Where The Non-Fiction Author Changes Direction For The Final Time
Let me begin by describing the relative state of the gardening Net right now.
- It’s chaos and the main problem for most of us is finding sources of solid information.
- There’s no single, easy way to differentiate between solid information and what I’m now calling “Net-info” or crap.
- The line between solid information and Net-info is a thin and plausible one.
- The cacophony of voices is overwhelming. “Listen to me!” “Watch me!” “Believe me!”
Been There, Done That
I have had websites since the mid-1990’s (yeah, I’m really that old technology speaking) 🙂 and have watched the web convulse, spin, produce offspring and then eat those offspring more times than I can even count. I’ve seen giants rise and fall (Hello AOL & MySpace) and events crash upon our senses.
I’ve seen the speed of events change and pile up on each other in faster and faster scrums to reach some magical but undefined goal.
And where’s that taken the online gardening world?
Many folks started out with a blog. A diary of sorts where they posted pictures and encouraged comments. Many of those old blogs – you likely read a few – are gone and dead or, equally likely, slowed to random posts.
Nobody in the gardening community could figure out how to monetize one of those blogs – to make a profitable amount of money. Most didn’t even cover their time costs to write. The pros or the lucky ones started writing for other people or larger organizations. The rest staggered on. Or not.
A few of us built large content websites where advertising income was much more significant and we could sell things like ebooks. That was a decent living for a few years. However, when the same company controls both the traffic you get and the advertising you make from that traffic, the control over your living is not assured. In my case, a Polish hacker ended a good run of income but taught me a valuable life lesson.
The rise of Amazon gutted my ability to sell ebooks off my site but gave me the opportunity to sell through them. I traded one income source for another. But now my ebooks sales are controlled by Amazon and its computerized ranking system.
At This Point In Publishing
My site traffic and advertising income is determined by Google and my ebook income is determined by Amazon. To be sure, there are many things I can do to optimize the outcome of dealing with two tech giants but the reality is my income still rests within their control. When your income depends on two enormous companies that don’t give a rat’s-tail about you, that’s not a good thing.
I’ve Experimented With Online Gardening Courses
I’m tired of this attitude – your course is too expensive. I wrote here about the first course and the response to it.
I wrote about the final nail in the wall here with the number of folks who tried to get the course for free.
This Left Me In a Quandary
- I like helping people. (I have a Masters in Adult Education and have worked in Continuing Ed in both a psychiatric hospital and ag college. Not to mention helping gardeners for almost 40 years)
- Organic gardening has been my way of life for the past 40 years. I ran an entire nursery that way.
- I’m an information-junkie and am always looking for new information and better ways to garden. Yeah, spend a lot of time reading.
I’m Moving Forward
The way to change is to put a value on my personal work. To say out loud, “What I do has value. It may not be valued by everybody but some people who see it as having value.”
My two surviving websites will continue as they are. I will continue to add new articles but at a much, much slower pace. I will not be answering reader questions from these free websites.
I’m taking my expertise, my notes, research, advanced growing tips, question answering and lifetime of growing to a new site. A site where subscribers pay me directly.
A cup of coffee every month.
One comment I received was about my courses being the equivalent of a cup of coffee and I liked that. If somebody won’t buy me a small cup of coffee every month, then they don’t see value in what I do.
And that’s fine. We all make choices. I chose to put that small value on my time and work.
You buy me one small cup of coffee every month, and I’ll answer your gardening questions.
What could be simpler?
My aim is to reduce the chaos and noise, to provide solid information that works. And I’ll back that up with research and solid experience on the personal and commercial scale of gardening.
It’s about deciding my work has value and putting a (however small) real dollar value on it.
[bctt tweet=”You buy me one small cup of coffee every month, and I’ll answer your gardening questions”]
The Decision Made, I’m Moving
As you know, I’m not one to sit by and dream. My Online Gardening Courses site is being developed behind the scenes as I write. I’ve stopped any more signups to the tomato course and am working to get that finished up and complete with videos etc.
In the next short while, I’ll open it up for the first time for a few folks who don’t mind working with me to develop the content and don’t expect a fully developed site. And then I’ll close it again until it’s further developed (and instead of a small cup of coffee, it will be a medium or even large cup) 🙂
But over the next two years, the site will turn into a superb resource of great gardening information.
I’ll answer subscriber questions.
I’ll work with those who want to learn. And I’ll restrict the number of subscribers so I can help them properly.
But bottom line – subscribers will get answers, they’ll have better gardens and they’ll pay me directly for my help.
It’s a win-win.