Posted by: Dan | June 27, 2007

Turning Science Blogging into Science Writing, and Getting Paid for it

Recently, I’ve begun talking about my blogging more and more with my colleagues and coworkers here at Cornell. Those who have stopped by and read my blog have been quite vocal in their compliments. It’s been a real “pat on the back.” One member of my research group goes so far as to say that he never would have guessed, just looking at me, that I had such diverse intellectual interests, or that I enjoyed discussion of science so much. And it’s true, I’m rather reserved most of the time with others in the lab, perhaps even shy about others’ reactions to my opinions. The personal compliments I’ve received on my blogging have been encouraging me to consider extending my efforts.

It is rather significant that I post so regularly, and apparently write well enough, without ever having asked for a dime. Another colleague suggested that maybe that is what I should be doing, if I enjoyed it so much, even if only as something “on the side.”

The trouble is, I don’t quite know how one might go about turning science blogging into a profitable writing experience. Bora is the only one that I know to have done this, with publishing The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006. Other science writers, such as Carl Zimmer, Chris Mooney, and others, were writers first and then blogged, so that’s not of much help.

One possibility is to just write. Essays, commentaries, reporting of published results. Well, I do that a bit already. I could develop my wit and humor, I could write longer and more comprehensive posts, and I could begin to weave them into a publishable series or anthology. Or maybe I could create a column, or get some press credentials for the AAAS, National Academies of Science, National Audubon Society, or the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

I don’t know, but if you have any advice, I’m listening.


Responses

  1. I’ve been thinking along similar lines, to be honest, Dan. Maybe we should start a partnership.

  2. Not sure how to make money with the blog but I agree with everyone that you should explore more writing possibilities! Hmm, Maybe I should try talking you into writing my blog for me! LOL Keep up the great work!

  3. If you are talking about getting paid blogging through advertising and such, you need a fairly large and consistent readership. Around 50-60,000 per month at least probably more.

    Freelancing is an entirely different ballgame. I do writing for several companies on the web. (Of course it’s nothing like my blog).

    http://Lifetips.com, which provides specific content for websites. They also have a “tip” book publishing program, and article writing program.

    There are also two other companies I’m looking into http://elance.com and http://guru.com.

    If you have questions about lifetips.com send me an email, I think you have my address, or send me a message through our “Viewer Mail” link at Jones Town.

    I just finished my first project with them writing 20 “tips” for a website that deals with alternative energy, and I was paid $160 for about 8 hours of work. The more you write for them the more you get paid and the more your name gets around. Some of the projects pay in the $1000’s.

  4. Freelancing is indeed the sort of thing that I was implying, and I was pretty limited in what options I was aware of for that. I think ultimately, that I’d like to find ways to make myself marketable as a writer to science and nature-oriented magazines. Or at least give it a try.

    Fairlane, you’re suggestions are extremely helpful, and I’ll be following up on those at my earliest convenience.

  5. i think you should definately do it. not sure how, but don’t let that stop you. or you could just write an entire book.

  6. Thanks Lori! Writing a book might be fun one day, true. Baby steps though…

  7. There are also companies that allow you to self-publish books.
    http://lulu.com is a great place to start.

    I’m actually considering them for a book I’m writing.

  8. This is off topic, but our friend Blue Gal and several other blogs are holding their annual “Blogswarm Against Theocracy” from July 1-4. The link below will give you more info on how to submit posts etc if you are interested.

    http://blogagainsttheocracy.blogspot.com/

  9. Follow-up on some places to start, that I’ve uncovered:

    New to science writing? (National Association of Science Writers)
    So you want to be a science writer? (Association of British Science Writers)


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