• Cheryl Therrien

    You and I have had this conversation. We are both in the same position. You know my thoughts and you know that I will support whatever decisions you make my friend. 🙂

  • So I am guessing your wine posts are high traffic because a lot of people are doing searches for wine. So unless you are getting paid as a wine affiliate, I’m not sure how this will help you out. I can tell that you love telling stories and related to people, but I don’t know how to make that into a business model. I don’t the answers, but it seems that the questions are two: 1) what is satisfying and 2) what is profitable. Maybe you need to find the intersection of those. Or maybe just concentrate on 1) and find profitability elsewhere.

  • Susan — It seems you’ve reached a crossroads. I love your recipes and comment on them and save them. But I have a question: does the world need another cookbook? I have favorite recipes in an envelope that I use, but most of the time if I’m looking for a new recipe I’ll do an internet search and my friends have told me they do, too. I was excited to see that for so much less work your iDraw posts are pulling as well as your wine posts. We know now that images boost traffic. And your traffic shows there is great interest in figuring out how to “do it myself.” Without having all the facts, it seems that video drawing tutorials hold great promise. You could start a YouTube series as well as selling a print version. You could also promote the courses in speaking engagements and on Pinterest. Call me if you want to brainstorm. My PR and marketing hats are starting to kick in!

  • Margaret Duarte

    Let’s meet for coffee. I know, I say this often, but let’s set a date. I’m working on a community-type project where authors (yes, you are most definitely an author) team up with other authors/bloggers/marketers to reach out to our niche audience. We’re still in the brainstorming stage, but so far our idea shows promise. Internet radio/Podcasts (one of our core members, an ex radio guy, has his own sound studio), workshops (developing your brand, SEO maximization, etc.). It’s all about connection and sharing the load, with each member offering their unique expertise. You just don’t have to do it all alone!

  • Whenever I get stuck Susan, I relook my values. WHAT do I value most? Which direction do I choose to help me continue to benefit from living my values?

    It also depends on your intention. You said, “It’s abundantly clear that I need to produce a product.” If you choose what it seems you are leaning toward – interactive drawing product – does THAT choice let you live your values?

    Good thoughts your way for clarity on what next.

  • It’s a tough call Susan, and I’m horrified to hear you were even thinking of giving up!! I love your recipes, but as Jeanette says I don’t use cook books any more – I also just look things up on line. I think she has the perfect idea about the vector drawings. I’m sure there would be a way to monetize the wine, either through affiliation, or getting someone to fulfill your wine selections – kind of like print on demand only with wine. And for the stories, they are probably the most time consuming, and perhaps time to let them go. I think people comment on them most because there is more to say, not nec. because that’s the part of the blog they enjoy the most. Well, your numbers bear that out. Certainly posting less would give you time to consolidate. But you also have to consider what you personally enjoy and whether it’s all about the money. Do feel free to give me a call anytime and we can talk:-)

  • Jacqueline Gum

    I guess my contribution would be to say “Don’t give up.” Sometimes there is a dip (or you feel stuck) and unfortunately, lots of people quit during that time. Selfishly, I don’t want you to do that. I guess I would have to echo the sentiments of your other commenters and urge you to assess the value and the satisfaction that each of these topics bring to you. Cookbooks are still big! I gave always wanted you to do a book that combined the ideal wine with a recipe. I have one from years ago that is still my very favorite. But mostly, I just want you to be happy.

  • Hi Susan: I’m going thru a similar situation, in that after 6 years of blogging, and now having three streams (the writer’s lifestyle blog, the (chocolate) travel blog, and the Chocolatour site for books and events), I realize that it’s time to combine all 3 streams into one to reduce the number of posts I need to do, and to give people the chance to find what they are interested. The big thing I’ve learned thru all this, is that my chocolate book isn’t going to sell millions of copies. But the experience I’ve gained three my research is what’s valuable to people, and has now created opportunities to do events as a source of income. So for yourself, I’d say … don’t try and work on producing more than one ‘product’ at a time, as you will find yourself being pulled in too many directions. Perhaps you can offer your drawing course in conjunction with an Online Learning Academy of some kind, so that you don’t have to do the marketing of it. That will free up lots of your time and let you stay focused. Good luck with your conundrum!

  • Pat Ruppel

    Hey Susan — sorry I’ve been off the grid for awhile but in my popping in and out I saw this and wanted to share a thought that came to mind. I agree there is much you could teach and there’s always a lot to learn, but I guess what I would ask you, apart from stats and best course of action, is what makes you the happiest and most fulfilled in your heart. Hugs and love — I know it will all be great in whatever you decide to do next. 🙂

  • I think by blogging up a storm these past few years you have realized it’s not sustainable at the current pace and focus. I can see the potential for two separate blogs. On the one hand, you could post once a week and alternate between a recipe and a wine post (this is if you feel you love doing the wine and food posts equally). Or post a recipe a week and pair it with a featured wine. The focus of a second blog could be a weekly tutorial on how to make various iDraw images. You could either include brief anecdotes about where the image inspiration came from, or do three tutorials a month that would culminate with a story that features those images. Focusing on food, wine, images, and stories in one blog is just too broad of a focus. Two blogs that each put out one post a week would keep you to two posts a week. Or you could just go with the one your heart feels strongest about. Your Susan P Cooper URL would be great for the iDraw images and stories. If you keep the food and wine, it could stay at this URL. So many choices!!! Just remember we can’t do everything 🙂 Focus and refine and you will do fine.

  • Oh, Susan, can I relate to your dilemma & questions! Yet, what stands out most to me is, you said it yourself: You’re a teacher. What makes you so fabulous, though, is your abilty to teach so flawlessly, naturally. You don’t come across like, “I’m a teacher! I know! Listen to me!” you just speak so teaching-ly (I know, thats not a word) that you go away thinking, “Susan just taught me something”. My point? Combine your natural teaching abilities with this fabulous outlet called this blog. Perhaps offer an on-line course that you can educate people how to write & draw. You have such an abundance of knowledge. I, for one, would take a writing course on wine taught by you 😉 Just my 2 cents!

  • I enjoy reading all your posts, but appreciate how demanding your posting schedule must be and can certainly see cutting back a little. I’m not sure I have any advice or suggestions to add. As Jeri has said, focus on what your heart feels strongest about. Someone else has suggested pairing wine with recipes, which might be an interesting angle. Perhaps there is some opportunity to work with local wineries here? Good luck with your conundrum. I have faith you’ll figure it out.

  • Michele Harvey

    Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of energy What I mean is, which of the four categories do you enjoy the most? I believe in focusing on joy as opposed to dollars, because if you truly enjoy what you are doing, then it is clearly part of your true purpose, and what you are meant to share with others. Just pick one. If you flip a coin, you will know quickly which category you enjoy the most, because if that category is not the one that comes up as heads, you will feel disappointment. I wish you the best with your decision.

  • Well you know I enjoy your post well most of them you know what ones I like and what ones I pass on. Many others will have these type of problems so you are not alone

  • HI Susan, I like others can understand where you are at. I have a couple of suggestions or ideas and instead of writing a long comment, I will email you. Being at a cross road is actually a great opportunity. Take care.

  • Beth – http://EncoreWomen.com

    Susan, I think it comes down to what will make you feel fulfilled. If doing what you love most provides the satisfaction that you want, go for it. If making a profit is the most important part, that may make the decision for you. I am interested in all the possibilities you have described and will enjoy whichever of them you decide on. Not very helpful, I know, but you have to make the choice yourself.

  • Susan, I speak from experience when I say your way of teaching is superior. You make tough subjects look easy. So I would say choose the one topic of the four that you enjoy doing most and that gives you the most satisfaction. Then find some way to teach it to others in a way that doesn’t require immense amount of work but still can be profitable. And of course, I wish you all the best while you sort things out – just one thing, don’t give up, we would miss you to much.

  • This is a tough question that we’ve all asked, or will be asking, at some point. I say go with the numbers, maybe concentrate on the wine, with the food as a secondary. (They seem to go together well.) And make your cookbook as a product to drive those two things. You can always throw in stories along the way as an aside. My stories/musings don’t get a lot of traffic, but I write them more for myself anyway. But as a writer, you always want to share with others. I think you can do that, but don’t expect much from them in the way of ROI, other than personally. I think if you specialize in wine/food now, then down the road you could spend time on the drawing tutorials if you have extra time. I know I’m going on a bit, but allow me one more piece of advice: “Don’t stop!” Scale back whatever you have to on the time and money investment, but don’t give up. You’ve blessed me incredibly and I’d hate to not have your blog to look forward to reading!

  • I was wondering if you’d come to the fork in the road. I found myself there after 2 years of “serious blogging”. I had leased space at a host site and paid for a domain. I had taken a 6 month course on how to get blogging to work as a business. I didn’t have any hands-on-help though. I chucked the entire idea when I ran into huge problems getting plugins to work correctly because of the updating of the WordPress program. I was so stressed out, I was finding myself not sleeping and crying. If you don’t have a product to sell, you will fail. I’m sorry but it’s that simple. I had a few small ebooks I put together to sell but no one was interested enough to buy any of them. With your wine posts, I suggest getting in touch with wine companies that you buy your own wine from and offer ad space on your blog for a fee. Then when you write your wine posts, be sure to mention the company of that particular type of wine you’re talking about in your post. With the drawing — offer collections of copies in compressed folders that are in the form of either jpg or gif and sell at a price. The stories and recipes — do them to keep your traffic up. Oh… the story posts you can put a plug in for the collections at the first or last of your articles.

  • Hi Susan

    Your situation shows that you in cross road. This is part of growing.

    I agree that you can turn what you love into a profitable business.

    Don’t give up. I do enjoy your posts. I believe you will figure it out

  • Hi Susan,

    Oh boy, your conundrum is something that we all face as bloggers. Because you are such a great teacher, maybe it is time you create a product. It could be a digital one with several screen shares of how to’s.
    Seeing that your wine niche is doing so well, how about teaching how to serve certain foods (recipes?) with a specific wine? OR Flip the script and create a cook book and inject the wine that goes with it. These two can work together and you can teach people which wine goes with each meal.
    In the book you can have links to your wine niche and capitalize on it. Just thinking out loud,

    -Donna

  • I would suggest you have to decide why you blog. If you really want to treat it as a business you need to focus on one thing and drawing seems to be the one that allows you to assume a niche that isn’t as heavily exploited. I say that, of course, as the author of a blog that is all over the place and sometimes seems to have no rhyme or reason. But that’s because I’m primarily retired and blog because I want to.

  • Phoenicia

    I feel that if you are spending ample time blogging then you should reap from it. Only you know how far you would like to take your blogging.

    Food and drink will always be of interest to people. We can live without many things but food is not one of them! You should capitalise on this – an online recipe book with photographs of your tantalising dishes!

  • I would recommend finding the category you are most passionate about. Then poll your audience for more specifics. For instance, if you decide to do a cookbook, ask your audience what type of cookbook would they want to have in their homes. What types of information would be useful to them? Then take that information and put together more of an outline. Then go back to your audience and see if there is something that you left out that they are really passionate about. That way you don’t have to have the answer all at once. You can develop it with your followers support.

  • Tim

    I will try and help but to be honest I have so little experience in making a blog profitable. My take on the whole thing is write what you are passionate about but it’s easy for me to say because I am not trying to monetize it. Your posts have always been attention grabbing and I would hate to see you stop altogether. I do understand the cutting back as I have done the same thing. Life just gets in the way 🙂 I love your stories and I love your drawings so my option out of the four presented would be the tutorial however only if you are really into it. If you view it as a beast that is not going to be tamed then it will come across that way.

  • Marquita Herald

    There seems to be something in the air right now because you are surely not the only one considering change. A fellow personal development blogger recently announced to subscribers that he would be looking at ways to monetizing his newsletter. In his case the crossroads was brought about by a cancer diagnosis and the sudden realization that if he couldn’t park himself in his chair at work he would not be enjoying an income.

    As far as which direction you take from here, I would like to suggest that you do a bit of test marketing before making any sort of commitment to a new path. The thing about those stats is that just because someone reads your article or leaves a comment doesn’t mean they will automatically be converted into a buying customer. Also just polling your audience isn’t going to always work either because you are likeable and many people will say positive things because of that – and still not be willing to open their wallet. A friend of mine spent a small fortune converting her books into DVDs and MP3 format based on a subscriber survey and then didn’t sell a single product. As far as I’m concerned the #1 expert on this subject is Pat Flynn at The Smart Passive Income Blog – can’t hurt to see what he recommends and it might give you some ideas. Good luck!

  • Andleeb Akhlaq Tahir

    Hello Susan
    I think this is all about finding our way now. That is actually your blog. We experiment with things and over period of time, we know where to head. As we are never sure without experiment about the results.
    The world is changing, people are much more in technology. I think that your drawing tutorials will help many and will give you a go.
    I too hereby love your food recipes and your stories.
    If we are doing for free then no matter what. What clicks us we will go for that, no matter, if it click to others or not. But if we are keeping business in mind then for sure we have to go with the wave and try to do what people want from us.
    I hope that after sometime we will all be clear where to head. All the best to you and I can understand your story as I am in same shoes.

  • Jon Jefferson

    you’ve reached the dip. It’s a bit like a no man’s land of suckage. Everyone reaches the dip at some point. It can be easy to turn back, to find something else to do, but in the end you will always encounter the dip no matter what it is you are doing. The best thing you can do is fight on and make it past the dip. It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

  • To All Who Have Commented On This Post.

    As I weave my way through each comment and respond accordingly to your awesome offer of help, many great suggestions and observations, I want to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. The time you took to offered up your help, thoughts, and suggestions has touched me beyond measure.

  • Susan, I am so pleased that you have decided to carry on. All the best.

  • Pat Ruppel

    I agree, Susan, balance is important. I’m finding at this stage of my life the things I had always thought were important aren’t as important anymore. My mind collides with my heart and, though I don’t understand it, I find myself following more of the unknown impulses of my heart.

  • Pat Ruppel

    I’m happy to be there for you, Susan, as you are for me with both of us appearing to be in transition. Though scary and somewhat unnerving, at times, I’m excited for you and for me. Great things are about to happen than we ever imagined — I can feel it in my bones.

  • I hope I’m helping and not being a pain. Because you’ve let me as a reader, see your progress in this venture, I’m wishing with all my heart that your business succeeds with flags waving.