Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where's the Money?

I'm in it for the dough. 

When I retired I thought I'd launch a second career as a freelance writer/photographer.  Starting with the Austin Outlaws.  I had  visions of being the official photographer for a professional football team.  I'd write articles, maybe books.  I'd shoot great photos that would be wildly popular with fans and players who would throw money at me in exchange for 8x10s.  I might even be published in Sports Illustrated.

So far it isn't working out that way. 

It has been fun.  If you've followed this blog at all you know I'm having fun writing silly posts and publishing sometimes pretty good action photos.  If it weren't so much fun I wouldn't be doing it. 

Because it isn't profitable.

I did sell one article about an Outlaw to  the Beloit College magazine.  That paid me $200. 

My photos were published in a local sports magazine.  I offered them for free because I thought it would help promote the team.  My only payment would be the by-line.  The editor left off the by-line. 

I published, free, an article about Ski Tejeda in the Hill Country News.  Everybody loved it. Editor says he got lots of compliments from his readers.  And he did include my by-line.  But it didn't produce income.  I did it free because I wanted to promote the Outlaws. 

(There are links to the articles in the links section of the blog, to the right.) 

I've heard there is money to be made blogging so I launched this blog about the Outlaws.  I have a ton of material  to share after five or so years of taking pictures at Outlaws games.  I've been doing the blog for about a year now.  It has been fun. And it is gaining audience.  It was slow starting because I launched it right after the final game of the 2011 season.  You know, when interest in football was lowest.

A spin-off from the blog was a book.  My blog host offered to take my blog posts and provide them as a PDF book.  I paid the small fee and got the PDF.  Then I went to and published the book. 

Lulu is a print-on-demand publisher.  My 170 page book full of color photos would be expensive by any publisher but print-on-demand set the price at $57.  That's a lot of money.

Still, the book is really cool, especially for players and family who have been with the team a long time.  Cool.  But it won't make the New York Times best seller list.  So far two copies have been purchased.  The good news is that with print-on-demand, I didn't have to buy a lot of copies so it doesn't cost me anything when nobody buys.  (If you want to buy go to and search "Austin Outlaws.")

Another way blogs make money is advertising.  If a blog attracts a large audience advertisers will want to offer products to that audience.  In this age of technology,  advertisers can look at the subject covered in the blog, determine what interests blog visitors, and advertise products likely to appeal to people with those interests. 

The key to success is having thousands of blog readers.  So advertisers will see the blog as a vehicle to carry their message to thousands of qualified prospects.  Unfortunately, this blog's followers don't number in the thousands.  Actually you number in the tens.  And I love every one of you! 

I doubt advertisers will get much traffic from so small an audience.  Nevertheless, I've signed up for Google's AdSense.  

This post is to alert you that you may see some advertising on my blog.  In fact there's an ad posted today.  I have two requests of you, my blog visitors:

1.  Let me know if the ads are distracting.  I can unsubscribe with AdSense if my audience finds the ads to really spoil the blog.

2.  If, and only if, you see an ad for something you're really interested in buying, do check it out.  But please do not click on ads unless they genuinely interest you. 

I'm planning to experiment with - if I tell you about a book I'm reading and you want to buy a copy, and if you go directly from my blog to Amazon, I can get a teeny weeny commission.  I'm still working on setting this up.

It is a good thing I am retired and have retirement income coming in.  My business sense is nil.  I'm having fun, as retired folks are supposed to do, but I'm not a commercial success.  Still I have published a couple articles and a few photos.  And I have published a book.  That's kind of cool don't you think?

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