Ever since I started my blog three months ago, I never thought that getting paid for what I do was a possibility. After thinking deep about the reason behind that, I can say that I didn’t even considered the chance because I haven’t heard of any book blogger that’s being paid for their work.
I posted a tweet followed by a hashtag that I will no longer be using (see why below), asking bookish content creators how much they were paid for what they did, and as of Sunday night I’ve received around 450+ replies to this, counting quoted tweets and direct replies.
Important note: I will no longer be using the #/BookBloggingPaid me hashtag to refer to this topic anymore, as it has come to my notice that derails the focus from the original hashtag that inspired this one, that’s trying to shed light on the disparity between Black and BIPOC authors compared to white cishet authors. It was never my attention to derail the focus for such an important matter and once again I apologize for this. I encourage you all that have used the hashtag I created to stop using it too. For further mentions, I’ll use #UnderpayedBookternet, that also includes bookstagrammers and booktubers that also reached out and stated they are not receiving the compensation they deserve for their work.
I wasn’t anticipating receiving so many replies, but I’ll summarize most of them: many book bloggers haven’t been paid anything for the work they do, me included. Those who stated being paid had pretty low amounts (one of them being around 50$ in several years of blogging), most of them coming from affiliate links, but nothing from publishers. And around ten were lucky enough to get paid above 100$ for proofreading or indie authors. I also got replies from a couple bookstagrammers, and 99% of them are not being paid, while most booktubers also aren’t because they don’t have “big numbers”.
This spoke volumes to me. Especially because I’ve seen over the years how bloggers from other niches are being paid for sponsorships and whatnot, and I thought that at least the big book bloggers were receiving some monetary compensation. So, why it’s not like that?
Another thing I noticed was that some people got actually salty about this topic and immediately jumped to say that we should not be paid because book blogging is a hobby and to demand payment would be entitlement. Some had the nerve to call us oportunists. I was attacked by several people whom I’ve never interacted with and blocked when I tried calling them out for it. Moving on, another user said that “it’s a hobby, not a gig”. Someone even commented that “IF WERE DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY, then we’re on the wrong field”. Wait, what money? Because I don’t see any. If you have any doubts, ask the 400+ other bloggers that reported receiving nothing in exchange of their work.
These things made me pretty mad and made me feel that some people didn’t get what I was trying to say, so I’ll make a few things clear here.
Just because it is a hobby, IT DOES NOT mean we don’t deserve compensation for what we do. Blogging takes time and yes, for some people it’s also an investment. Self-hosting, domain names, custom themes, even some useful plugins, premium stock images, they all cost money. While most of these things aren’t mandatory for blogging, they definitely make the blogging experience better for the blogger and their viewers, so that’s why people invest in those (and I’m making it clear since some people are going to jump and say “I’ve been blogging just fine without spending money”, which is valid, but it doesn’t erase the fact some people invest money in their blogs). Many people in the twitter thread reported having negative numbers because they were investing in their blogs without receiving income, and that’s not fair at all because at the same time, bloggers from other niches are making good money with their blogs.
Now, while some bloggers don’t spend money on their blogs, all of us spend hours and even days putting a blog post together. When we’re not writing blog posts, we’re reading books that will add to those blog posts in the future, or going through resources that will help us in our blogging journey. We’re investing our time doing what we do, said time could go to anything else but we’ve decided to spend it on blogging because yes, we love to talk about books. And don’t use the “you’re doing it because you like it” excuse, while bloggers from other niches also do it because they like it AND receive compensation from it.
Just to have an idea of how much time some bloggers invest in their post, I suggest you to see the many posts from Mols by Moonlight that include book lists of 100+ books, or Miss Maddy Chats’ most recent post that includes a recommendation list of nothing less than 270 BOOKS. Now take a minute to think about how much just these two girls took putting their posts together. It’s a lot and once again yes, it deserves compensation.
There’s also the debate whether or not paid reviews would be biased and not reliable. My opinion about that is that yes, paying to review a book might arise the doubt whether or not it’s a biased opinion. When we’re looking for reviews on a specific book, we don’t always find it among the bloggers we love and trust, so it gets tricky with that particular kind of posts. Personally, I’ve received around 15 eARCs that makes $150+ if I had to buy the books, so I’m fine with that. HOWEVER, there are many other options for book bloggers to receive a compensation for a post. See:
- Promotional posts.
- Cover reveals.
- Creative posts.
And that’s just five options. If publishers and indie authors pay blog tour companies for bloggers to do these kind of posts, then why don’t pay a particular blogger for it? Why is it so hard?
That’s also another thing to think about: some blog tour organizers receive around 60$ per tour while you and me, those who actually read the book and put the posts out there, don’t receive a cent. Shouldn’t blog tours be a little more expensive so they can afford to pay at least some bucks to the ones making it happen?
To sum up, even when book blogging is a hobby, it’s something that takes a lot of time, effort and sometimes money from the book bloggers. We have value and it’s time to start receiving compensation like other bloggers do. Just because we love to do this doesn’t mean that we couldn’t use a bit of compensation for all the hard work we put into what we do.
I wanted to end this post on a lighter note, so I want to encourage everyone to support those book bloggers they love. I think I (and the many people that participated on this topic) made clear that we don’t receive any kind of compensation that would definitely be a motivation to keep doing what we do. So for now, it’s up to us to support each other. Some ways you can do so are:
- Supporting book bloggers’ Ko-Fi page.
- Supporting book bloggers’ Patreon account.
- Boost those bookish blog posts you love, whether retweeting them or mentioning them in your own blog posts.
- Share resources on things that would help the book blogging community grow and improve.
- If you see that certain title on NetGalley it’s available on “Read Now” for a limited time, share that only. Some publishers do this for highly anticipated books and for those that struggle to receive ARCs, it’s a great help.
If you love the content of a certain book blogger, let them know. We appreciate feedback and since we’re clearly not receiving monetary compensation, we can only rely on our stats and engagement to get more chances of receiving ARCs from publishers (which is currently the only thing we receive for what we do).
For those that took the time to read this, thank you. I’d love to read your thought on this topic. Let’s talk in the comments!