Mucho Moola

Moola, moola, moola, moola
Everything is good, and everybody
’s your friend

Jordy Birch’s song (“The Moola Song”) popped in my head and I had to run with it.  Sorta.  <LOL>

The Boss was surprised (stunned, really) when I asked to write another “making money blogging” post.  She cast a skeptical eye, not because she doesn’t think I’m a decent poster or anything like that (I think), but because she never sees me volunteering for things outside my save-the-monk-seal and acting worlds.  . . . Got her good, didn’t I?  <ROTFL>

So, let’s continue with earning income through blogging.  Selling ads and/or becoming involved with Affiliate Marketing, as stated previously, are bona fide ways of earning income.  But what if you don’t want to sell or display ads to your viewers/followers?  That’s okay.  Some folks don’t particularly care for them and will totally ignore or avoid them.

You may want to try the sponsorship route—that is, getting sponsored blog posts through companies that pay you to represent their product, service, or share your experiences with their specific brands.  Sponsored blog posts usually incorporate one or more links to promote the product/service being reviewed and a brand story.

A brand story, by the way, is more than just a “story”, a tale you tell.  It’s a combination of facts, thoughts, analyses and/or explanations.  The intention: to inform your readers, to gain their trust, to make a sale.  You want it to serve as a basis to building your platform (in terms of yourself or the company you’re representing).

Give some thought to what you’re sponsoring/promoting.  Which products and services would you like to have on your blog?  Are they relevant to your blog?  Will the sponsored posts drive traffic?  If not, what do you need to do to make sure they do?

imagin1A sponsored blog post can be written as:

  • a straight-out review
  • an account of how a product or service changed or affected your life
  • a list of pros or awesome (“selling”) facts and features
  • a news-type article
  • a press release
  • a video or deck or presentation, or
  • whatever your imagination dreams up.

No matter which creative route you take for sponsored blog posts, make sure they’re sincere.  Don’t promote or offer something you don’t believe in.  Integrity is everything—you want to be remembered and in a positive way—so be totally truthful with your readers.

I did mention “moola”, so I’ll touch upon getting paid for sponsored posts.  Payment is between you and the sponsor.  Some will pay in cash, others in products or services.  How much effort and time, and extras (like photos, artwork, tutorials) are you going to put into it?  Assess and negotiate accordingly.  And do not sell yourself short.

A quick FYI: publishing sponsored posts requires meeting disclosure laws, so get to know them.

Where did the time go?  I was planning to provide at least one more method of earning money through blogging.  Ah well.  I’ll leave that for The Boss.  As a follow-up to this, though, I may suggest she post about brand stories or maybe getting paid to do reviews, which would also be a viable continuation . . . unless she’s ready to announce a Triple Threat Investigation Agency e-book contest giveaway (she’s been mulling that over and over).

Looking forward to sharing more findings soon, my friends.


Loving—uh—Making Money

It’s lovely l’il ol’ me again—Rey.  The Boss is off on one of those tangents and asked me to do the first post on making money through blogging.  Apparently, she’d promised to do two or three so a wee while ago.

I’m not into researching or shi-uh-stuff like that, so I told her to forget it.  But she reminded me I was a P.I. and P.I.s investigate; they find things.  Who could <bleeping> argue with that?


From what I’ve read, making mega bucks through a blog isn’t guaranteed.  It can happen, but you have to be dedicated, commit the time and make the effort.  Blog traffic is going to play a key part, too.

So let’s take a quick gander at a couple of common ways to bring in a few extra bucks (I’ll let The Boss cover others in the next post): Affiliate Marketing and Selling Ads / Google AdSense.

Affiliate marketing is said to be the easiest way of making money.  You get to promote a lot of different products.  Basically, you recommend a product (or service) to your viewers/followers with special tracking links.  You can also join affiliate programs through on-line products and services.  A seller gives you an affiliate code that you use to direct folks to the appropriate site.  In either scenario, you receive a referral fee whenever someone buys something after clicking your link or using that code.

You can also earn fees (commission) through different affiliate program payments.  Pay per sale is money earned when a purchase is completed.  Pay per click is money earned based on the number of people you send to a seller’s site.  And pay per lead is money earned when referred people provide contact info on the seller’s site.  Find out who has what.

What are some good things about affiliate marketing?  It’s cheap: no overhead or production costs to speak of.  The sky’s—er, the world’s—the limit: think “global opportunities”.  No costs; you don’t have to pay to join a program.  You don’t always have to be on-line, but make sure you have your ducks in a row.

As The Boss would say (drives me crazy, but who am I?), do your due diligence.  Get to know what’s out there.   Become skilled at promoting.  Check out Amazon, for example, to see which products you might like to sponsor/support.  Ask viewers and followers if they have an affiliate program you can sign up for.  Discover different affiliate marketing tools and apply them.  Lastly, and maybe most importantly, have a plan.

Perhaps you’re thinking that selling ads might be a bona-fide way of generating income.  It can be; just be aware that price negotiation and admin-related tasks, among other things, enter the equation.  Consider blog traffic and design/navigation, which will play crucial parts in determining how much money you’ll actually earn through ads.

money8Google AdSense is a Google product that lets you place targeted ads on your site with the objective of, yes, making money.  You get paid per click when someone clicks on, or looks at, the ad.  The advertiser will put ads on your blog, so you’re not out any cash.  You’ll also have to create an AdSense campaign, with ads relevant to your site.  Realize money earned can be inconsistent, because every ad click brings in a different amount.  You’ll also have to be approved; so, again, make sure you have those ducks in a row.  Review Google Adsense’s site to see what’s required (uh-huh, that due diligence again).

There’s also the option of selling (“renting”) banner ad space on your blog, which offers some earning wiggle room.  To be successful at this, though, your blog’s traffic has to have wide reach; if it doesn’t, advertisers aren’t going to be overly keen on placing ads on your site.

Look at blogs similar to yours to see what they’re up to.  Maybe they’ll inspire you.  Consult fellow bloggers; they may be willing to share thoughts and processes.

Whatever hat I’m wearing (private eye or actress), I always try to do—and give—my best.  As a blogger, you should too.  If you’re going to become involved in affiliate marketing and/or selling ads, make sure it reflects your blog and you.  That, my friends, is called integrity.



Confessions of a Quasi-Novice Blogger

I confess!  I know not how to respond to a Google reply/notification!  I have trouble replying to a Facebook message!  I struggle (still) to figure out Instagram!  <LMAO>

Is it an age thang?  Or a simple lack of knowledge?  Maybe a bit of both.  I love technology, though I [often] curse it.  Social media I totally get and attempt to pursue as regularly as limited time will allow, but—another admission—some sites/applications [to me] are as nebulous as clouds of dust.

I should probably find a social media expert who works [super] cheap, someone who can explain it in layman’s—er, layperson’s—terms so it’s understandable and doable.

Another bit of a digression today.  When ideas/thoughts pop into the ol’ noggin, you sometimes yearn to share them—maybe because, when you let others in on what you’re thinking or experiencing, the process provides a bit of that warm and fuzzy feeling (and that’s kind of ni-ice).

Blogging: what an awesome platform.  It enables us to open up, confess, entertain, instruct . . . sell . . . meet and greet.  We can reveal dreams, worries, and inexperience/naiveté.  We can expose ourselves to the world, something many of us may never previously have considered, much less done.  In essence, we’re able to wear our hearts on our sleeves (and that’s kind of ni-ice, too). blogsun1

Departures from the norm are a good thing now and again.  But next post, it’s back to the straight and narrow.  . . . Maybe.  Who knows what may catch my fancy the next few days?  <ROTFL>

Thanks for letting me in, my friends.


L’amour du Fromage or The Love of Cheese . . . y

Love cheese.  It’s nummy, as P.I. Rey would say, and full of calcium and protein, which is a good thing (we’ll overlook the cholesterol component).

Love cheesiness.  Not in a vulgar or crummy way, but as in silly and fun.

This blog certainly leans toward cheesy.  Many of the photos are stock and are “manipulated” by yours truly.  I’ll readily admit that they lean toward amateurish, which is fairly evident, but I’m okay with that . . .  ‘cause I love cheese-y.


Sure, I’d like this blog to look professional, but that would require paid-for services, which equals $$$, which I simply don’t possess [at this time].

But what’s wrong with a blog looking homemade?  Muffins and cookies prepared by a loving hand are 10X better than store-made bought.

I’m off on a bit of a tangent today and, therefore, not offering any bona fide advice, observations, or findings.  Merely having a bit of fun, doffing my layperson hat, and patting myself on the back for having gotten this far.

As I grow and develop, gain knowledge from other blogs, and learn through [a lot of] trial and error, A Writer’s Grab-Bag will undergo some tweaking.

In the meanwhile, I’ll stick with cheesy, because as a lover of le fromage, I’m fine with that.

Don’t take life [and blogging] too seriously.  Our time on this planet is incredibly short, my friends.  Have / poke some fun now and again, in an entertaining harmless way of course.  What’s meant to be, will happen . . . in its sweet, blessed time.

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Lookin’ Good with a Logo

?  Logo = Branding  ?

Basically, a logo is a visual (pictorial, illustrative) symbol or representation that identifies you—as an individual, company, or business.  Some might refer to it as a trademark or identity design.  Branding is distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or service, company or business.

Are they the same?  Not really.  But they work hand in hand.  Branding encompasses different components: market/marketing, voice, promotion and positioning, to name but a few.  Brand identity is a broader but more defined approach; it embraces the logo.  It’s said that if brand identity is successful, a person can recognize the brand even if he or she can’t view the logo.

So, let’s touch upon that magical symbol.  I have a new one, er, rather the private-eye gals at The Triple Threat Investigation Agency have one.  It’s simple.  It conveys what the “product” is via the words: Triple Threat Investigation Agency Series.  The magnifying glass and high heel present concepts: sleuth/detective and female.  I like it, but this doesn’t mean others will, of course.  For those following this blog, I’d be happy to receive your valuable input.

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So, what makes a good logo?  Visual appeal, unquestionably.  It should:

  • be crisp, clean, and uncluttered
  • define you, your product or service, company or business
  • be unforgettable.

Because your logo’s going to be around for a while, ensure it’s strong and definitive.

Whether you’re designing your own, or having someone do it for you, go with the one that grabs you: it has to feel as right as it looks.  Make sure to receive feedback, too.  Ask friends and family, coworkers, clients.  Is the message clear?  Does it set you apart from others (specifically, your competitors)?  If your “reviewers” aren’t getting it, your [future] audience likely won’t.  Consider going back to the drawing table.

An appealing, memorable  logo will enable you to connect with your audience . . . and have it remember you.

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Coming Soon . . . We’re Hopin’

That’s hopin’ and not hoppin’, as in frogs and toads.  But, in truth, we’ve been doing a lot of that throughout the “Forever Poi” case.  Er, I should say, oodles of suspects have kept us hoppin’.  And all over the map!

Rey here.  The Boss requested a break.  Given Linda’s surfing on the North Shore and JJ’s volunteering at the animal shelter, that leaves l’il ol’ me to post.  That’s okay.  Between you and me, I’m really starting to enjoy it.

Instead of providing snippets of potentially useful info, I decided to share one of our more hairy “Forever Poi” moments.  Just to give you some quick background, the case starts with a double homicide that occurs when two Chinatown art galleries are torched.  The two murders lead to a few more . . . with a whack of wacky persons and incidents along the way.

I don’t have JJ’s voice, but here’s my account of an excitement-filled evening when a possible witness bites the dust, uh, table . . . .

♦   ♦


Dim Donald’s was a long, narrow bar on a side street not far from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  We’d only gone there once, when we first settled in the office but, as Linda had said, it wasn’t our cup of tea.  The inside was dark and drab, the drink selection limited, and the evening crowd looked like a perfect fit for the biker-like place

It was just after midnight and the bar—or watering hole, as I called it on the walk over—held two dozen heavy-duty bikers, uh, drinkers.  Seated on cheap ladder-back chairs at a window table, we ordered a round of beers for ourselves and glass of red wine for Timmy-Tom.

“You hungry?” I asked, unable to stop staring at Timmy-Tom’s milk-pod fuzzy eyebrows.

Cousin Jilly, or JJ as you know her, kicked me under the table.

He waved to a scruffy-looking middle-aged couple wearing jeans and jean jackets over black Ts with flaming skulls.  “I could go for a basket of wings and fries.  They’re pretty good here.”

I got the attention of the only waitperson, an old dude named Ched, who looked like a grinning leprechaun.

“What can I do for you?” Timmy-Tom asked.  He sampled the wine and nodded, and leaned back with a loud sigh.

“Where you around when the fire broke out?” JJ asked and took a sip of watery beer.  The weird expression on her face suggested it tasted about as good as it looked.

“I was at the rear of the first gallery, eating dinner, when the trucks arrived.”

“Was that long after the fire broke out?”

“Not long, no.”  He scanned the bar and shrugged.  “I hung around for a while, thinking they’d get it under control, but they didn’t seem to be having much luck that night.”

Linda sniffed her beer and scrunched up her nose.

“Do you know Carlos or James-Henri, the gallery owners?” I asked on a whim.

“By sight.”

“I’m guessing you didn’t see much that night, if you were at the back,” Gail stated, studying him closely.

“I walked around some after dinner.”  He eyed her curiously, as if he might know her, chewed his bottom lip, and finally continued.  “I saw people go in and out of the galleries.  Some were really pie-eyed leaving.  Must have been a helluva party.”

JJ pulled out her cell phone and showed him a photo of Lolita/Mary-Louise.  “Ever seen her?”

He studied it for almost a minute.  “Yeah.  A couple of times.  The first time was maybe a week before the fire.  The lady all but bolted from the back of the gallery, looking fit to be tied.  The second was the night of the fire.  She looked different—all fancy, with her hair in an updo.”

“Tell us about that night.  What did you see?” she asked, leaning forward eagerly.

He smiled sheepishly.  “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but to get to the side street, I needed to walk past her and the person she was with.  I didn’t want to scare them or anything, so I waited in the shadows, figuring they wouldn’t stick around long.”

“Person she was with?” I asked, getting excited re a possible lead.

“She was chatting with someone—actually, they were talking under their breaths, like they didn’t want to be heard.  But there was this urgency about the way they talked and moved their hands and arms.”

“As if they were angry?” Linda asked.

“Angry or worried, or maybe both.”  He nodded to Ched when he placed cheap cutlery and paper napkins on the scarred table.  “How’s the family, my friend?”

“Awesome.  Always good to see you, Timmy-Tom.”  With a wink, Ched saluted and hurried off.

“Can you tell us who she was—”

I never got to finish the question.  Like a melon thrown from an overpass, Timmy-Tom’s smashed-mashed head dropped to the table with a clunk-thump.

JJ and I gazed from the awful mess to each other and back again, looking like we got hit with a stun gun.

Gail, on the other hand, dashed out the door after Tommy-Tom’s killer.


Blog + Sales = $ucce$$ ?

Maybe yes, maybe no.  But it’d sure be awesome.

Sometimes, as fellow bloggers may agree, writing a post can prove a challenge.  Oh, there are tons of topics to consider, be they informative or entertaining, promotional or otherwise.  It’s simply a matter of determining which one is the right one given your predilection.

This weekend I was thinking how much I [really] want to write/blog full-time, but to do so, I’d need to generate an income from it.  That, then, became the focus of this weekend’s post.

blogsun3Making money via a blog is totally doable from all that I’ve been reading.  Can you earn enough to pay the bills, though?  Apparently so.  In fact, some bloggers claim they make anywhere from $1K to $10K a month, and the odd one claims [a lot!] more.  Of course, this means you’re not just a blogger anymore: you’re a bona-fide businessperson.  Nothing wrong with that!

First, though, you need to get a blog going and determine your niche.  Next, provide informative or entertaining posts, depending on that niche: after all, you want to attract visitors and keep them.  As such, and we’ve touched upon this a few times, having a mailing list is a must.  Supply your subscribers with info that they can use or learn from—info that would entice them to return and eventually buy in (literally).

The very basic premise or formula: begin by offering something free to attract [future] customers/clients.  Build trust while developing relationships by delivering [free] beneficial information or instruction is a good start and then, eventually, sell your product or service.

Maybe you don’t have a product or service?  You can always sell someone else’s.  A common practice—one I’ve certainly considered—is to allow businesses to promote their products and services on your blog for a cost.  Or you can partner with other businesses to promote their stuff and earn commission whenever one of your followers makes a purchase.  Sounds fairly simple (I like that).

To list all the ways of making money from a blog would comprise several posts.  But, you know, that might well be worth doing.  Okay, sold!  Look for these starting the first or second week in March.

In the meanwhile, if you’re curious about earning an income through blogging like I am, and are eager to learn more, go Google-ing.  “Ways to earn money through a blog” (or something similar) is a primo place to start.

Who Wants a Review or Two? I Do, I Do (Yes-sir-ree-Dooooo)!

No question.  This is the era of reviews.  We need them and we certainly want them.  (Because this blog revolves around writing/blogging, that’ll be the focus but, truly, the basics here could hold true for any business.)

I’ve had a couple of good ones for the first Triple Investigation Agency ebook, The Connecticut Corpse Caper.  My goal was to get several for it, as well as the subsequent mis-adventures of my P.I. trio.  Shame on me.  I’ve not actively/avidly pursued this (due to circumstances not quite in my control), but I will—that, my friends, is a wholehearted, determined, steadfast, unwavering promise.

I touched upon Google Reviews several days ago, but there are numerous online review websites—some are free, some not (know what you’re getting into before you commit).  Strive for independent reviews; they tend to be truthful.

Feel free to ask followers for reviews and check to see if it’s okay to post them online.  Also, take a look at blogs and sites that offer free ones.  Be aware, though, many reviewers (if not most) are inundated with requests.  It could prove tricky getting someone to agree to provide one, but persistence and perseverance do bring rewards.

Don’t pay for reviews, tempting as it may be (in earlier days, when none the wiser, I certainly considered it).  Many would view this as unethical . . . and really . . . how much faith could you put into something you shelled out money (or bartered) for?

Never generate fake reviews.  You don’t want to sully your reputation.  As an FYI: they’re also illegal and [often] pretty easy to recognize by readers; a great one amid oodles of so-so ones is going to stand out like the idiomatic sore thumb.  If most folks are anything like me—doing that due-diligence thang—they’ll scrutinize a number of reviews to get the broader picture.

Recognize (accept) that you might receive negative reviews.  People have different tastes and what one person may have found “amazing”, another may find “mediocre”.  Hopefully, those that aren’t as keen, will state so in a professional manner.


Less positive reviews needn’t be a bad thing, though.  Use the assessment to your advantage.  What’s being said?  How can you use that information to boost or better your writing or blog, service or product?

And if a review does lean toward the negative, don’t be contentious and write a seething response; respect the reviewer’s right to state how he/she feels.  If an erroneous statement or interpretation has been made, provide an [impartial] explanation or clarification.  Above all, if the review isn’t what you were expecting, don’t let it upset you.  Learn from it and move on.

Don’t hesitate to respond to reviews.  Reviewers will appreciate that (we all like to be acknowledged).  And who knows how the “relationship” will play out over time (I’ve made a few wonderful blogging buddies over the last year)?

To get you started—and to circle back to the first post re reviews—check out this YouTube vid re Google Reviews.

Here’s to an abundance of encouraging ones.

The Baring of a Blogger’s Soul (Sorta). . . or . . . A Blogger’s Lament


Feeling a need to share and not impart info so much.

It’s been almost a year since this blog was born.  The dreams, the plans—my goodness.  They’re still dreams and plans!  <LOL>  In all fairness, though, kudos to me for being able to post regularly, not just on A Writer’s Grab-Bag, but on the Triple Threat Investigation Agency Facebook page.  It’s a commitment that I’m, well, committed to.

I’m feeling rather stagnant, however.  While excuses are never a good thing, they’re often valid: in this case, a full-time job (that frequently runs into six/seven days) and caregiving for Mom.  That leaves limited time to read or do much else.


Yes, I’ve given thought to having someone else handle (a lot of) the technical-promotional components.  That costs $$$, of which there is none to spare.  Dreams being what they are, though, there’s always hope re winning that big lottery pot.

Having done some due diligence—which I always advocate, having been burned a few times—I came across several sites/folks that appeared very promising.  Further due diligence, which included checking reviews from both personal and professional perspectives, revealed that they weren’t so promising after all.  One quick example: a woman had signed up to experience a successful book launch and ended up with a bill for several thousand dollars; needless to say, hers was not a happy ending.

I’m kind of feeling a need to scream at the top of my lungs (to let it all out) and/or smack my head into a brick wall (to knock free the frustration).

I imagine all writers and bloggers have similar moments—this quirky form of writer’s block, which I’ll call blogger’s stagnation.  We know what to do, but for one reason or another, it’s simply not doable.

It’s a question of time and timing, and keeping the faith above all.  You know, when I’m feeling a little peculiar like this, there’s no better solace than listening to an awesome, inspiring song that sounds as fresh today as it did back when . . .

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You Want to do a Review . . . about WHO?

Your Inbox must be much like mine—full of luscious-sounding deals on how to attract a <bleep> load of traffic to your blog or site, promote yourself, and/or get high-quality press mentions (to name but a few, of course).

Bien sûr!  Yes indeedy-do, I want to accomplish all.  Dilemma: I don’t have the time [truly] to do, much less succeed, at even 25% of those things, at least not right now.  There’s one more reason: $$$.  Ain’t got none.  <LOL>  This, too, could [God willing] change some day.

Anyway, a Google email caught my eye: how to use the “” page to do the work for you re generating leads and promoting myself.  Sounds awesome.  All you need do is upgrade to “Pro”.   Yes indeedy-do, as soon as a little extra $ finds its way into the ol’ bank account, sign me up!

After perusing that, a plethora of additional information found its way into an already jam-packed must-read (and eventually, definitely do) folder.  Again, something in the stack stood out: getting Google reviews.  How did I not know about that?!  Or maybe I did, and it simply didn’t register?  <LOL>

It’s fairly simple to request people to do Google reviews—just Google!—and follow these steps (I’ll paraphrase):

  • Search for your name / business name in Google.
  • Click on the “Write a Review” button and then click on “Write Google Review”.
  • A Google Review box pops up.
  • Copy the URL in the address bar.
  • Shorten the Google Review URL.
  • Send it to your clients/followers to get Google reviews.

How much simpler can it get?  Love it (because we know how technically challenged I can be)!

So, as I’m considering the contest to run end of March, I’m also letting ideas take shape re acquiring those Google reviews (like really, WHO doesn’t want some?).

Next post: looking at ways to generate those reviews, short of begging.