Saturday, July 26, 2008

Show me the money sister

I would love to be rich.

Like, really, really rich.

Rich enough that the day-to-day of stress of paying mortgages and bills would be a thing of the past for me and the people I love. Rich enough to travel the world with Graham and teach him first-hand about politics and culture.

Rich enough to start a foundation to provide seed money for poor women who want to start small businesses. Rich enough to buy a penthouse in New York, a beach house in the Caribbean and a farm with lots of horses and dogs north of Toronto.

Rich enough to....umm, okay you get the point.

The point is, like 99% of the population, I can always find ways to spend extra money. And that means, straight up, if my writing here at Don Mills Diva allows me to earn extra money, I will accept it gratefully and with no sense of shame for having somehow sullied myself.

But I do have a few rules:

1. My ads will be found in my sidebars only. I am not interested in pay-per-post and I will not slip product reviews and pitches into this middle column.

2. I am thrilled to accept money and/or free stuff in exchange for writing on my review blog: that's what it's there for. I will write a teaser here on my main blog and readers may or may not choose to click over and read the product review.

3. I will always try to express my opinions freely and not be influenced by how people might react to my words. I freely admit this is a constant struggle, in life and on my blog.

(Note: I don't curse here. Not because I'm afraid to offend potential advertisers but because I endeavor not to curse in real life. Also, I don't reveal gory details about my family life here because, well, some things are private, thank you very much.)

It's pretty simple. I don’t think it’s terribly controversial. I write to the very best of my ability. I work my butt off. I endeavor to entertain and enlighten and perhaps even incite and if I do it well enough, for long enough, I could make some money. If that happens, I think I will deserve it. If it doesn't, well, I probably deserve that too.

Neat how that works, huh?

So why do we, and by we I mean women, make it so complicated?

Monetizing your blog or blogging for bucks was a popular seminar at the recent BlogHer conference and the notion that women should dare earn money from - GASP! - writing about family life was a hot topic of discussion.


To steal a line from Scarbie Doll - This is why we don't rule the world.

Can you honestly picture thousands of men wringing their hands and clucking their tongues over whether accepting payment for something they do well is tantamount to defiling themselves?

I didn't think so.

I learned at BlogHer that there are 36 million people in the blogosphere every week: that translates into an awesome economic opportunity for people like me, whose fondest dream is to earn money from their writing.

I would do this for free. Hell, I practically do do this for free.

But if one day, by writing on my own terms in my own space, I manage to earn enough readers to actually make me rich, I'll be damned if I'll demure and giggle nervously like some modest, 19th century maiden.

I will stand proud. I will accept my due. And I will cash the check.

Just like a man would.

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Betsy Mae said...

GREAT post!

Everyone has their own reasons for blogging. There shouldn't be a right or wrong answer to this topic. If you want to make money from your blog and you can make money from it, then go for it!

In my opinion you've said it better than anyone else so far. Nicely written.

caramama said...

Well said! I especially agree with your take on the gender difference here.

I just don't even see why this is an issue. If people are willing to pay someone to put ads on their blog and the blogger is willing to do it and get paid, go for it. Seriously, this is a non-issue in my mind, and I love the way you've written about it.

Helen Wright said...

What's the difference between getting money from a blog where you write about your experiences and writing about your experiences in a book and getting money for it?!?!?!

Beck said...

And I LOVE writing for money. The commercial blog that I write for is openly a commercial blog, so I don't feel any issues with that, and i have no problems running ads on my site. Because I am far from rich, and the money I make blogging is enough to keep me from having to get a job at the grocery store.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

If someone wants to pay me to do something I love, I will take the money. If it is blogging/writing, running, going out to eat, whatever. Seriously, if I got paid to blog, I'd be able to devote more time to it. Money is a good thing, as long as you know your parameters, which you do. That session made me realize what mine are.

karengreeners said...

Here, here. I was actually astonished that my free blog space didn't come with ads built in, for the provider to make money on.

Should I make a (very) paltry sum from ads on my blog and not feel bad about it? Hells yeah. The huz just lost his job and I'm on mat leave. I've got two words for anybody that would criticize a woman putting ads in her space.

OHmommy said...

Amen sister.

Can I just cut and paste this post and put it up on my blog? Kidding. Not really, you said exactly what I was thinking.


Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

As girls/ladies/chicks, we have to accept what people want to pay us for.

TAKE the MONEY as long as you're authentic.

Or don't. That's why we have brains - to make choices.

Love every word you said.

KathyLikesPink said...

You go girl!

Melisa Wells said...

Right on, sister!
Well put. I'm right there with you.

Gotta go...I have to go buy a gumball with my ad revenue. ROFL! ;)

Gretchen said...

Yup. Ditto ditto ditto.

Oh and BTW, you show ME the money sister. I'm new to the whole blogging thing so if there is some way to make money at this, clue me in.

Anonymous said...

YEAH, baby!

I love this post (even though I still haven't decided where I stand on this issue...).

Well said.

JCK said...

Earning money from writing would be a fantasy come true. I just want to do it my way! And I think whatever your writing path, if you stick to what works for you...and what you are passionate about, it will lead you to getting paid.

Great post!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Nothing wrong with money, in my opinion. You'd never find me turning it down. Unfortunately, no one has offered me any. Oh, well...

Backpacking Dad said...

If I didn't hate the look of the ad-network sidebar ads I might put some on the blog. I'm not about keeping the writing space pure or any nonsense like that, but so far the only way I've seen to monetize the blog is to try to sell stuff to my readers that I don't actually produce or endorse. Maybe when I actually do something with my own domain I'll sell individual ad space or something.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Money? Sign me up.

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

On a roll there aren't you? This post and the last one? Someone recently telling you you can't do what you are doing?

I'm a little at a loss as to how anyone is making any money at this?

I recently asked some of the 'famous bloggers' I read what they made from blogher ads. Not like as in $$ but as in how many boxes of Costco sized diapers could you buy per month from your blogher ads? Most said $50. But one said enough for groceries each month!? I'd do it for that, thank you VERY much.

Sorry so long a comment.

Allmycke said...

You tell'em!
Great post.

Anonymous said...

Great post. And I think this shouldn't even be an issue.
You watch your favourite TV shows? Then you must watch the commercials to pay for it. (PVR'ing aside)
Ads and content go hand in hand. However, you must have separation of church and state. I hope when you are "thrilled to accept money and/or free stuff in exchange for writing on my review blog" you don't write positive reviews just because you got the free stuff. When companies put their products out there, they HAVE to be prepared for negative reviews as well.
Journalists know this - I worry that Mommy Bloggers might "feel bad" or think they have to write a positive review. They don't.
[Kelly, I know you're a journalist, this is more of a general statement]

Tenakim said...

When I started this, I had no clue people made money doing it! It would be amazing to make money doing something that I enjoy, I would never turn it down!

Mental P Mama said...

Well said! I think you are well on your way...

Anonymous said...

God, I love ya DMD. So well said, I'm going to read it again.

Kyla said...

The one thing I got tired of hearing about at the conference was monetization (that and pedophiles, LOL), either pro or con. I'm not interested in it personally (nor am I interested in somehow increasing traffic, really) and whether the people I read do or do not pursue a profit doesn't matter in the least to me. If you do, GREAT! If you don't, GREAT! I just come for the content either way. Content and community, that's what it boils down to for me.

John-Michael said...

And why, pray tell, shouldn't you "stand proud?" I stand proud in the fact that You are a treasured element of my life. I REALLY do! You, my Darling Lady, are an asset to the world that is blessed by even the most fleeting touch of your Spirit. And every asset has its incumbent right to compensation. Were it in my power ... you would know that Wealth in terms that would enable all of your dreams.

Admiringly ...

David said...

I never look at numbers or count comments.

Numbers mean nothing to me.
When I see ads down bloggers sidebars lighting up like the Vegas strip, I start to question if it is honest stuff I read.
I like truth in blogs and suspect that reviewers that get free product, are not giving me an honest opinion.
It matters not to me if you want to get rich by your writing. It is a noble goal and if it is your thing then go for it.
It may change how people look at you however.

Please don't suggest that you "will cash the cheque just like a man would". I suggest that there are many women bloggers that have taken cars on free rides across the country in exchange for a review. Cashed many cheques for product placements and have more ads than Yahoo would ever entertain.
I read a lot of men bloggers and I have yet to find one that does it for the money. I suggest you spend some time on some male writers sites and then discuss your claim that we are all in it for the money.

I write for me!

I write because I believe that we can change if we work at it.
I write because I want to make us better if I can.

I write because I want my son to see how the world can change if we work at it.
I write daily if I can for the discipline and the art. The craft of using our heads to put words into play.
Words and books are important to me.
Money is not so much.
Perhaps that is why I consider myself happy and content.
Years from now the size of the house, the number of cars, the toys in the entertainment stand will not mean a thing.
Leaving a wonderful legacy in memory and words for my son, Daniel, will mean everything.

Everyone writes or is an artist for their own reason.
You have been honest with us in your pursuit of "happiness"

I'm glad you came clean with your raison d'etre.


flutter said...

It has always bugged me that people get pissy about ads. Do we say that authors who get paid for their books are sell outs? Journalists who get paid to write for papers, for magazines?

why is one ok and not the other?

Kristi said...

Amen. Women who leverage their skills for money are "greedy" or "opportunistic." Men who do the same possess "business savvy" and "drive." Good for you for recognizing the difference and writing about it here.

Maggie, Dammit said...

This is exactly what I needed to read today. I thank you.

Anonymous said...

Some of the best writers in the world are women so it always amazes me that men (it's been mostly men in my experience) balk at the idea of women monetizing their blogs.

It harkens back to an article I read recently where some of uber-bloggers were berated and torn apart for what was basically perceived as taking advantage of their families and most importantly their children in order to make money.

I've been blogging for more than three years now and last year I put AdSense on my blog. It irritates me because for some reason I can't change the location of the ads...they show up below my posts and in the middle of the page. But, being that the small checks I've been getting (the largest one has only been $40) do clear, I'm loathe to remove them.

I have absolutely no qualms about receiving money because someone deems what I write worthy enough. Do you think Erma Bombeck would have become the icon she was had she felt there was an issue with chronicling family life? Jenny McCarthy?

So it seems absolutely stupid to me that people find the idea of monetizing a blog, such a stretch of almost so blasphemous.

This was another beautifully written post. Thanks for articulating what so many of us have been thinking.

Miss Lisa said...

Totally agree--I think you expressed what we are thinking ;)

dawn klinge said...

Nothing wrong with that! Good for you!

Mr Lady said...

Dude, seriously? WORD UP.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Love this post. There is nothing wrong with being paid for performance in the real world, in the blog world, etc.

One of our good friends is in marketing/advertising. He asked me if I charge companies for the product reviews I write...when I told him typically no (I do get paid with gift cards for Mom Central or Mother Talk reviews), he couldn't believe that I basically give companies free publicity. I told him I accept products, but he reminded me that PR companies have boxes of promo items to give away. I told him that I don't really know of any bloggers who charge for reviews (I'm not referring to pay per posts as I don't write those.)

So, I decided to be proactive and start selling sidebar ads on my own and this week I sold my first dual ads. I did some research on rates and I could NOT believe how little people are charging. It was crazy.

We don't need to undervalue ourselves! While I don't expect to get rich from my writing, I don't think there is any shame in treating my sites like a small business endeavor.

E said...

Oh I hope not just like a man would, but rather like you just did, like a woman would.
Nice essay Diva

Don Mills Diva said...

I rarely respond to comments because I feelit's important for readers to get the last word.

But David? You upset me - that was really harsh.

I did not suggest and would never suggest that men only blog for the money. What I said was that I have yet to see men wring their hands over whether they deserve to be paid for their skills.

Women do wring their hands over this: whether it be writing or any other line of work, it is women, in my experience, who consistently undervalue their efforts and are conflicted about accepting compensation.

I declared that I would love to be rich because it's true. I think most people would. All other things being equal, who wouldn't? Perhaps you find that a shocking thing for a woman and mother to say - in which case, thanks for proving my point.

Perhaps you missed it, but I said clearly that I would write here for free. I meant it.

I have spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours writing my heart out here and trying to be a helpful and supportive member of the blogging community. If you think the $60 a month I (only recently) starting earning is my raison d'etre, you have grossly underestimated my character and, quite frankly, my ambitions.


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...


I so feel ya. I never really got what the fuss was all about anyway.

Backpacking Dad said...


I remember back in elementary school when they would make us sit for these standardized tests: math skills, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.

The reading comprehension part was always my favourite, because it usually involved a short story or something equivalent and then questions about the passage testing how well you had gleaned the message(s) in the piece.

On this day, David, you fail at reading comprehension. But you totally win at ass-hattery. Hooray. If you re-read the post and see where you went wrong and apologize I will delete this comment and write a new one that lauds you for your maturity.

Should I hold my breath?

Her Bad Mother said...

*rolling eyes at David*

Woman in a Window said...

Rich? Really? I just wouldn't mind to be able to afford new underwear...and not perty stuff either.

Mandy said...

*seconds HBM rolling eyes at David*

You are an awesome writer Kelly. And I think that everything you wrote in this post rang true. Of course me, I'd like to be really, really, REALLY rich. I added the third really in there for emphasis.


Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

You are totally right on the money about us gals.
Go Kelly! You do a terrific job here, your writing is quite entertaining and I love your conviction in your thoughts and beliefs.

Cynthia said...

Well said...I agree with you 100% It is about time someone said it as wonderfully as you!

Leanne said...

Two words. Me too.

Claremont First Ward said...

Hear. Hear. Me too.

Lisa said...

Kelly - you're awesome. Your points are well stated and very valid. If you can kill two birds with one stone (doing something you LOVE and getting paid) why not?

Kudos to you, my friend!

Marmarbug said...

Girl take your money! You are right. We women over anaylze EVERYTHING. I wish I didn't but yeah I do it sometimes. It sucks.

April said...

Rock on, sister!

Christine said...

Kelly - WORD!

kittenpie said...

For a small blogger like myself, I think it's not really worth it, and I kind of like that it's mine, just for me. My line on reviews is that I'll review books, since that is a professinoal thing for me anyhow, but so far, not other things.

That said, that's just my line. I figure, everyone's space is their own space, and they have to make their own choices about what they are comfy with and what feels right to them, for them. For poeple with more readers, if ads are paying enough to be worthwhile, I figure why not? You put in time for it.

BusyDad said...

I don't advertise on my blog only because it would depress me to all hell that at the end of each month, I could maybe afford a Big Gulp and change. I have nothing against making money off your own blog. You are providing a service (entertaining people), so why not get paid? Maybe one day it'll happen for both of us. Can I call dibs on going to the steak house with you and lighting a couple of Cubans with $100 dollar bills?

Unknown said...

I never thought about it that way - from the male perspective. That made me laugh and grimace at the same time, which is hard to do by the way.

For what it's worth, I think you deserve really big checks to cash! (not worth much, I know...)

Karen said...

Good for you for trying to make a few extra dollars blogging. I like your approach to it.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Okay, am I the only one who is not familiar with BlogHer? LOL! Anyone want to explain how this thing works? (: I do what I love and get paid for it? (:

Cheffie-Mom said...

Okay, am I the only one who is not familiar with BlogHer? LOL! Anyone want to explain how this thing works? (: I do what I love and get paid for it? (:

Amy said...

I haven't advertised just because it's one more thing to deal with around here and I really have my hands full! But I too would like to be rich. Maybe just enough to afford a nanny... and a yacht.

MarĂ­a said...

I just put MORE ads on my blog. HA! And I'm considering when I start my movies/tv subblog to do a reviews blog with it. I don't know yet.

I know it will never affect my writing either way.

I respect you for this post.
I say SCREW David.

Anonymous said...

Right on, mama!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Have I told you lately that you rock? said...

AMEN. I have been meaning to look into doing the ad stuff. Just haven't gotten around to it! Then I wonder "Who would actually pay to advertise on MY site, anyway?"

I know, I know...

Anonymous said...

Kelly, again, another beautifully worded post that got straight to the point. Everyone has their idea of how their blog should be run.. some are very obvious and some take a subtle approach.. I say bravo for you.. your blog, your space.. do with it what you want!! xo

Manager Mom said...

I have nothing to add here, except WORD, sista.

Anonymous said...

Well... Yeah.

Of course. And you deserve every penny, too.

Melissa said...

People blog for all different reasons, to make friends, for money, to vent, to push them selves, all fine reasons. If people enjoy the blog that good for them :) And good for you for having a GREAT BLOG!

Kellan said...

Well said - I couldn't agree more!

Hope you are doing well, Kelly - nice to see - Kellan

Damselfly said...

Let me know if you want to go halfsies on that Caribbean beach house. That is, if we ever get rich.... ;)

Indy said...

I so agree. I will make sure I click away on your site to add some pennies to your piggy bank. Well said. I totally agree.

Laski said...

You shouldn't have to explain yourself ever, but in this X-dominated world, we do. That's OK. It's all OK, gosh darn it!

Good for you. Here's to making a few bucks (or many, many more) for doing what you LOVE!

Nowheymama said...

Belatedly commenting to say I really appreciated this post.

I DO review products on my site, but I give an honest review, and I do it so people know what dairy-free and gluten-free products (which are wicked expensive) are worth spending their money on.

Threeundertwo said...

My daughter is going to start babysitting. Would anyone tell her she shouldn't get paid for it?

She will have fun, she will eat other people's ice cream, she will watch TV.

It is what it is. I really don't understand people who object to finding a way to get money doing what you love.

Angie McCullagh said...

I have the same philosophy you do in reference to the ads. And I agree with you that men would not get all worked up about earning money via writing about their families. I tend to get all girly when it comes to money, like, "Oh, yeah, I'll design that for free", when, in reality, my male counterparts would never. And I shouldn't either. Thanks for a great post.

Jan D-M said...

Greetings, DMD,

I found your blog by chance last night and read on. Thank you. I love your heart and your spirit, as well as your laments. And can I please say, "thank you" that you've set a standard not to swear on your blog. When I blog hop, I get so confused when I find bloggers (male or female) who let the f-bomb fly so effortlessly as they write. I guess I just don't understand the need to do it. Don't enjoy that, so I don't return to their blog. That's my choice, as it is theirs to write as they feel moved to.

Sorry for the long comment, but I'm so confused re: everyone's response to David's comments and the ensuing slams toward him. I guess I didn't hear his post so much as a finger-wagging toward you, but as honest feedback from his perspective. I also saw him supportive of your lament in the sense that he said "this is why I do this, and you should be able to do this for your reasons, as well." I heard him thank you for just being honest about what's what. I suppose if his post was to ME, I might have had a different response. I also don't know if David and you have a history on this blog, so please forgive me.

The greatest lament I have here is that we continue to build walls between "us" and "them." Can we just say that life is unfair or that there are those who would make us feel less than we are or guilty or shameless or...Do we have to make it about MEN vs WOMEN? I feel that when we do that, it is us WOMEN who build the wall. Shouldn't we be better than that? It is absolutely much harder than the alternative, but shouldn't we? I've had incredibly great male mentors and women bosses/colleagues that could use a sharp stick in the eye.

DMD, I say "go write." Write from your heart as you have. Allow advertising if you want to and make a decision that you are okay with that. This is YOUR blog. Those who read your posts will know whether or not you are genuine or have ulterior motives (which you don't).

Post on.

Anonymous said...

Great post. My primary blog is a knitting blog and the knitting world has the same kind of "Oh, horrors" attitude toward advertising on blogs. (Unless it's for a yarn shop, of course--we're all perfectly happy to see ads for buying more yarn.) You're so right, though--if people are willing to pay us, why shouldn't we let them?

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just came over here from Problogger. I appreciate you discussing the aspect of blogging for money. Lol, the first time I ever dared to really write something was because of money. I was in 9th grade, and my school was having a creative writing competition with cash prizes. So I sat down at my dad's typewriter and banged out a story from my imagination. It won 2nd prize and I got some handy cash for it. So I tell people that yeah, I got into writing for the money.

I also appreciate the fact that you don't use profanity here or in real life. To me, profanity is a form of pollution, like cigarette smoke or car exhaust. I don't endeavor to use it in real life or in my writing, either. So kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

"...I read a lot of men bloggers and I have yet to find one that does it for the money..."

I apologize and definitely do not want to start an argument so I will choose my words lightly but, youre shitting me right? Granted there are some that don't do it for the money but most dont do it for the money because they aren't making any.

I stumble the blogosphere, look at many blogs on a very wide range of subjects and every once in a while I find one talking about making money being a bad thing. This is not such a hard topic to justify.

If you are honest and upfront leaving out only the sensitive personal info noone needs to know anyway who cares if you make money on your blog.

If you are deceitful, misleading, dishonest and greedy well then that is easy to pickup on, you normally don't see a great deal of people following and don't deserve any attention.

Pay me to provide insightful input, interact with like minded people, and afford me the chance to do as I wish with my time...people are only kidding when they say it's wrong, right?

take every fair penny you can. dont look back when cashing your checks. and like i said quality content attracts people and from the amount of comments you've obviously done something right.

good luck to you and everything else you do.

Anonymous said...

I spoke on, and moderated, the monetization panel at Blogher. That some people get their panties in a knot over someone making money from their website baffles me.

Cash that check! It's awesome that we can make money off of it and like you, I certainly am NOT ashamed.

MorethanMommy said...

Interesting post! I think a lot of women don't seek out payment for blogging because they don't think they're writing anything worth reading. It's part of the legacy of growing up female in the US. For some reason, we think we need to apologize for everything. Or justify ourselves. Which brings me to another point... I'm not sure whether I find it endearing or disturbing that Backpacking Dad (hubby?) felt the need to step in to defend you against a negative comment (which I didn't think was THAT bad). You did just fine on your own. =}

I personally have NO desire to run the world. Let the men squabble over that. But, I write for myself. And if someone wants to pay me to write for myself, I'm happy to send along my paypal address!

My only complaint about monetized blogs are 1) when the ads are so distracting that you can't find the content and 2) when the reviews are biased in a positive direction because the reviewer is afraid to state an actual opinion. If you're (this is a generic you, of course) going to call yourself a reviewer, step it up and write an honest and fair review.

Apparently my soap box was calling me today... I'll step off now!

Tracey said...

Can you honestly picture thousands of men wringing their hands and clucking their tongues over whether accepting payment for something they do well is tantamount to defiling themselves?

THANK YOU for saying that. I need to print that out and hang it over my desk, and to refer to it every time I get shit for making money off writing on my blog(s). (Weekly, at least.)


Anonymous said...

Woah, that was some post! I'm new here, but hell if you always write with such guts and style then consider me a new reader.

Couldn't agree with you more about the men versus women thing. Why do we apologize for taking up space and having needs? Most people who know me would think I am confident enough to barrel my way through life, but I am just as guilty of this slinking down and not owning my own power as the next woman.

It's got to change! I haven't had a financial motivation with my blog, but now you've got me thinking. Am I discounting it for the right reasons? And should I discount it at all?

Hmm, something to think about.


Karen MEG said...

BRA-eff-ing-VO... (oops!)

Jaina said...

Bravo! I haven't attempted to do the ad thing, but mostly I'm still very new, and my writing definitely could be improved...but mostly I just don't know how it works. Maybe someday I'll figure it out. But this post helps me understand it better, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Extremely well said. As someone very new to the blog world (ok, I'm basically a blog virgin..) I am definitely approaching this as not only an outlet for myself, but as a business. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

I love it! I truly hope you become rich..really rich...and get that New York penthouse and start that foundation to assist poor women going into business. Please remember me, I might be in the queue, hands out to receive a loan from your foundation!

Tracy Evans said...

Finally, somebody who thinks like me! Just tell it like it is...that's what I always say. Man do it all the time. WHY THE HELL SHOULDN'T WE DO THAT TOO???