Sunday, February 24, 2013

What? You people want to pay me for this?

So, after getting some stern twitter words from some of you, and some emails, and some comments, and basically nonstop, Phillip J. Fry shouts of "Shut up and take my money," I am ready to quite uncomfortably approach the subject of donate buttons and other forms of remuneration for my time.

In the past, when people have asked me, "How can I pay you for this," I've said, "Go buy one of my books." It's only recently that people have started saying, "No. I mean I want to give you money." And god love you for knowing how publishing works. But I'm quite uncomfortable with the idea of getting paid, even in donations, for blogging. When I started this blog, it was as a way to raise awareness of and further my own writing career. That's why authors blog. For publicity. But when I started recapping 50 Shades of Grey, I was at a point where I was seriously considering that my career might be over. I hadn't contracted a book with a New York publisher since 2009, reviews and sales for my fantasy series had been overwhelmingly disappointing (time will tell on that one, Melville style), and while Abigail Barnette was doing quite well for herself, she wasn't doing quite as well as Jennifer Armintrout had done. I figured my writing days were somewhat over, so I could do whatever I wanted on my blog (which no one was reading, anyway). If you doubt the veracity of this claim, I urge you to check out the entries pre-50 Shades recaps, where I posted cupcake recipes and pictures of smiley fries that resembled James Carville. So, when the blog exploded and there was this renewed interest in what I was doing, my biggest hope was that I would end up getting a little more work thrown my way.

Holy cow, was more work thrown my way. In addition to my involvement in the 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey anthology, I've done interviews, launched The Boss, and embarked on an entirely new phase of my career writing YA. And on top of it all, I found this amazing tribe of weirdos. All of this should be thanks enough, right? But there are still some people totally like:



So, tl;dr, I've been resistant to the notion of putting up a donate button or anything like that. But enough of you have asked that I decided I would put this up for debate via poll, here on the blog. I'll go with whatever you guys decide. If you could take a second and answer some brief questions, I'd be grateful. I guess I'll give it a week and see what happens?

78 comments:

  1. At the very, very least please let us purchase a full copy of The Boss when you're done. Or let those of us who want to pay for one choose to pay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's going in a different poll, which I will probably post once the book is actually fully written. :D

      Delete
    2. Thirded...or thriced...or something.

      Delete
  2. I was just about to write the same thing as Sarah above. The Boss is such an awesome story already, only a few chapters in, and I feel that we should be allowed to pay for it!

    It reminds me of when Radiohead put their album up for download ages ago, and let their fans pay what they wanted for it. If memory serves it made the most out of all their albums to date ;)

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    Replies
    1. I'm one of those "TAKE MAH MONEZ" people, and this is what came to my mind. You could say Radiohead did it for publicity, but the "pay what you feel this entertainment is worth" model works well. Some argue that CDs should serve as self-promotion to get people to go to concerts. So this blog serves to get people to buy books. If CDs can make money, why not a blog?

      Now I would suggest never ever having paid content or "special paying people only" areas. I've seen some blogs that do that, and it drives me nuts. I suppose it's fair, if a blogger wants to do it, but this is the way to lose readers. Having a button and not shoving its existence down readers' throats all the time is 100% fine.

      Now get up a button so I can give you a few bucks here and there as I've got it to spare. I've got some right now. Button so I can give it to you before spending it on period-soothing chocolate or wine.

      Delete
  3. I can only imagine what kind of cracked-out, vaguely inappropriate merchandise you'll come up with. I'll totally buy some.

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    Replies
    1. I second that, I love crazy mugs...

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    2. . . . you know what? I think you just sold me on the merchandise. I was staring at it and thinking, "What the hell does merchandise mean? A logo on a coffee mug?" After your comment I thought of a "Your Ass: Not Something You Can Dive Into" t-shirt and started giggling helplessly. I'd probably buy something if Jenny designed it.

      Delete
  4. Just for my two cents - I read a lot of blogs with widely differing topics and attitudes and a lot of them have donate buttons or wishlists. I've never felt pressure to donate (cos I guess I'm just tight-fisted like that), but if I want to, I know the option is there. The only thing I don't like is when bloggers go on and on about it and mention donation in every second post. Not cool. But based on your comments above, it doesn't sound like that's the road you're headed down.

    Your blog is funny and entertaining and The Boss is shaping up to be pretty kick ass. You clearly put a lot of time and effort into it and if people want to give you money for it, I say shut up and take the goddamn money!

    Also, you've saved me having to read 50 Shades to see what all the fuss was about and that is a service which I think deserves some compensation :)

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  5. Replies
    1. Also what sharon said. I ticked the ' doesn't expect to get paid' box, but that was because it was also the 'i wouldn't donate' box. I wouldn't donate because I'm poor, but in general I do think you deserve compensation for your blogs. Plenty of bloggers make a living from selling merchandise, and I see no reason why you shouldn't try that path. We're mostly adults here, we know your bills have to get paid. We understand that while we don't have to pay to read your blog, it doesn't mean that you are spending your time creating a product for us. Like I said, I'm poor, so I wouldn't, but plenty would bee happy to throw money at you, and you should take it.

      Delete
  6. FYI, because of both your 50 shades posts and The Boss, I've purchased two of your Abigal books via Kindle. And I'm sure I'll eventually buy all of them. I'm not sure that I'd use a donate button but, like the commenters above, I'd for sure buy The Boss when complete.

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  7. Unless your donate button is massive, covered in sparkles, and says "GIVE ME MONEY, BITCHES," I think only the most sensitive of people would be offended. And that would be more because of the sparkles harking back to geocities pages.

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  8. I bought one of your books when I first started reading your 50 Shades recaps - I figure you saved me the cost of buying my own copy :-) I then bought a few more and left the one and only Amazon review for one of them. I've been meaning to go back and leave more reviews so you hate least *have* a star rating on Amazon :-)

    If you put up a "donate for this book" button for The Boss I would absolutely be willing to pay a regular ebook price for it, even though you're offering it for free here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. err, that's "at least" not "hate least." No hating here :)

      Delete
  9. While I know the tabs make all of this pretty much ONE THING, if you had a donate button on The Boss's part of the site I'd almost certainly use it, but I'd get that creepy feeling you mentioned about it being on the page where you do recaps. Even though, yes, I believe you are actually improving the experience of the books you are recapping from OHGODMYBRAIN to something enjoyable.

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  10. You've been writing the cliff-notes versions of 50 shades, but with humor, logic, and decent grammar. That deserves compensation. You've saved me HOURS of screaming at a book or the cost of replacing my kindle after throwing it through a wall in frustration. That is worth more than just my eternal gratitude for the public service you have done.

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  11. Sadly, there is no poll option for "the looming possibility of sequestration has me in a financial panic that does not allow for telling anybody to shut up and take my money, but if I could tell anybody to shut up, it would be you, especially if it would get The Boss out any faster."

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    Replies
    1. Jess, you too, eh? Totally would give a donation for The Boss. That there is work, and deserves payment as such. (I can't WAIT for the next chapter...)

      Bought Silent Surrender, loved it, now passing it on to my hubby due to a long held fantasy he finally told me about. ;)

      Delete
  12. What are you doing inside my head? I'd love to donate directly and was thinking about getting back to you about that. I came here for the 50 Shades recaps, which entertained me so much that I bought American Vampire just to compensate you.
    But the idea of supporting the Blog directly is the one I prefer because it entertained me so endlessly :) I'd love to use your blog as an example when discussing piracy with my folks. "I download stuff because the entertainment industry often does not provide me with ways to access and pay the material I actually want to see in the ways I want to see them. But the lady on the Internet who caters to my very specific need of intelligent funny recaps with a healthy serving of feminism? I totally send money her way!" You are providing a wonderful service here :)

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  13. Solely because of this poll, I will join the screaming hordes of people telling you to SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. I wish every poll on the Internet ever were half as funny as yours.

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  14. H-how did you know about my absentee father and his lack of a credit card??? I'm not sure I can continue to visit your blog if you're psychic.

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  15. What Amber and Rose said. Also, by recapping 50 Shades you saved me from doing the thing I don't want to ever do, which is burn a book. So shut up and take my money.

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  16. I'd buy the merchandise. You know, when drunk. Then again, I buy most of the things online when drunk.
    Also, I hate America and freedom.

    (And having read all of the 50 shades books (and hated the shit out of every word) I can't help but evilly snicker every time there's a new recap up, because I know this book is going to get SO much worse).

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    Replies
    1. Ooo, I totally want a coffee cup with the picture of the butcher's knife stuck in the 50 shades book!

      Delete
    2. Your recaps have provided not only me, but my entire apartment hours of entertainment and thinky thoughts. (We actually live in Seattle, so EL James' take is especially hilarious/cringe-inducing.) We will happily leave you e-tips if you add a donate button!

      -Apt 301

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    3. Bbeq: "Ooo, I totally want a coffee cup with the picture of the butcher's knife stuck in the 50 shades book!"

      YES. THIS. SO MUCH THIS.

      Delete
  17. Donate buttons aren't obnoxious just by existing unless you keep reminding us they're there. Some people would want to use that, and some wouldn't, but the ones who would be offended by it probably aren't people you ought to care about anyway.

    I do want to give back and show I love you platonically... well, I bought a ton of your books, although I am aware of how publishing works so I know that isn't such a huge deal. But I also link to you as often as is reasonable in other places, so as for that I think i'm doing my part in some small way. A donate button would be something I would ignore, I think.

    I would probably buy stuff though. I am a consumer whore. My online shopping habit is starting to become slightly scary.

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  18. Do it. Doooo iiit! I am one of the people who has asked you to do this. I feel guilty enjoying your blog and The Boss so much and you get nothing from it. Some of my favorite bloggers (The Blogges and Dooce) monetize their blogs, and yes I've bought their books as well, but I like knowing that I am able to compensate them for the hours of enjoyment.

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  19. Anthony Stewart Head played Frank N Furter 1991 London production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I think he looks good.

    http://www.rockymusic.org/photostag/Anthony+Stewart+Head.php

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...but did he own the shoes and corset beforehand, like Tim Curry did in the original production?

      Because that'd be saucy.

      Delete
  20. The poll seems to freeze when I try to submit, so not sure if you got my answers. I'd like you to shut up and take my money, basically.

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  21. I wish I could send you lots of money...However I have four kids and a poor paying job. You do deserve every penny you get though. I was starting to feel alone in the universe of every friend and co worker loving these books. I was afraid I was the only one in the world who thought this stuff was terrible and creepy. You, and the other people who comment on your blogs, have saved my faith that American women are not that naive or oblivious.

    Now I do love me some swag, and would love to get other people talking about your blog, so a t-shirt or button would be great. I could justify the expense as a clothing need and support something that has given me a lot of economically feasible joy.

    Thank you for sharing your wit with the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I purchsed books one and two of Blood Ties cause I finally had some money to induldge my book fetish. I clicked Just Take My Money because all the love and attention you give us, you SHOULD be compensated.
    Thank you, keep up the good work, hurry up with The Boss, remember to view 3 puppy videos a day and keep happy. LOVE your work!!

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  23. The poll really doesn't have anything exactly representative of my viewpoints, so let me just say I vote that if it makes you uncomfortable, don't do it.

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  24. First, I agree with others who have said that a donate button on the blog is not a problem unless you are constantly reminding people it is there. That would get old. But I have no reason to believe you would do that.

    Second, whether or not you put a donate button on this blog, there absolutely needs to be one on The Boss. I know you said you'll address The Boss with a separate poll later but I just want to emphasize you totally deserve to be paid for that. It is better than a shameful number of books I have actually paid to read. So, please, TAKE MY MONEY.

    Third, this blog, and more specifically The Boss, has absolutely inspired me to buy your other work. We're at five and counting.

    Fourth, I totally want a coffee cup that says, "This Guy. This Fucking Guy."

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    Replies
    1. I would buy that coffee cup!

      Delete
  25. I would absolutely donate/buy merch/buy The Boss from you. I think you put a lot of work into this blog and you totally deserve some compensation. One suggestion if you are uncomfortable with the idea of just having a donate button, one of my favourite bloggers http://crappypictures.com/ had this same issue when she suddenly became popular and people wanted to pay her. She went with sponsors, so she was helping other WAHM's and getting paid at the same time. There wasn't a poll option for that so I wanted to share it. It might feel less like a money grab.

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  26. I want to just give you money. No merch necessary (usually isn't appealing to me), just that cash money.

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  27. IMHO, I have no issue with a donate button. Most webcomics I read have them. They tend to be unobtrusive and just *there* if ever anyone felt the need. The only issue I tend to take is when the button is used to take content hostage. As in "donate to see a new page - if you dont donate, no new page for you!" Only then is it sad.
    And I too, like most your loyal blog readers, went and bought your books after reading all the snark on your blog. :)

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    Replies
    1. One blog I stopped reading did this, and frequently would start writing about something interesting, and right at the climax, "To find out more, pay for it!" Good way to disrespect readers.

      But again, Jen, no prob whatsoever with a button. No one's being forced to give. It's not a tax to read your blog.

      Delete
  28. There's also an episode of Two Guys and a Girl where he goes nude.

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  29. Hi. Yes please, a donate button would be cool. To go a bit technical, coolest would be if you'd do it in the form of a flattr button, given that I'm using that already and it's kinda geared towards blogging (and podcasting) anyway. Not sure how useful that is to you, though, as the userbase seems largely German biased. But a useful service, nevertheless.

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    Replies
    1. I was about to recommend the Flattr button myself, then I thought to search for it to see if anyone else had already suggested it, and they had xD

      I think that Flattr is such a brilliant idea and although it's not widespread yet, it deserves to catch on. Since Jenny already has a big readership, I think any kind of button would work for her. Yes, there is that extra step of signing up to Flattr and loading your account with money which might seem less efficient than a direct donation, but it also introduces you to a whole site full of other awesome comics, blogs and ideas which you can support. And you're upholding a system that allows users to monetise their original content online in a non-invasive, fair and innovative fashion. So if you want an "unselfish" solution to the donation button dilemma, Jen, I recommend Flattr!

      Go here to check out the site: http://flattr.com/

      Delete
    2. I would donate, but not if I had to make a whole account. I'm lazy that way. If it was quick and painless so I could just pop in my info, I'd probably donate more than I can actually afford.

      Delete
  30. There are several points that I wish to bring up, so for ease of me, I shall do so in point format.

    *[The First] I am poor, so I wouldn't be able to donate as much as you deserve, but I would happily give you all I can.

    *[The Second] I'm not particularly interested in wacky t-shirts or mugs, so that wouldn't necessarily appeal to me. However, I don't have a problem with you doing this, and I am reminded of a t-shirt or two that other commenters have produced that, if they allow it, you could sell, too.

    *[The Third] I too share your aversion to Donate buttons. I once had a blog, which wasn't particularly great, but as a struggling writer I thought it would be helpful to have such a button once I got the blog off the ground. The blog didn't get off the ground, it barely fluttered its wings, so I didn't, but yours is well established and quite worthy of monetary input.

    *[The Fourth] Shut up and take my money, biatch.

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  31. I was going to say something, but then Errant Endeavour already said it, so... I'm with her!
    I usually ignore Donate-buttons, but I don't ignore them permanently. Your writing is definiteley something I would like to pay for, once in a while. So shut up, et cetera.

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  32. Shut up and take my money.

    I'd be delighted to donate at least the amount you've saved me having to buy the FSoG trilogy, because that's a service you've performed fair and square. And also it has a pleasing symmetry that feels a bit like spitting in James's eye.

    And if it means that I'll get to read more awesome content (loving the idea of Buffy recaps, for example), just... shut up and take my money.

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  33. While I can ignore a donation button just as much as click on it, I do think that being uninformed of nude Anthony Head is a form of divine punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am utterly broke, so my ability to donate isn't huge, BUT I can always find spare cash for some merchandise, because frankly, this blog is awesome and I want reference to it on a mug, t-shirt, bag, my FACE...

    I know I'd be more inclined to purchase merchandise (or a copy of The Boss! In fact AND a copy of The Boss - there is no "or"), just because I'd worry that my financial circumstances would make any donation look laughable, but I do think you should be benefiting from this site, as it brings so many people a lot of joy. And as someone who has been with a Christian Grey and found reading the first 50 Shades book (I couldn't have handled the second or third) horrendously triggering, I honestly am grateful to have found a blog that not only points out the abuse, but does so in such a funny manner that it's not depressing to read. So yes, if I had any, I'd be telling you to shut up and take my money.

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  35. I'm cracking up reading all these comments.

    I probably wouldn't donate because I have no money. But like others who've commented, I could totally justify buying merchandise promoting you and your books and - I was totally about to write "and all that jazz", but that term will now forever be linked to Catherine Zeta-Jones's performance at the Oscars last night, and, um, yikes.

    Anyway, everything you write is brilliant and makes me laugh til I cry. So, yeah, shut up and take my money.

    Now to go find that clip of a nude Anthony Head...

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  36. I think it's perfectly fine to have a discreet donate button/tip jar/etc. It's a marker of the times that some feel uncomfortable with the idea - I think to many of us that grew up before unimaginable amounts of content were produced and shared for free, the concept of feeling embarrassed about being paid for writing in whatever way is kind of new. As is the idea that it's a mug's game to pay for what you can get for free if you try. You know, high-quality newspapers and so on never used to be free on the web, torrenting didn't exist...

    And a tip button that says 'please feel free to ignore this' is much, much less demanding than a paywall. I actually think it's kind of creepy in a way that people demand that quality content should be entirely free and also free of any suggestion that it's worth money to some people. Being happy that it is and taking advantage of it is fine, but being creeped out by a discreet, optional donation button - where does that come from? do people feel pressurised by its very existence? How would they feel about you hosting ads?

    I do see why people are differentiating between your serialised fiction and your blog, and that there is a kind of ethos of free content around blogging - but it's all high quality, original writing, and there's nothing shameful in getting compensation for it. or its just my advanced age talking...

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  37. Would you consider some non-intrusive ads? Or are you against that completely? A worthy blog is a worthy blog, even with a few ads on the page.

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    Replies
    1. That would be ok if people didn't WANT to pay...I don't think many people are asking facebook to accept money to fund its' operations.

      Delete
    2. I know a lot of people who would rather pay a reasonable membership fee than to be forced through the obtrusive ads on Facebook and to have their names used to advertise. Just wait until your userpic and name are used to sell herpes medication to your friends and family. A few days ago I was used to promote a car I hate to my friends.

      Delete
  38. A) For the blog and it's wonderful hours of side-splitting entertainment, yes, you deserve compensation.

    B) For putting a literary phallus in FSoG's ear, you deserve abundant compensation. If not in chocolate or booze, then by all means, take my money. Take it!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have wanted to give you money for some time now, both to thank you for hours of entertaining reading, but also as compensation for the trauma of repeated readings of FSOG.

    As for merch, if you made a mug or mousepad with the grey-eyed, copper-haired tie on it, I could do all my Christmas shopping for friends in one stop.

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  40. Because I feel like embarrassing myself, this is the point when I tell you that I have totally written fanfic based on your Blood Ties novels.

    It will never see the light of day.

    Because that's not the point. The point is I loved those books, and was inspired enough by those characters, to want to put my spin on that universe(and that is totally all, there will be no E.L. James style cash-in starring characters named Carla, Norbet and Sirius I swear). In short - I love your writing.

    And also?

    You're suffering through 50 Shades of Shite for us. If that doesn't entitle you to demand - oh I don't know - money, blood, first born children, special issue DVD box sets - then I don't know what does.

    So shine on crazy diamond. If a donate button is there, I will hit it. I will hit it like its Jeremy Renner. Nuff said.

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    Replies
    1. I will hit it like its Jeremy Renner.

      omg yes. I am beyond excited because Hansel & Gretel's out here tomorrow. I LURVE him.

      Delete
    2. H&G turns out to be an awful, awful film. But JR takes his shirt off so I was happy.

      Delete
    3. Jeremy Renner shirtless I will always takes. I figured the movie would be ordinary, I'll download it and get drunk first. Rock on.

      Delete
  41. I would totally buy a huge coffee mug with the Chedward tie on it. Or a T-shirt.

    DO EEET. Make the merch! If you make it, the awesome internet weirdos (including myself) will come. And buy it all.

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    Replies
    1. OH GOD SO WOULD I. Please, please make Chedward tie merchandise!!

      Delete
  42. Being a poor myself I wouldn't be able to send many (or any) funds in the way of that donate button, but I'm confident enough in my current state of controlled poverty not to feel intimidated by said button. I love your recaps of these unmentionably crappy books and what else you've got to say about the world, so if people want (and can) compensate you for your work, let them! Just make sure no stalkery billionaire decides to buy your blog and make you head of [his last name]'s blog :)

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  43. Ummmm.... Who is Anthony? Hate to say it, but your poll needed that option.

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  44. Ok, I was just thinking and please, please do not get a Paypal button. I hate Paypal, and I never use them if I can at all avoid it because they are a horrible company with no respect for anyone that uses them and they have held a lot of people's money hostage. I don't know what all the alternatives are, but I've used WePay and they seem ok.

    But, I mean, DEFINITELY do the donate button thing. You've provided me with hours of entertainment, and if I can pay to rent a movie I maybe don't even like, I definitely don't mind paying for something I know I love.

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  45. Don't do it. Just think about how more awesome it is that people want to give you money for your blog but you won't let them. Don't let them fool you into believing that they have no other way to pay you back for what you do here then clicking a donate button. I think that "creepy feeling" option in your survey is there for a reason and it resonated with me just a tiny little bit.

    Principle and shiny idealism are at stake here. You can be a hero baby...

    But save that for when it counts. And if you can't pay for say your kids life altering medical treatment, or the kind of overprized cereal that makes them happy in the morning or whatever, screw those two posers. Who am I to judge.
    I'll just ignore it then. Or of course contribute to that life altering medical treatment.

    Also, I sincerely hope THE BOSS will make you rich (and famous if you want) and I would frown should you not find a way to let people give you money for it if they like. That's a different story.

    So...whatever you decide



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  46. Listen, Ido what you want, but I think having a subtle donate button and/or some merchandise in no way makes you a money-hungry jerk. just my 2 cents.

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  47. I would be much more likely to buy merchandise than use a donate button, but both are perfectly valid ways of you getting some money back for a substantial amount of your time. Between the FSoG recaps, The Boss and Roadhouse, I am amazed that you have time to do anything else! Your blog brightens my world, and I know other readers feel that way too. Why not let us give back when we want to? And I do not understand why you having a subtle donation button or a merchandising link will make people uncomfortable, that seems a rather overdramatic reaction to me. You are a writer, that is your profession therefore making money from your blog writing should be no different from you making money from your novel writing. People don't get freaked out or uncomfortable because the price tag on your books, do they?

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  48. Merchandise? (Especially comical merchandise.) Shut up and take my money.

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  49. Hell yes, I want to give you my money. In case that wasn't clear enough, let me reiterate that: HELL. YES.

    You have made me laugh myself silly on countless occasions. Your 50 Shades recaps have given me hours and hours of entertainment. Plus, they're crammed full of genuinely valuable writing and storytelling tips. I think of myself as a skillful writer, but thanks to your masterful takedown of 50 Shades, I truly have gained even greater insight into what makes a story's construction good vs. badbadbad.

    You mentioned in an earlier post here that you're interested in getting back into urban fantasy/horror writing, and I am fucking psyched to read what you create. Jenny Trout + horror = two of my favorite things. Bring it on, baby -- and in the mean time, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

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  50. I found the blog because of the SoG recaps and am loving it. Because of this discussion I bought Silent Surrender the other day, my first purchase from you. I thought you should know!

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  51. I just came to your blog after a LONG week with no spare time, and found a 50 shades recap, a Buffy recap, and a new chapter of The Boss.

    YOU COMPLETE ME.

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  52. Woo, the "no pressure" donate button is perfect. However, would you consider offering a Paypal option too? I know it's evil and will kill us all, but it also means I don't have to go find my wallet and dig out a credit card and sign up for yet another payment service which will store my financial information. I do plan to donate anyway, but 95% of the time I'll say "eh" and navigate off the "donate" page if it means having to get up. I suspect I'm not alone in this :-\

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, unfortunately it doesn't look like I have the option through their donate button. They reserve its use for registered nonprofits, and there's no way I can really see my blog qualifying as any of that. I wish they had a support button.

      Delete

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