Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Be (Free) or Not to Be (Free)

"Why do some SLPs provide materials for free and others charge?"


"How do you decide what materials you are going to charge for?"



"How do you decide how much to charge for your materials?"


"Why do some blogs have advertising and some do not?"


"Do you plan on reducing the number of freebies and start charging for all of your materials?"



These are some of the questions I've been asked lately.  I figured if many people were asking, probably more were wondering.  So, here goes:


I discovered the world of SLP blogs in January of this year, shortly after I discovered Pinterest.  I thought it was wonderful that so many creative SLPs were putting their ideas out there and sharing with the rest of us.  I loved the idea of an online community as well and I wanted in! (Check out this post from CC at If Only I Had Super Powers on  social/pragmatic skills for the blogging community).  In June, I had some extra time on my hands (Hello, Summer!) and figured that was the perfect time to start!  




Let me tell you, when I started, I had so much to learn (still do!)!  For instance, did you know that Mayer Johnson does not allow SLPs to create materials using Boardmaker PCS icons and share them free of charge in files not original to Boardmaker?  This means that they do NOT want you to create a PDF and share files made with their software to people who do not have Boardmaker.  Mayer Johnson prefers you to share activities created with Boardmaker on the Boardmaker Share site.  My first activity that I uploaded was created using Boardmaker PCS.  When I learned this, I had to scramble to get it down, remove the PCS, and add other graphics.  Interestingly, Mayer Johnson DOES allow you to sell materials that are made with less than 50 PCS!



by Scrappin Doodles
You see, people/companies that create graphics (e.g., Mayer Johnson, Scrappin Doodles, MelonHeadz) have "TERMS OF USE."  Some allow you to create educational materials with their graphics and give them out as freebies on a blog.  Others allow you to sell materials on TPT.  Others allow for either type of distribution.  Some graphics are free, but most are paid.  I try to grab free graphics when I can, but I typically pay $2.00-$7.00 for the graphics I use.  Also, some companies require you to purchase a license (in addition to the graphics) to distribute materials created with their graphics.







Now, I never got into this blogging venture to MAKE money, but I certainly did not get in it to LOSE money!  So, I added advertising to my page.  Well, most people don't click advertising links, so that was not paying for the graphics/licenses.  I then became an Amazon affiliate and added links to Amazon for my "Book of the Week."




That still doesn't cover the cost of graphics, so I decided to add a few paid items to my TPT store.  That's been more helpful! (Thank you to those of you who have purchased items!!!).  How do I decide which items to sell?  Typically those that are larger files and have taken a lot of time to create are the ones that I put up for a fee.  I like to keep costs low, so I don't charge more than a few dollars.  I do not have the "paid" seller account at TPT, so I actually get a little less than half of the total price of the item!


I think that covers all but the last question.  The answer to that one is "yes and no" - While I DO plan to add more paid items to my TPT store, I DO NOT plan to charge for all or most of the materials I post.

The bottom line is that blogging is a labor of love.  It takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money to create new materials to share (whether freebies or paid).  Offering materials free of charge or for a fee is a personal decision for all bloggers.  If bloggers decide to charge for an item, consider purchasing it if it meets your needs!  When a blogger offers a free of charge item, support that decision by posting a "thank you" comment.  Comments on blogs and Facebook pages are always welcome and appreciated and motivate us to keep doing what we're doing!

Hope that answers some of your questions and helps you understand (at least from my perspective) why some materials are free and others are not!


23 comments :

  1. Thank Carrie! That was some very useful information for a new blogger like myself!

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  2. I have just recently discovered SLP blogs, and there are some amazing materials out there! Thanks to you and all the others for taking the time to share these!

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  3. Carrie, Thanks for answering these questions! I know a lot of our readers were wondering the same thing!

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    1. You're welcome! Glad I'm not the only one who's been getting these questions! :)

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  4. Thank you for writing this! I have been contemplating entering the SLP blog world but struggle with many of these same questions! Maybe over Christmas break I will get around to it :-). I just don't know how y'all manage to do your full time jobs, make materials and update blogs and facebook!

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    1. You're welcome! It's definitely a time consuming venture, but lots of fun as well! :)

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  5. Thanks Carrie! Your post is very helpful. It looks like I might need to remove a few items from my blog, as they were created using Boardmaker PCS. Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. You're welcome! I know some people take the stance that, if they are using less than 50 symbols, it's not a big deal (since MJ is ok with you selling items made with less than 50 symbols). I'm choosing to abide by the Terms of Use of Mayer Johnson's website...I guess it's all in the interpretation :0)

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  6. Nice summary! I think a lot of people hear "Teachers pay Teachers" and think of Deanna Jump who has been in the news lately for making a million dollars. At least, that's what my superintendent jokingly asked me! Most of the money I've made goes to cover licenses too, and maybe a few things for the speech therapy room.


    Oh, How Pintearesting!

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    1. Exactly! I have only posted 2 paid items (working on a 3rd) and have only made enough to cover one license so far...maybe someday I'll be able to buy some materials too!

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  7. Thanks for the post. I have not ventured into the realm of making freebies for the licensing headaches. The journal style posting just works better for me. :) It definitely makes me admire those who do even more than I already do. I don't know how you find the time to research the graphics and make the materials on top of working.

    Miss Thrifty SLP.

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    1. Believe me, I'm still learning about the licensing! I'm at the "stick to what you know" phase of graphics! I plan my own therapy a month in advance. I also have a son who still naps about 2-3 hrs/day, leaving me stuck in the house during that time on days we are home. This is when I typically write/create materials.

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  8. Good summary. I run a website that my hubby developed for me and sell some of my materials via my website and Teachers Pay Teachers...but I'm too paranoid/lazy to figure out the specific licensing requirements for graphics from other people...so, I draw all my own graphics. I sell my stuff because making my own pictures to go with everything takes a lot of time and effort.

    Rebecca
    Talking With Rebecca

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    1. I love to draw, but I'm also a perfectionist and don't think my drawing is good enough to post (most of the time...I did post my drawings for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books). If I could draw better, I probably would do that too!

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  9. Great post girl! I know I get those same questions!

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  10. Keep it up, Carrie! Making materials myself, I know how much time goes into them! Spending a few dollars here and there saves myself HOURS of work so it is totally worth it to me. Thanks for a great post!
    Nicole
    Allisonspeechpeeps.blogspot.com

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  11. Here is a silly question as I just start to investigate use of Boardmaker on TPT. I saw the terms of use and saw the part about 50 pictures. Does that mean 50 total for all your products or less than 50 per product? Thanks in advance!

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