Is WordPress a blogging platform or a begging platform for writers?

There’s a writing blog I follow that is a quite interesting and relatively angsty expose of a young fiction writer’s life. But every so often he drops in posts offering re-blogs for money, or sometimes asking directly for cash

Wright_StonesFair enough in some ways. It’s a well accepted fact that the way to make a small fortune in writing is to start with a large one. And blogging, by and large, doesn’t turn a dollar at all – either directly or via the books that most authors hopefully put up (you know, those things on the right. G’wan – you know you want to click…)

WordPress also serves up advertisements, either by itself for those (like me) who are running “free” blogs; or by user choice if they buy the upgrade, which gives them a cut of the revenues from click-traffic (zero, I should imagine).

But is it appropriate to run posts that ask outright for cash? Wouldn’t it be better for an author to turn to something like Kickstarter or one of the other “goal-oriented” online fund-raising services? Create a project, set goals, and get people interested? Or is just straight-out asking a better deal?

I’m not sure. What do you figure on all this?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


26 thoughts on “Is WordPress a blogging platform or a begging platform for writers?

  1. I don’t think it’s illegal to ask. I don’t know if WordPress would appreciate it. They have some rules that I thought prohibited some of this. I could be wrong though.

    1. There’s no rule prohibiting asking for donations, no. Doing sponsored posts are also okay, as long as it’s original content and not like those book tours where fifty blogs post the exact same author-prepared promo. But re-blogs for money? I think the only reason there’s no rule about that is because the powers that be hasn’t considered that someone might actually try something like that.

  2. I think young writers need to freelance. Learn if you can hack it and earn real money for writing. The influx of begging writers just don’t know how to monetize their skill.

    1. That’s definitely the way to go: produce something of value and sell it. It’s a hard row to hoe, but rewarding – and is one of the ways writers also pay their dues learning the craft.

  3. You’re right, it does sound like begging – the online equivalent of sitting on the pavement with a hat out for coins and doing nothing to earn it. But then – is that better or worse than the incompetent busker torturing some undeserving musical instrument to extract sympathy donations? I’d use the blog to offer to send out a short story where the reader can donate what they feel it was worth. Hey, that’s not a bad idea…’scuse me for a moment…

    1. There was a guy here in Wellington who was selling his short stories on tve street. Enterprising, and well removed from simply begging because he was offering stuff for sale. I have often thought of busking, myself, on the basis that if they pay me enough, I will stop trying to sing and dance. I might earn quite a bit.

  4. For me as a writer and blogger, it is not appropriate. I have yet to be swayed by the type of cash request you are referencing.Thus, I am in complete agreement with your perspective. That said, your question is an excellent one, as the world of blogging has such a broad spectrum. I am curious as to how others feel. Great post, Matthew!

    Karen
    P.S. Thanks for your recent warm wishes. There appears to be a blog post in my near future.;).

    1. I agree. It’s one thing to seek support for a project (say via kick starter) and to draw attention to it via a blog. To my mind it’s quite another to simply ask for cash for a dental bill on the blog. Not my cup of tea, as they say, either. Glad things are improving your way and I’ll look forward to your post.

  5. I think asking for donations are okay, but it depends very much on the why and how. I have donated money to an author following a request on their blog. This person was working full-time at a minimum-wage job, had several stories published (self and in magazines), and were selling really good stories via their blog besides also offering some stories for free. Some stuff went wrong and the person was on the verge of losing their home, and was offering to put up more free stories in return for donations. The moment they had enough money to get out of trouble, (not to be comfortable or out of debt, only out of trouble) they deleted the post along with the donation button. That, if you ask me, is the right way to do it.

    But just asking for money because? Asking money for reblogs, something most people on WordPress do as a way to build community? I don’t think so.

    1. I agree. I’d never heard of anybody asking for cash for a reblog until I saw this one. It would never have occurred to me – it is such an innate part of WordPress functionality. Actually I wonder… Could I offer a service by which I italicise specific words in a post. People could buy an italicisation and then know that this word had been italicised with their help… Um….

        1. Indeed. I seem to recall Jason Yungbluth doing just that in context of a kickstarter for his ‘Weapon Brown’ graphic novel. The donor would be recognised by being drawn, in Yungbluth’s ininitable style, into the comic.

  6. Publishers are continually telling authors to publicize themselves, find more fans, etc., right? – so why not use a blog? If it wasn’t for this site, I might not have heard of Matthew Wright, we’re on opposite sides of the world.

    1. I agree. One of the reasons I blog is to elevate my profile as an author. Another is to make contact and engage with people around the world who I wouldn’t have had any chance of otherwise knowing. This is the best part and a fantastic place that technology has led us. But I wouldn’t use a blog to directly ask for cash for my dentist bill or similar.

  7. If the young blogger isn’t violating any laws or WordPress terms, I think it’s fine for him/her to ask for cash. It’s not something *i* would ever do, and it would greatly annoy me if one of the bloggers I followed turned into a beggar. But to each his/her own, I suppose.

  8. PS: I think your question calls for a new Internet term. Blogger + beggar = BLEGGAR. It sounds about as appealing as the practice it describes, doesn’t it? 🙂

  9. Possibly I know the person you speak of. I’ll add my two cents:
    So, an author stated on his blog that he had quit his job to write full time because all he could think about while he worked was writing. It was driving him mad not to be able to write. So he quit. But his books weren’t selling enough to support him. His rent was coming due, he was desperate. I sympathized. So, I bought one of his books. I read it, left a review. I considered that to be the best way to support an author. (I sure would appreciate such support).
    I liked the book, so I bought a second book of his. But, I noticed on his blog that he had started selling all manner of promotion to other authors (reblogs, mentions, interviews, etc.) Nearly every post was about his need for money and a plea for us to pay $50 for a reblog. He was asking for more money to reblog a post than I made in an entire month of book sales.
    Result: I stopped thinking of his as an author, even though I know he is one. I no longer feel it’s important to him that I (or anyone else) buy his books. So I don’t buy them. I would imagine he has lost followers, but perhaps not. I can’t speak for everyone. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if I was not aware that he initially chose unemployment. (I worked and dreamed of writing for years, sometimes that’s how it goes.)
    We make our choices and hope for the best. Sometimes we get what we deserve, sometimes we do not. I hope he finds success and happiness after all.

  10. I blog when it’s enjoyable. It gives me a little on-line presence and helps me sharpen my self-editing skills. But what I “write” has little to do with what I “blog.” When I get too jammed up with deadlines, obligations, projects and promises to editors–I drop the blog stuff first–because I don’t pay bills with it. It’s just fun and I love the amazing variety of writers I meet and the stuff I learn🙂. I recently landed another project (this makes 4 novel lengths working at once!) so I’ll kinda scarce over the coming months in blog-land. Which, makes me a little sad when I type that😦 so maybe I’ll use fun-time-blogging as the dangling carrot to get my $$ stuff done

    1. I think using the blog to highlight your writing work is a good use of the blog. Not necessarily to hard-sell, but certainly to raise profile and offer links to where books can be bought. To me that’s a quite positive use of the platform. And it’s a place where it’s possible to publish things that might not make it into a book, but which are interesting of themselves – both to research, to write, and hopefully for readers to read.

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