“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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How To Make Money With Your Blog and NOT Lose Your F#*king Marbles

That’s right, you’re gonna take advice from this clown!

I got into blogging to make a living. Okay … yeah, yeah … okay, are you done laughing yet? … not yet? … okay, I’ll wait … listen, stop laughing right now or I swear I’m gonna …  Thank you.

So to make a living, ostensibly as a writer/blogger, I got on the social media treadmill. Here is what I determined you need to do for:

BLOGGING SUCCESS aka to Make Money Blogging

1. You need a Facebook Fan Page: Then you need to post on your fan page. And if anyone responds, then you have to respond right back, preferably instantaneously.

You have to ENGAGE your audience.

So you might have to sit there and wait until someone responds so you can pounce! and answer them back, then you have to wait some more to be ready in case they respond again! This can go on for Time and All Eternity.

2.  Simultaneously you must Create A Newsletter: Then you have to write new and different stuff on your newsletter, which makes your life seem really full and rich and multi-faceted and as if you’re hot shit.

3. Trimultaneously (I just made up that word) you have to open a Twitter Account: Here  you must tweet about the life you are not actually living because you are too busy tweeting.

And you will worry you might not be tweeting the right people, or maybe you might miss when someone mentions, or retweets or tweets you and they’ll think you’re a stuck up asshole and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because for all you know they’re hanging by a thread since no one has liked their fan page or even ever clicked through on their newsletter.

And maybe they can’t stop tweeting and have developed carpel tunnel syndrome in their thumbs and it’s travelled to their brains and killed them.

(Briefly you think about creatures who actually really tweet, but you can’t remember what they are .. you know they fly …  and are outside … whatever that is …)

4.  Next you must Instagram all the things you’re only doing so you can Instagram them, while you are also Spotifying, You Tubing, having Google Plus hangouts, Pinterest board orgies and Blood-Of-Satan slumber parties (the last one might be the most important).

SIDE EFFECTS TO TRYING TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG

1.  Addiction and Disorientation: Whenever you’re not social networking and are living IRL (“in real life” for those of you non-social networking bozos, because I’m cool and know all acronyms – better known as A to the C Nyms) … as I said, whenever you’re not social networking  and are living IRL, you feel slightly dazed and fuzzy, there’s a low hum in your brain like that one out in Taos, which might be caused by extra-terrestrials.

2.  Feeling like a hamster on a wheel: Because with social networking you can never catch up. Your  inbox is always full even when it’s not full, because if it’s not full you should be tweeting and pinning and posting and pinging and poking and liking and commenting and trolling and sychophanting ALL THE FREAKING TIME to get it full.

3.  Analytics obsession: If your analytics are good, you worry those fickle motherfuckers will plummet. When they inevitably do plummet, you become despondent and self-castrating. “Go ahead, you unpopular loser — eat that third Haagen Daz crunch bar, what have you got to lose?”

“Oh, sure you had 802 Twitter followers, but then you just had to post your support for gay ocelots and you alienated the religious right! You had six newsletter subscribers jump ship when you wrote about colon polyps. Would they have treated Katie Couric that way? One of your Facebook fan page fans left? Where did they go? Whose page did they Like in your stead? You suck!”

4.  Your dick is bigger than my dick syndrome: You will start trolling other bloggers’ analytics.

Oh, yes, you will.

You’ll stoop.

You’ll get right down into the muckety muck of the bottom dwellers.

If other bloggers’ analytics aren’t as good as yours, you’ll feel elated and think, “I just passed that bitch up! Ahahahahahahaha.” If your analytics are worse than theirs you’ll think, “Well if I did giveaways my analytics would be better too!” And you’ll feel superior to bloggers who do giveaways. You’ll think you have more integrity. Then you’ll start trolling Etsy to see who will let you do their giveaway. If you can’t find anyone who will let you do their giveaway you’ll fall prey to the next symptom…

5.  Exploit yourself, your family and friends to get better analytics. Oh yes, the professional blogger does have a whiff of the whore about her and you’re no better. Remember these little chestnuts??

Going To Therapy With Your Mother,

Am I Okay If My Kids Are Gay?

How To Seduce Your Husband?

(There you go again, sneakily exploiting them – who cares if they gave their permission – you bribed them with grandkids, light sabers and sex)

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOT TO BECOME AN INSANE BLOGGING/SOCIAL NETWORKING ASSHOLE

1.  Don’t try to make money on your blog. Screw that. You need money so …

2.  Set specific times for social networking and keep the rest of the day and night free. Schedule SN like a business meeting.

3.  Only respond and comment on posts and pages and tweeters and hashtaggers that you really like.

4.  Only check analytics once a week and don’t ever, under any circumstances, check anyone else’s.

5.  Do not blog or social network during dedicated family time. For me, breakfast, dinner, bedtime.

6.  Set a number to the amount of photos you need to take in a day. Or the specific event/time you need to take your photos. Then put your camera away and see your life.

7.  Stop blogging when your mate goes to bed 4 x a week. Get in bed with your mate. Get naked and put your bodies together. Sex is not required, but actual flesh on flesh will reconnect you with your spouse/partner/papi chulo and bring you out of your head and back into your body.

That’s all I got. How do you keep social media manageable in your life?? And if we’re being perfectly blunt – how do you make money as a blogger?? I’d really love to crack that nut without going nuts.

How do you make money with your blog? Tell me or I’ll find you online and unfollow you! Don’t make me do it!



77 comments

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  1. Anne (@notasupermom)
    Anne (@notasupermom) 17 October, 2012, 14:30

    I just strip for tips at blog conferences.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:50

      So it’s you who’s getting all my jumping-out-of-a-cake-at-conferences-wearing-nothing-but-nipple-tassels sponsors!

      Reply this comment
  2. Amelia
    Amelia 17 October, 2012, 14:32

    Love your article, Shannon, and especially the tips on not going crazy. I have already gone crazy so it’s too late, but perhaps others will take your advice while they still can!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:51

      I would reply to your comment coherently but I’ve died from a LinkedIn overdose.

      Reply this comment
  3. Susan in the Boonies
    Susan in the Boonies 17 October, 2012, 14:34

    I think it’s all a myth, anyway, a lot like Amway, except better, because you get to stay home in your jammies, and be the star of your own show.
    And let’s face it, being on social media can be kind of fun, for some of us.
    And we tell ourselves that we’re building our “platform”.

    But ultimately? Very few of us will ever make a living out of it.

    And that’s how it is for musicians as well.
    Do you know HOW FEW really excellent, wonderful musicians can never make a decent living, despite their incredible gift and undeniable talent?

    I’m working on enjoying the ride, while I can. But it’s a great big crap shoot, that involves a lot of luck, and it’s not worth ruining a marriage or a family over.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:52

      So true Susan. If I take money out of the equation I am in love with blogging and social media. But when I try to “get in the race” I burn out.

      Reply this comment
  4. Jill simonian
    Jill simonian 17 October, 2012, 14:38

    You f##king rock. This post f##king rocks. You jus spoke to my soul. That’s all I got. 😉

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:53

      Jill you f##king rock for thinking I f##cking rock because I need the approval. I need it like air!! xo

      Reply this comment
  5. Haralee
    Haralee 17 October, 2012, 14:54

    Great post. I lost some customers,I post my blog on my company’s web site, because I mentioned that I wanted Ben & Jerry to sponsor a menopausal women ice cream day. Ben & Jerry for the love of God and it was just a joke! B& J never got back to me 🙁

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:54

      It was the menopause that scared them. Every time I mention menopause they drop like flies.

      Reply this comment
  6. Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers)
    Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) 17 October, 2012, 14:59

    What Jill said.

    Also, can you change the Share thingies to the bottom or the top of your blog. Right now they’re on the left side, blocking out your pearls and other words of wisdom.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:55

      Hi Jane — I’m wondering if you’re viewing my site on your iphone or ipad, bc on computers my share thingies are on the bottom. I need to get to the bottom of this and fix it. Thanks for letting me know.

      Reply this comment
  7. Susan
    Susan 17 October, 2012, 15:00

    Oh my GAWD, you just described my day yesterday! Today I’m all bewildered. This could not have come at a better time. I am not alone. You….you just saved me years of therapy. Thank you.

    Reply this comment
  8. Kim Tracy Prince
    Kim Tracy Prince 17 October, 2012, 15:02

    Ha! That’s all very funny, especially the idea of thinking of my husband as my papi chulo. I don’t even know what that means.

    In 8 years, I’ve made only *some* money directly on the blog. The rest has been from the writing/editing gigs that came after, *because* of the blog. I’ve been able to keep my blog as my beloved. I like it that way.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 15:57

      Yes, that’s what I want, ancillary income. Back in the olden days writers always had “real” jobs and wrote for passion. I just wish I knew how to do something else?

      Reply this comment
  9. Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal)
    Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal) 17 October, 2012, 15:14

    After blogging for a little over a year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never make money just from blogging as you so entertainingly explain. I watch my numbers go up but no one clicks through to buy a Groupon from my site so oh well. I have come to realize that the kudos and hoorays I get from readers is going to have to be enough until I can find another way to make some cash. In the meantime I’ll keep sponging off of my hard-working husband, just like I’ve done for 23 years. He doesn’t mind.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 16:20

      Hi Sharon — and your analytics are much better than mine!! Yes, I’ve trolled you. It would be great to find a blogger who does make a living and get a real life break down of what that means.

      Reply this comment
      • Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal)
        Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal) 19 October, 2012, 23:15

        I have noticed a big upswing in visits since I’ve been tagging and naming my photos on my posts. You can’t imagine how many hits I’ve gotten because of “house keys” and “Katya Zarkhova” – some very disappointed men who landed on my blog, no doubt. I learned this from a blogger who is far more successful than I am money-wise. It seems that the crafty bloggers and the coupon bloggers are the ones with the really big numbers.

        Reply this comment
  10. pattie
    pattie 17 October, 2012, 15:21

    LOL… haven’t stopped laughing since the first part

    Reply this comment
  11. hilljean
    hilljean 17 October, 2012, 15:23

    So good. So very good. I am terrible at twitter, but I think that might be a blessing. I’ve eased up on Instagram (mostly cause I can’t get my kids to freaking hold still) and I didn’t know you could stalk other bloggers analytics. That I don’t want to see. Probably send me into a tizzy fit.

    I’ll have to try that skin to skin thing you were talking about. But it would definitely turn into something else…oh well.

    Reply this comment
  12. Carpool Goddess
    Carpool Goddess 17 October, 2012, 16:12

    I need to schedule the SN, because it seems to be calling to me 24/7. Like an addiction.

    Reply this comment
  13. Marci Rich
    Marci Rich 17 October, 2012, 17:53

    I love this post. I need to make $$ from my blog, too. (Since April, I’ve earned exactly $16.27 through WP’s beta ad program. Let the retail therapy begin!) I try to remind myself that the writing is what comes first, what’s most important, what feeds my soul. (Helpful if I can’t feed the family.) I just trust that if I can keep my energy levels up, I can continue to produce and that somehow, eventually, it will start to pay off. I honestly don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the SM stuff, largely because I’m still up against a bit of a learning curve w/some of these platforms.

    (Seriously? You can spy on the analytics of others? I can barely figure out where to find my own.)

    You’ve given me much to think about here, in what I’m happily discovering is your inimitable, sassy, brassy, witty way. Love your writing. C’est tout.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 18:46

      Thank you Marci for the compliments. I need them the way a well needs water. And I want you to make money blogging and I do think it’s possible, but I really don’t have a fucking clue how. If I find out, I will tell you. I want all of us to be able to feed, clothe and transport our families without having to be undertakers. Because that is the logical next step after blogging.

      Reply this comment
  14. Marci Rich
    Marci Rich 17 October, 2012, 17:54

    Oh. By the way? LOVE ‘Trimultaneously.’ Story of my life, doing things trimultaneously. Just never knew what it was called before.

    Reply this comment
  15. Chloe Jeffreys
    Chloe Jeffreys 17 October, 2012, 18:01

    No fucking shit. When I don’t try to make money from my blog I love blogging. When I try to make money from my blog my husband threatens divorce and I have to go on antidepressants.

    Blogging for money is a chimera. I wish the women who are saying they are making money would start giving out the #s. Pioneer Woman supposedly is making $3mil a year. But I wonder what others are making. And the ways you do have to make money make me feel cheap and sleazy. Seriously, I’d rather give blow-jobs to sweaty circus clowns than write reviews or have a giveaway blog.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 October, 2012, 18:49

      Chloe — I am picturing you with the circus clowns and it makes me laugh. Is something wrong with me? Yes, there’s a wall of competitiveness between bloggers. Transparency would be nice. Maybe there’s enough for all?

      Reply this comment
    • Walker Thornton
      Walker Thornton 20 October, 2012, 07:11

      Ha Ha! Though seriously, I’m right there w/ you about the massive giveaway blogs. I do some reviews but only if I think the product is right for me and other over50 women.

      Reply this comment
      • Shannon
        Shannon Author 20 October, 2012, 08:59

        Oh yes, I recently tried Ultherapy, not just to lift my jaw, but also to lift my analytics because it’s a procedure I would read about as I’m pushing 50.

        Reply this comment
  16. Janie Emaus
    Janie Emaus 17 October, 2012, 18:05

    Money? What’s that?

    Reply this comment
  17. Chloe Jeffreys
    Chloe Jeffreys 17 October, 2012, 20:19

    It’s Latin for “If you clowns want a blow-job you better pony up the bucks.”

    Reply this comment
  18. Lady Jennie
    Lady Jennie 17 October, 2012, 23:42

    Yes, yes, yes! The last part. I finally surrendered to my comparatively lousy analytics and being overlooked for this and that. I’m no longer going to put myself up for awards.

    I’m writing because I love to write – if I’m going to make money, it’ll likely be for something else (even if it’s a writing gig and not a blog gig). I only read and respond to those I like.

    And it’s freeeeeeedom!!!

    Reply this comment
  19. Tracy
    Tracy 18 October, 2012, 04:32

    Am slightly disappointed that “Blood-Of-Satan slumber parties” wasn’t a clickable link. Sounded like a legitimate event that might perhaps take place at a BlogHer conference 😉

    Reply this comment
  20. Jen
    Jen 18 October, 2012, 07:25

    These are all the reasons why I flounder around. I love it. I hate it. I quit and I crawl right back. Then you see what others are doing and you think “I should really be doing that” or “why didn’t I think of that first!”
    And no one but other bloggers know the struggle so you are just a lunatic to the mainstream.
    And then there are bloggers and SM Gurus who don’t live for it and do fantastic!
    It’s a vicious cycle. I like the idea of keeping it scheduled, but it always seems to creep back in to the rest of the day.
    Thanks for the post – makes me feel less crazy 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 October, 2012, 08:15

      It’s incredibly hard to have boundaries around SN. It gets hardwired in our brains. A habit like say.. Breathing

      Reply this comment
  21. Megan
    Megan 18 October, 2012, 08:56

    I feel bad about wasting time on SM, but then I feel like I’m not doing enough on it. And then there’s the “Is anybody out there?” feeling…

    Reply this comment
  22. Petula
    Petula 18 October, 2012, 11:34

    Forget the how to make money part, how do you get all these dang-gone comments!? 🙂 I’m jealous!

    I write paid posts. I know, gasp! I also do social media, press release and blog post writing for clients.

    Your blog is fab. Clicked over from The Georgia Bloggers Daily.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 October, 2012, 20:56

      Petula — you get paid???? I’ll trade you my comments for your paycheck!

      Reply this comment
  23. Carol D
    Carol D 18 October, 2012, 11:37

    I don’t blog, but I really enjoy reading and stalking the people I enjoy. And you, are someone I enjoy. Keep up the great work!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 October, 2012, 20:55

      Thank you Carol. It’s good to know I have non-blogger fans. I love my blogger buddies but I make them read me at gunpoint.

      Reply this comment
  24. BigLittleWolf
    BigLittleWolf 18 October, 2012, 20:27

    I’m thinking Anne has it right. Stripping at blogging conferences. Well, blogging conferences where everyone has bad vision.

    Then again, I’ve been doing this for 1,233 days straight (less 3 individual days off in years 3 and 4) and, well… I’m not exactly making a buck yet.

    Community? Yep. Friends? Yep. Learning a lot? Yep. More obsessive than ever? (Care to insert a “yep?”)

    But hey, I just heard about a possible corset contest. Maybe I’ll hang in and keep hoping this isn’t one more Great American Myth.

    Meanwhile, what comes after trimultaneously? Google-plex?

    (I’m old, too. But feisty as hell.)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 October, 2012, 20:53

      I hate to say it, but it soothes me a bit to know this isn’t easy for everyone. And there isn’t some business savvy that I alone am missing. But I do hope in the near future our efforts pay off as we deserve it!

      Reply this comment
  25. Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog
    Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog 18 October, 2012, 23:07

    You capture the craziness of it all so beautifully and funny! So true! Love it. I guess I’ll keep my day job.

    Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog — All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick.

    Reply this comment
  26. Bonnie
    Bonnie 19 October, 2012, 19:56

    Funny! True. And funny!

    Reply this comment
  27. Helene Bludman
    Helene Bludman 20 October, 2012, 04:49

    You are so on he money. I feel like that hamster all the time. Staying on top of social media trends makes my head spin.

    Reply this comment
  28. Walker Thornton
    Walker Thornton 20 October, 2012, 06:39

    This is too funny….and oh so true. Since I read Jon Morrow, I have to add Guest Posting to your list. I do all the things you do, in both lists…sorta. Living alone helps, though I sometimes think I’m having a love affair with my Mac! What I also do that I don’t think you mentioned is read all the Blog Gurus telling me how to do it better!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 20 October, 2012, 08:59

      My eyes live on Power Blogger’s site. He’s my latest guru. To what end I wonder?

      Reply this comment
  29. Kay Lynn
    Kay Lynn 21 October, 2012, 08:44

    Sometimes it is the blogging niche that keeps bloggers from making money. I made a nice amount of money when I had a personal finance blog AND I was able to sell it as well when I got bored with the topic.

    I doubt I’ll ever have a blog that earns that much again. Now I just want to make enough to pay my conference costs. I come close with my deals/giveaway blog. Weight Chronicles probably won’t make me much, if any, money but I enjoy the creative outlet.

    Reply this comment
  30. Debi @MomOnMars
    Debi @MomOnMars 22 October, 2012, 05:46

    Thanks for starting my day with images of sweaty clowns. I may never be the same.

    Reply this comment
  31. Ann
    Ann 23 October, 2012, 16:39

    I give up! Wheeeeeee!!

    (Great post)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 October, 2012, 23:47

      I really want to give up. But each time I surrender my index finger keys in my analytics. The 21st century malaise. xo

      Reply this comment
  32. Katherine Stone (@postpartumprog)
    Katherine Stone (@postpartumprog) 24 October, 2012, 06:01

    Love this. I’m guilty of almost all of it, other than checking other people’s analytics. It’s a lucky thing I have no idea how to do that. Thank you for putting my daily experience into words!!

    Reply this comment
  33. anna
    anna 24 October, 2012, 19:56

    this post – and the comments – are better than money. sorta, kinda.

    i agree with the designated time – in theory at least. gotta treat it like a job, or a hobby, but either way it can’t be all the time.

    Reply this comment
  34. Nancy Johnson Horn (@Nancy_Horn)
    Nancy Johnson Horn (@Nancy_Horn) 25 October, 2012, 20:25

    Great read — I came over from seeing this on ShePosts.com. I spend WAYYYY too much time social networking and make barely $5 a month from my blog (I make more from a silly youtube video I made at ToyFair 2011 in NYC.
    I’d love to get some sponsored posts. I wish the PR people would dedicate part of their budget to this. I just wrote a post on it. http://www.themamamaven.com/2012/10/04/open-letter-to-pr-companies-some-friendly-advice/

    Reply this comment
  35. Shonda
    Shonda 27 October, 2012, 13:03

    Funny! But so true! I resisted social media for awhile, but when I finally gave into it, I found myself having to set limits—it’s overwhelming!! Ok, I have to go live in the real world now!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  36. Cathy Cantu
    Cathy Cantu 30 October, 2012, 07:04

    Ohhhhhh you are TOO funny! On one of your other posts you said smthg about never getting outside. That’s me! I’ve been trying to post every day. No makeup, sweatpants, go to mailbox. Must. Get. Hair. Colored.
    You’re great! I’m signing up!
    Cathy

    Reply this comment
  37. Elle - SeeMomWork
    Elle - SeeMomWork 13 January, 2013, 00:16

    It’s me again, back with another comment… no, I’m not a stalker.

    I bookmarked this post to revisit and write about and I finally have: http://seemomworkblog.com/2013/01/its-jungle-out-there.html. I re-read it again and it’s just so spot-on for me. You also have some awesome readers with hilarious comments.

    Thanks for the laughs!

    Elle

    Reply this comment
  38. Claudia Schmidt
    Claudia Schmidt 19 June, 2014, 14:32

    Hahahahahaha! Love this. Blogging can be such a treadmill. I took a step back a month or two ago and figured I’d just stop the madness and get back to living IRL and of course my readership has dropped off but ah well, what the heck, life is short and I can’t be online every minute of every day! You crack me up.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 19 June, 2014, 16:36

      Claudia I adore you. And yes IRL does deserve our attendance. I keep thinking somehow I’m going to hit that 1 million pageview a month mark and be cruising somewhere off the coast of Amalfi. Sigh.

      Reply this comment
  39. Liv
    Liv 19 June, 2014, 15:51

    Still hilarious almost two years after you posted it. And still hilarious.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 19 June, 2014, 16:35

      Thanks Liv — I think I better get rid of my dates to remain EVERGREEN. Ack.

      Reply this comment
  40. Mary Lanzavecchia
    Mary Lanzavecchia 19 June, 2014, 16:17

    I once put a tip jar by my computer and, like a wedding bartender, put the first dollar in it myself to “give a subtle hint.” Upon seeing the dollar, my husband slipped it out, gleefully proclaiming “Oh, soda money!” Sadly, the jar is still as empty.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 19 June, 2014, 16:35

      Mary — I hear you. I already spent the dollar I put in my tip jar on cheap gin. sigh.

      Reply this comment
  41. Wendy Byde
    Wendy Byde 21 June, 2014, 06:47

    I think it’s too late for me…I think I HAVE lost my marbles AND I’m making no money! Oh well, right? 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2014, 18:26

      Wendy I’m afraid most of us are in the same boat. This blogging thing ain’t for the avaricious.

      Reply this comment

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