I read an interesting piece this week and, despite my sabbatical, or perhaps because of it, I felt the need to comment.
The piece was about how “likes” don’t pay the rent and “exposure” is just a fancy word for free. With the important statement “When nobody is making any money off a publishing platform, that’s probably okay, but when one party is making a lot of money, and everybody else is enriching that platform and making nothing, that’s potentially a problem.” It went on to discuss whether or not it’s right for people to submit their writing work for free.
Like so many before me, I have fallen down the rabbit hole into the world of writing. I have stepped into the world of sponsored posts. I have read with horror the comments on GOMI and similar places about sponsored posts, all the many guides on what to do and what not to do. What qualifies as a sponsored post, what qualifies as being given free product, what you have to disclose, what you don’t. All the rules, regulations, guides on what kind of statement to put on your posts, where, etc.
I have watched the debate about paying contributors, especially with interest in light of Mamamia’s recent announcement that they will begin paying for original contributions.
This debate always makes me uneasy for one very simple reason: I don’t pay for contributions to this site. Nor do I pay my wonderful editors who help me run it.
But, and here’s the important thing: I don’t make any money from this site. This site runs at a loss.
Our hosting is expensive. We did have cheaper hosting, but we kept pulling down the servers. The sponsored posts we do get don’t cover it. They don’t cover my hardware, our internet bill, or our customised theme. We are looking into the possibility of crowd funding, and aren’t ruling it out for down the track. And I’ve always run this site in the promise that, upon the time this site does make enough to pay for contributions, it will.
I opened a book one day, and I read these words:
“A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.” The Angel’s Game
That is how I feel about contributing for free, about sponsored posts and advertising, about money and blogging in general. Every writer wants to earn money from their writing. Every writer is willing to make compromises to see their name in print, be it on paper or on a screen. Every writer dreams of the day their writing will support them, and they will be able to devote their life to this craft.
And it’s my job to try to achieve that, not just for me, but for everyone who contributes to make this site a success.
So we will be doing sponsored posts, but with these rules:
- It will always clearly identify that it is a sponsored post at the start of the post (this will appear in the preview, please click them anyway, that’s how we get more and fund this place! That, and I always try to make them really interesting and/or useful)
- I will never lie or say something I don’t honestly believe, and anyone who writes a sponsored post for us agrees to the same.
- We will not support products or brands we disagree with, and that includes anything that is against our body love message.
We will run advertisements, with minimal impact, and they will be clearly marked.
We will use affiliate links, but I will tell you where they are (Hint: We current have affiliate accounts with ASOS, Amazon, iTunes and The Iconic).
I hope you agree with my conditions, and will continue to support us so we can one day see our names on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive us.