Having downloaded the short course I mentioned previously (from Simple.ology) I worked my way through it and came out the other end, loaded with information and things to think about. The course told me lots of things I already knew, but also explained some terms and aspects of blogging that I didn't. So it was fairly useful. Am I going to act on what I read? Probably not. For the reasons I gave in my last post - I'm not comfortable having ads on my blog that I don't have any control over (see Kristi's comment under that post as a good example of what can happen).
I did consider becoming an Amazon affiliate, but again, they supply the ads and the format, and what I saw looked like it just wouldn't suit how I want my blog to appear. What was more interesting was the link to copyblogger, and the articles I read there. Everyone has a different perspective on this stuff - some people vow they are making lots of money, others say the ad game is too controlled by Google and the other big companies and very few bloggers are wealthy from it.
The question is - what am I supposed to be selling? My answer? I guess I'm hoping if you like my blog, you'll buy my books. But seeing as how most of them are kid's books, you'd need to either have kids or be one! Kind of reduces my customer base a little. And besides, my website does a better job of that than my blog does. As I said before, I just like the idea of writing something that other people enjoy reading, and maybe get something out of it (if they're writers and readers). It seems like I'm not destined to be the next Donald Trump. Just as well. I don't have hair that's booffy enough.
At the moment, I'm working hard on finishing off an online course on how to write picture books. It's due to start on 18 February, and it's for the TAFE where I work (Professional Writing & Editing course). I've been working on this for two years now, and some funding last year enabled me to write most of the content. Some of the material has been adapted from course materials I use in Hong Kong, but as I go along, I keep adding more and more. For instance, last week I interviewed Diana Lawrenson about her nonfiction picture books. That interview will be added as a link in the unit, and I have lots of other great links to articles as well.
The great advantage of doing it all online is the wealth of material that is now available on the net. Students can have access to information at the click of a mouse. Still, there's nothing like going to the library or bookshop and looking at all of the wonderful picture books that are around. So students need to do that as well. More and more people are choosing to study online these days - even some of our students prefer to study at home at times that suit them rather than come to the campus. I studied most of my arts degree by distance learning (before the internet so it was study guides and late night reading and thinking). At the time, it was a fantastic option, and I was motivated to keep going because I really wanted to learn, mostly about writing and literature. I'm still learning, and I still love it.