"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wTuesday, April 01, 2003

ASK A QUESTION: RICK, you recently quoted from a column from the Northern Sentinel on blogging. The writer, one Allan Hewitson, noted that some bloggers have managed to make a few dimes off of this medium. Andrew Sullivan, for instance (who Hewitson comically says used to be a regular at National Review) was recently able to pull down about $80,000 (U.S.!) in contributions from devoted readers.

You replied:

Well, if you discount the great weblog payola scandals of the late 1950s, I'm sorry to disappoint Mr. Hewitson by noting that this is not a problem. Most of us webloggers do it for free, just for fun. I would want to know what my friend Jeremy Lott has to say on this though, as he often tries to turn his weblogging into something that On Dead Tree publishers can use. I'm not daring him to do so, however, as that might understandably be a very private thing that he doesn't want to discuss.

I'm not going to throw out figures, but my blogging has conferred some modest financial benefits, in addition to "fun." A few entries have been picked up, pretty much as-is, by other outlets. About half a dozen short posts have been developed into articles, usually at an editor's request. The nuking Mecca flap, for instance, started out as a blog entry. Also, opportunities to write for Comment and the National Post have resulted directly from someone reading my blog.

For any working writer, there are a lot of other long-term benefits to running a blog: You can build an identity quite apart from any publication. Interested readers can be alerted when new articles are published. Potential employers--both freelance and long term--can get a much fuller sense of who they're dealing with. You can say what you want, when you want.

Hope that helps,

posted by Jeremy at 1:33 AM