Why I Joined FM Publishing

Earlier this month I joined FM Publishing, John Battelle’s new author driven publishing network. FM Publishing, or Federated Media Publishing, as it is more formally known, is a new start up Battelle has put together to focus on helping bloggers and independent authors market their publications into more professional media businesses.

A big part of FM Publishing of course is about advertising. Basically John and his team procure online advertisements that are then offered to various blogs in the network and profits on the advertising are shared. Bloggers have the opportunity to reject any ad for whatever reason and are not involved in the procurement process.

Although I’ve never had advertising on Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection, lately I’ve been considering it. What has started out as a hobby for me has quickly turned into a very expensive hobby for me. Recently I had to move from a shared hosting service to a dedicated server due to the traffic on the site and that runs me $149 per month now. Additionally, for a while now I’ve wanted to improve the overall design of my site. Today I just use a pretty plain Blogger template and I’m not sure the design is as good as it could be. It would of course cost money to hire a professional designer to come up with something more aesthetically appealing.

Although I do the blog on the side and don’t need to generate income from it to live on, my thought has been to use any money generated from advertisements to make the blog a better and more professional place. I’ll probably also use proceeds from the ads to purchase more photography gear for my other major hobby (er addiction) photography. Much of my photography appears on my site of course and all of my images are creative commons licensed and can be used by anyone for any non commercial use.

Even more than generating some dollars to help subsidize my hobby though, what has interested me most about affiliating with FM Publishing has been the opportunity to work directly with John and his team and to have access to their experience and expertise regarding how to make my blog better and better.

John, of course, in addition to running his own Searchblog, is also the band leader for Boing Boing, the author of a great book on Google, “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture,” and was a co-founder of Wired Magazine. I’ve admired John’s insights into the technology and media markets for a long time and, even more significantly, I admire what I’ve seen of his ethics and professionalism in this business. Already I’ve been receiving some interesting feedback on the blogosphere from John and am confident that having access to someone of his caliber will be helpful as I continue to try and reflect and comment on the technology and media markets myself.

Of course, others associated with FM Publishing are also bloggers and blogs that I read regularly and greatly admire. PVRBlog, Om Malik’s GigaOm, Google Blogoscoped, Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch, Techdirt, along with a small group of about 20 other great blogs. Central to participating in FM Publishing is an understanding by everyone involved of a great set of principles outlined by John which are as follows:

“Authors who join the FM network of sites hold these values in common:

Voice and Point of View: Strong voices and intelligent points of view drive robust conversations.

Accuracy: Some FM sites are journalistic in nature; others are not. Regardless, FM sites strive for accuracy regarding items we post as facts.

Community: Weblogs are conversations, not lectures. The community that gathers around each site is the essence of its value, and we treat that community accordingly. We listen and respond to feedback, and incorporate it into the way we manage our sites.

Responsibility: We take our role in the community we serve seriously, and feel responsible for our own words. When we make mistakes, we correct them. We do not seek to use our sites maliciously.

Transparency: We err on the side of disclosure to our readers. If we have an interest in something we’re writing about, we disclose that interest. We are as transparent as we can be about our site’s statistics, practices and policies.”

These principles represent an excellent foundation and framework for what blogging should be about.

All in all I’m very excited about my affiliation with FM Publishing and look forward to writing more about it down the line. For me it gives me an opportunity to focus on what I enjoy best about blogging, the actual writing, while someone else uses their experience, clout and buying power to assist with advertisements. At the same time it gives me access to a wonderful network that I can both contribute to and benefit from. It’s a winning model for independent publishers in my opinion and a network I’m proud to be associated with.

If you’d like to learn more about FM Publishing please visit here. Their blog can be found here. If you are interested in possibly joining FM Publishing as an author or blogger you can contact Bill Brazell at bill@fmpub.net. If you are an advertiser and would like to advertise on my site or on other sites in the network you can contact Chas Edwards at chas@fmpub.net.

Oh, and if you are a web developer and are looking for work, FM Publishing is looking to hire right now.

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  1. Congrats on the move; I hope it helps you offset the hosting costs or even adds more camera gear to your arsenal!