Here comes the money (Here we go, money, Uh). Here comes the money. Money, Money, Money, Money.
Money, Money, Money, Money.
Happy sunny sweltering Sunday everyone! Today I thought I’d look at charging for book reviews.
Yes, I know the topic has already been covered in eloquent fashion by another blogger earlier in the week. But when the topic was brought up in a Facebook group the previous week, I decided that it was a subject I could muse on and write a post about. Alas, I’d already written my Pressures of Book Blogging post for that week (one discussion post per week is more than enough when I struggle for ANY ideas). Add in my constant love affair with procrastination and that I purchased Horizon Zero Dawn for the PS4.
Due to the fact that I’m such a mature man-child, the game has been taking up most of my time and as such, the post has taken a while to write!
Ching Ching, Bling Bling, Cut the Chatter
You ain’t talking money, Then your talking don’t matter.
Ching Ching, Bling Bling, Pattin’ Pockets.
You make a dolla dolla, Can’t a damn soul stop it.
Shock it, Uhhh.
Due to a post in a Facebook group (as I mentioned above, I’ve not forgotten, I’m not that old yet, just recapping) it came to my attention that a blogger was charging for reviews for books by indie authors. I was subsequently told that another couple of bloggers were also charging for reviews and I’ve seen a few bloggers asking both ‘if‘ they can and ‘how‘ they can make money from book blogging.
Let’s address these bloggers asking if and how you can make money from book blogging first, as it’s perhaps the easiest point. These aren’t bloggers with years experience and a loyal fan base, oh no, these are new bloggers, no followers, content or experience asking to make money straight away.
Sure, it could be purely innocent and a valid question, I don’t know! But, it could also be that they see book blogging as an easy way to make some quick cash – yeah, I sniggered when I wrote that as blogging isn’t easy, it takes time and effort.
ARC’s are always a topic of discussion in the book blogging community and when new bloggers ask about them they are often told to grow their blog, read and review their own books, etc and yes, those are valid and true points. Don’t worry friends this isn’t an ARC rant! I’m merely saying that ARC’s are a bone of contention when new bloggers enquire about them and surely, making money through book blogging should be seen as the same when new bloggers ask about it?!? Probably even worse! To be met with a WTF?! Are you drunk?! What have you been smoking some Snoop Dogg special blend?!
Let’s put this out there, if you start a book blog with the sole purpose of making money from it, you will be disappointed, it’s no ‘this time next year Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!‘ – Only Fools and Horses reference for you young kids.
You do realise that you have to declare any earnings you make on your blog, it’s not a backhander, cash in hand type of shifty deal.
More importantly, however, you will be starting a blog for the wrong reasons and in the process giving us genuine bloggers a bad name and reputation! Uncool, very very uncool! I’m quite capable of ruining my own reputation and blog without some chancer after a quick buck doing it for me.
Here’s an idea, start a blog and for your very first post give an itemised list of prices for the services (hand job, blow job, sex, orgy, anal, SORRY! wrong services, my mistake, as the blogger is going to whore their blog out I presumed that was what they are, it’s all good, both man and women can sell it. But I meant book services, excerpt, guest post, interview and review – there, that’s better far more decent services) that you offer and see what feedback you get from your fellow book bloggers, authors and publishers. Would you charge by the follower?! The number of likes?! Comments?! Page views?! Words?! Just a standard hourly rate?! You’ll have to let me know if pimpin is easy?!?
Hang on, that’s a great idea! The second film sucked but I have to admit that I did enjoy the original Deuce Bigalow. Maybe it’s time for a third film! Deuce Bigalow: Book Blogging Gigolo! I’ll have to email the actor and pitch him my idea, though I want some creative control on the script and a producer credit! 🙂
Now, Deuce is a male character and I don’t want to leave all you ladies out, so I offer you the female alternative: Bertha Biggun’s Book Bonking. 🙂
So, all sarcasm aside and let me get real serious for a second. If you are thinking of starting a book blog just for money, then please don’t, book bloggers are book lovers, not money mongers!
Now, let’s look at established bloggers who want to try and make some money from blogging. These aren’t the chancers starting out, these are bloggers who have garnered a following and gained a respected reputation within the book blogging community who simply, want to earn some money but is this a valid idea or are they overestimating their reach and suffering from delusions of grandeur that authors would want to pay them?!?
I think the question is if you earn money from your blog (I don’t mean affiliate links to Book Depository and Amazon or adverts) does it take what is a hobby and turn it into a job? After all, we don’t get paid for our hobbies but we do for our jobs.
I’ll get to charging for reviews in a moment, that’s the main point of the post anyway as a review is your thoughts and feelings on a book and it is personal to you. If you’re paid for those would they change?!? It’s objectification as you are involving yourself in the equation, it’s not just your blog and an author making an exchange of money for services, you are adding yourself and your views into the mix.
Obviously, as book bloggers, you all know that we offer a variety of different posts and not just reviews, guest posts, spotlights, interviews and book excerpts. So, would it matter charging for them as we are getting nothing (apart from a post we have to draft and post) in return for our time and blog space?!? Do any of you charge for these types of posts?!?
Should a blogger be vilified for charging for those types of posts?!? After all, if they aren’t going to review the book that’s featured then they have no personal stake in the transaction, author, book and post. Let’s not forget that indie authors (unless they organise it themselves) pay for blog tours too and what is a blog tour?!? A selection of blogs featuring various posts to promote a book. Authors pay someone to organise a blog tour, bloggers say yes, they’d love to take part and receive no money. The money goes into the pockets of the blog tour organiser – which is fair enough, it’s a job for them and they will put a lot of effort into creating the tour (any blog tour organisers reading this I’m not having a go at you, merely trying to look at all sides and points).
Surely, you could ask, if an author is prepared to pay for a whole blog tour, should they not be prepared to pay for a post on a blog?!? You could say that we get a ‘free‘ copy of the book or are offered a copy, but what if we don’t want the book and decline?!? Then we are getting nothing for our blog space and time.
I’ve had a few authors on my blog for interviews, guest posts and book excerpts and as I’m not open to review requests, I always decline a copy of the book even when offered on a read it whenever/if you want basis. I hadn’t thought of charging for posts and I won’t. I’m happy to try and help authors out (it’d be nice if you sent all the links with the post/excerpt though, finding them isn’t my responsibility).
I’m just trying to look at all aspects of making money on a blog to give you a fully rounded view and not make this post seem like I’m ostracising anyone who does charge for various posts. At the end of the day, it’s your own personal choice if you do or do not charge, whether I think it’s right or wrong, I’m a firm believer in the mantra of ‘my blog, my rules‘ and the same applies to you and everyone else ‘your blog, your rules‘.
Onto paid for reviews.
If you want to make money from reviewing perhaps it’s best to not be just a ‘book blogger‘ with a book blog but to be a ‘book reviewer‘ and write reviews for a syndicated magazine, newspaper or website. Though, let’s be fair, a certain paid for website (Star Trek captain and ends with us) charges ($250 that’s the amount I was told) for reviews and often they suck and are short, bland and boring with no personality. Perfect grammar can go fuck itself if the actual review sends you to sleep whilst reading it.
The big question is if we start charging for reviews, can we really continue to review objectively?!?
When you bring money into something it makes for murky waters. Would your followers believe the review knowing that you got paid for it?!? you continue to review honestly?!? Would it cloud your opinion and you find that you start writing only positive reviews as they would bring in more money?!? I’m guessing that authors wouldn’t want to pay for a negative review, especially not when some act like a baby who has kicked their toy out of their pram and soiled themselves when they get a ‘free‘ negative review anyway. Authors, not everyone can like every book, your book might not be for someone, doesn’t mean that another person won’t love it. You can’t all be the next GRRM, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or E.L James and there isn’t a book that’s been released that hasn’t received a negative review – if I’m wrong please tell me as I’d love to know if there really is a book (any genre, fiction or non-fiction) that is out there with no bad publicity whatsoever.
I do think that even if you charged for reviews that you could still review objectively. To me, it’s not really about the money, it’s more a question of whether you are genuine and honest or not. If you are genuine and review honestly, then even if you get paid for reviewing, if you are a decent person you would still be that same honest reviewer you were back before you were rolling in cash. It’s whether you’d sell your integrity and lie about books just to make money from blogging.
Some might say that we get paid in ‘free‘ books, yes, that might be true, in essence, but with those ‘free‘ books we write our own quality reviews and help promote the book in the best ways that we can. I’m loathed to say that we get ‘free‘ books as payment, as what a lot of non-bloggers don’t realise is the time and effort that we put in when we receive these books. And, a ‘free‘ book doesn’t immediately mean that we will like the book or even that we will review it, it isn’t a form of payment.
From a personal standpoint, I’d have to question the validity of a paid for review on a book blog.
I personally prefer blogger reviews to the paid for reviews that I read (not just books but games, TV shows and films). You get a far more personal experience with the blogger and can feel the passion and love for books that they have in their review.
To a blogger, a review isn’t a job, it’s part of a hobby and it even transcends that, to a book lover simply sharing their love of books.
I also need to ask, what would you even consider charging for a blog post or review?!?! I haven’t a clue and as Ted Dibiase used to say ‘everybody’s got a price‘.
I know that other types of bloggers, lifestyle, beauty, consumer products, etc regularly get both a product to review and paid for the actual review. No-one seems to question them over that, it seems to be part of their blogging community and expected. Why should book bloggers be any different in wanting to make some money when these other types of bloggers do?!?
I think perhaps that one of the big differences is that we deal with indie authors. And, those types of bloggers deal with companies that are making money and can easily pay a small fee and send a sample product to review. For lots of Indie authors writing is a hobby (like blogging for us) and they often have day jobs too, trying to carve out a career in writing in their spare time. It just seems wrong to expect Indie authors to pay for any type of post on our blogs when they are struggling themselves and their book might not even have made a profit. A review or blog post does guarantee and gives you promotion and publicity. However, it does not guarantee any increase in sales and if you paid for something, chances are that you would be expecting a positive outcome.
It’s a sort of kinship between us both, authors and bloggers together. As bloggers, we want to try and help authors in some small way.
Simply put, we enjoy reading and if there were no authors, there would be no books for us to read.
I have to admit that I’d never considered charging for reviews or any type of posts on my blog, I didn’t start a blog to make money, sad as it sounds and even though I know I’m very much an outcast on the outskirts of the community. I started my blog to feel like I was with like-minded people and to be part of something.
Side note, I thought that we are supposed to declare if we received a book from an author or publisher to review?!? Because I’ve recently seen a few reviews for books that aren’t released yet with no disclaimer. Obviously, the blogger hasn’t purchased them, unless there’s a black market in not yet released books?!? If there is who do I contact to hook me up with a copy of Winds of Winter and The Doors of Stone?!? 😉
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