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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Mailbox: Your Wildest Dreams of Avarice

Auto-pay buttons. Paypal hatred. And helping this blog in ways that don't cost money.

[Remember, keep sending in your questions to chris.brecheen@gmail.com with the subject line "W.A.W. Mailbox" and I will answer each Friday.  I will use your first name ONLY unless you tell me explicitly that you'd like me to use your full name or you would prefer to remain anonymous.  My comment policy also may mean one of your comments ends up in the mailbox. I'm not above saving up questions to make my bimonthly appeal post look like a mailbox.] 

Dan writes:  

I know how Writing About Writing could make more money! Your Paypal button should include the subscription options. I bet a lot of people who don't think to click the button would be willing to set an auto-pay for a couple of dollars a month.

My reply:

I would love to have that subscription button! It sets up an automatic monthly payment and you can even label the subscription rates with really clever rates that remind people how cheap it is to support up and coming artists.

$2.00- King Sized Candy Bar
$5.00- Pumpkin Spiced Latte
$10.00- Movie At An Older Theater
$20.00- IMAX Show
$2500.00- Blackjack and sex workers

Well, you get the idea.

Anyway, it turns out when looking into this to answer your question that this service is something for which Paypal charges an additional $20/month. (It seems they have a pretty high opinion of their buttons.) As modest as Writing About Writing's numbers still are, I'm not sure we would even break even.

The thing is, Dan, you can make any payment you want recurring. If you make a Paypal payment (of any amount) you can click the little marker that says "Make this recurring" and give that amount each month. The button is impossible to miss. It's right next to the amount field if you click on the donate button.

It's there. In the middle.
Look closely.
No...between "amount" and "total."
Right now about 85% of W.A.W.'s meager but undeserved income comes from a half a dozen donors. (There's a reason I sing their praises mightily.) When lots more small donations start trickling in, or I have a lot more readers, I'll consider that investment.

P writes:

I hate Paypal. They are too greedy, and they involve themselves in the politics of their customers. Can I just send you a check?

My reply:

Paypal is kind of skeevy. It's like they think they're the only game in town. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of choices because they're the only game in town.

Right now, I'm afraid there's not enough interest in mailing physical checks. You're only the second person to mention it in nearly three years. If a few more people chime in, I'll set something up.

The thing of it is, I have to get a P.O. box for these kinds of correspondences, and they aren't expensive but they might not be worth it yet. Things get a little weird when you start having a public persona. I'm not even close to famous, and I already have some colorful folks fixating on me in various social media, so I'm not going to give out my mailing address. My feminism posts always garner me a couple of nasty-grams (and Creepy Guy earned me straight up death threats), a couple of religious n00bs are sure they can talk me out of my heathenish ways, and I've got at least a couple of people who don't seem dangerous, but just a little obsessive and not something I want my family to have to deal with.

Sheesh, all I wanted were some sex-crazed groupies.

I hear they do the weird stuff.
If you really want to donate, and really hate Paypal, send me a private e-mail (chris.brecheen@gmail.com) and I will give you a c/o address of someone who will unerringly get a letter to me, and who works in a building with security so they will be insulated from any potential weirdness.

Cynthia asks: 

I love your blog!! I want to support it but freelancing in today's economy means I'm never sure when my next job is going to be or how long I need to make a payday stretch. I'd totally come be your groupie, except for three minor factors: I'm on the east coast, and kind of married, and pretty darn gay. Anything else you might like?

My reply:

Just knowing you considered it is enough for me. That's so moving! (~sniff~)

I have an FAQ about how to support Writing About Writing including a bunch of free ways, but it's always good to post them once in a while for people who don't go digging around the website.

1 Turn off your adblock for JUST this site.
I make about 20 cents a day from Adsense, but the only page views that count are those that can see the ads. Modern entertainment consumers really need to realize that free content will only remain free (or continue to exist) if the creator's bills get paid. That's not even enough to buy instant ramen. People visiting blogs or websites who go to extraordinary lengths never to have to see an ad are actually killing the entertainment they enjoy. If you turn off your adblock, then every time you visit W.A.W., you'll be supporting me a tiny bit without having to pay a dime. (And though you should never just click the ads for no reason, you might see something you like.)

Don't worry. You don't have to sit in a miasma of Pop Up Ads like you're suddenly back in 1994 listening to Ace of Base and All-4-One. Most ad blockers allow you to turn them off for JUST the domain (in my case chrisbrecheen.blogspot.com). They'll still protect you from stupidity on other websites.

2- Share the articles you like on social media.
I can reach about 100 people through my personal networks. That's about how many page views I'm guaranteed to get if I share on every social media I am on. For an article to go any further, someone else has to share it.

3- Click the little buttons.  A lot.
Google is probably going to be the robot intelligence that enslaves humanity for its own good. But right now it's focused on making sure you can't "trick" it into improving your SEO with fluff pieces. One of the most effective ways to help an article get more traffic (by being a higher result on a search engine) is to do things like give it "Likes," "+1s" and "Thumbs Up."  Google tracks that and puts the articles people like higher on their search results. If you want to help W.A.W. you might be just a little more generous with those endorsement buttons than for a normal site.

4- Stumbleupon is especially awesome.
Stumbleupon is the source of about half this blog's traffic, and up to 75% on any given day. The ways Stumbleupon works is that matches specific interests with random people.  So utterly random people who have listed "writing" as an interest will see an article "liked" through Stumbleupon.  For each "like," more people are shown the article.  If one of those people gives it a like, it just keeps going, possibly becoming like the article version of a sci-fi movie-of-the-week monster.  S.U. is not as clumsy or random as a FB blast. An elegant social media, for a more civilized age.

5- Comment or drop me a line.  
Just hearing that you like W.A.W. is really nice.  I make about five dollars a day and work about five hours a day–so I'm making just over Laotian sweatshops, but well under Malaysian ones. There have been a deplorable lack of hawt groupie threesomes since....ever.  Most of the time no one makes a comment. Every week I get these anonymous nasty-grams that imagine untold medieval tortures upon me.  It's really nice to hear some of the good stuff from time to time whether it's just an article you particularly liked, or a general appreciation of my work.

[By now you probably suspect the truth. While these are real questions sent in by real people, I saved them for our bimonthly appeal post. Writing About Writing's future depends entirely on you. I will try to only bug you about it once every couple of months (which is better than NPR!) but please don't forget that this website could become a place for all my free fiction or go down to one post a week depending entirely upon you.]


  1. Here's some comment love - Google, take note.

  2. I do love reading this - been a little distracted over the past couple of months as been trying to talk people into voting Yes in the referendum in Scotland, but it's been a really good place to come and chill out from all the arguing!