Can Full-time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows + Hugs?
Hello lovely readers and friends. How are you today? I had quite a good week because it began with our wedding anniversary which was so, so nice this year to celebrate it with our baby. I hope all is well with you, too. So! I want to bring something up in this space because I wonder what your thoughts are and I wonder if this is just one rare comment or if lots of people are beginning to see blogger's who make money as the bad guys? So let's see what you think.
I already know what I think! First, the comment that was left on my blog last night.
"dear holly, please allow me to be very frank. it’s all too much for me. all your books and now an online shop – you are marketing yourself too much for my taste. it has become all about earning money and i can feel the spirit fading away. so sorry to say so and i really grant you every success possible but i fear you are loosing your magic touch by selling, selling and more selling. still, all the best, uschi."
I'm open to comments left by readers, I mean, we all have a right to our opinion. Yet, I'm always baffled when someone thinks a blogger who spends 8-10 hours a day putting together content for their site, employing others, writing books, teaching workshops, etc. is somehow supposed to be doing all of this for free and the moment they explore alternatives, they're told they are "losing their magic". They are judged because they earn their living from this work. Every blogger that I know who is having success with it tries to turn it into something that yields revenue so they can quit their jobs and spend time doing something that enriches their life. What's wrong with that, really? If I wasn't doing this, I'd be back in my cubicle at the investments company in Boston feeling like I'd never reach my childhood dream of authoring books. Isn't this what we want for others though, to come out from under the clouds and find something positive to get involved in that makes them happy that is also good work that impacts others in a positive way? Don't we want happiness for others?
This morning my husband told me he replied to a comment on my blog. I asked him which comment because I had approved the one above last night so quickly that I didn't even read it. I was so tired and the baby needed me. When I read his comment, replying to the one above, the tears started to flow. He really nailed it for me - how I feel about making money as a blogger, how I feel about marketing what I do, all of it. So please read his reply below. I wonder if perhaps this will encourage those of you who, like me, are trying to keep it real and support your families by doing what you enjoy.
This is Thorsten, Holly’s husband and the “tech guy” behind decor8. I’ve just read your comment while performing some maintenance on decor8. This isn’t the first comment of this kind on decor8, by no means, and it certainly won’t be the last. I don’t usually comment on Holly’s blog since being her husband we have our conversations offline, in person. But there are occasions where I feel compelled to join a conversation publicly for means of coming to my wife’s aid. This is such a case.
I have been at Holly’s side, and on her side, ever since she started blogging back in 2006. She had and always will have my respect, support and admiration for all her hard work. I have been with her through the sweat and tears, the bullying, the name calling, the attacks on her reputation by other bloggers. It was atrocious at times, it was repulsive, it was disgusting. But she stuck with it. She had a goal: to make her dream of becoming a (paid) writer come true. As a writer myself sharing that same dream I kept saying “go for it”. I am proud of her for all she’s accomplished – proud of her successful blog, proud of her many published articles, proud of her books and all that’s yet to come.
Do you know how all this comes about? Through hard work. Unlike a good majority of bloggers Holly doesn’t grab content from other sites and reword it. She tries hard to make sure all her posts are not only original, as much as online writing can be original these days, but also reflective of her vision. This takes time and effort, often in excess of eight hours a day. She then publishes it free of charge on her blog for everyone’s enjoyment. In addition she wrote three books so far, each one taking a good year of preparation, negotiation, and traveling. I was there, I know first hand. I know about the stress, the tears, the heartaches, the doubts.
Now, as mentioned, I am a writer myself. I used to write articles for magazines, newspapers and various multimedia outlets. I call myself a journalist. A journalist is someone who writes professionally usually producing work for hire or selling articles. No one would ever accuse me of selling, selling, selling or losing my magic touch because I charge for what I write. In fact, if publishers would expect me to write for free I’d complain, probably loudly, on the web. Many people would come to my aid denouncing the “evil” publishers, those “greedy bastards”, the “disgusting freeloaders”. I expect to be paid for my hard work, everyone does.
Yet somehow bloggers have no right to that. They are expected to publish content for free. They are expected to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are expected to be magical creatures apparently living off of rainbows and hugs. Dare I say this holds true mostly for female bloggers. The moment a female blogger tries to find forms of compensation for her hard work she is chastised by a good percentage of her gender. She’s selling out. On the other hand if I, as a man, were to start a tech blog, had ads from major sponsors, wrote tech books, went on paid speaking assignments, did consultations etc. I’d be considered a successful man. Seth Godin comes to mind, also Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. It speaks for the still pitiful state of female empowerment in our day and age, the biggest opponents being other females.
So I say, YES, this is in part about earning money. Of course it is. How can it not be? How can Holly and other predominantly female bloggers be rightfully expected to do all this work for nil? More so for those who have made this a family business. Worse yet, are such family businesses judged by tired old societal frameworks like the good housewife and the hard working husband? He goes off to work while she takes care of the home and the children and everything she does is a hobby and will not be allowed to ever be more than that? Aren’t we beyond the Mad Men era by now?
So what do you bloggers and friends of bloggers think of this? I am curious so chime in!
(image: rainbow garland, etsy)