Tip Jar… or No Tip Jar?

Please leave your feedback on this as a Comment in the thread below.  Thanks for chipping in.  L.

31 Responses to Tip Jar… or No Tip Jar?

  1. Matthew McInnis

    I think the tip jar is a great idea. It might not generate a lot of income for you, but it will give people like me (grateful for your efforts, appreciative of your insight) a means to compensate you beyond buying your books (which I’ve done already).

    It’s value is in its honesty: simple, direct, unassuming. It’s always classy to be honest.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Al

    I find value in solid advice. A tip-jar would not be an unreasonable.

  3. I’ve done some ghostwriting in the past Larry, it’s hard work, and what you put out for free is just as difficult in it’s own way. Writers don’t make enough money, starting out, struggling, being persistent. I pretty much preach your work, and your name when I do, and it furthers my own understanding, as slow as that is some days. Put out a tip jar, too many people under rate service nowadays. It has value.
    Thank you

  4. Martha

    I think it’s a good idea. Many of us have wondered how we could possibly repay you for the help you’ve given us.
    I recently went online to get information about police procedure and found a website that featured dozens of policemen, working and retired, who would answer questions directed to them. A reply to my question came back within 45 minutes and it was extremely helpful. I thought . . . ‘how nice of this guy to do this’, and then I noticed a little ‘tip jar’ down in the corner with the note that this officer would accept donations if the advice was helpful. I thought the approach was clever and sending the guy a few bucks assuaged some of my guilt about taking a busy man’s time. Go for it, Larry!

  5. Alexandra

    I think it’s a great idea! The quality of the information on this website is phenomenal. A tip jar would allow us to show a little additional appreciation for all of the hard work you’ve put into this extremely helpful website.

  6. Todd

    Go for it, I think it’s a great idea!

  7. zlsasnett

    Another chiming in for great idea. I’ve never been offended by the presence of a tip jar and it allows me to offer something back to the person who was willing to offer their time and expertise without -expectation- of recompense.

  8. Donna Lodge

    >It’s value is in its honesty: simple, direct, unassuming. It’s always classy to be honest.Many of us have wondered how we could possibly repay you for the help you’ve given us.<

    Ditto all six comments above. Great idea.

  9. Go for the tip jar. There’s nothing wrong with that, in my view.

  10. Having a donation jar will inevitably irk some readers and make them think that you’ve stooped down to begging. I say forget ’em.

    The tip jar idea is great and I support its implementation. You’ve shared so much of your knowledge and I’m confident that there are plenty of readers who would donate in a heartbeat.

  11. My immediate reaction was ‘no,’ not classy, because I thought of all the retail food service businesses where you pay at a counter for your food but they have a big tip jar staring you in the face, expecting a tip for a service that wasn’t traditionally tipped.

    Then I thought more about it, realized you do give value that you’ve not charged for in the past, so your adding a tip jar to your website is nothing like the food service tip jar. It’s more of a “If you think I’ve given you something of value on this site, I’m not averse to receiving something of value from you.($)”

    So as long as you aren’t reminding your readers of the tip jar with every post, or having a big, loud, blaring box that takes up half of each day’s post, I’m fine with it. I’m neutral on whether it’s classy. It just is. A man’s gotta make a living. Plus, you can always take it down at a later date if it’s not working or you get too many negative reactions. If that happens, I suggest considering charging a nominal annual subscription fee, say $10-25/year. I’d pay that much for your insight and motivational posts.

    Good luck with it, and I will be one of the first ones to give you a tip, to show my appreciation and support.


  12. Absolutely nothing wrong with a tip jar. Podcaster Dan Carlin of Common Sense with Dan Carlin and Hardcore History asks for tips in his podcasts, and does a good job with it. You might want to listen to his pitch for ideas. Basically, his line is “A buck a show, it’s all we ask.” He also has a funny shtick, where he makes up diseases for his producer to gain sympathy. It’s hilarious.

    I guess what I’m saying, is put up the tip jar, and ask people to donate. You can put something like “If you thought this article worth a buck, I’d love to have it.”

  13. I am almost done with “Story Engineering,” which I BOUGHT on Amazon — and it is probably the most important book I’ve ever read about writing. It’s going to make a huge difference in how I edit and revise my NaNoWriMo novel. Your blog is full of generous tips, you constantly share what you’ve learned about writing; I love your Personal Statement and share your Motto and Goals. So… what’s wrong with a Tip Jar? Not a thing, in my opinion. Go ahead, Larry, put it up — I will be delighted to make contribution(s). I am just grateful I discovered your blog, your newsletter, your book, and YOU at this fairly early stage of my writing career. (I’ve been editing for decades, but it’s quite a different proposition to create a novel.) Thank you for all your help. Hope to see the Tip Jar soon!

  14. Adam

    classy – debatable.

    justified to be here – definitely.

    To those like me, college is impractical and unaffordable. The last college course i took was a programming class where the professor stated i could learn more on the internet than he could teach me, and i found this to be true. When able, i’d gladly support those who have helped me grow and provided me with the necessary tools to chase my dreams. What you provide here has enriched not only my own pursuits, but also helped me explain these principles to my friends for application in their projects. i’d happily donate to a tip jar for a site i frequent, just like i do when going into a cafe with a tip jar for the cook sweating their behind off over a flattop grill.

  15. @Adam (and all) — guess there’s no way to “class up” a tip jar. There seems to be strong sentiment and appreciative encouragement, so I’m leaning in. That said, my best way to “class it up” is to not pimp it, just post it, let it happen, and continue to post the best information I can and allow the quid pro quo of these kinds of sites to run its course. Thanks for your input. L.

  16. TCG

    I’m all for tip jars, even in coffee shops and what not, despite the blissful time I lived in Japan, where tips are unheard of. I like the option to tip for good service, or in this case awesome advise. The great thing about the tip jar method is, if you don’t want to tip, you can just ignore it and go about your business. However, if you want to or have the means to, there is an established way to do it. So I say go for it!

  17. AS

    “The workman is worthy of his hire”…and Larry gives so generously of his knowledge and his energy that not to express gratitude via every means possible is probably pretty churlish. I definitely want to express some gratitude.

    But I am not keen on the tip jar concept. It reminds me somehow of pole dancers or strippers or buskers. It’s a little whiny and therefore not classy. Only exceptions: country hair salons and diners.

    It’s just a matter of how the option to pay is presented. I like this model (example in link below) better for you Larry. It feels professional and has a big-hearted but cool spirit- of- the- internet style that would suit you better.

  18. Shirls

    I think it’s an excellent idea. It’s not pushy, but as several people have commented, sometimes one feels so grateful and enthusiastic, it’s good to be able to express it in cash, not just words.

  19. I see nothing wrong with a tip jar. After all, you constantly give us valuable (and much valued) tips.

    I’ll be happy to contribute from time-to-time.


  20. You may have seen, the beta version is up (far right). Let me know if you have feedback, I tried to keep it light and therefore pointing toward classy. I can find a funnier image from Flickr if this one is too on-the-nose. Also, if anyone knows of a little app that allows for non-Paypal transmission, like a simply credit card thing, I’d love to hear it. Thanks again for your input and help. L.

  21. Rik Hunik

    A tip jar might be a bit cheesy but you deserve it. I say do it. If my writing ever turns a profit I’ll put something in it.

  22. Dix

    Good on the tip jar, Larry.

    I collect websites and newsletters like this. Call it a compulsion. I’ve been a writer of various sorts for 4 decades and still run across a useful tip now and then or an amusing anecdote. So, I bookmark or file them in e’folders for reference and on a slow day open one up for an occasional browse through.

    Thing is, I actually READ this one. You INFORM me, bring me up to date, and give me a laugh or two while you’re at it. Thanks.

    Don’t get any ideas, but I’d probably pay to subscribe. Better yet, I’ll hit the tip jar before I leave.

  23. Do the deed, guy. I’ve got all your writing books; paid willingly for them.

    Read (and save) 99% of your posts and comment on some. Every once in a while, one will really hit home. That’s worth a nice tip.

  24. Hmm, a bit cheesy but you have to monetize somehow. Tip Jar sounds a tad “loungy”. How about a Donation, you know, like the TV Evangelists do? Okay, bad comparison. Just go for it, but bargains are hard to resist and if you make an “offer of the month” kind of thing (ebook for a buck!) you might get better results. Off to a great start, Larry. You have a good sense of humor, keep it up.

  25. @Alberto — good input, thanks. My strategy for overcoming the ‘cheesy” aspect (for those who see it that way) is to go straight at it, the pic of the jar with money was a deliberate tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement, hopefully perceived with a grin. Have had it up a few days now, with very very little “attention” of any kind, so either people aren’t seeing it, caring for it or this just isn’t going to work. I’ll give it some time, a few more posts, see what happens. From my end, I find having it present makes me bust a little harder, like a server working hard to earn the satisfaction of the table he’s serving. That said, I always try hard to satisfy, but this puts an edge on it, I think. Hey, at least it’s working for me, in that fashion. Thanks again for the input. L.

  26. Hey Larry,
    I get a ton of information from you through Storyfix.com. My way of showing my appreciation is to buy your books. I think I’ve bought just about everything, if not everything you’ve put out there. I’ve got books of yours in my TBR pile that I won’t get to for a long time. Anytime I get a particular inspiration or walk away from your site slapping myself in the head, I look for something else to buy from you. I’ve always assumed, that is how you make your money.

    The tip jar is a great idea for those of us who have exhausted all options of buying your printed/digital material. It’s a little “rookieish” you see it out there on tons of what I would call, amateur blogs. I’d say, careful with it, all of us here in this community get it. Not sure if someone stumbling across your blog for the first time would understand what a stud in the industry you are.

    Keep up the great work!

  27. @Jim — appreciate this advice and the nice feedback. And your support through my products. Wondering if you think the Tip Jar, as shown now, is too much (graphically), or fits into that “safer” place. To be honest I’m still not sure how this’ll work or how I feel about it, so I’m all ears. Thanks again — L.

  28. Tessa

    Ps….i like the tip jar graphic. Very cool xx

  29. AS

    Hi Larry,

    I have to say that you give so much … it should not be for free. My suggestion would be a membership… something that is affordable for us. You are asking for too little with tips.

    Set up a membership, perhaps 3 levels and let people pay you. I read your column regularly and I am happy to pay for it.


  30. @AS – I appreciate your kind words. I pulled the ‘tip jar” off last spring. Not only was it not working out, I was getting some criticism for it. I’m happy to deliver as much as I can for “free” on the site, with the hope that folks will buy my books and use my coaching services, which focuses the craft information to their project specifically, something I can’t do with the site itself. Thanks again for commenting, you’ve made my day. Larry

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