Monday, January 5, 2015

"Why I now accept donations" or "Well, duh!"

I didn’t tell anyone I’d written a single blog until I’d already written and posted 50 of the suckers. That was way back in ’08.

I wanted to have something browse-worthy so if someone liked one, they could go back and read a bunch. I wasn’t interested in readers.

I wanted addicts.

Blogging’s taught me I’m a real writer.

This is more surprising than it seems.

See, I’d always written, but that’s not the same as being a writer.

Because prior to blogging, writing had always involved financial incentive. Blogging, especially at the crest of the Great Recession, was something completely different.

It’s like standing on a busy sidewalk and talking to yourself and hoping someone will stop by to at least listen a little.

That’s what happened. Right off the bat, my blog earned a really devoted and diverse readership. There were housewives, teachers, attorneys, mill workers, entrepreneurs, farmers, waitresses, and one retired captain of a U.S. Navy missile destroyer.

And they came from around the world. I stopped keeping track a few years ago after four people from Trinidad and Tobago stopped by for a long loaf. In my geographic ignorance, I assumed they visiting readers from countries number 200 and 201.

That’s the day I learned that Trinidad and Tobago aren’t two countries, but one. The insight provided me not just with a boost of blog self-esteem, but a handy topic for the next day.

I remember thinking, man, if I could get 50,000 people to read this thing, that’d really be something.

It’s likely by St. Patrick’s Day I’ll have 250,000 in just about the last two years.

And during all this blogging, the one question that keeps coming up is this: “How do you make any money blogging?”

Well, I don’t.

It’d be different if my blog were called “Eight Days To A Really Great Bike Vacation!” I could advertise and offer paid endorsements.

But my blog’s not about selling products. It’s about making people feel better.

Everyone knows there’s no money in that. 

Heck, it’s what Mother Teresa was all about and, geez, did you ever see the way she dressed?

But what’s become increasingly apparent over the last year is that people are frustrated my blog does not make me money. 

This became too momentous to ignore the week before Christmas when two avid readers — one of whom I’d never even met — called with the purpose of staging an intervention.

Regular readers might conclude they were going to lecture me on drinking too much. In fact, they weren’t at all concerned I drink too much.

What worries them is I earn too little.

“You need to understand how much your blog means to people,” said one. “People love your blog and many will gladly pay to support you. You need to right away begin including something that will allow people to donate.”

It went on like that.

And, you know what, it’s nothing I hadn’t heard before.

It’s very gratifying.

So now, yes, I’m accepting donations. I solicit them. If you enjoy the blog and can afford to, I welcome your support.

The blog will always be free.

But if you’ve been a regular reader for these past six years and can afford to express some gratitude, just click the “Donate” button and it’ll link to my PayPal account.

How much? That’s where it gets tricky.

Here’s a handy guide: a $60 donation would be $5 a month or about 25-cents per post.

I’m weighing an incentive where for every $500 donation I’ll come by your house to either read the blog aloud to you and your friends or clean your gutters, whichever seems more appealing.

Either way, the blog’s not going to change. I enjoy writing it too much to make any drastic changes based on income.

All donations, I promise, will be anonymous.

All but this one.

I want to publicly thank my very first donor, a Mrs. Valerie R., from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She donated $2 first thing this morning.

You, Valerie R., are the best!

In the interest of maintaining blog integrity, I guess I’d better come clean.

Valerie R. is my wife. I snuck onto her computer while she was getting the kids ready for school. I wanted to see if the procedure was glitch-free.

It is and, yes, I put $2 on her computer to compensate for my sneak.

I thought about having her donate $60, but that would have been risky.

She’d have viewed it as a case of robbing Peter to PayPal.

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