On bloggers selling e-books, courses, content

As a blogger creating content and, in the past, as an Etsy seller I’ve always been thorn between offering content for free and trying to monetize the blog by selling my own sewing patterns and even e-books. I love buying things from people I respect and admire: patterns from independent pattern makers, even more so if they are wonderful bloggers, books and e-books and even courses, but on my own blog I felt strange about linking to my shop, talking about a new purse I’ve just listed or even selling a pattern I thought people will like. Like I was betraying my readers. Like I was doing something wrong.

I don’t feel at all wrong about having a job where creating content is one or my main responsibilities, so why should I feel that with my own blog? But I do. So it was refreshing to read Holly’s blog post about bloggers who offer magazine quality content and should be allowed (by their readers, she elegantly says, but I read “by themselves” between the lines) to want to make a living out this, the same way they would do if somebody would hire them to do the same thing.

A blog doesn’t just have to be about sharing pretty things for free, day in and day out, with no financial reward for the effort poured into it. We all need to eat and pay rent. And most of us really do love blogging and feel a genuine passion for it first and foremost. Yet, when you add up the hours and resources involved to produce beautiful blog content, no one can keep at it post after post, year after year, without eventually needing to earn some money to sustain it all.

As you’ve probably noticed, I am currently taking my time to figure our what I want this blog to become; my interests have changed since 6 years ago when I started and I’ve learned many of the things that fascinated me about sewing and pattern making, I am no expert but I am at this strange point where I can more or less sew a good garment, can make my own simple and some not so simple patterns, but there are still things I “more or less” understand, such as fitting clothes for other bodies and I’ve still never made jeans :). I still have a passion for making things and learning new techniques, but I’ve also developed interests for other things, interests that compete with sewing and blogging.

What about you? Have your interests in sewing changed in the last year/s? Has your blog changed? Are you selling anything through your blog and how do you feel about that? It would be great to hear your thoughts.

  • I commented on twitter but should’ve commented here really. It depends on a lot of things. What the person is selling, if it’s done to a standard, if the person creating the content can actually deliver the goods (I’m thinking of tutorials, patterns, courses etc, not blog posts so much).

  • It’s such a tricky balance, I think! For me, I’ve never wanted to try to make money through the blog because it’s what I do to unwind and to connect to other people. I don’t want it to turn into a second job! I like that I can post when I want to and if I’m not feeling like it, I don’t have to. And while I think it’s awesome that so many bloggers are able to turn their blogs into businesses, I am not the kind of person who wants to work from home or run my own business- I like having a regular job with coworkers! 😀 But that’s just me. 🙂

    • Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Some passions are better kept as passions and not moved into work and spaces/projects as personal as blogs are very different from person to person. I feel like I’m talking a bit like Yoda here, but what I mean is: totally agree with you, but I also respect people who use their blog to craft their own jobs.

  • I agree with you. I don’t think there is any point being purist. Like everything if I want something I am prepared to pay for it. On the other hand I share lots of things with my friends. So you just have to do it right. If a blog just sells stuff I don’t want I stop reading it. My personal view is that if you want to sell patterns they need to be good ones.