Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to. That’s when I feature them on the blog. This is one of those days…
I’ve had a question two (now three) times in the last couple of weeks. I’ve had it in the past too. I ignored it then. The first time most recently that the question came, I thought I’d let it pass as it’s an awkward answer to write but then the question came around a second time after I wrote a second blog post so I thought I should answer the question.
The first time the question was asked, it came in reference to this quilt, Pumpkin Patch by Bonnie Hunter. I had written an “Ask Jo” post after someone asked me for the measurement of the pieces to make this quilt. You can read that post HERE.
You can find my original post about the quilt HERE if you want more info on the quilt.
In the comments, Ruth said, “Jo, you mention Bonnie Hunter but you don’t post a link to her blog, and it isn’t one of the blogs on your blogroll. It might be helpful to add her info to this post, since you show the beautiful Pumpkin Runner she designed, and to your blog roll if you want.”
The second time a similar question came after I wrote another blog post about a Bonnie Hunter quilt I was sewing…It’s the quilt you see in the “Sew with Jo” link below. The quilt is Holy Toledo.
In the comment section, Amy asked,… “I love your ‘Sew with Jo’ videos. Keep them coming! Would like to see another floss tube also. I have a question about your links. Is there a reason you linked the Bonnie Hunter book to Amazon and not to her site? Just curious. I have a few of her books, but I have yet to make anything from them. Maybe this winter will be the time to start. Thank you for the inspiration!”
Before this blog post published, I got yet another question from Sandra B,
“Hi Jo… On this morning’s blog post, you posted about a UFO you are working on, using a Bonnie Hunter pattern, and anyone who has read your blog for any length of time knows you are a big fan who has completed numerous quilts from her books. My question…when you post a link to Bonnie’s patterns/books, why don’t you link to her website instead of linking to Amazon? That way she would have the benefit of getting the entire sales price and not just a commission… just wondering… Enjoy your blog so much! Keep inspiring us!! I also enjoy your videos…”
First off and upfront I want to say Bonnie Hunter is one of my favorite quilt designers EVER. I’ve met Bonnie several times. I’ve hosted two retreats that she has been at. I’ve always had a great experience. I think she’s a great person. I try to catch her blog a couple of times a week. She has been a great influence on me. I only have happy feelings towards Bonnie.
Now to the part that people who read blogs but aren’t behind the scenes don’t always know or understand that kind of gets awkward. My blog is part a journal for me…and part a business. It is the truth. I make money from the blog through advertising. A portion of it goes back towards expenses as there are some. A portion of it buys my craft supplies and a portion buys my groceries among other day to day living expenses. Now more than ever as I’m not doing full swing childcare, I need to watch out for myself. Prior to my ending regular childcare, and prior to Kramer’s death, the blog income was more or less my spending money. Things changed. I have to make a living. Trust me, I am not rolling in life insurance money and there are not big 401Ks to fall back on. I’m okay…but I have to work to be okay. So, I work but I do all I can to make it not look like or seem like work.
One of the ways for me to get money via the blog is through advertising. That’s why you have to put up with looking at ads. I hate it but as I said, I have to do it to support the blog expenses and my living.
Another way to make money from the blog is through affiliates. When you buy something from Amazon, if you use a link from my blog, I get a small tiny commission. So for example when I did the post about things I loved from Amazon, if you bought the popcorn popper, ( Find it HERE)
Amazon paid me something like 4% (I’m not sure of the current percentage) of the cost of the popper. You didn’t pay any extra for the popper. Amazon gives that commission to me more or less as an advertising fee because you likely wouldn’t have bought the popper had you not heard how much I love mine. Some of you, like me before I bought mine, didn’t know the microwave popcorn popper existed.
By the way, I only ever write or provide links to things that I truly, truly love. I’d never endorse anything I don’t like.
So…now that you know how affiliates work. I want to put this all into perspective in regards to links to other items like Bonnie Hunter’s books. If I link to Amazon, and you buy the book, I get a commission. If I link to Bonnie’s site, I get nothing.
If you go to a quilt shop, the owner of the shop makes a model of a quilt and has the book on display next to it that she can sell and make a profit from, that is completely normal. The quilt shop owner sells the book and makes a profit. No one thinks anything of that. It is a business. The shop owner certainly doesn’t say “Wait, you don’t want to buy that book from me, you want to buy that book directly from the designer of that book. Here is a link to her online shop so you can buy the book.” That would be silly. The owner put in all that work to prompt you to buy the book, why shouldn’t the shop owner get a profit from the book?
Now, let’s transfer this all to me. I’m a little like that quilt shop making a display quilt. It doesn’t make business sense for me to send someone elsewhere to purchase a book that I can offer through Amazon and make a profit.
I certainly understand that the author gets a smaller profit this way, but still, there is a small profit and I did, through the making of the quilt and periodically blogging about it, expose a lot of people to the quilt, the designer’s blog, and the designer themselves. A quilt shop doesn’t provide any links or praise or recognition of quilt designers when they make quilts and sell books. I do. I believe I am supporting the designer but in a way, many of you cannot. I support them through free mentions on my blog and other social media platforms (essentially free advertising for them) and links.
Remember, I am a business. Small and tiny, but a business. I need to make a living thus I link to Amazon.
…and no. I don’t make quilts designed by others with the intention of making a profit. I make them because I love them and if I happen to make a small commission because a book got sold through Amazon, that’s an added bonus. If a designer offered a commission to me for linking to them instead, I’d do that, but an offer like that has not been extended to me, so I haven’t.
As far as a blog roll goes…I really don’t pay attention to or use my blog roll myself. In fact, two years ago I took it off the blog. I really don’t like it there. It’s more cluttered and the blog doesn’t look as clean. But, I had blog readers write and ask me to put it back so I did.
Now to the blogroll portion of the question: My original blog roll started as a listing of blogs I liked. Then I got too busy writing my own blog to read other blogs. Back then, if I read someone else’s blog roll and they had my blog on their blog roll, I would reciprocate and add their blog to my list. I don’t do that anymore as honestly, I really don’t read many blogs…3 maybe and one isn’t even about quilting or crafting. I’m too busy doing my own stuff. You all like to read two posts a day here and in order to that, my computer time needs to spent writing those blog posts.
Nowadays, if I have time, and if someone writes and asks to be added to my blog roll, I often add their blog after I go and check their blog out. Bonnie has never written to me and asked me to be included on my blog roll. So in keeping with my way the blog roll has been currently managed, I haven’t added anyone who hasn’t asked to my blog roll.
Have you looked at Bonnie’s blog? The last time I looked, she didn’t have a blog roll. I am not listed on her blog anywhere. She has provided no link to my blog. She has not made any of my quilts. She has done no promotion of my business. I don’t expect her to. She is running her business how she wants…but, I also want to run my business the way I want. Remember, we BOTH have businesses.
Overall, I believe I’ve done a lot of free advertising for several designers. Over the years I have done Crazy Mom projects, Patchwork Times projects, Country Threads projects, Quilted Twins projects, and Quiltville projects. I believe I’ve been fair in linking to their books and free patterns if I use them. I believe I have been respectful and honored all copyrights. In the future, if I happen to make a project by other designers, I will continue to link and do what I feel is fair and respectable in terms of their business AND my business…but, I will treat them all as business decisions remembering that they have bills to pay AND I have bills to pay.
The bottom line is I need you to know, I am a small business (correction: tiny business). Sometimes I have to make business decisions.
Before I close, I want you to know, I am not at all upset by the questions that were asked. I know they were asked by people that don’t know the behind scenes of blogging and that part of blogging can be a business. I know those that asked the questions likely didn’t see me as a tiny business. That’s all okay. I glad that all came to light. I love that my readers feel free to ask me most anything and I really want you all to keep doing that.
Again, before I close, I really want to make sure that everyone knows, I completely and totally respect and admire Bonnie. She has blazed a path into the quilting world that is admirable. She will always be someone I look up to. I appreciate that she runs her business, in fact, I admire her and her business. I always have and I always will. Absolutely nothing in this post is meant any other way.