Depriving Yourself Of Fun And Profit? By Kristina Seleshanko

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I didn’t realize I was depriving myself of fun and profit. Although I considered myself a fairly versatile writer, I avoided electronic publishing…until recently

After 14 years as freelancer under my belt, I finally took the plunge with eBooks. You can read about my success in that area here: http://www.writersweekly.com/success_stories/003705_10252006.html. Pleased with the results, I considered extending my career to blogging…but I wasn’t sure what I could offer that would be different or useful.

STEP #1: Filling a Void.

I started reading picture books to my daughter because she was born extremely premature. I couldn’t take her out in public, which meant I did a lot of book shopping online. I found plenty of websites that reviewed secular children’s books, but no comprehensive site with reviews of Christian picture books.

So, I created Christian Children’s Book Review.

STEP #2: Making it a Group Effort.

Even though I was having a lot of fun blogging, I didn’t want to maintain the blog by myself; it was just too time consuming. I also thought the blog would be more interesting if it included the opinions of several mothers.

So, I posted notices at writing forums asking if anyone was interested in becoming involved. The blog would promote the books and websites of each reviewers and each writer would use their own Amazon affiliate links in their reviews.

STEP #3: Getting Your Name Out There.

Throughout these early stages, I joined blog rolls and exchanged links with related websites. My new signature for forums and emails included a link to the blog. I also donated reviews from my site to appropriate ezines. These steps helped our readership grow.

STEP #4: Monetize.

A common way to monetize a blog is to run ads, but I didn’t want the hassle of dividing earnings between my reviewers. So we use Amazon affiliate links instead. This means no extra work for me, because each reviewer has her own Amazon account, and Amazon figures out how much to pay her. They even send out individual checks.

Then, to our great delight, the blog won two Litty Awards; one for “Best Christian Litblog,” and another for “Best Kidlit Blog.” This publicity helped draw new readers, and Christian Children’s Book Review started earning money.

STEP #5: Adding Products.

Make no mistake, for me, Christian Children’s Book Review is about sharing information with other moms – but I also wanted to make the site more profitable, if possible.

I’d recently done research on how to raise a child who loves books. It was strictly for my own education, but I thought: “Surely I’m not the only mom who’s interested in this!”

So, I gathered together my notes (based on literature by such expert organizations as U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy), wrote them out, added some graphics, and viola! I had another eBook: How To Grow a Great Reader. I placed an ad for this eBook on Christian Children’s Book Review, and soon made sales.

Only three months after beginning the blog, associate and eBook earnings from it were putting a few hundred dollars into my bank account each month. And I only post about six times a month! An added bonus is that I receive free books to review.

Blogging isn’t hard – although it does take some careful thought and an eye for what readers want or need. As when you sell traditional books or articles, you need to know your market and understand how you can fill gaps in it. So choose your topic carefully, then quit depriving yourself of fun and profit!

Kristina Seleshanko is the author of 14 traditionally published books (published by HarperCollins-Zondervan, Schroeder, and others), plus several eBooks. She’s also written for Woman’s Day, Today’s Christian Woman, and other magazines. For writing tips and resources, including tips on being a more productive writer and finding success writing eBooks, visit Kristina’s website: