Lately, I’ve had several questions about why I write The Boat Galley and also how it is supported. I’ve been a little hesitant to write about these things, I guess because I can’t imagine that anyone cares about them. But a couple of reader-friends have really encouraged me to share more about the hows and whys of The Boat Galley . . . so here goes.
Why Do I Do This?
I was lucky enough to learn about cooking from scratch, with limited equipment, while camping, and so on from the time I was a very young girl. And my dad had worked his way through school as a butcher, so I picked up some of that from him. I’ve always enjoyed writing and all my “real jobs” involved writing; prior to cruising, I also maintained web sites for a couple of sailing groups. While cruising, I started freelance writing for some of the cruising magazines. But that doesn’t really get to the heart of “why?”
- When we began cruising, there was so much that we didn’t know. Dave and I had extensive experience with one design centerboard dinghies, but knew next to nothing about the systems on a cruising boat . . . or about catching or preparing fish and other seafood . . . or dealing with everything in a foreign language. We learned as we went along, with an awful lot of help from other cruisers. Maybe I can’t directly repay them, but I can “pay it forward.”
- I had been frustrated so many times when buying gear for the galley as it was hard (impossible?) to find reviews on how products performed aboard a boat as opposed to in a “shore” kitchen. I wanted not just to publish my own experiences of what worked and what features were important to me, but to have a way for other cruisers or soon-to-be cruisers to ask questions and share their own information.
- For most of us, cooking aboard a boat is different from cooking ashore. So why not share tips on what works — and what doesn’t?
- When I write magazine articles, it’s just a one-way street with me saying what I think. There’s no feedback and no one else adding their two cents’ worth or disagreeing. The Boat Galley, where readers can leave comments, along with its Facebook page where there’s lots of discussion, offers so much more. To me, the sharing that goes on perfectly reflects the cruising community and is what I love about The Boat Galley.
- And, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to get a “real job.” But I do have to make a little supplemental income. So that brings us to the other question . . .
Do I Actually Make Money? How?
Yes, I do make some money from The Boat Galley. Not a lot yet, but enough for me to think there’s a future here. After all, I’ve only been doing this a little over a year and it takes a while to build anything.
But, you’re saying, how do you earn anything from The Boat Galley? It’s totally free to read!
You’re right. The Boat Galley is free to read. I didn’t want to set it up as a members-only site where readers had to pay for a “subscription” or be asked to donate. I wanted every bit of information that’s here on the site to be free to read, print or save as a PDF.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to earn. There are some ads on the site, I’m sure you’ve noticed. And I have some affiliate links. And yes, I promote my cookbook (sold elsewhere) and maybe I’ll write and sell some ebooks.
Affiliate links. A lot of people aren’t familiar with affiliate links, so I’ll explain them in a little more detail. In fact, a couple of readers have recently asked on Facebook or in comments if I had affiliate links so they could support the site . . . and then other people asked “what are affiliate links and how do I use them?” . . . and so I thought I should explain.
An “affiliate link” is a link to a product or company, where the company pays me a small commission when someone buys something after clicking on that link. For example, if you click on a link to a product at West Marine, and then buy something there (even if it’s not the product you first clicked on), I get a small commission. There is NO extra cost to the purchaser. Several of the merchants whose products I link to have affiliate programs, but not all. And I have no way of knowing who makes purchases.
I want to be upfront about the fact that I do make part of my living through affiliate programs, but I also want to state that I don’t choose to write about a product just because I might earn something. In fact, there are lots of products that I could provide an affiliate link to, but don’t because I know you can find it cheaper at a big-box store and say so.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that The Boat Galley is a labor of love, but yes, it’s a way for me to make some money. I love being part of the cruising community and passing on what I’ve learned as well as facilitating the exchange of information between so many people.
Thank you for giving me the chance to do what I love!