By Kevin Williams
Sales of Abraham's Redemption have been very slow. That was sort of my last hope in salvaging the summer and 2016, so now what?
I think it’d be fun to do this website and column for another 25 years. I’d be 68-years-old, I will have done it 50 years, I could step down and Aster and Gloria’s daughter, Julia, could usher in a new generation. That’s the fantasy, Reality? I don’t know.
I often ask myself how I got to this point….mid-40s and still struggling to find my footing and wondering, frankly, if I ever will. I’ve made a lot of mistakes (see below 2006 – 2011 re website) and those cost me. But, when taking a wider view, I also got caught up in macroeconomic forces beyond my control, namely the decline of the newspaper industry. Looking back, I tied my fortunes to a slowly sinking ship: newspapers. Newspapers will never be what they once were and I think a decade or so from now they may cease to exist entirely. So, where does that leave me and The Amish Cook? Ironically, more people read The Amish Cook than ever, but they are reading it online. And that is exciting. No longer is the column limited by the physical boundaries of newspaper circulation. We now have Amish Cook readers in Australia and Egypt and Belgium. What all websites struggle with is: how to generate revenue? Premium content? Some sort of paywall? Advertising? Product sales? These are vexing questions with no obvious answers. In my case, I think the website’s long-term (and maybe medium-term) future looks pretty good. It’s the short term that is problematic and without a short-term there is no long-term.
Many people would have packed it up long ago, but I’m not someone that gives up easily. Here's a brief timeline:
1991 - 1996 – EARLY YEARS: Launch Amish Cook column. Still in the “golden age” of newspapers. Amish Cook lands in big newspapers like The Cincinnati Post and Indianapolis Star. I worked parttime as a newspaper reporter to supplement income and the column grew to 40 newspaper subscribers.
1996 - 2001 – THE PRINT PEAK: The Amish Cook reaches its peak, seen in over 100 print newspapers from coast to coast. Tacoma, Washington paper adds the column.
2001 – 2006: STABLE YEARS Original Amish Cook passes away, daughter takes over. Pretty stable years for the column. Amish Cook website launches in fits and starts. First signs of trouble as some newspapers that carried The Amish Cook went out of business.
2006 – 2011 - THE DECLINE: Newspapers accelerate their decline. Number of newspapers carrying The Amish Cook drops below 100. Continue to dither with various variations of a website (these were costly mistakes, I should have jumped on the website 5 years earlier and been updating it, working on it consistently).
2011 – 2016 - TOUGHEST YEARS. New Amish Cook, Gloria Yoder, picks up the pen and breathes new life into the column, but newspaper decline continues. Amish365.com debuts in 2011 in its current incarnation. A small, core group of readers have largely helped keep the site afloat and I want to move away from that...
2016 – The Big Rebound?
If you are a long-timer or a newbie who hopes to be around for a long-time, I could use your help now. I prefer to solve this problem by selling a product, in this case books. If you absolutely don't want any books, you can click here to donate an amount of your choice. The book prices below are higher than I've had in the past BUT they ship immediately, within 24 hours, and the sales would actually help put the site on firm ground as opposed to bottom of the barrel pricing. And these prices are still WELL BELOW what you'd pay if you bought them all from Amazon, so this is a win all the way around. The reason I am even trying this last-ditch effort is that it would not take many orders to make a huge difference...I have to think we have 30 - 50 people, plus I will reach out to our print readers in the coming weeks. I don't expect this problem to be solved today, but I am hoping to get enough orders from now through August 31 to buy me time through the autumn to deal with the site's growth.
THE CLASSIC: $75…books ship within 24 hours, includes five cookbooks: The Original Amish Cook Cookbook (no longer available on Amazon), The Best of The Amish Cook, Vol 1 and Vol. 2, The Amish Recipe Project, and The Amish Cook’s Everything But the Kitchen Sink Book.
THE CLASSIC PLUS, $85.00 All of the above plus the Williams Guide to Amish Country
THE WHOLE LIBRARY: $100.00 all of the above plus, three Amish-fiction titles: Abraham’s Redemption, Rebecca at the Beach.
ABRAHAM'S REDEMPTION ONLY: copy of my new Amish-themed fiction novel.
Click the drop-down menu below to select your package, order, and your books are on their way!