Saturday, February 11, 2012

My one-year blog-o-versary:
richer in all ways but one

Today is the one-year anniversary of my very first post on this blog.

Well, that's not quite true. Before I requisitioned it to talk about my outrageous fortune, this blog had been collecting dust as a class project from the University of Oregon, so technically THIS was the first post. It's surprising how well it foreshadows my current situation.

..."how to make a living off it" indeed.

This blog has not been a major source of income for me. I never really expected it to be (OK, maybe I did dream a little) but I did think it would give me a little housewife mad money.

I think I've technically made about $100, although I'm learning that Internet advertisers are remarkably slow and unreliable about payment so I've only seen about $60 of that so far.

Not much for one's blood, sweat and (lots of) tears.

It wasn't totally delusional of me to think that I might make some money at this. After all, I do have a degree in writing. And there are several success stories out there — dooce, Hyperbole and a HalfEnjoying the Small Things, and, most recently, Momestery — to name a few.

As soon as you "make it," people, of course, line up to ask you how you did it. This is where things get weird. What I can tell from reading all their success stories is that they just had fun and did what they wanted and eventually people noticed — LOTS of people. None of the bloggers I've read who "made it" felt that they used any tricks or self-marketed in any particular way (or at all).

Warren Whitlock, a new Twitter acquaintance who runs a blog called Profitable Social Media, might have the answer for why.

"STOP trying to get and start giving," Whitlock says. "...Be seen as someone who GIVES help, support and attention to others."

As I said in the comments to that post, I know he's right because it's what I've heard a zillion times from various bloggers who "made it." So that means it must be true, right?

But for every one of those who skyrocketed to success there are thousands of us stuck down here on Earth and I can't help but think that pure chance plays a greater role than we want to admit.

(Yet another theme you can read about in my awesome book! OK, OK, I'm stopping, I'm stopping.)

You see, though I'm very grateful to the handful of people who participated in my giveaway, this last week of trying to promote my novella was a pretty big flop. It's hard to interpret the crickets I'm hearing, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say Whitlock is right. If you ask for compensation for your work, it puts people off and you are less likely to get it than if people just feel drawn to it and to supporting you.

It's hard to trust in that. But I'm realizing I don't have a choice. I even decided to make A Twist of Fate free this weekend to see what happens and because why not? I'm not making any money at it anyway, so I might as well give it to anyone who might enjoy it.

And really, that suits me just fine. I'm horrible about self-promotion. I don't really like Twitter. (That's right. I said it.) I've felt awkward and needy posting about my book all the time. What I really want to do is what I've been doing all along: writing about what I feel, connecting with other parents of multiples with cerebral palsy, learning so much more about the world of special needs, and finding many other wonderful, inspiring and informative bloggers.

These benefits don't pay the bills, but they have saved my sanity, and for them I say starting this blog a year ago was a fabulous success.

You have to give to get? OK.

Got it.

Photo courtesy Jessie Kirk Photography


12 comments:

  1. Two things: 1. I am SO glad that Jessie introduced us! I very rarely read blogs, but everytime you post a link I jump right over because I don't want to miss it and I usually stay and read past blog posts.

    2. Everything you've said about blog success is true for Ebook success as well. The people I know making a real living with their independently published ebooks write a lot and ran into some luck. Some of the most amazing writers with the best books are still sitting, after a year of more, waiting to be found. It makes me sad! I get a bit of housewife mad-money from what I do...and I try to be thankful for it! But for all of my tweet-by-machining I do, I know that "taking off" is more about patience and persistence than it is about tweeting or fbing or any other darn thing that I can actually control. *sigh* Congratulations on your anniversary. Your blog is a wonderful success in my book!

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    1. Traci, I'm glad too! I think we have much in common.

      I'm surprised to hear you say that! I consider you one of those folks who "made it" if not exactly "made it big." At least you're selling your books! Mine has gone through my 50 best friends and stopped dead. Oh well. Like I say here, I'll just do what I want because why not?

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    2. Well...maybe I get more than mad money, but I don't make as much as I would flipping hamburgers yet...and that's how I'll know when I've made it-made it! ; )

      Traci

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  2. Shasta. You are probably my favourite blogger. I follow over 100 blogs but there are only about 5 that I absolutely must read the instant they publish a new post. And you are one of the 5. I love everything you write It's like you are inside my head and write down exactly what I'm feeling.

    I'm so glad you started blogging. Happy blog-o-versary!

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you Cary! That really means a lot to hear you say that. We do have *very* similar situations though! I'm so glad this blog allowed me to "meet" you and your family. It's so great to know someone else who knows this "new normal."

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  3. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Congratulations on your blogoversary! I keep coming back to your blog, I absolutely love it.
    Cristina

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    1. Thank you so much Cristina!

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  4. Happy Blogoversary Shasta! Your site is tops! I'm so glad that I found your site. Whenever I read what you write it never fails to inspire me and make me think.For that I thank you!

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    1. Thank you Ross! It's great to get to know people like you.

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  5. Happy blogoversary, Shasta! I met you at the ONN event.

    I think blogging as a way to make money does take a bit of luck, and also being in the right place at the right time. The big opportunity of blogging for money may be past its prime; it feels like the world has gone to twitter. Shorter, faster, go. I'd still rather blog.

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    1. Maybe. I feel like Twitter as a lot of people talking and very few listening. I think blogs are better in the long term.

      For you, though, I bet Pinterest is huge with the knitting set.

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    2. Pinterest is huge with the knitting set, but I'm only tentatively dipping my toes in. There aren't enough hours for all the online things one could do, and it really does suck me in.

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