One of the things that separates the new News.com personal blogs, like this one, or Declan McCullagh's The Iconoclast, or Caroline McCarthy's The Social, from the larger, impersonal News.com blog, is that they are a place for us to write not just about what's going around us, but also what we're doing ourselves that's relevant.
In my case, that's pretty easy because I live a lot of the things I write about. So there's a never-ending supply of blog fodder. And you get the benefits of that. Insert smiley here.
Well, one of the things I've been doing for the last seven months is working on a book, and it was published on Monday. The title is The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse, and, as the title implies, it's a guide to planning, building and maintaining a profitable entrepreneurial venture in the popular virtual world.
Now, I know that a lot of people are skeptical these days about whether it's even possible to make money in Second Life. Much of that skepticism stems from the fact that there was a huge amount of hype over the last year about big companies coming into SL and setting up six-figure builds, only to discover that they don't quite know how to make them pay off. The media value for such things was there in the beginning, but isn't now.
Further, there aren't an endless number of individuals or small groups making money. But there are, without a doubt, some. And in the book, I talked to more than 50 of them, many of whom are earning their full-time livings with the businesses they've developed in-world.
These are fashion businesses, real-estate operations, construction ventures, toy makers and so on. And yes, adult-oriented businesses.
Lest anyone say that I am giving people unreal expectations, let me douse them right now: You can only make money in Second Life if you are totally serious about it. You must have a plan, be committed to that plan, put in the time, have the technical skills, the design eye and many other intangible elements. Most such businesses will fail. But for those that put in the time, that have the talent and who stick to their plan, there is a great deal of profit opportunity in SL.
I wrote the book because no one had fully told this story yet, even as a growing number of people were learning how to develop these businesses. And so, it seemed like a natural book to write.
It's true, of course, that I've never been a successful Second Life entrepreneur, although since one of the categories I discuss in the book is making money blogging about SL or writing about it in some form, I guess I qualify at least a little bit in that regard. And anyway, my role is journalist, not builder.
Beyond the book itself, I've also started a blog related to the topic of entrepreneurship in Second Life. There, I'll be writing regularly about such issues, as well as bringing in the voices of some of the leading experts on the subject.
It's been an exhilarating process, turning out an entire book in seven months, from writing the first word to having a box delivered to my house on Monday, and all on top of writing full-time for CNET News.com.
But now that I have the book in hand, and it's about to go on sale in bookstores everywhere (it's already available online), I have to say it is exciting and very much worth it.