How the Blog Will Work

How the Blog Will Work April 1, 2022

As we discussed last time, Patheos is making the Cranach blog “premium content,” to be available by subscription.  This will begin next Monday, April 4.

You can go to the home page as usual.  You can see what the posts are about, with the title and a short summary.  That won’t cost anything.  When you click “read more” to actually read the post, a pop-up will appear, inviting you to subscribe.  (If you have a pop-up blocker, you’ll need to disable it temporarily for this.)

The cost will be $5 per month.  If you throw in another $1.99, you can get not only the Cranach blog but all of the other vast array of Patheos sites ad free.  (You can quit at any time, though you’ll still get the whole month that you have paid for.  Also, we will customize the “nanny-bot” so that it will no longer censor your comments for innocent words.)

I typically write five posts a week or 20 posts per month.  So that comes to 25¢ per post.

What else can you get these days for a quarter?

So why am I feeling guilty for going along with the plan to put my blog behind a pay wall?

I recently calculated how much I am making from Patheos, based on the rate for page views, considering how much time I put into this blog.  It ranged from $2.10 to $5 per hour.  I would only need 42 subscribers to make what I do now, so anything above that would be gravy.

Typically, I get around 2,000 page views per day.  About half of those are regular readers.  The rest drop in because of Face Book links, Google searches, or Patheos browsing.

If all 2,000 were to subscribe, at $5 per month, I would have an income beyond the wildest aspirations of a dust bowl child like me.  I know that this is not going to happen.

If all 1,000 of my regular readers were to subscribe, I would have an income that would greatly enhance the fixed income of my retirement.  But I realize that holding on to all of my regular readers is also not going to happen, and this is why I’m feeling guilty about charging everyone. But I don’t think I need to feel guilty, do I?

I don’t think I’m selling out in any sense.  I’m still not likely to make great sums of money doing this.  Most people get paid for what they do, with no one expecting to get the goods or services they provide for free–why should internet writers be any different?  Inflation is hurting everyone, and I hate to add even $5 per month to anyone’s budgets.  But inflation hits us retirees especially hard–Social Security does give cost of living adjustments, but those are based on the previous year, not now; pensions stay the same no matter what; and Individual Retirement Accounts go down with the stock market declines.  I need to do something to keep meeting our budget, and the fixed fee of $5 per month/25¢ per post will become even more negligible as inflation increases.

Plus, as I said last time, there are other advantages to writing for subscribers, from my being better able to moderate and participate in the comments–since there will be fewer of them–to building a genuine virtual community, free of trolls and vitriol.

I am also interested in participating in this new development in the writing profession.

Historically, authors get 10% of the income from their books.  This has been reasonable, since a book consists of paper and must be manufactured, transported, marketing, and sold.  Also, publishing companies provide editing, designing, indexing, and many other services for the author.  Their expenses are high and their margins are small, so I am not complaining about them at all.  The kinds of books I write are not usually massive sellers, but those royalties coming in year after year have been very helpful.

Now, though, with paper, manufacturing, and distribution being, strictly speaking, not necessary due to our information technology, it’s possible for authors to get a bigger cut for what they do.  Many have turned to self-publishing, though that can throw the value-added of a publisher in terms of editing, design, and marketing into high relief.  Publishing companies give authors a somewhat bigger cut for e-book sales, but it isn’t a whole lot more, though I think that will change.

With this new subscription model, the platform, whether Substack or Patheos, is just taking 10%, what used to be the author’s share, with all the rest going to the author.

So this is progress, as far as writers are concerned, and I appreciate Patheos very much for selecting this blog, along with only two others, to experiment with this model, which is, I suspect, the wave of the future.

I hope you will be able and willing to join me in this venture.  If you aren’t, I totally understand and thank you for tuning in when you did.


Photo:  Self-portrait of Lucas Cranach, the blog logo in 2008.  From Stolzenfels Castle (1531), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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