Monday, October 18, 2010

subscriptions?

I have received a few emails and comments recently about why I do not turn this blog into a pay-to-read site. They've asked this because folks who know my dream is to someday support the farm with my writing (and do the bulk of my writing here) wonder why I am not setting up a subscription system? You know, making the blog help pay the mortgage in a more efficient way. It is an interesting idea. it certainly would help.

But I just don't like the idea of making this site something you have to pay for. It's more or less a story, not a service. Some folks have been following me a long time on here, offering advice, sending gifts, or even coming over to hammer a few nails or trim sheep hooves. It's become a community in a sense and I don't like the idea of asking for any sort of payment to see what I am up to. It's like having to bring a check to a potluck. While I appreciate the suggestion, and hope to someday meet my goals of making a living writing about farming: this blog will remain a free site to the public.

41 Comments:

Blogger mirbrewer said...

You know, you could just put up a paypal link for donations. Somewhat less reliable than the income tied to a subscription fee, I suppose, but personally I have donated in the past to blogs that I felt were deserving.

October 18, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Oh thank you Jenna! As soon as I saw the title to that post my heart sank. I love coming here and reading about "what you're up to," and with no real income, it would be terrible to miss out on those things. I'm glad the Cold Antler Farm blog will stay open to the public! :)

October 18, 2010 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

@mirbrewer - I'm pretty sure there still is a Paypal donation button listed here, but it's down on the right hand side of the column on the main page. Not many people see it if they aren't specifically searching for it.

October 18, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
OpenID Tamitng said...

There is a Donate area down on the right side of the front page. Currently it says Barn Raising Fund but it is generally a Farm Raising Fund for those who love this blog and want to help out in a monetary way.

October 18, 2010 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger The Bunny Girl said...

How about something more along the lines of what the daily coyote does? Her blog is a little behind but you get daily e-mail updates if you pay with a picture of charlie. You could send out farm pictures and a little story about the day that may not end up on the blog. As I understand it, she makes enough to sustain herself, Charlie, Eli, Daisy, Chloe and Ranger. :) Hope this is helpful!

TBG

October 18, 2010 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger E said...

I think you are doing the right thing by not charging. You would probably loose readers (and all our free advice).

October 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Odd Ducks Farm said...

So glad to hear it, Jenna. We have supported you in the past with small donations (through our alter-egos) but as we're building our own agribusiness, we don't have much to spare. Making this a pay site would certainly separate us from this wonderful community of readers and, of course, from you.

It is our sincere hope that you can make Cold Antler as profitable as it is pleasurable. However, we simultaneously hope you can keep this as a resource and a pleasure for the rest of us trying to do the same. :o)

October 18, 2010 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I love coming here to read about your day. And I am sure you have so much more to say about every day that you don't write about here. You still have plenty of stuff to write about and I can't wait to see a book soon. You probably have enough to write several books just in the time you have been in your new home.

October 18, 2010 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger pamwares said...

have you thought about have ads on your blog? I would probably advertise my etsy shop on your blog.

October 18, 2010 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Casie said...

I agree with your decision. I love coming here and reading about your journey. (just read one of your books too!) You could try what Suzanne does on her chickensintheroad.com blog and have ads. Hers are not too distracting and help with an extra income. Another thing she does is sells a yearly calendar with photos she has taken on the farm. Or another idea is to start a cafepress site and design some shirts and other items that fans could order.

October 18, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger m said...

Phew! I, too, was afraid that you'd be switching to subscription, would mean that would be the end for me. Up your price on ads, sell more of them. I think the way soulemama.com handles hers is really respectful. Once a month she has new ads and does a post highlighting each one with giveaways. Just a thought.

October 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Open said...

Jenna "I have received a few emails and comments recently about why I do not turn this blog into a pay-to-read site."

Wrong business model. There are many ways to monetize this site while still keeping the "atmosphere" that helps make it so successful.

October 18, 2010 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

Thank you for keeping your blog open to all readers. I really appreciate that you brought up the topic. Thanks again.

October 18, 2010 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Affi'enia said...

I agree that Cold Antler should remain free. However making the donate section a bit more noticable wouldn't hurt. Maybe you could affor special things to buy, certain articles and things like that.

October 18, 2010 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I will be selling some wool on here, but I am still behind on some watercolors and I need to take care of them soon. People are being very patient, but they need to get their art!

the donate button could go up, people seem very anti-donate button some times.

October 18, 2010 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

Thank you Jenna.
Do what you love, the rest will follow...
It'll happen... daisy

October 18, 2010 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

JENNA,
I think many BLOGGERS are in the same delimma about that green stuff like everyone else is:
but simply do not know exactly how to monetize their BLOGS in a way that is not offensive to the public!!!
YOU ARE AN EXTREMELY GIFTED, & TALENTED WRITER WHOM WRITES A REAL WHIZ BANG WHAT'S
HAPENING NEXT BLOG WHICH ALL
OF US (I'M POSITIVE) ENJOY READ- ING!!!
I PERSONALLY THINK ADVERTISING ON THIS BLOG IS THE WAY
TO GO, & YOU WOULD NOT BE TWIST-
ING MY ARM TO DO SO AS LONG AS IT
WOULD DOVETAIL WITH YOUR TERRIFIC
BLOG!!! AND THEN IT WOULD BENEFIT
YOU THE WORDSMITH BLOGGER, & THE
ADVERTISER!!!
NOUGH SAID, LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS BLOG AGAIN, &
CHEERS WITH A HEALTH DRINK!!!
RONNIE THE VERY HAPPY SEAT WEAVER,
http://www.chaircaningdirectory.com

October 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Sonny Jobe said...

Jenna: The calendar option may be a sure bet. Pictures of CAF for the seasons. Office Max and others will print them for a fair price and you could make a few bucks off each. A new year comes around pretty routinely.

October 18, 2010 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Thank you, Jenna. I was inspired by you to start my blog and would hate to have to give up reading yours. I don't comment too much but I do check in with you everyday.

October 18, 2010 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Poppy Cottage said...

I write my blog because I like to share information, ideas etc. I make friends through it,I wouldn't dream of asking anyone who reads it to pay for it. I brought your book and I will probably buy your next one BUT I too have a house to run, I am a single Mum to two teenagers, I haven't had the money to donate to your build a barn fund as to be honest, I have my own things to pay for. Good luck but if you went down that route I for one would stop following your blog.

October 18, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger ************* said...

This was a great post. I also have recently been wrestling with the frustration that I am willing to work *really hard* at urban homesteading, but for some reason that kind of labor is not valued economically the same way that my office work is.

Thanks for bringing up the topic and as always, Cold Antler is an inspiration about what is truly possible, not just an idea floating in the ether.. I look forward to seeing how your dreams continue becoming reality.

October 18, 2010 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Skamaghetten said...

I agree with your decision to stick with non-paid blog. Reading the blog is like meeting and talking with the local at the ag store. Sorry to say, I would not pay for such a service. However, I buy another book of yours, if you were so inclined to do another.

October 18, 2010 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

Thank you Jenna! I don't know what I would do if I couldn't come to your blog and be inspired! Actually I can tell you what would have happened, I would have lost interest in homesteading, growing my own food, making my own things had I stopped reading. Keep up the great work Jenna! And thanks for the inspiration!

October 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Thanks J. I can't justify a monthly subscription expense, but I damn sure buy every book you have & will put out.

The blog is a great promotional tool for your business of writing & running a farm. It serves it's purpose, for sure.

October 18, 2010 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Mud Mama said...

I think social media like this blog helps build your fan base - I mean I've preordered chick days because of the blog and found out about the blog from Made From Scratch. I wouldn't subscribe to a blog - but I do support my favorite bloggers by buying their books and I turn to them for advice on other bloggers I might like too.

You might consider a better blog site though - coldantlerfarm.com - check out Soulemama.com (today! they just got their pigs!!!) and see how she's set up she has tons of sponsors.

October 18, 2010 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

I don't know if its a viable option through blosgspot, but my former costuming professor (she's since moved to a different University and I graduated) ran/runs a free and educational website (www.costumes.org) where she managed to make a little bit on the side through an amazon.com link. Its a (small and discreet) link to amazon on the webpage. Each time someone clicks through her website to make a purchase at amazon, Amazon would pay her some nominal fee... but it adds up! She used to tell her students about it and suggest (nicely :->) that we go to the website and through it to amazon instead of directly to amazon if we were going to be ordering books or textbooks online.
If blogspot supports it, it could be a really nice way to allow your readers to support you. When they (we) are going to make a purchase anyway, we could go to ColdAntler first. And the cost to buyer is the same as usual on amazon.com. Its amazon itself that pays you/the website.

Also, since you already sometimes reveiw books, when you do, you could suggest at the end of the post or picture that if they're interested that your readers find it at their local bookstore or click on your link to buy it amazon...

October 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Green Homesteader said...

Why is EVERYTHING about money? I know, we need money in this society to live, but more important we need community, selfless individuals who care and help without wanting anything in return. We do not need to be paid for everything we do. Soon we will have to pay for the air we breathe if we are not careful. Jenna, I know it's tough financially for you as it is for me, and thank you for not charging us to read what you write. Like you and others have said there are other ways for you to generate income from your blog but I love the sense of community and "family" that you create with your blog. If you should desire to cash in on the blog, you could turn it into a book (paper, the real kind!) and be very successful. We need to somehow stop thinking that everything in life has a dollar value or we are doomed.

Myra

October 18, 2010 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Irma said...

No to subscriptions, YES to ads. I visit many sites that have ads, and it doesn't offend me, and if I chose to click through, then everybody wins. (You WOULD need to point out to your readers about the whole "clicking" thing but I think your loyal readers would do it simply to help you out. Hell, I can click in to a diaper ad if it gets you four cents!!)

It IS unfortunate that so often it comes down to dollars in our society, but that ISN'T your doing or your fault, particularly as a single-income home owner. You have a skill as a writer, you share it with us, you do not need to feel guilty about hoping to be paid for it, even if it IS through mattress commercials.

(sorry, some of the nay-sayer comments have me a bit peeved!)

I bought Made From Scratch in both hardcover and paperback (well, I gave that one away!) and will buy the next one, too. And the one after that. And the one after that. Because you have a gift, Jenna, and a girl DOES need to make a living.

October 18, 2010 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

It's not that everything is about money. I didn't mean that at all. I wanted to publicly announce that this blog was not going to be all about money.

October 18, 2010 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I think you'll find that most of us are supporting our homesteading with our real day jobs. I can't even get my head around the concept that you would expect your readers to pay to access your blog or donate to your mortgage fund. I too would like a barn but I can't afford to build one and I can't expect other people to finance it. I too have a reasonably high mortgage but I don't expect anyone else to finance the payments. I will do without some things if I have to. It is the normal way to do things.

October 18, 2010 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I am not expecting that at all, doglady. Not at all.

I did not expect so many raised hackles at a post saying the blog will always remain free!

October 18, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger JeanineH said...

Hey, we're here because you give us interesting things to read. You tell it like it is, you post what you want when you want to. This model works.

I see Jenna's comment just as a way to head-off the comments that have been around lately as hey you've got this good thing you should capitalize on it.

I for one appreciate this blog, Jenna brings it and bares much to us, good, bad... inbetween. It's an extension to us, just what she brings us. I like the blog you don't know what the next post will bring AND it's not one of those just set up to regurgitate info at us so we see the advertising links like some blogs seem to be purpose made for.

I appreciate this being free, and never knowing when that next post will be coming. A subsciption is a bit more formal with expectations of an amount of content et al. I'll just watch for other projects that I can purchase to support in other ways ;)

October 18, 2010 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger Odd Ducks Farm said...

Don't lose heart, Jenna. There are as many of us above who have thanked you for your declaration as those who have taken it another way.

October 18, 2010 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Tammi G. said...

I am glad it will remain a free accounting of life and happenings at Cold Antler! Have you thought of fixing up one or two of your extra rooms for a true farm stay option (not a fancy B&B or anything like that)? We would have loved to have stayed, paid and pitched in when we were recently on vacation in the area. I would rather give the money to you than a random hotel poviding a room for the night.

October 19, 2010 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Joleen said...

Thank you, Jenna, for so generously sharing your story with us without a fee. I agree that a yearly Cold Antler Farm calendar would be a great fundraiser. I know I'd purchase one each year and even some for gifts. Also, I still think your blog, as is, would made a great book every couple of years - - a new volume. You will definitely become self sufficient on your little farm someday - I have no doubt of it.

October 19, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

I agree with the calendar idea. I would definately be in line to buy some for myself, and as gifts.

October 19, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

Changing to a subscription format would almost make it like online porn to me. I'd suggest that you increase your marketing efforts for your farm products and develop a friendly way for your readers to make donations.

October 19, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger HawaiiWahine said...

Dear Jenna,

Just a quick note to let you know that your community extends to Hawaii! I found your site when googling the best fencing for goats and fell in love with the saga of Finn. So I went back (so much more fun than doing real chores) and read as much of your blog as possible. During this time the house next door was for sale and the buyer to be and I were leaping up and down at the notion that she and I both wanted to raise chickens in our backyards (her husband at that point sighed and realized this was the house they were going to buy - and with a crazy suburban neighbor who woud aid and abet his wife in our mutual dreams of being mini homesteaders). Then one day over the fence I was sharing with her tails of your farm (including the part where your neighbors were not nearly as delighted with your turning your rented house lot, a staid, boring plot into a lovely farm ecosystem. Suddenly she exclaimed "I've read her book!" So Jenna, you have friends in Hawaii if you come out our way.

I would not have found the site probably if it was a subscription site. But now I know about your books and plan on ordering them. So the site does help draw attention to your products while helping inspire new homesteaders. Aloha, Sue

PS: I counsel folks with naughty pet border collies and look forward to lots more about your BC.

October 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger HawaiiWahine said...

Dear Jenna,

Just a quick note to let you know that your community extends to Hawaii! I found your site when googling the best fencing for goats and fell in love with the saga of Finn. So I went back (so much more fun than doing real chores) and read as much of your blog as possible. During this time the house next door was for sale and the buyer to be and I were leaping up and down at the notion that she and I both wanted to raise chickens in our backyards (her husband at that point sighed and realized this was the house they were going to buy - and with a crazy suburban neighbor who woud aid and abet his wife in our mutual dreams of being mini homesteaders). Then one day over the fence I was sharing with her tails of your farm (including the part where your neighbors were not nearly as delighted with your turning your rented house lot, a staid, boring plot into a lovely farm ecosystem. Suddenly she exclaimed "I've read her book!" So Jenna, you have friends in Hawaii if you come out our way.

I would not have found the site probably if it was a subscription site. But now I know about your books and plan on ordering them. So the site does help draw attention to your products while helping inspire new homesteaders. Aloha, Sue

October 19, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger HawaiiWahine said...

Dear Jenna,

Just a quick note to let you know that your community extends to Hawaii! I found your site when googling the best fencing for goats and fell in love with the saga of Finn. So I went back (so much more fun than doing real chores) and read as much of your blog as possible. During this time the house next door was for sale and the buyer to be and I were leaping up and down at the notion that she and I both wanted to raise chickens in our backyards (her husband at that point sighed and realized this was the house they were going to buy - and with a crazy suburban neighbor who woud aid and abet his wife in our mutual dreams of being mini homesteaders). Then one day over the fence I was sharing with her tails of your farm (including the part where your neighbors were not nearly as delighted with your turning your rented house lot, a staid, boring plot into a lovely farm ecosystem. Suddenly she exclaimed "I've read her book!" So Jenna, you have friends in Hawaii if you come out our way.

I would not have found the site probably if it was a subscription site. But now I know about your books and plan on ordering them. So the site does help draw attention to your products while helping inspire new homesteaders. Aloha, Sue

October 19, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Building A Better Life said...

Jenna, I can't email you because it's requiring me to sign up for another account to do it...

I wanted to say that I had no problem understanding this post and am not sure why other people did. Very happy there is no subscription charge, but would also be happy to click through from your page if I see something I need or want - it's a win win and at least the tiny fraction of a percent of profit (it's still something) would be going to someone I like and I could help support that way.

The other thing is, a friend of mine once said that when people start attacking your character it is because they can no longer go on with any sort of logical debate. You have trumped them, and a personal attack on your character is all they have left. So it's hard not to take it to heart, but keep it in mind. (I argue politics a lot so I have to remember that point also...) Someone may or may not agree with what you're doing but at the very least, they should understand it!! (The lack of which has clearly been illustrated in some of the comments related to this post.) And there's no excuse for being rude.

~Beth

October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM  

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