So a while ago, I wrote a little web based e-book called Autocross To Win (inspired by Carrol Smith's "To Win" series.
You can see it at http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets.html
I wrote it primarily because I wasted a shit-ton of money chasing my own tail and following "conventional wisdom" when it came to race car setup, and discovered a number of things that conventional wisdom got wrong.
It became more important to me just before I left for Afghanistan. I didn't want this information left locked inside my head where it would be lost if I got knocked on the head while in theatre. It seems silly I know, but I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't go for naught if I got killed.
Now I'm back - and I'm unemployed. I've been trying to go back to Afghanistan but there's no open slots and I'm having a lot of trouble prising one open. And it struck me that there's a lot of good info in ATW - enough that it probably makes a good book.
But I also do not regret the impulse that put it online for free. To pull it down so I could charge money for it... that seems dishonest. Information really does want to be free, even the information I wrote myself.
I put some ads on the site, but I'm not a high-exposure site. I'm deep, not broad, and I'm very highly specialized. The ads cover the bandwidth bill and little else.
So yesterday I figured I'd try a tactic that I've seen web cartoonists use - the PayPal "donate" button. I added one to the ATW base template. Small. Unobtrusive. No fanfare or hard sell. No promotion of this on any of the forums I use to announce site updates. Just added it quietly.
And 24 hours later, I have my first donation. Wow, I didn't think that would work.
I'm going to do up a little "thank you" certificate and email those out to donors.
Maybe this is how all content providers will get paid from now on...