… are the four ways I can think of as monetizing a blog, or perhaps more accurately, make money as a writer.

eBooks has become a popular way to make money on your writing and I must say that I far prefer this model to the advertising model. It is very clear that most (I think the number is 70%+) people are not willing to pay for content when it displays on a webpage. This is somewhat idiosyncratic since the work that goes into it is about the same as what goes into to the writing if it were to appear in print. I even share some of these irrational sentiments myself, that is, I prefer to pay for something tangible and so if I only get information I feel that I am not getting something. For example, I have yet to buy a single mp3 directly—I always get the CD.

I think the main problem with eBooks is perhaps the lack of barrier of entry. Traditionally publishing houses have screened for quality. Now anyone can publish an ebook. I have even seen a business model suggesting reading a few books on the subject to become a “relative expert” and then summarizing it in an ebook and selling it for $10-20 bucks. That is, you spend 20 hours reading about a subject that you have previously little experience with and then you write what amounts to be a long essay of some 10-20 thousand words and sell it at roughly $1/1000 words. By that measure, real books should sell for $129.95 rather than $29.95.

Naturally, it should be clear that if someone, like, say, me, were to write a real book, it would be much more profitable to split it into 10 ebooks. I won’t do that because I think the pricing of eBooks is beyond the rip-off level relative to real books. Conversely, if you pay even $500 for just a little piece of information that will make $1000 in profit, you have made a really good trade. Unfortunately most people don’t see it that way. Some things are perceived to have less value than they really do and information is certainly one of them.

Now, it takes roughly one hour to write 1000 words—especially on a new topic—and suppose editing puts that up to two hours. Suppose fancyfying it, which is really unnecessary, takes another 2 hours, we are talking about 4 hours of work. Suppose the book is 10,000 words and we’re talking a full work week. At $30/hour, this should bring in $1200. So high prices would imply fairly low sales, no?

With ad based blogging, you’re essentially giving the ebook content away for free. There’s a critical mass effect though in that your previously written content becomes more and more valuable the more you write. eBook earnings are more linearly related to the total writings. Blogging grows exponentially for a long time before it levels off. The problem with adbased blogging is that it is mostly SEO driven and so it is in the best interest of the blogger to write content that attracts readers but then turns them off so they will go click on an ad instead. You will see this if the average visitor spends less than 1 minute on the blog. Average reading speed is 100-200 wpm. This means that the average visitor will read less than 10 sentences before clicking elsewhere.

I think that focusing exclusively on any one of the three models is limiting. I think that all three types of content, 1000 words (blog post), 10,000 words (ebook), and 100,000 words (real book), could be compensated. As it is, ebooks are compensated at the highest hourly rate. Books are compensated but not very highly, and blogging is not compensated at all unless you advertise in which case the compensation is akin to running a business: low in the beginning, high in the end.

What I am going to do is to pick the format according to the content. Book length content will be sold in book form. eBook length content (I am thinking about writing one about stock investing) will be sold as an eBook rather than be split into a 10 part post, and blog posts will remain free.

Daily Yakezie: When Do You Question a Professional? @ Cool to be Frugal, The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle @ Financial Samurai, Are you Prodigal? @ Beating Broke, What is Your Vision for Retirement? @ Cool to be Frugal, & Do Fitness and Frugality Go Together? @ Beating Broke

Originally posted 2010-04-03 10:34:33.