My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let The Fractions of Pennies Flow

If you intend to monetize your blog, the best time to do it is yesterday. The second best time is now.

I'm going to monitize this blog.
Soon, you too could be making ten of these
bad boys each and every single day!

I have to be honest here; this feels really pretentious. I've spent most of my life under the impression that people would pay money to AVOID reading my writing. Not only that, but I'm painfully aware of how bare bones this blog really is, so now it won't just be nothing and some words. It's going to be an ad for Viagra and some words. There isn't even a good picture of whales or starships or a fountain pen writing on a vellum scroll or a threesome or whales having a threesome or a starship threesome shooting fountain pens at whales or anything really that might take the curse off of the ads that will soon be there. At least when it was just words, I could cover up my computer ineptitude with some crap about simplicity.  Perhaps when my followers skyrocket into double digits, I'll worry about background art and stuff.  For now, I simply give my apologies.

This decision is the syncretism of a few bits of advice I've run into. In my business of creative writing class, every working writer we talked to told us to find revenue streams wherever we possibly could. Sell a story to pay a cell phone bill? Awesome! Have four part time jobs that give you the time to write? Perfect! The writer who dreams of publishing books and living off of royalty checks is almost as naive as the cliche of the girl on the bus headed to Hollywood to be discovered. Chances are, even if you get there, you're going to have several interim steps between "winning" Nanowrimo and that condominium  overlooking Central Park. So take everything you can get. I'm well on my way to shockingly eclectic amalgamation of income sources. I do supplemental instruction for ESL and developmental English students twice a week. I'm a househusband.  I tutor. I sell vital organs on the South American black market.  I do a little bit of manwhoring on the side. So if I can get enough followers here to be able to splurge on a box of Chiclets gum the next time I'm down selling organs, more power to me.

The other bit of advice came from research.  I was trying to figure out when to monitize a blog.  Should I do it at 500 followers?  A thousand?  Should I do it by subscribers or hits?  Do I do it at 10,000 hits or 50,000?

Mostly what I found out from this research is to monitize right away.

That's not because you'll make any money at it.  You won't.  It's because humanity is a fickle beast that hates change. You know how when Facebook changes, for a week after, all you hear about on Facebook is how much people hate Facebook for changing things. Or if Livejournal puts ads up for its free subscribers in order to cover the cost of their free service, suddenly there's a bunch of people who complain about how LJ is just in it for the money and there's a sudden exodus to Dreamwidth? It's kind of like that. As someone who has watched restaurant employees kvetch all night, every night, for a month about a change in the computer system that was better in every single possible measurable way, I sort of relate to this.

Symbolic Garth smashes the metaphorical mechanical hand with the allegorical hammer at the slightest hint of the change he fears.

It turns out that the biggest way to piss people off with change, though, is to involve commercialization of a previously free service. The way humans think, we can't really wrap our brains around big numbers, so the idea that providing a service to tens of thousands is different than providing a service to a couple of hundred doesn't really compute very well.  Think about the last time someone tried to make money off of something that had previously been totally free--even if it was just to offer a premium service for those willing to pay or to put ads where there once were none. Based on the reactions, you'd think Poland had just been invaded by a dude who needs to stop cutting his hair with a bowl.  Cries of materialistic greed and wanton avarice echo from all corners as if making money off of something that eats an increasingly large chunk of time is somehow evil. The funny thing is, it's the CHANGE that troubles people most. The relief of change causes people to care about things that they wouldn't normally even notice. In study after study almost none of those same people would have been bothered in the slightest if the ads had been there all along.  Very few people would see ads on a page and choose not to read the page. So the pretty clear advice out there is to monitize your blog right away because if you wait until you have five hundred or a thousand followers, you're going to lose a chunk of them immediately for being the evil Nazi sellout that you really are.

For shame you trying to make money off of something you put hours of effort into every day.  Who does that?  I mean really?

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