Finally! The Stringtown Rising Farm helipad is under construction! Champagne for everyone! I’ve ordered a gold-plated helicopter! And a cute pilot! No more driving on that rocky road for me!
Lately, I’ve noted a disturbance in the force. A comment here, a comment there, an email and then another email and then some more, all on the same theme. And so today I am interrupting your regularly scheduled cooking with real fat, decorating with free stuff, digging in the woods, and barnyard antics to address the topic as best as I can because I want you to know that I hear you and that I take your concerns to heart.
The comments and emails I’ve been receiving all come down to this one oft-repeated phrase:
Please don’t change.
I want to reassure you, if you’re one of those who have left a comment along these lines or emailed me about it or just thought about it without saying anything directly to me, that I’m not going to change. This website is and always will be about living frugally, celebrating simplicity, and discovering the beauty in the everyday. I mean, who else is going to tell you to put weeds in pots on your porch? I’m here for you. I’m not going to start flying around the world on book tours, install an elevator to get up and down my driveway in the winter, construct a state-of-the-art two-million dollar milking parlor, hire hands to feed the goats and chickens, or build a guest house for visitors and media representatives to enjoy Stringtown Rising Farm. I’m also not going to start posting gourmet recipes or expensive shopping suggestions. (I don’t have time to shop. I have a cow.)
Rather, I’m going to keep on conjuring up ridiculous stories about chickens, taking pornographic photos of goats, and painting salvaged spool tables.
I don’t have a million readers–or dollars.
Some of the concerns I’ve been hearing were brought on by my recent switch to representation by Federated Media. I’m thrilled that Federated Media wanted to bring my site into their fold, and also amazed. I mean, seriously, think about it. Do you really think the makers of products like Hamburger Helper want to advertise on my site? I’m not exactly an advertiser’s dream. However, Federated Media assured me that they had advertisers who were looking for authenticity, not product-pushers.
I run advertising on my website because I’m a professional writer trying to make a living writing this blog. Writing is what I do for a living. I also write a couple columns and other things, and I have a secret writing project in the works, too. I devote full-time to this website, outside of several hours a day spent in various farm-related tasks not to mention running children around, and I couldn’t spend the amount of time I spend on this website if I wasn’t also trying to earn money with it. (I can make a lot of stuff from scratch, but sometimes you actually need cash. You know, to pay bills. Like the hosting fees for this website, which alone run several hundred dollars a month. And if you try to make cash from scratch, they arrest you.)
I used to write books. In order to read my work, readers had to pay for it. Writing this website allows me to give away my writing for free to my readers with the support for the writing coming from advertising. I see this as a win-win for me and readers both. After all, I’m all about frugal–I don’t want you to have to pay to read my work. But as a professional writer, the money has to come from somewhere. Thus, advertising. (If you block advertising, please reconsider. I know you think you are the only one, but you’re not, and blocking advertising hampers writers from providing their creative material for free to readers, so you are hurting not just me but your fellow readers. Okay, enough said. Thank you for your consideration.)
There’s more to this website than appears–it’s a vast mountain of posts and pages and templates and plugins that require frequent professional technical attention, and there’s also a busy cooking community here now and an active forum. I couldn’t do it alone, and there is a fantastic group of volunteers here who help me with it. I would very much like to compensate these people, but I can’t yet. I hope I will be able to do so sometime before I wear them out.
I may write some sponsored posts in association with some campaigns through Federated Media, and I want to take this opportunity to explain how that works. I will not be pushing products. What I will be asked to do, upon occasion, is write a post in line with some theme centering around an advertiser’s campaign. You can see what a post like that would look like here.
Yes, I just sent you to one of my regular posts.
Because that’s what a post like that will look like other than saying at the end: This post was sponsored by XXX.
Say my post about Mary the Operator was a sponsored post for Verizon. IT’S NOT. THIS IS A MADE UP EXAMPLE. Say Verizon wanted to find some bloggers who would write a post on their blog about how much fun the telephone is. (Again, I’m making this up!) Verizon would ask me to write a fun post about something telephone-related while they were running ads on my site and in return they would pay me a ridiculous extra sum for adding the “Sponsored by Verizon” bit at the end of it. (Verizon is actually running ads on my site right now, but again, this example is made up.) Notice the post itself would make no mention of Verizon or push Verizon’s services, it would simply be a post relating to the topic of using the telephone. If that post about Mary the Operator had been sponsored by Verizon, I would have written it exactly the same way. In fact, why wasn’t that post sponsored by Verizon? (Verizon? Verizon!)
If I could get an advertiser to sponsor every post I write, I would happily do so. (I am not rich! In fact, I’m poor. Which is okay, but I do have to pay my bills, so I’m a workin’ girl here.) But I will never write a post for an advertiser that compromises my principles. (And I have turned down such offers already. It will be a miracle if I ever get an advertiser to sponsor a post here!)
The bottom line is–I’m really not that big and I really don’t have any money. What I do have is an undying commitment to the simple life, and to sharing ideas and tips and nonsensical barnyard tales with you. That has always been my promise to you as my readers and friends, and I hope you understand in return that I also need to find a way to pay my bills with my writing. There was a time that I was so hard up, I had a donation button on my site. Many of you kept this site going through some really bleak months for me financially. I promised I would take the donation button down as soon as I was able to support the site myself, and I took the button down last summer. This site is still here because of your support, and serving you is foremost in my mind every day when I sit down at my laptop to write the next day’s post with the goal of entertaining, inspiring, informing, or just giving you a laugh while you’re drinking your coffee.
So please don’t worry. I’m not changin’.
I will not forget who took me here–it was you.
P.S. I don’t really have a helipad. Or any champagne. (Or a helicopter or a pilot.) However, the chore boots and shovel in the photograph are very real.
P.P.S. I also wasn’t wearing any pants and there was a puppy chewing on my knee.
Just, well….. Keepin’ it real. I promise.