Selling Out... for the Sake of My Art

Confession: I’m a sellout.

There, I said it. I’m a sellout. I participated in a giveaway, I bought an ad, and I paid for my blog design.

But you know what? I’m okay with it. My conscience and I chatted, and we agreed on a compromise.

Participating in giveaways is okay IF: I respect the blogger hosting, and I give away something related to virginity/books/feminism/Christianity. Like a cherry pendant, specially designed for How to Lose Your Virginity.

Buying an ad is okay IF: The ad isn’t crazy expensive, and I respect the blogger hosting. This is actually the first time Jessica has had sponsors,* which I think is pretty cool. Her audience is big, but not overwhelming. She’s a military wife in Italy, and y’all know how I feel about living abroad. But the primary reason I decided to test the advertising waters with Jessica is because of how long she’s been blogging. She’s been doing it since before blogging was cool. As someone who still maintains her livejournal, after about nine years, I totally respect someone who is, essentially, a hipster blogger.

Edit 03/05/13: Okay, fine, I admit it. I bought a second ad yesterday, with Casey of We Took the Road Less Traveled. She has the same cool "I live in Europe, thus Belle is totes jealous" vibe to her blog (also a military wife, but in Germany). Her ads were on sale! I can't resist a bargain! Have y'all seen how many kindle books I buy each month?! Anyway. I'll be "sponsoring" her blog for two months because I'm cool like that.

Paying for my blog design is okay IF: I spend hours upon hours, days upon days, trying to find the answer to my CSS problem. Seriously, for the life of me, I could not figure out the CSS for my toolbar to extend across the entire width of my blog. That’s all I wanted. I was totally fine with my old design, that I had customized myself, but the damn toolbar only extended a few inches on either side of my Notre Dame photo. It looked so awkward. I couldn’t get it to extend to both ends, nor could I get it to stay the exact width of the photo. In desperation, I asked for help. The problem ended up being the template I was using, and the CSS solution was not simple. So Natalie offered to install this template for me, and I said yes. Change is good, right?

I don’t like the idea of paying for followers. I want genuine readers of my blog, not fake numbers. I believe in writing good content, in being myself, in taking risks.

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that I’m a better writer than most of the bloggers I follow (sorry, but it’s the truth).** No one is going to read my work if people don’t know it exists. If I have to spend a little money to put my blog out there, then so be it. I did manage to gain a few genuine readers when I participated in the giveaway, and maybe I’ll gain a few genuine readers via Jessica’s blog.

Have you ever "sold out" for the sake of your art?

*I get that calling your paid advertisers "sponsors" is the cool blogger thing to do. I'm not totally on board with it. If I sponsor someone, I'm paying a charity money on behalf of that someone because that someone will also do something to raise awareness for the charity. That's sponsorship. Placing my button on your sidebar? That's an ad. Like I said, I'm only advertising with bloggers I respect. It's still just an ad.

**I get that blogging is about more than writing. It’s about community: sharing experiences, and crafting, and pretending life is perfect, and cooking, and viciously fighting over who has the best significant other/pets/children. But can y’all please learn the difference between your/you’re, and it’s/its, and they’re/their/there? It’s (it is) not that hard. And maybe less pictures, more writing? I’ve already stopped following the people who pretty much only post pictures all day long, and/or only host giveaways. YAWN. Also, when I say “better writer,” I don’t mean “better blogger.” Some people like all the pictures and giveaways. Nor do I mean “better person.” I just mean my writing is grammatically correct, and most of my posts are more than 150 words long.
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