First of all, I want to say an enormous thank you to everybody who wrote in or left a comment after the last article on commercial realities – I’ve been overwhelmed by the time people have taken to chip in their thoughts, often very sensible advice. I’m also touched by the number of people who value what I do here. The community of readers who’ve turned into friends is something that I do value very much now; I do feel I have a duty – I don’t want to use the onerous term ‘obligation’ – to keeping that ecosystem healthy and alive. It’s one of the reasons I don’t simply shut down and go back to commercial work, and that I’m seeking the opinions of the people who are the reason why I do this.
Let me share some observations with you. The overwhelming majority are okay with ads, though are concerned that the revenue might be too low – probably, but it’s the least intrusive and costly method for now. A surprising proportion are okay with subscriptions, though there has to be some sort of hybrid model; this may be an option in the longer term if the interim measures still prove unsustainable. I’d still like to keep the community open and the content free, though.
There’s been a surprising interest in print sales and patronage. This is odd, because there was little response to the first couple of print offers I did – we’ll try again soon and see what happens. I’m quite happy doing this as it also lets me feel that you’re getting something extra in return for your support.