplate
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by spinningplate » December 8th, 2009, 3:44 am

A paying community. Really? I don't think it would work. I think NB would suffer a serious backlash if he charged for his blogging. While his posts are good, he's not the only agent out there blogging and there's a plethora of great content all over the web. And charging for blogging goes against the whole ethos of the internet and what blogging is about, as far as I can tell.

As for struggling authors and journalists - times are changing and you've just gotta move with them.

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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by casnow » December 8th, 2009, 7:49 am

I used to run an investing blog that got about 3000 hits a day, and I was making about $100/month in google ads on it, but I dropped it because it was too much work and was keeping me from doing other things in life... I tried to make it subscription, but you have to have a HUGE name to get people to pay real money for it. now I run two small blogs, one for may family and friends to keep track of me now that I'm overseas and one that I just started for the books I'm writing (http://angryadjective.blogspot.com)... the personal one generates about $4-5/month on Google ads, and I maybe get 30-40 hits a day on it.

So, if you want to make money off blogging, that is what I would suggest (however, the current link list that google ads is providing is like an advertisement for writer beware's Axis of Evil).

Mary E. Ulrich
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Mary E. Ulrich » December 8th, 2009, 7:50 am

"Are Bloggers Creating their Own Sweatshop?" http://menwithpens.ca/sweatshop-blogging

There are currently over 70 comments on the MenwithPens.ca blog. It is a more complicated subject than I ever dreamed.

ie. Is blogging a hobby? OR, Can writing a blog be a profession? A profession which can pay the bills? Is this like early newspaper writers?

Are blogs: marketing, exposure, your portfolio, free expression journals, a business, advertising, "Pizza Flyers," "Trail Mix," social gatherings, support communities, non-profit books...?

So far there are comments from people in Canada, Israel, UK, US, Australia... This is one hot topic.

FYI: Darren Rouse (in 3 months) has over 2000 paid subscribers to his Problogger.com Forum.

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Scott
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Scott » December 8th, 2009, 8:45 am

Oh no, I'm seeing a "bloggers union". Then we'll be paying per email just to pay their healthcare. Noooo! ;)

Kidding aside, you might start feeling pressure at some point to charge, Nathan. Not sure how it could be enforced, but at the moment it's a numbers game. Who knows what the future will bring.

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shadow
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by shadow » December 8th, 2009, 1:51 pm

There are so many great FREE blogs out there, including this one, that I don't think people would bother to pay to read blogs. I know that I would not.
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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polymath
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by polymath » December 8th, 2009, 2:33 pm

Bloggers can and do make coin from traffic counts, click throughs, and advertising hosting on blog pages. We pay for it in tiny percentage point advertising costs added on to purchases.
Spread the love of written word.

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Polenth
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Polenth » December 8th, 2009, 2:49 pm

It depends on why you blog. If you're posting detailed articles, you could sell those to magazines (or paying professional blogs). But a lot of writers are blogging to network, with the hopes of it leading to sales later. It's a bit like selling your friends tickets to your birthday party. They're not going to be inclined to buy you a present after that.
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linguista
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by linguista » December 8th, 2009, 8:45 pm

I commented earlier, but I think I need to modify my opinion a little after reading you guys' comments. I think it depends on the content. I mean, you can blog about anything really. If you put the same content that you would put in a book, on a blog instead... does different media mean you shouldn't get paid?

Mary E. Ulrich
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Re: Should bloggers charge for their writing?

Post by Mary E. Ulrich » December 9th, 2009, 10:25 am

linguista wrote:I commented earlier, but I think I need to modify my opinion a little after reading you guys' comments. I think it depends on the content. I mean, you can blog about anything really. If you put the same content that you would put in a book, on a blog instead... does different media mean you shouldn't get paid?
Appreciate the comment. I know what you mean. There are some people who think in the future there will be no more non-fiction books. Most everything will be available for free on the web. Not sure what I think of that, but I see my personal book-buying habits changing. So if we are writing a non-fiction book and posting it bit-by-bit on a blog, essentially self-publishing, isn't it reasonable to want some compensation?

Just found this:
Last year, this blog author looked at 100 blogs for big law firms. She just revisited the same list and found that 73/100 were either dead or dying.
http://www.geeklawblog.com/2009/12/list ... blogs.html

Only the future will tell us what is happening, but change is in the air.

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