Kathleen de la PeÃ±a McCook left a nice comment on the last of twelve promotional posts for The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look. She said, in part:
I think maybe all this (blogs) may fade and that your books may document the movement.
I think blogs are already fading in one sense, but I also think it’s unlikely that they’ll fade away any time soon–no more likely than, say, the end of mail lists or email itself. I believe they’ve become reasonably well established as one medium; the uses for that medium are changing as other media emerge–so, for example, Twitter and delicious are probably reducing the number of pure link posts.
But that’s another discussion. It’s the second half of the sentence that generates this post.
Sponsorship and sanity
I did this particular project, by far the largest and most time-consuming blog-related project I’ve done, because I thought it was interesting–and hoped it would generate some interest. It’s too early to tell whether the amount of interest (as expressed in book sales) can in any sense justify continuing the project.
I have not, so far, continued the library blog investigation, which I believe could be useful to the field (probably done differently, certainly done over time)–because I don’t find it quite as interesting and it’s pretty clear that book sales can’t possibly justify continuation.
Sanity enters in here. The time spent on that project would serve the household budget a lot better if I was writing freelance articles, preparing possible courses or workshops, or, for that matter, greeting people at a big-box store or flipping burgers somewhere. (Flipping burgers would pay much better.)
Alternatively, if income isn’t the answer, then there are a few thousand novels I’d like to read, a lot more time I’d like to spend with music, more places to visit (if the budget allows–you can’t check trips out from the library), and other ways to use unpaid time that make more sense.
I suspect sponsorship is the only reasonable answer–I’m sure of that for library blogs, and unless ongoing sales surprise me, I’m fairly sure of it for liblogs. And, frankly, I’m not sure who to approach for sponsorship (I sent out a handful of remote possibilities, which all turned out to be as remote as expected).
We’re not talking big bucks
I’ve recently seen another library-related service asking for sponsorship, and specifically approaching most library schools (which could certainly sponsor my work). The amount that service is looking for, for one year, would sponsor my library blog/liblog investigations (and free PDF publication of the results) for three years.
How big an audience could these investigations serve? I’m not sure, but I can give you a few figures for the last year’s use of Cites & Insights (December 6, 2007 through December 5, 2008):
- More than 36,000 unique IP addresses visited Cites & Insights in a total of 127,000 sessions.
- There were more than 79,000 downloads of full issues.
- There were some 170,000 views of HTML pages–that is, individual articles (excluding the home page and other overhead pages).
A quarter per download and a dime per article view would yield more than enough money (by a long shot)–and, without mentioning figures, that’s a whole lot more than the sponsorship I do have (or than the maximum I’d ever suggest for C&I).
(If you’re wondering, this blog has had 48,754 unique IP addresses over the last year, for a total of 490,000 sessions and just over a million pageviews. A million pageviews? Really? Apparently. At one point, I had Google Adwords–and was earning a grand $3 to $5 a month. Yes, I have more traffic now than I did then; based on that, I might earn some huge amount like $6 to $10 a month: Librarians aren’t much for clicking on ads.)
Holding my breath
I won’t be. I was pleasantly surprised that sales of Cites & Insights 8, 2008 in paperback form are infinitely higher than I expected: It’s sold one copy, and I wasn’t really expecting to sell any.
Know of a possible sponsor? I’d love to hear from them. I discussed that possibility just exactly a month ago. More details are here (noting that C&I is off the table for 2009, at least).
I’d love to “document the movement”–but with no full-time job and a lack of independent wealth, I really can’t justify doing it as a lark. I may be a little crazy, but not quite that crazy.