Mar 102015
 
meatwork1

Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet was on fire last week in the media, due to two events that reverberated on social media.

Last week Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet led the news among food bloggers with two major online events. On his blog, he stunned fans by announcing that his advertising income has dropped so far that he can’t make a living from blogging anymore, and he wondered if he will continue. (I’ll get to the second event at the end of this post.)

Roberts, who began the award-winning  blog The Amateur Gourmet 10 years ago, has since authored two cookbooks: Secrets of the Best Chefs and The Amateur Gourmet: How To Shop, Chop, and Table-Hop Like A Pro (Almost). He has written  for Food & Wine MagazineSalon.comThe Huffington Post, and Epicurious.com. He’s also hosted and developed several shows for Food Network online. But without his blog income, these ancillary writing projects may not be enough to sustain him, he said.

While most food writers blog as a hobby, and very few make a living at it, Adam’s announcement echoed complaints I’ve heard from other big bloggers about dropping rates from ad networks. I interviewed Roberts by email to ask for more details about his announcement:

1. What was the percentage of the drop in income? I’ve heard others say their income has dropped by a third.

Oh, much more than by a third. I had a really great deal with my last ad company (I probably shouldn’t go too much into it, not sure if there was confidentiality in my contract) and when the contract expired, my income was divided by 10. Really.

2. You could go to other ad networks to try to replace the income. Have you chosen not to do that? 

I spoke to many bloggers and they’re all going through a similar thing with their ad companies. No one seems that happy, so as much as I’ve reached out to a few places, I’m not feeling very encouraged by what’s out there.

3. You said in the post that, “going forward, the only way I could make money was to do more sponsored posts.”  Other bloggers have generated income through sales of e-books, apps or services; through writing assignments that come from the blog, etc. Why did you feel sponsored posts were your only choice? 

Well e-books don’t really interest me—I’ve written two print books and while they were very worthwhile experiences, they hardly made me any money. An app isn’t something I really want to do. I’m not sure what services I could offer. As for writing assignments, I’m considering that, but my secret new career (sorry for being vague!) is taking precedent.

4. At least 95 percent of food bloggers do not make a living solely from their blogs. Are you really no longer a “wildly successful” blogger because your income dropped and you can no longer make a living solely from your blog? Surely your fans don’t apply this criteria for success. 

Of course “success” means different things to different people. I’m just talking about making a living; “wildly successful” bloggers, in that context, are ones whose traffic is so enormous that the hit ad networks are taking won’t really affect them because their numbers make up for it. Mine don’t.

5. I’m curious about the “whole new career path” you alluded to. Is it related to food or blogging, or is it totally different? It seems that most food bloggers have started other businesses to augment their main one, such as photography, television shows, selling retail products, even opening a restaurant.

I’ll give you a hint: I went to graduate school at New York University to study dramatic writing (TV writing in particular) so I guess that’s not so much a hint, as it is an answer. But let’s keep this between us.

5. You’ve chosen to stop writing sponsored posts. Do you see the world of food bloggers as divided by those who “shill” (your word) and those who don’t?

Some people were upset in the comments of my blog about my use of that word. To me, you’re not a shill if every so often you work with a sponsor whose product you genuinely support and who you’re truly excited to promote. The problem is that it’s not a sustainable model because, at some point, you’re going to have to pay the rent, and then some product you don’t really like as much is going to offer to pay you and you’ll have to say “yes” to make ends meet. That’s when you become a shill and that’s what I didn’t want to become.

6. You’re a talented writer. Will you continue to blog only if it continues to generate income for you?

Thanks! My hope is that I’ll be compelled to blog just like I was at the very beginning, out of love and passion. That’s where I’m at right now and it’s a great place to be. In fact, writing that post was the most liberating moment for me; now I feel like anything I write on my blog is there in a very pure way. It’s something I’m eager to share with the world for the sake of sharing it. And isn’t that what was great about blogging in the first place?

* * *

And now about the other news event I mentioned, which caused a flurry of social media RTs and shares:

1. It all started when Roberts judged two very different cookbooks on Food52.com as part of a tournament of 16 cookbooks called The Piglet.

2. The author who lost, Mimi Thorisson, wrote a rambling response on her blog, accusing him of being “slightly cheap and easy,” shallow, and sexist in his review.

3. Roberts wrote a response to the response, saying he wasn’t shallow.

4. Then a female editor at Food52 wrote a defense of Roberts, saying he was not sexist. She also talked about the value of good design, which seemed irrelevant.

5. Then Tim Mazurek of the food blog Lottie+Doof chimed in about the review and responses, and said that follow-ups No. 3 and 4 were defensive and hypocritical. He also said the problem with food writing is that it’s boring —  off topic but worthwhile reading because it deals with race and class.

6. Then Eater’s Helen Rosner wrote that Roberts was sexist. I thought she nailed the situation.

So Adam Roberts has been on fire in the media lately! What do you think about blogging as a way to make a solid income, the drop in ad rates, or #mimigate, as the events about the review are now called on Twitter?

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  58 Responses to “Amateur Gourmet Shocks Fans with an Announcement”

  1. I began blogging about food as part of a marketing contract…that was 14 years ago. It produced some amazing success stories and some quality work. Fast forward to now and it’s populated by boring people looking for freebies and fees.

    • Wow. Most food bloggers are not in that category, Barry. they blog as a hobby and aren’t trying to get anything for free.

      • I agree with your reply wholeheartedly Dianne. I have met a very few people of late who seem to be out for free stuff but most of the food bloggers I know (and I have a wide extended circle of contacts throughout the world) are wholly motivated by love of their topic. The reason that more bloggers are after fees is that traditional media sources and other websites now want as much content as possible for free. You may be willing to put blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul into your own blog but why would you dedicate that time and energy to someone else without remuneration? And ‘exposure’ is usually a hollow promise.

        • Totally agree with Sally (Hi Sally!) and Dianne. So many bloggers out there who put their all in the blog.
          I’ve also come across an awful lot of new bloggers making no secret from the fact that they just got into it for the freebies and pennies they can make. It’s one give away and sponsored post after the other. I saw one tell another recently not to buy a kitchen appliance but just email the company to get one for free. eh.. Anyway.
          But there is a big change going on. I was talking to my friend Giulia this week and we are both feeling the same thing at the moment. We used to get a lot of comments on the blog, and that is changing. The amount of people visiting a new post is also dropping, however my instagram followers keep going up and up.

          It feels like people don’t really enjoy reading as much anymore. I must admit my posts can be history heavy but I hope also interesting and nice to look at with my photography.

          But those small amount of bloggers who are in it for the free stuff and call up my friends restaurants demanding free dinners, are giving blogs a bad reputation. It’s like it isn’t taken seriously anymore because of these freeloader bloggers.

          An of course this is only a small group, but it only takes one rotten apple…

          But less readers means less clicks, less numbers.
          I am so happy I never monetized my blog, I have one logo from my pottery sponsor, because they are my favourite pottery and they have been generous. But of course I don’t earn a penny, and we live from one wage, and the extras I make from photography assignments, but that is not a full time wage.

          And then there is also a new type of blogger. Something new where I live. Person starts a blog, in the same months gets featured in major newspapers and magazines, with his blog, which has 1 or 2 posts… How do you say? Well he hired a PR company to get him publicity. Crazy isn’t it?

        • New bloggers appear shocked when a company contacts them and asks for a plug. And then so many give it to them, for little in return, because they are flattered. When that wears off, an idea forms that maybe they can make money at this thing. But for most people, it’s just a few bucks and so not worth it, in my opinion.

          • Such a fascinating discussion and something that we in our blogging fraternity are constantly discussing right now. Lately, I have started feeling skeptical using the word *blogger* because of the obvious connotations that it comes with – oh she is obviously looking for freebies! I completely agree to Regula, some bloggers are tarnishing the image of the entire blogging community. It’s a shame as some of us pour ourselves into our own blogs.

          • You know, I don’t think there are very many food bloggers like this. Most are still doing it as a form of self-expression and enjoyment. And there are lots of very successful bloggers who are making a good living. So keep doing what you’re doing, Ishita, and forget about them!

  2. Dianne, a very interesting read! Thank you for putting it in perspective for us: -)

  3. I wouldn’t want bloggers to think all is lost making a living this way! It’s not. You can make a good income on the net with the advertising model. Last year we bought a house a block from one of the nicest beaches on the east coast 100% from advertising revenue on our site. While the environment has certainly changed, all is definitely not lost.

    I’ve harped on this issue before and gotten my head bitten off for it, but I will say it again anyway. You CAN make good money with the free content advertising model. WE STILL DO! The problem as I see it is that almost nobody in the blogosphere considers what they do a business. I’ve heard the terms hobby, online resume, a way to meet people etc. but never a business. If people would look at their blogs as a business they would do things very differently.

    While there are a long list of things to do differently the first one would be not to listen to people that have never actually made a business of this themselves. The problem is the industry conferences never seem to feature people that make money this way, only people with credentials of some sort. Or have been successful with older models. My favorite recently was a seminar at a major blogging conference about how to be successful on YouTube. That person only had a dozen subscribers on her channel, but major credentials.

    Sure CPMs have dropped. But there are ways to compensate for that go far beyond signing with a single ad network. Making this a business is hard work, and it isn’t fun. In our case we have our fun at the end of the day when we grab a bottle of wine and drink it on the beach.

    • Rick, I’m curious about something. Does your revenue from Youtube make up a significant portion of your income or is it negligible? I’ve made a couple of videos on Vimeo and I’m thinking about moving to Youtube.

      • YouTube makes up a major portion of our revenue but not the majority yet. Since it is growing rapidly I expect it to overtake the website revenue at some point soon. This is because CPMs are MUCH higher on YouTube.

        I would switch to YouTube immediately and embed your videos on your blog. That will get you immediate views on YouTube. YouTube will then start to see those views and begin featuring them as a recommended videos, growing views on your channel. That’s how we started on YouTube and now embeds make up a small portion of the views and resulted in a whole new side of the business on our YouTube channel. Then your channel drives traffic back to your blog to get the recipe. A major win win!

        I’m not sure why many people have an aversion to YouTube. It’s not just cat videos anymore. All the big names are there and not only that is it a great way to make money, and they provide a great platform to grow an audience worldwide.

        • I have an aversion to YouTube! I don’t like watching myself. And I don’t want to be a talking head. At least food bloggers can show themselves cooking.

          • I don’t have an aversion to making videos. The problem is that either you need to be very proficient at editing and shooting a video yourself, or hire someone to do it. I spent about 5 hours trying to make 2 cuts in a very short video I shot on my iPhone and ended up giving up in frustration. I can’t imagine what it takes to do an entire video.

            I also think that readers (and viewers) have certain expectations when it comes to quality and while it’s not that hard to set up a camera and demo a recipe, doing it nicely is another thing. I worked with someone who was great and did a few videos for my site, but he did them at a special price and now he’s on to other things. I did the videos for fun for my blog. But if wanted to continue, it would cost a lot more money to continue to do them with someone else. And because I’ve made so little with AdSense on my blog, I’m not sure it’d be that much more on YouTube (enough to cover the time and expenses of making a video) to make it worth my while. Although I would like to do more for fun…

    • Thanks for the response. I think I’m trying to get past the “it has to be perfect” mentality before I post to Youtube. People can be somewhat rude in the comments but I guess that’s part of it.

      • LOL yes you have to have a thick skin on YouTube. But most people are full of it and don’t know what they are talking about. Also YouTube’s new commenting tool allows you to easily remove or answer comments on all your videos on a single commenting page. If you don’t like something, just delete it. Just go for it. There is a lot of hacks on YouTube, you will still be better than 99% of the channels out there.

    • Rick, I will not bite your head off for it. Any time you want to write a guest post about treating your food blog as a business, I would be thrilled to run it!

      The thing about food blogging conferences is that most are about taking money from sponsors so the sponsors can have access to bloggers. That’s how they can charge a low price for attendees, and that’s why the conferences include positive sessions on “working with brands,” often for very little money. I haven’t seen much about YouTube at these conferences.

      • I wouldn’t mind doing a guest post but the last time I did that about this subject after being invited by the IACP a firestorm resulted from authors and publishers that have a vest interest in maintaining the paid model like it was in 1988. It took almost a year for the dust to settle and to this day we won’t renew our membership. Stephanie had to endure a smear campaign and I don’t want her to have to go through that again. She’s too busy with videos and has said she doesn’t want me doing that again. I just want bloggers to know it still can be done and I have made my point.

        • As you know, I’ve been trying to get you to write a guest post for years! One about “thinking about your blog as a business” will not generate much excitement, unless you’re making inflammatory statements. And if anyone tries to smear you in the comments, that’s what the “delete” button is for.

          • Actually this is the first time you’ve asked me to guest post. My concern is not on your blog because I know you have a delete key. Last time the attacks came at us in other ways that we had no control over.

          • Well, I can’t control that. But I really am asking you to cover a tame subject.

  4. My mind is still not made up over this whole saga – although it was a truly interesting read and thanks for sharing the links to all the chapters Dianne. I used to subscribe to Manger, the photography is beautiful, but in the end I felt too uncomfortable after reading it – that it was indeed portraying her life with too much gloss and patina, too staged for my tastes. She is not alone in this and I’ve unsubscribed to other blogs because of this – and their flow of gushing comments. Mimis defense that the look of the book shouldn’t matter is preposterous. However, her book is not more staged than its rival as mentioned in the follow up articles. Mulling over the sexism claim still…

    • The same could be said for Pioneer Woman. She sells a lifestyle, too. Follow design blogs. They do it as well. Travel blogs, fashion blogs. They are all out there for us to choose where our own interests lie, and that is all.

    • Absolutely, there is this tendency to show life and cooking as perfect, and it gets old after a while. The Fancy Desserts book shows something different, a fantasy that you too (if you’re a guy) can be cool punker musician chef in New York.

  5. Yes, very interesting news. As one who’s never even come close to making money from my blog, it always amazes me when people get to the point where they’re not only making money but actually earning a living.

    Blogging seems to be going the way of all other writing—you get good at what you do and work hard at it, only to end up doing it for free (or almost free) because no one wants to pay you for it. Writers get no respect, it seems, in any genre or format. That makes me sad.

    • Making a living this way has definitely been a well kept secret. We’ve made a VERY good living doing it for a decade now and it has allowed us to move to the beach and pay for 2 sons college up to their masters degrees. I’ve wanted to help others learn about it, but whenever I have raised the issue we’ve been attacked with untruths about us. I think it’s to stop us from trying to get the word out probably from people that feel content should be paid for in some fashion. It’s because we don’t have a book and never charge is the problem in my opinion. I frankly think many bloggers could have made good livings doing it but nobody wants to talk about it because there are vested interests that don’t like the idea. So now that I’ve said it again I’m waiting for the attacks to come our way again!

    • Writers are artists, primarily, and most artists are broke. Some writers are excellent entrepreneurs, others are hacks, and there are people in the middle and shades of gray. Everyone can choose where they want to be.

  6. I wrote this over at Food 52. “I hate being entertained by “snarky.” He must be having personal career problems because my motto is Love What You Do and You’ll Love Who You Are. When you Love you who you are, you’re kinder to others, especially in your own field! ” Pinterest and Instagram would be huge failures if pretty was something we weren’t looking for. Why is it okay for him to show off all his life and food that most people are not eating or living and that’s not pretentious. I’m so over people tearing people down that do pretty things or nice things in an ear when others are literally chopping people’s heads off. Maybe this snarky tone is just another beheading but its legal. Sure it gets all the social media attention and people laugh, but you’re laughing at someone you don’t know because they are beautiful. Does that mean she didn’t work as hard as the the person that writes in ketchup?

    As far as ad dollars, mine have decreased with one company, but increased with another. You have to know how to manage your ads or find someone to do that for you. EVERYONE has to figure out how to make money. Sponsored ads can be done within your brand or tacky. That’s where the talent comes in. I choose not to put other blogs down, because I have an unsubscribe button.

    As far as whining about not making money on a ten year blog, we all have to reinvent ourselves. I actually subscribe to his blog, but I only actually get it in my inbox every few months. Not sure if that’s his tech problem or he hasn’t been writing, but now after seeing this cookbook review, I’m no longer interested. Why?
    Because I’m human and I have to guard my own heart from being jealous or snarky or taking someone in my field down. I don’t want to be the person who gets 15 minutes of fame because I mocked someone else and got a laugh.

    • Regarding snarky, that is just one of Adam’s voices. He’s also funny, touching, clever and a whole range of other adjectives. There are plenty of blogs that are not just about being snarky or beautiful, because both are extremes and therefore boring.

      • I can appreciate comic spoofs ala SNL or Joan Rivers. He’s a food blogger, not a writer for Saturday Night Live. If Food 52 wanted something along the lines of the Fashion Police but for cookbooks, then I’m even further disappointed. But, I live in Nashville. We have a certain way of looking out for each other in the food community.

  7. Wow! I’m honestly not surprised, since it seems lamentations of ad networks dominate all my conversations with other food bloggers these days. The issue is.. what happened? Are there simply so many that bids are so much lower? Ad networks don’t feel they need to offer as much anymore, because of volume?

    I’m a bit disappointed, because I used to follow Adam’s back when I very first started writing during law school, and I cherished an email back from Adam discussing his legal past as well! I always revered him as a constant in the world. But, I must admit, his blog isn’t quite as modern as it probably needs to be – take Lindsay & Bjork for example. They have certainly adapted what they offer and their skills to make a pretty righteous income. Granted, they are by far and away the exceptions, but gorgeous photography and recipe/lifestyle posts seem to be what everyone is after these days.

    Who knows what they’ll be after next year?

    • I don’t know why CPM rates are down. They started off much lower than print advertising, and it was downhill from there. Here is a link to read on the subject:
      http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2354801/why-are-cpm-rates-for-ads-falling

      Adam is entitled to write his blog however he wants,and that is what he has been doing — and getting lots of readers and applause for his approach. So are Lindsay and Bjork entitled to their approach on Pinch of Yum. To each their own. The whole point of a blog is getting to do what you want. But if you want lots of readers — that’s a different story.

  8. This is so timely Diane as I was recently approached by one of the largest health websites to pitch health-oriented lifestyle articles to online outlets and imbed one of their links. They would pay me if the article ran with the link. I was told it was up to me to be transparent, which to me read worse than sponsored content, but maybe I’m wrong. The idea just doesn’t sit right with me. As long as I am still able to generate assignments, upholding the ethics of journalism, I don’t see how I can cross that line. As far as book reviews, I am an editorial judge for a national book publisher and we are anonymous, which makes the task of analyzing and ultimately criticizing a title a little less daunting. Do unto others…I always put myself in their shoes regarding reviews. How would I feel if I read something about me, my work, and my passion? If it stings, and isn’t constructive, then don’t do it.

    • Wow, they want you to PR For them without telling the online outlet. Like the outlet couldn’t tell if there was a link. And there goes your reputation. Which you’ve figured out, of course, Sophia.

      I do like the “do unto others” motto, but it can make us into milquetoasts sometimes, I fear. I figure with The Piglet, you’ve got to have opinions that might hurt the feelings of an author.

    • Embedding links is a whole other ball game. Google will penalise you and your own blog could suffer. It’s important that we all take a stand against people trying to buy ‘follow’ links.

      • Sorry to be so dumb, Sally, but does Google differentiate as to what kind of links they are? I like to provide lots of links in my posts to increase their value — and so I can write less.

  9. Dianne! Between developing recipes, reading, and learning to play better guitar, I can be oblivious to the online food world! And I spend a decent amount of time online! What a diversion, and so much to think about in this post. Thanks.

    I think Helen Rosner nailed it, although I disagree that the food universe is “tiny.” “Incestuous?” Yes. She got the “false and stagey” part right, too. Of course everyone is trying to do their best in this bloated, media-rich, online community. Some like fluff, others like rock n roll. Who doesn’t like a little controversy? Advertiser’s sure do.

    Without having monetizing my blogs, although I do an occasional sponsored post when I believe in a product, (will that be considered pretentious?), I’m always curious about how bloggers make money without going into full “shill-mode.” And I’m especially compelled to read about a blogger who makes a living and no longer can (in his words).

    Roberts makes a good point here in your interview: “The problem is that it’s not a sustainable model because, at some point, you’re going to have to pay the rent, and then some product you don’t really like as much is going to offer to pay you and you’ll have to say “yes” to make ends meet. That’s when you become a shill and that’s what I didn’t want to become.”

    Do I think his remarks were sexist? Yes. I am a woman and have experienced gender inequality, as have most women I know. Will a man feel the same way reading his remarks? I don’t know. Some will, some won’t.

    There is a pervasive gender inequality in our world (not just the food world). Some underlying, some sitting on the surface. Maybe Roberts doesn’t think he was being sexist, but maybe he is wearing blinders. Clearly he is ready to move on. What better jumping point than a media controversy to send him off to his new career choice?

    As we watch and participate in the ups and downs of blogging as an industry, we’ll see more of these types of online situations where opinion, whether good or bad, is fodder for attention, hype, and social issues, specifically sexism. Better to talk about it than pretend it isn’t there. Thanks again.

    • Hi Maureen, yes, reading all these links and figuring out what you think about them can be a time sink!

      Sexism is everywhere, including very subtle forms of it, and including in our community, which is not “tiny.” Okay, it’s small.

  10. There comes a point when the sheer number of food blogs, cookbooks, etc. starts to dilute income for almost everyone. Everybody thinks they’re a restaurant critic or a food writer or a recipe developer. And the market also is a factor. Teaching cooking classes, for example, is no longer as lucrative as it once was–costs have gone up while the pay stays the same. Opportunities for paid food writing have waned as magazines shrink. The bottom line is that nobody is going to give you a gold watch for longevity in a food career these days. You constantly have to reinvent your business, your life, yourself. I think the best advice is to do what you’re passionate about, do it well, keep learning, hope for the best, open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities, and don’t be afraid of change–or slashes. From a high school English teacher/college instructor/freelance writer/cookbook author/culinary instructor/recipe developer/culinary spokesperson/debut novelist.

    • I’ve seen these comments recently and I simply don’t know what to think of them. I’m not sure that blogging isn’t “over.” I say that and want to take it back. It’s not that I think that there won’t be food blogs. I can name half a dozen right now that I follow and adore, almost all as a silent stalker. But I also think that there was an honesty and authenticity about food blogging that has gotten turned on its head. Most people can smell the profit motive–and wince. Most people can tell that you’re replying to me on twitter or wherever as a way to make money. Passion and money are OF COURSE connected. But there are ways in which the raw economics seems to taint or subvert the passion. Not sure here–sort of writing my way out of these thought. But I can tell you this: in dozens of meetings for new book contracts in the last two years–for now five books contracted from us in two years–Bruce and I have not once been asked how many twitter followers we have, what the page views of our blog is like, and what our Facebook presence foretells. That’s a distinct change from two years ago. In fact, I was in a meeting with a publisher not too many months ago in which I brought up something about using twitter as a marketing tool for the book and got the reply: “Twitter is dead. We’re interested in the quality of your idea.” Again, I don’t want to prognosticate. I just want to say that the direction seems suddenly to be back to something more “artistic” in book production, less “organic” from a platform. (And no, I barely can make sense of those words as I type them.)

    • Judith, I’m with you. I am also a queen of reinvention. I wrote a post about it here: http://diannej.com/2012/in-love-with-reinvention/
      and another one about all the jobs food writers do:http://diannej.com/2010/all-the-other-jobs-we-do/

  11. Loved the eater post.

  12. I just interviewed several restaurant entrepreneurs who are very successful. The key to their success: Constantly reinventing their brand, while staying true to their food culture value system. Also, listening to their customers and never looking back, but embracing what the future brings. They all discussed finances, and how important their success relied on keeping the bottom line in mind. But these are all men.

    The true sexism lies in blogging itself. Most bloggers are women. We expect them to live off of their husbands and promote big companies or develop recipes and provide professional level photography for FREE. Men would never do that. Women are part of the sexism, because they get too giddy over free product, not counting the hours they put into a post for a $39 freebie.

    I have had numerous opportunities presented to me because of the blog, from paid magazine articles to developing recipes for brands. It’s not accurate to clump “blogging” under one category of blogging. Blogging is often a jumping off platform and should have an organic business plan.

    The real sexism is that women are expected to blog for free, living off of their husband’s income. I have been accused of being in it for the money and I do two giveaways a year! I refuse more freebies than I accept and I won’t develop a recipe for under $300. The time, skill, craft, that it takes for me to develop a recipe for a brand really takes about $600 of my time, because I test and retest. If blogging were a man’s world, the men would demand more money and they would get it and be seen as savvy.

    I notice that when folks get tired of blogging, that’s the time they most become critical and look backwards, saying things like “the glory days of blogging are over.” Maybe that’s true for them, but it’s a big fast changing world. Change with it or whine. Those same restaurant entrepreneurs (worth by the way millions of dollars) also had this in common. Don’t look backwards, don’t rest on your laurels, embrace the future.

    And, not one of them criticized another restaurant owner!

    • I like what you say about not looking backwards. I just read an interview with a famous celebrity and he said he has no interest in it– that is the secret of his success.

      It is also a stereotype to suggest that “all” women bloggers are living off their husbands and blogging for free. That’s not true by a long shot. Some of the most successful women bloggers I know have brought their husbands into their business to help them.

  13. I started a blog because I love to cook and frankly my kids encouraged it. I love writing and I like telling stories. I’m not a professional by any means but I’m learning to write and I’m learning about photography. I have joined several sites that encourage the growth of the food blogger. Now as far as the Amateur Gourmet goes, I had signed up for his updates over a year ago. I think I’ve gotten two posts. Could it be that he is busy doing something else and not keeping up his food blog? I don’t have a lot of readers but I appreciate each and every one of them They are inviting me into their home and I don’t want to take them for granted. I have thought about an e-book or even a pamphlet to give to my readers to show my appreciation. I remember one successful blogger advised me — think of what you can do for your reader and then the rest will follow. I thought it was excellent advice.

    • Yep, I always say that too: if you want to write for yourself, keep a journal. If you want readers, you have to write for them and you.

      Re not getting Roberts’ posts, I don’t know what to say about that, other than something is wrong. I’ve signed up for a friend’s blog several times and never got a post. We haven’t figure it out yet.

  14. Hi Diane, Very interesting post. I’m not sure it’s possible for new comers like me now. Ancillary products may be the only way.

  15. Ancillary products are a great idea, because you are in control of them and you are not shilling for anyone but yourself.

  16. Re: the last part, sometimes I wonder if people think drama will keep them alive forever. Otherwise I just can’t understand why folks sink so much energy into it.

    • Drama is so much fun! Especially when people are saying what they really feel. And some of the discussion brings up subjects that are rarely discussed in food writing and need to be: sexism, race and class. I applaud that.

  17. […] recently read this article where the blogger was getting flack for saying he was going to do sponsored posts because his ad […]

  18. My $.02: I checked out Thorissen’s cookbook from the library; decorative, beautifully photographed, but ultimately not the sort of book I’d ever buy. Ditto for Malin Elmlid’s The Bread Exchange; lovely enough to leaf through, but only superficially interesting. Both books were “light” in terms of information. As a female, I had the same reaction to both authors: Sisters, if either of you were ordinary looking, those manuscripts would have ended up in the slush pile. We can yakk about sexism ’til the world ends, but beauty is certainly a powerful, unearned privilege.

    • Hah! I’m sure she has worked hard to get to this place in life. For the beautiful, maintaining that beauty must take a few hours a day. See, look at all the time we saved.

  19. […] Amateur Gourmet Shocks Fans with an Announcement […]

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