This year marks my fourth year of blogging about books and I’m beginning the process of turning it into a business. However, there is a problem with this: money in the book blogging world can be a bit of a taboo subject. If you’ve been on Twitter in the past few days, you’ll have seen the conversations that us book bloggers have been having about being paid for promoting books – at the moment we get absolutely nothing in exchange for our hard work, time and huge promotion of book titles. Seriously – bloggers can make a difference between a title being a flop or a massive success.
I’m one of the few lucky bloggers who have received payment off the back of my blog – through events. However, out of the four festivals or events I’ve spoken at, all of which have been ticketed events, I’ve received payment for only two. Not even expenses for the other two that included travel by train or car, plus the cost of car parking on top.
The majority of other blogging categories – for example, lifestyle bloggers, beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers – are paid in exchange for featuring certain products or reviewing certain products on their websites or YouTube channels. Book bloggers? It’s pretty much unheard of.
There has been debate over whether paid reviews are dishonest due to the nature of wanting to speak positively about something you’ve been paid to write about. But reviews make up only a small portion of the work that we do as bloggers. At the moment, if I was thinking about blogging full time, I wouldn’t even be able to cover the cost of website hosting – it’s not viable or sustainable. You do not have to pay for reviews; there are other content options too – featuring books in Instagram or Tumblr pictures, reading a book as part of a book club that you’ve set up, or creating a fun challenge video on YouTube, to name a few.
The question I get most often from people when I tell them that I blog is: Do you get paid? They assume that I’m rolling in money because I live in a corner of the Internet; it’s such a common misconception that we receive payment for the hard work that we put in.
Think about it: Would you turn up for work one day, work for five hours and then expect nothing in return? Not likely. So why should bloggers do the same? For many of us, this has become more than a hobby – it’s a lifestyle.