NewYorkMetro.com has a long but interesting article on those who have (and haven't) turned blogging into big bucks. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in how much money the A-List makes (where do writers come in alphabetically on this list, I wonder? At W?)
I started PBW mainly for friends and a small circle of acquaintances, and as it grew beyond that have tried to keep it primarily a resource for writers. If I help another writer, I score one for me. As in, if I can do something positive for every rejection letter, every scam attempt, every unfair deal, every hatchet job and every act of envy or malice I've seen or experienced, then I balance the scales. Publishing's scales are seriously out of whack, so I think I'll be doing this for a while yet.
In return, most of you guys have stopped in here daily, cheered me on, taken me to task, applauded my highs, commiserated with me on my lows, shared ideas and info, and otherwise provided a constant connection with a community that has never before accepted me. The road-to-hell paving of my good intentions aside, I've benefited from your presence, your comments, your weblogs, and this connection. Someday I'll get all soppy and tell you exactly how much. Until then, thank you.
Many of you have also gone out, bought a lot of my books and made this a very popular place. This is supposed to be how it works, and I'm grateful for this, too, but I'm not exactly comfortable with it. I don't think of you as my market. I think of you as a hundred other variations on me, out there slogging away at the job and in need of that same connection. The only thing that eases my guilt is that I'm not constantly shoving my books in your face and demanding you buy and admire them and, by extension, me. I want to give back, not take. If I somehow forget my purpose and start doing unattractive things like that, please, God, boycott me.
I still have fun doing this, too; it's a pleasure every time I log in (tonight especially; I've ditched my revisions for an hour to give my brain a break.) I got to sneak over and congratulate Stephanie Tyler on her first sale, MacBride on his birthday and turning, what, twenty-two years old? as well as catch up on a little e-mail. The timer just dinged so I have to log out, but tomorrow I'll be back. The business of blogging will always be a factor whether I like it or not, but it's the pleasure, those scales, and you guys that keep me posting.
Your turn: should we writers blog for business, pleasure, to keep those connections hooked up, to pay it forward, balance out the scales, or all of the above? Tell us what you think in comments.