Email #7 in the series talks about making money from reviews, but most importantly, I tried to start a dialogue. I invited bloggers to email me back with their thoughts so we could really discuss the issue in depth.
Today I want to highlight some of the replies I got back. One blogger really wanted to know what other people thought. “Do most other book bloggers feel the same way?” she wondered. That’s why I’m sharing the responses today.
- How does the community feel?
- What are peoples’ experiences?
- Do book bloggers want change?
- How do publishers react? Do we care?
Hopefully you can get some answers to those questions from the awesome blogger responses below!
We just want to make money from our passion.
I’ve had this conversation with several bloggers, especially my bookish BFF Tamara Welch aka @Rockstar1023. We each love book blogging and love doing a combined weeklong feature every few months, but we also have bills to pay.
We have discussed several times and wondered “How can we turn this passion into income?” We’re smart, pretty blog savvy, and we promote like crazy on social media. But we think publicists would laugh if we said we wanted paid and do just as you’d say “LOL, I’ll go to one of the other 1,000 bloggers…”
We’ve each moved into some similar areas where we can get paid (she is working directly with authors and publicists and I am a freelance writer and business blogger,) however our PASSION is BOOKS and BOOK BLOGGING.
I have had to let my blogging fall by the wayside because I have taken on more writing clients, which has cut into my reading, requesting, scheduling…
While we bitch and moan (a lot) we are also actively researching and looking for our next steps constantly.
We are each considering transferring our blogs (which made your email about that super awesome) but are scared to make the “wrong” move. We’re not scared to invest, we’re scared to invest in the “wrong” platform/host/designer.
Rhiannon & Tamara
Free labour causes blogger burnout.
I really feel like attempting to keep up with the blogging community heavily contributes to blogger burnout. Book blogging is a labor of love, many of us doing what we do for free. What might have started off as just a fun hobby, quickly morphs into another full-time job with, at times, little gain or respect.
When I first started blogging, there wasn’t many book tour or promo posts. Sure bloggers were working with publishers, but not on the scale that we do today. And it’s fantastic that others see how influential we can be with selling books, but it can also be draining. Especially with issues like blogger safety being such a huge issue right now.
It’s for this reason that I’ve personally pulled back from accepting tours and promo pieces from publishers. Not because I don’t want to help promote books and new authors, but because it now feels like it’s expected of me… for free, at my expense. And I admit that sometimes I feel a bit used.
Let’s face it: bloggers are doing a lot more these days. I see them running the blog tours, setting up promo campaigns, throwing events. And it’s all really awesome, but I’m not sure it really benefits the community in the long run. Our community has virtually become an extension of the Publicity Department of the publishing industry. Some of us are okay with this, but others may desire compensation for their efforts. I believe they deserve that. But unfortunately it’s not going to happen with so many willing to give up their services and time for free.
Ad revenue used to pay for hosting fees, giveaways and even convention expenses for some of us. Now? I spoken to a few bloggers that have noticed that number significantly decrease over the years. What used to be an ad, is now a promo campaign that bloggers are eager to post in hopes of acquiring and keeping publishing contacts.
Book bloggers are worth more than just free content and we are one of the only communities that does not charge for our services. And until a bunch of us start saying no, I think we will continue to see some really great voices in our community hanging up their hats and leaving.
Publishers take advantage and here’s a list of consequences…
Publishers definitely take advantage of this. Somehow, a book reviewer is supposed to be biased when they’re paid, but a food critic or a movie critic isn’t? That’s the bit that has to be attacked.
What happens if reviewers AREN’T paid?
– Poorer websites/hosting
– Lower # of books offered for review
– Rushed reading job or a greater # that aren’t read completely
– More focus on ads than on quality reviews
If book reviewing is MY JOB, I’m going to take it as seriously as I take copywriting or marketing or anything else I do.
I think, we need to stop shying away from giving poor reviews when we’re paid, to forego the appearance that
What are people paying for? They’re paying for a chance to get in the door. What’s the ROI of a GOOD review? Social proof is everything, and a good review could make a huge difference. So, a good, complete, and HONEST review at $50 or $100 = how many sales? That’s what they’re paying for. Sure, anyone can review a book. That makes it a commodity. We have to turn away from the commodity mindset in order to change things as freelancers/entrepreneurs.
Proof that making money is possible with your book blog!
I wanted to chime in here and agree with you that one can make money from a book review blog. I am living proof.
Most of it has been from what I have termed “Expedited Reviews”. I found myself if a queue of audiobooks to listen to that was well over 200 strong. I started to get complaints about not getting to the audiobooks in the queue fast enough. So I said the somebody that was complaining, give me $20 and I will put your book on the top of the pile.
Low and behold this became so popular that I have had to raise the price several times. Currently I charge $50 for a 14 day turn around and make it very clear that they are not buying a positive review. I have been getting approx 2 of these a week for the last several months.
I also came up with the idea for featured posts, not a review post, but just a post with the book & author information and relevant purchase links. I sell these as well.
I also sell ads links but mostly I link to my review from the banner ad. Because I wanted to keep my traffic on my site.
I ended up creating demand for a product no one knew they even wanted and have made over $3000 this year, something I never thought was even possible.
Paul, The AudioBook Reviewer
Booktube is where the money gets made!
I think it might be possible to get paid for reviewing, BUT I think you need to have a very large booktube channel to do so. Or a blog, but booktubers tend to have a lot more subscribers since YouTube is a platform and isn’t just floating out on the Internet by itself.
Also, I think that sponsored book posts are another way to make money. Blog tours, cover reveals, interviews etc. Basically all of those strictly marketing posts that some bloggers post for free.
I’ve made more money on my blog through sponsored posts than I have through sidebar advertisements. Monetization on BookTube is another story for me – my ad revenue tops my sponsored post revenue.
Tiffany, About to Read
What’s the future of book blogging?
- Is our niched doomed to be “forever free” because there will always be people willing to review for free?
- Do you think publishers and authors would ever pay for publicity from bloggers?
- Are you tired of doing promo for free or are you okay with it?
- What do you think about some of the responses above? Is there anything that stands out to you?