My Musings

Some Musings On Paid For Book Reviews. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Blogger #Bloggers


I’ve seen an increase in the debate about book bloggers both charging for and getting paid for reviews recently. It seems to be the hot commodity in the book blogging community and as such, I thought I’d take the opportunity to muse (ramble, babble and theorise) about and write a blog post on the subject.

So, book bloggers charging for reviews. I’m presuming that this has come about (again) because some book bloggers have seen that beauty, fashion and lifestyle and other types of bloggers get paid for reviews of products.

Honestly, I’m not up on beauty, fashion or lifestyle blogging and I admittedly have only limited knowledge but I thought that to get paid and/or to work with the bigger brands that you had to have a good DA score, a certain amount of followers, etc? Surely that means that only certain bloggers in that area get paid for reviews? And, apart from in rare cases, surely before you consider charging for product reviews you first need to build-up your following and reputation?

Again, I’m not up on this form of blogging (I presume that smaller companies and brands are happy to pay for and work with smaller bloggers) and maybe it’s just me but I can’t see a company paying the same amount for a product review from a blogger with 10,000 followers, who’s been blogging for years, is known in the community and gets 1,000’s of page views as for a review (for the exact same product) from a newer blogger with only a couple of hundred followers, who no-one knows and who gets 50 views per post?!?

Surely if book bloggers started charging for reviews then it’d be the same? The big publishers would pay for reviews from the well-known, respected and big or established blogs and that would leave both the small and new bloggers out in the cold and still not getting paid for their reviews?!

Yes, the smaller publishers would (probably) work with the smaller bloggers but if all the bloggers wanted the hyped and popular latest ARC’s by the big publishers then those ARC’s would go to the bloggers with reach who could promote the book to the widest audience and not any and every blogger out there?!

Would a book blogger with 200 followers, 50 views per post and who is new to the blogging world but sees it as a way to make money expect and demand to be paid the same for a review as an established and respected blogger with 1,000’s of followers and who gets 1,000’s of views per post? Would that really happen?

How would it work? Would there be a blanket charge for reviews by a publisher where regardless of reputation and following each blogger gets paid the same amount? How would that be fair? That would mean that someone within a week of starting a blog would get the same as someone who has built up their blog over years?

Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree but wouldn’t (shouldn’t) something like that take time and effort on the bloggers part and would those who want to charge and be paid to review be prepared to put in that time, effort and wait until they got to that level?!

If getting paid for reviews actually became a thing then would it not (like getting your first ARC, etc) be something to aim towards and not something to expect straight away?!

Oh look, I iz made a blog, I like dis book, dis ma revuuuu now gimme moneee! Sigh!

Would there be a sliding scale for the amount publishers paid bloggers based on blog following, page views, blog reputation, etc? And then, would the same ones who want to get paid for reviews then moan because they are lower down the scale than other bloggers? Honestly, I could see that happening cos bloggers can be a jealous bunch. You only have to look at the ARC envy that takes place to see that!

There’s this too. There are usually only a limited number of ARC’s available of each book for people and often you see bloggers miss out because there just aren’t any left. My point is that those who want to be paid for their reviews must surely realise that if there are only limited ARC’s available now then if it came to pass that publishers paid for reviews then there would obviously only be a limited amount of paid reviews available!

So, I ask, would the same bloggers who lament and moan about not getting ARC’s now then complain about not getting paid for their reviews?! It would just be the same old song that lots currently sing only with the lyrics changed!

You often see publicists post on Twitter that they have a few ARC’s for a book left and if anyone wants one to review to give them a shout and reply to the tweet. Do all of you who want to charge for your reviews expect that with paid reviews that you’d then get publicists tweeting on Twitter that instead of ARC’s left that they have a few paid review spots available! Crazy!

I have to say that if publishers started paying for reviews by bloggers then it’d only (in my opinion and obviously because of the monetary situation, money talks people) be the few and not the many. Those ‘top‘ blogs who have garnered a reputation and following and who would reach an audience with their review NOT every blogger out there. It would be those who could influence sales of the book. If this was the case then what makes you think that you, a new blogger or a small blogger who no-one knows and who has no audience would be one of the few to then get paid?!

I’ve been doing this for over two years, no-one knows who I am, I’m a nobody and I know that I wouldn’t (or would hardly ever) get a look in, that’s fine, I wouldn’t want to be included anyway and I know that there would be many other tremendous bloggers out there who would hardly ever get a look in either and I’ll add, because I know, because we do this for the book love that they wouldn’t want a look in any way! My point is this, if publishers did start paying for reviews from bloggers then you only think that you’d be included, worthy and chosen to be selected as a paid reviewer for any specific book.

I think, for some that you are crazy and that delusions of grandeur about your own blog are flying around in your head if you think that you would and should get paid for your book reviews.

What makes those of you who want to charge for and get paid for your reviews think that you are more deserving and any better than those of us who don’t?!

Yes, blogging is or at least can be hard (that’s the same as life, nothing is easy) and reading a book takes up your time but reading isn’t a job it is a hobby which we (most of us) would be doing even if we didn’t have a book blog. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be blogging, many don’t as you never know what to expect from life but! Before I had a book blog, I was a reader and after I have a book blog I’ll still be a reader. I’m not a reader simply due to having a book blog, it’s the other way around and I’m a book blogger due to being a reader. I guess it’s as simple as this would you still be reading if you didn’t have a book blog?! If yes then why charge for a hobby that you love and that brings you countless hours of escapism and enjoyment?!

Publishers print books not money! Is it even feasible to expect publishers to pay?! We’d be taking money out of the authors and publishers hands (less money for the publisher because they have to pay for blogger reviews would mean less money for other things, maybe less money to sign authors and buy the rights to their books) for something (reading) that we supposedly love to do just to increase our own pockets and where would the budget for charging come from anyway?! I guess that publishers could produce less tree ARC’s and then use the cost saved on them to pay for reviews but with that I’m totally spitballing (like with most of this post) and then there’d be the case of supply and demand and less ARC’s to cover the cost of reviews……then you’d be moaning about the lack of ARC’s! It’s a no-win situation!

Are publishers and for that matter indie authors to going to have to increase the price of a book merely so that they can achieve the desired profit margins and have the money to pay bloggers for their reviews, such book love from book lovers there!

And the big question. Do you want bloggers to start charging for reviews and publishers to start paying for reviews because you truly see it as the way forward for book blogging and the community on a whole or is it simply due to this…….YOU want to be paid for YOUR reviews?!

Also, what if the publishers put specific guidelines on the type of reviews that they are willing to pay for and created an industry standard that you had to comply with and adhere to? Perhaps that’s going too far but what if publishers created their own set of guidelines that they would want to see met in a review?! Yes, it’s purely conjectured on my part but bear with me. Let’s say that publishers were happy to pay for reviews or at least certain types of reviews. Would you then be prepared to subsequently change how you review (we all have our own style of reviewing) to meet the guidelines for the review (length, content, etc) to fit either the industry standard or for that specific publisher? Boring! Yawn! Snorefest!

Who would want that! It’d be the same review over and over again just by a different blogger and on a different blog. You’d also lose your voice and often what makes a blog unique is the blogger behind the blog and how they write their posts. I certainly wouldn’t change how I review just to get paid (imagine if that to get paid I couldn’t swear, what a fucking nightmare that would be) as I’d lose what makes a post on my blog mine, losing my voice and we all know (well, the ten or so people who read my posts anyway) that I have a slight issue with conforming as it is, in that I don’t.πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚πŸ˜

What about indie authors? Are you happy to get free books from publishers but will try and make money by charging the indie authors for reviews and expecting them to pay?

I know that some bloggers already do charge (that’s your choice) and I know that some numpty (meant in the nicest way possible because, really, silly authors paying when there are countless other fantastic bloggers out there who don’t charge) authors actually pay them. I question though, you can’t post a paid for review on Amazon or Goodreads (well, you shouldn’t but I’m sure that the dishonest do) so how does that help the author? Does your blog have more of a reach than those two sites? Really? Wow, congratulations on that!

Full disclosure people and no, I don’t mean stripping off and fully disclosing your appendages to the world!πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ If you are going to charge for reviews then make sure that you tell the author that you won’t be able to add the review to Amazon and Goodreads because they paid for it!

If publishers did start paying for reviews then the above applies to those reviews too as they wouldn’t be able to be added to Amazon or Goodreads either meaning that there would be fewer reviews on those sites for the author and their book and less exposure.

I have to say that I really don’t agree with charging indie authors for reviews. For most of us, we blog as a hobby and have jobs, families, etc doing this in our spare time and most indie authors are very similar having jobs, families, etc too and writing in their spare time as it’s their hobby (no disrespect meant with using that term) and passion.

Yes, I’m aware that many traditionally published authors have jobs too but if they are published by a publisher then the publisher would pay for the reviews whereas with an indie author they will have to fork out and pay for the reviews themselves.

Think of it this way, if you charge Β£50 for a book review and the author sells their book for Β£5 then before they can even make a profit from your review they need to sell 10 books! Can you feel the book love!

As I’ve just mentioned, we blog as a hobby. If we started charging for reviews would that then turn our hobby into a job? Surely that would lead to extra pressure to put out high standard and top quality reviews and posts and really, who wants that added pressure?!

Personally, I already think that my reviews suck and if I was paid (yes, I know that the book is the payment, I mean wonga, the dollar, the pound, moolah, dough, bones, readies, spondoolies) then I’d worry even more about the quality of them! Or, maybe, as you are getting paid anyway you’d just turn out any old shit and call it a review. But be warned folks no matter what label you stick on it or how much you shine it up and polish it a turd is still just a turd.

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t also throw in a quick mention of the integrity of paid for reviews. I’m not going to call people out on their lack of integrity if they do charge for reviews or want publishers to start paying for reviews as at the end of the day, it’s their choice and their view. However, when money is taken into account along with a personal opinion then you can’t help but question the legitimacy of that view and will find yourself wondering if the review is honest or not.

I can understand wanting to make (or at least try to) money from your blog and through blogging and I wish you luck with that but on the flip side and with all the sincerity that I can muster for book blogging, I really don’t think that charging for book reviews and expecting publishers to pay for them is the correct avenue for it or the way forward.

If you intend to make blogging your job then I can’t see you doing that with paid book reviews. I also think that it is wrong and I want none of it, that’s only my opinion but, ya know, my blog, my rules, my voice. I’ll buy my books, receive my (few) ARC’s and keep reviewing and blogging for me and for free.

For most of us, it’s as simple as this! We blog because we love reading and want to share that love of books in the form of our blog and as an extension of our aforementioned love of reading!

Thoughts?? Agree?? Disagree??

Please note that for anyone who comments on this post you can voice your opinion on my blog in a constructive way regardless of your view. After all, a discussion post is about various different views and discussing those views but don’t get personal and don’t troll.

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145 thoughts on “Some Musings On Paid For Book Reviews. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Blogger #Bloggers

  1. I’ve never even considered being a paid reviewer just because I think the appearance of impropriety would be so great that it would defeat everything that I’m trying to do as a blogger and reviewer. When I think of someone getting paid to write a review, it’s hard for me not to think that their objectivity is totally compromised. I mean, what publisher would pay for a review from someone who they think might totally trash the book? I just can’t get past that point and I would never want people to think that way about me. I’d like to believe that I write honest reviews (with some respectful criticism if warranted). So I guess I’ll never really “get” the whole paid reviews thing. Great post Drew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.πŸ‘

      Yeah, I agree with you completely. Of course, there will be people out there who would review honestly even with getting paid but it’s the sort of thing where you would immediately question the review and that’s nothing against the person it’s just how it is when money is involved.

      Most of us haven’t considered being a paid reviewer but some seem to want to be paid nowadays and sure, I guess that it’s there choice and we have to respect that but to start a book blog with the soul intention of getting paid for reviews. Well, just seems wrong to me.

      My biggest issue is that there are huge websites/blogs that don’t charge for reviews and then some small bloggers want to and expect to get paid for reviews and honestly, there’s not many out there but a few I’ve seen who do try and charge go about it rather sneakily and don’t do themselves any favours. Then, you are expected to believe that the review is honest and yet they can’t even be honest and say that they charge.πŸ™„

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no interest in charging for reviews. I have no idea how people make money from their blog but I don’t have the time with work to spend ages building an audience etc I don’t know how others do. I love reading books and review them to share my thoughts and help authors. I’m not doing it for the money. . The ARCs are free so it’s not really fair to expect to be paid, it doesn’t take long to write a review and if you have a problem not being paid don’t do it. Is my opnion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the question of genuine and honest reviews would be heavily doubted if people were paid for reviews. I don’t expect to be paid nor would I demand to be for writing book reviews. It’s a nice idea: I get to read and be paid for doing it. However, the book industry is small in comparison to make up and fashion. The money that authors get is so minimal now. I’d rather authors keep their money and I’ll just review their books.

    I mean, if someone wants to throw me am ARC, I wouldn’t say no right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, never say no to ARC’s.πŸ˜‚

      Yeah, that’s true and is one of the main issues. Authors get such minimal money and then people want them to pay for reviews.πŸ™„ Possibly where publishers are concerned but then it’d only be the huge blogs but indie authors who have a day job, just seems unfair and wrong.

      I agree, with paid for reviews whether or not they are genuine would be called into question and really, only the person who wrote the review would know if its genuine or not and it’d only take a five star paid for review and then another person reads the book and hates it for that paid for review to then be called into question.


  4. Great post. Lots of good points & thoughts in there. I am upfront that I do not charge for my reviews. I do, however have a donation button on my website for anyone that wants to buy me a coffee. Although very much appreciated, coffee doesn’t get your book reviewed any faster or more favorably. Affiliate income also brings in a few pennies, hoping those change to dollars someday….You know, after I’ve put in the work.

    Liked by 1 person

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