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making money with recipes? blogs? websites with sponsors? ebooks?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi all

I've been silent for a month or two i think, because just have been working so much.  I haven't had time for anything so guess what, the enjoyable things are the first to go.  My work is very demanding and emotionally draining and i'm ready to try to make money in another way, maybe just a little at a time.  But i can't stop earning. 

 

I heard that it's possible to make a blog that will earn money. 

 

My idea is to do a blog of cooking for English-speaking expats in Italy.  There are tons of study abroad students here, who get very homesick for american foods, thousands that come every semester, i think, and there are tons of people who have moved to italy for work and others who are drawn by the culture, food and the fact that it's very trendy.  I get requests for recipes all the time. 

After living here for 37 years, and cooking and reproducing all kinds of stuff i never imagined to have to make myself (bagels, english muffins, etc) I know a lot of tricks. 

 

So my original idea was for a cookbook.  But before you can publish a cookbook, you have to get the whole book together.  Reading the recent thread here on publishing cookbooks, i thought, what if i make a blog, but one that will give me some income too.  I heard there are ways to have sponsors, links, etc, to your blog or website that gives some income.  I'm also concerned about copyrighting stuff, so that people don;t just trawl the internet and compile a book drawing also from my website.  I guess that's not east to prevent.  But maybe some of you have experience in this. 

 

Possibly i should make a short ebook and just market it to study-abroad programs.   Then  i would be getting some income from it from the start - but can an ebook be updated regularly?  anyone with experience in this? 

 

or anyone know where i can find more information? 

 

thanks

Siduri

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #2 of 16

Blogs tend to be very low income producers on average. They can be fun and useful even if not about income.

 

The primary blog sites, www.blogger.com, www.wordpress.com have advertising streams you can set up to display on your blog. These are based on key words in your posts so that they should be of some interest to your audience. You'll get fractions of cents for a page view and more if someone clicks on one.

 

The process is like this: Create an account with the blog host. Set up layout, title, topics and a first post. Then create an account with their ad group. Choose how many ads and where they are displayed on your pages. You can usually fine tune content a bit if you have concerns about what sorts of ads might be displayed.

 

A blog is good practice for the writing and to drum up some level of interest, though it's a bit slow at the last part.

 

The copyright aspect is difficult with a food blog. Recipes aren't copyrightable in general. And you have no way to stop someone from copying down your content. There are free tools to copy a whole website, like HTTrack.  Instead, you might find that you post a dumbed down simplified recipe on-line to teach the technique and process. Then indicate that your book includes expanded versions and variations.

 

I think that an ebook is the most reasonable approach for you to generate actual income. Be sure it includes a link to your blog.  Updates aren't hard to put out, but could be a problem for people who have bought earlier versions. I'd probably create a sort of series over time instead so that there are reasons for people to return and buy your later volumes.

 

By series over time, I meant that I wouldn't do books by topic or region. Those methods kind of limit you in later editions on adding things you might want to add on those topics in later books. That would break the organization of that method.  Certainly within the book, you should have topical and/or regional organization and information. You could reuse the same chapter titles and order in later books to build the theme over the set even. 

 

Ebook self pub links again.

 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

 

Barnes and Noble  http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

 

I don't know of any restrictions that would require you to use only Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Use both  to appeal to the widest audience. 

 

I also don't know how your overseas status might impact these tools for payments and taxes.  Some time with an accountant might be needed to figure this out.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much Phatch, that was thorough and extremely helpful. 

I didn;t realize the advertising was done automatically - wouldn't really want ads for things I don't like.  I was wondering about getting some of the local stores that cater to expats to advertise, but of course that might be very little in terms of income.  But it might be useful to get interest for the eventual book. 

 

A book might be done in small sections, sort of like a magazine, pamphlets or minibooks, and then a larger index for the series could come out later, i suppose. 

 

Lots to think about, and very generous advice. 

thanks

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #4 of 16

I wrote a book on cat and kitten fostering . It took me 2 years. Trying to get it published is a hassle in paricular if you are not well known is a hassle. It used to be they paid an advance or up front. No more, unless you are James Patterso or someone like that. Its better to self publish if possible, or sell over craigs list or some form of on line venture. I have sold mostly on line.Some  shelters use it tfor training purposes.or part of a class.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 16

I would tend to agree with Phil that blogging can be a very low income form of writing. However if you are able to produce a lot of very interesting, regular content then over the course of years you could generate income. A few blogs that come to mind are chocolateandzucchini.com/,  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/. However, if you notice they produce a tremendous amount of content and it is basically a full time gig for them. In addition to the bloggin you might also notice they do many other things, tours, teach classes, write books based on blog posts.

 

If you are going to blog about a topic do so because you enjoy it not because you want to make money. Blogging in general is very tedious and requires a lot of effort to make the posts interesting so make sure it is something you really love. If it is good and interesting the money will come. While I think that blogging for a small niche group is a great idea I think if you could expand your blog topic to tourists. A great, information rich travel blog on one country is Greek Travel. http://www.greektravel.com/  This blog is from a guy who has lived in Greece for years and as a result just written tons of articles about the entire country that can really help a first time visitor. 

 

If you are going to do a blog I would suggest wordpress. It is easy to setup, cheap and super easy to extend to do what you want. Last but not least if you have a word press blog you can hook into ChefTalk and when people search for topics they will turn up in the search results. Chef Pete has a blog and it is tied into ChefTalk.

 

http://onceachef.com/

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #6 of 16

You might try to set up a cooking class with some of the Bed and Breakfast type establishments. That's another way to push your book, blog, plus get paid for cooking. But it's not something that works as well for shoehorning in to spare moments.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks Nicko, Ed and Phatch

I wouldn't be suited for the kind of rich-person tourist stuff that is so popular, since i don;t know much of anything about the kinds of restaurants and places these kinds of people frequent.  I don't have the interest in wine or olive oil to wax enthusiastic about this brand or that type, which a lot of food writers who do that sort of cooking class and italian culture blog would do. 

 

Mine is more of a practical, home-based interest in really good food done easily and quickly, and the idea would be to aim for a very specific niche, which i know to be very large.  I teach in an American college with tons of study abroad students every year - in fact there are many such programs in Rome and the rest of Italy.  These kids are homesick for american stuff (they;re all basically homesick, nobody told them that going that far away from all their friends and activities would be very difficult) and food is one of the comforts of home.  For many of them cooking means heating some pre-made stuff in the microwave (and for many of them this was what they ate growing up too) so they're at a loss when they can't find this stuff to "cook" at home.  There are yearly thousands of foreigners coming to live in Italy, or spend the summers here and may want to reproduce what they can't find but miss from home (a really good muffin, a cake that isn;t dry or soaked in liquor, real pie crust)

 

So i would give recipes for simple foods that they can make, which would include Italian stuff (simple pastas and soups, what to do with eggplants and broccoletti and artichokes (that you can find cleaned and ready to cook at any market), tiramisu, etc) and also American stuff (macaroni and cheese, turkey and pumpkin pie (they have to spend thanksgiving here and often want to make dinner with their housemates) chicken pot pie, brownies, toll house cookies, muffins, etc.  (And I believe i can also extend to British stuff, since my daughter lives in london and i have lots of ideas - fish pie, meat pies, and assorted other british stuff).  All would be characterized by the ease of preparation, the foolproof nature of the recipes and the quality of the dish (no shortcuts and pre-made ingredients, but fast nonetheless - after all, i can get a really good meal together in ten minutes).  I'd have little side things on techniques, like how to crush garlic, how to slice and chop, how to make do with imperfect tools, how to know when the skillet is ready for pancakes, how to check doneness of meat without a thermometer, etc. 

 

And importantly, how recipes have to be changed here for the different ingredients available (the flour primarily - it took me several years to be able to make toll house cookies or pastry crust that didn;t turn out greasy and useless - i finally got the answer in julia child's recipe for french bread where she explains the difference between the flours and how to compensate for french flour in america - i just did the opposite.  (Remember i learned to cook before internet - we only had books and a couple of tv shows that were not based on the nastiness of the cook but were actually intended to teach!)

 

I'd like to get someone to film me cooking and put some stuff on youtube. 

 

The market i would aim for is based on a constant flow of people, beginning with the students.  I know many people who run these student programs.  So i think, Ed, that a self-published book or series of pamphlets would have its market cut out for it. 

 

Brainstorming here with you guys is useful, and i just got an idea - rather than bed and breakfast customers who don;t need to learn to cook in italy, i could bring actual baked goods to places where these expats congregate - as they say in creative writing classes, "show., don't tell"

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #8 of 16

You know when I started ChefTalk it was simply a way to learn HTML and all I did was publish one recipe a month. It was for friends and family. Little by little I started recommending cookbooks and then food history pieces. It just grew from there. Most importantly I loved working on it and growing it and of course really enjoyed the community once we added the forums. Start small and grow from there. A few tips I would recommend.

 

  • Go with wordpress for your blog platform easy to install and modify.
  • Go heavy on photos they really draw people in.
  • Find other blogs you like and follow them from your blog and ask them to follow you.
  • Create an email newsletter list from the beginning. Easiest way to stay in touch with your fans.
  • Create something unique about your site that draws people in. Chocolate and Zuchinni does a great job of this. Each month she publishes interesting french sayings and also a monthly desktop food image.
  • Do not bring politics
  • Lastly, don't forget about your friends at ChefTalk when your running you featured on Oprah and Good Morning America Blog.

 

lol.gif

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #9 of 16

I agree with everything said above.  It is very hard to make a living writing a blog, although there are a few break-outs that have become very successful.  Most of them have a lot of other things going also that help to generate traffic.  Having blogged for a couple of years (have been inactive since August due to a number of issues, including health) and having talked to many small, local food bloggers, it seems the average revenue seems to be anywhere from $30-$100 a month with a going rate of anywhere from $1.00-$2.00 per 1000 hits per month.  I also agree with Nicko about Wordpress.  It is the platform that he suggested to me when I first started out and I have been very happy with it.  One other suggestion I would make, if you are serious about this, is not to use the free wordpress.com hosting.  Find your own domain name and rent space on a server from a place such as justhost.com (or any of the numerous others out there).  It is much easier to build a "brand name" when you don't have a web address that ends in wordpress.com.  But that will cost you money (approximately $200 for 2 years give or take.

 

There are a few blogs I know that aren't using Google Ads or Foodbuzz for their advertising and doing it on there own.  It means they are making more money but it also takes  more time as they are having to create each and every ad, and change them often.  Foodbuzz is great as they deal mostly with things that interests foodies, but even Google Ads isn't terrible as they run algorithims that analyze your site and try to match up ads that interest your readers.  That doesn't mean that they won't run off-topic ads also, but they really do try to gear their ads to the site somewhat.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Again thanks for all this Pete and Nicko. 

I have no time to spend on reading blogs (which is part of the reason i want to find something that will make it possible to work less).  I even stopped opening cheftalk for a couple of months because i was spending too much time on it and had too much work to do.  But certainly i'll have to do some research on this. 

 

I won't forget my cheftalk friends Nicko!  fear not.  Nor is there much chance of becoming rich and famous.  But a nice activity that i enjoy and can make money from would suit me just fine. 

 

You suggest photos, Nicko, and i can see that is an appeal.  I started life as an artist (did art school) and worked in typography and layout for a while.  Many websites are poor on design.  My daughter is also a designer, and is going to help me set it up, and my son a painter and also would help with the graphics.  But i was wondering, i always found the step by step illustrations such as in julia child's books, were very useful.  I often do illustrations for the recipes i give people.  Not that it;s hard or expensive to put photos on line but for a book i thought it would cut costs and be more useful to put line drawings, because they can sometimes be clearer.  But they;re not flashy or appealing enough for a blog i guess.

Maybe photos of the final dish would be good, but illustrations of the techniques.  But my emphasis will not be on making beautiful pictures of dishes that are impossible to achieve or unrealistic for the home (three slices of zucchine fanned out on a gigantic dish with a little dot of sauce and zig zags of another sauce on the plate.  Rather, nice home meals that look good and are good and actually fill you up.  I do like to see how a dish looks before i go and make it. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #11 of 16

Siduri, there is a wonderful little blog called Lobstersquad (and no, I am in no way affliated with it) that relies solely on the bloggers artwork and drawings as opposed to pictures.  Granted they are more representational than step by step illustrations but I think you should take a look at it.  The web address is  http://lobstersquad.blogspot.com/  Take a look.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks Pete,

it's more "graphic-designer" kind of stuff, and yes, not illustrative of techniques or how the final dish looks, but is interesting. 

 

I'm noticing that "blogs" seem to be long run-on chats, not so easy to look for stuff in.  Maybe i've seen too few.  But that's something i'll have to think of - a way of organizing it so that i can have topics easily searched and not one running into another. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #13 of 16

I think what you are describing, " a way of organizing it so that i can have topics easily searched and not one running into another" is one of the differences between a "blog" and a "website."  Websites can be organized so that the Home page displays however you want and you can organize it however you want.  While blogs can organize things somewhat, the basic premise behind a blog are the daily posts and thus are usually organized in a chronological fashion with little or no regard for organization by topic or subject (I did say usually).  This is one of the things that I didn't like about my blog, the fact that finding recipes wasn't terribly easy so I created a page that acts as an index for my recipes.  That main page then links to various other pages, titled by subject, which then has links to the appropriate post.  This means, though, when I write a post I then have to manually write in the link under the proper page in the recipe index.  Not nearly as difficult as it sounds but it does add a bit of time to writing a post.  Most blog templates also include a "search' function but I have not been thrilled with those that's why I created my recipe index.

post #14 of 16

Most of the sites allow you to tag your posts in various ways. For your purposes, many of your tags would be similar to what you would use for indexing your book.

 

So think about primary ingredient, course, and region.  Then you can put a "widget" on your blog in the sidebar that lists your tags. Usually the most frequently used tags are displayed in a larger font than less frequently  used tags.   So a dish like Pasta e Fagioli might be tagged by beans, pasta, soup.

 

A user clicking any of those terms would then see a list of posts you had tagged with the term they clicked.

 

Another popular widget is an archive or timeline that cascades hierarchically by year and month letting people get a quick overview of your blog by the title of each post and when it was posted. Using descriptive titles best.

 

Search widgets can also be added.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #15 of 16

it's a great ambition to think of using your job in another way that might bring more money to u , and also it 'll help u to feel of success and Fame .

i also thought to design a blog to publish my short stories in , hope god help u , felicitously :) seo egypt ,

شركات التسويق ,شركات التسويق الالكترونى ,التسويق الإلكترونى ,نشر موقع  ,اشهار المواقع


Edited by tofaeg - 3/27/13 at 2:43am
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you all.  The sort of recipe i intend to post will be similar to what i posted in the Food and Cooking forum, under The Siduri-Koukou challenge.  I've started working on photos and illustrations based on the photos.  I won;t really be able to do too much till the summer when my work is less demanding.  MY main goal is to make cooking for everyone, rather than go for the snob appeal of inaccessible recipes. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
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