Miscellaneous

DISCUSSION: Are Book Bloggers underappreciated? (+see how much a book blogger earns)

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.
  • Excerpts.
  • Interviews.
  • 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!


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42 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Are Book Bloggers underappreciated? (+see how much a book blogger earns)”

  1. I saw this going around Twitter and was really interested in seeing your compiled thoughts! I’ve been book blogging on and off for almost 7 years now (changing platforms, school, etc.) I never thought about the disproportion before but I do agree with a lot of your points! I’ve been spending a lot more time on my blog now with quarantine and can definitely attest to how much time is invested into the process, it’s interesting food for thought for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading Riv! Glad to see you agreed with what I had to say✨ when you think about it, the amount of time we invest in our blogs is significant and at least we should receive a small compensation for promotional services!

      Like

  2. Love this post and it’s definitely a great discussion to have! I know a lifestyle blog with my numbers could be making a small income off sponsored content but publishers and bookish companies pay us nothing. I’m staring college in a few months and I’m trying to make money any way I can to pay for classes, so turning my blog into a small side hustle has been on my mind. Thanks for this post and ways to support other bloggers 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is something I struggled with for years and I’ve come to terms with the fact we won’t be getting paid by views like YouTube. I’ve also noticed more people leaving the blogging community because of it.
    Earlier in quarantine/ social distancing I started looking into places that help smaller bloggers get sponsorship deals and found out a lot of them make you hook up a google analytics account to your blog which you can only do if you have a domain you own.
    I definitely agree we should be paid for blog tours and whenever we work with publishers so I rarely do them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like what you said about the fact that just because this is a hobby for us doesn’t mean we don’t need to be compensated for it. I love reading about books, talking about books, and writing about them, but it takes a lot time and effort too. As a person who doesn’t have a stable job as of the moment, there are days when I will choose to write articles (that might not inspire me as much as writing about books do) so I can have some small income to pay the bills at the end of the day. Of course, the ideal scenarios is that our book blogs can give us a small amount of income so that we can continue to keep doing what we love.

    (I’m sorry if this was a rather long comment, but thank you for posting and bringing this to light.)

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  5. Love the post, it’s a great discussion to be had. I love blogging and sharing my thoughts on things, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Almost to the point where it’s a second job, plus it has it’s own cost that need upkeep especially when it comes to getting books or products to review (it’s not free) so it’s nice when you get something (like income) back from it.
    ♥ Mae

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you loved the post, Mae! You’re right. I think people don’t realize that many bloggers actually spend a lot of money to keep their blogs running so that’s when the compensation becomes really helpful and also motivating to keep foward✨

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think that charging for a review is wrong, but some readers may think it is biased. If you build up your credibility, then people will trust what you have to say, regardless. On the other side, book bloggers use reviews to draw traffic to their site, which in turn can turn into revenue through donations, monetizing/advertising, etc. It is like a store that sells an item (such as bottled soda) at a loss but makes up for it because most people will buy more. There are three types of bloggers: those who do it because they love it, those who hope to make a few dollars, and those who want to make a living at it. There are also three types of authors: those who do it because they love it, those who hope to make a few dollars, and those who want to make a living at it.
    Book bloggers are essential to authors, especially first-timers trying to get noticed. We may not be able to pay you because most authors don’t make a lot from their works, but without you, we are a grain of sand on the beach.
    Keep reading!

    Like

  7. I think that this is a great discussion that needs to be talked about more in the book blogging community. It’s definitely not easy and a lot of time and effort go into it.

    I’ve not made any money from my blog, but honestly I would like too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I didn’t know much about blogging before my husband convinced me to make one so I never thought I could use it to make money. I think he thought we could do it as a side hustle together and was pretty disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. (I thought that I posted this earlier, but maybe it didn’t go through. Let me know if it is not an appropriate post – Thanks)

    I don’t think that charging for a review is wrong, but some readers may think it is biased. If you build up your credibility, then people will trust what you have to say, regardless. On the other side, book bloggers use reviews to draw traffic to their site, which in turn can turn into revenue through donations, monetizing/advertising, etc. It is like a store that sells an item (such as bottled soda) at a loss but makes up for it because most people will buy more. There are three types of bloggers: those who do it because they love it, those who hope to make a few dollars, and those who want to make a living at it. There are also three types of authors: those who do it because they love it, those who hope to make a few dollars, and those who want to make a living at it.

    Book bloggers are essential to authors, especially first-timers trying to get noticed. We may not be able to pay you because most authors don’t make a lot from their works, but without you, we are a grain of sand on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re totally right. I understand that every author has different goals as much as every blogger has different goals. With book bloggers, sadly, we don’t have much choice but to do it just because we love it because there’s no way to make a living out of this (when even making a few dollars seems like an impossible task), and it’s sad because in other blog niches is actually possible, if you’re dedicated to it.

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  10. What a great post! This needs to be talked about more, book bloggers put in a lot of time and effort into making great content and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with turning a hobby into something profitable. Even if it only makes you a little money. I’ve been blogging for years and have never made any money from it, I love blogging but it does take a lot of work and it honestly would be nice to get a little money from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked the post! You’re right, this is a topic that seems to be taboo and that’s why we haven’t made any progress in getting the same things bloggers from other niches get. We put a lot of effort in what we do and it’d be nice to get a little compensation for it😕

      Liked by 1 person

  11. True. Even if book bloggers love their job, it shouldn’t stop them from getting paid. Don’t they have to pay bills and eat and, well live their life? Considering the current situation around this, I think one way book bloggers can start getting remuneration for their work is by not stopping them from writing on other lifestyle topics as well- these are equally, at times, even more popular than only books related blogs.
    What I am trying to say is, don’t close your doors to getting paid when you know there are other ways you can easily get what you want. In the end, I’d say- Do whatever you do with all your heart and soul. Don’t crib for no returns. Existence isn’t blind. Even a small ant gets it’s due sooner or later. Be patient and happy for the present moment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a great point of view! I believe that expanding the horizons is always great and brings a lot of opportunities. However it’d be good if we didn’t have to go out of our niche to start getting recognition😕 and yes! I don’t understand why people get so defensive about this topic when, as you say, we have things we need to attend to and it’d be good if we got a little compensation for our hard work here.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When I saw this hashtag going around on twitter I was very interested in ‘hearing’ what other book bloggers had to say about it! I’m fairly new to blogging but I would love to monetize my blog 🙂 I’ve read so many amazing posts from book blogs and I can totally see the amount of effort (and hours) that go into writing those posts. I 100% agree with all of the points you make in this discussion and also feel like book bloggers deserve much more recognition. Great post!💕

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  13. What a lovely and thoughtful post 🙂 It’s funny that people never say these things to a lifestyle blogger or any other niche bloggers. While I love reading, prioritizing my blog means having to pass up on other things in life. For many of us, we learn new skills to improve our brand which sometimes includes investing in software, techs, templates, etc.

    Look forward to reading more from you!

    Like

  14. I’m kind of late to this party, but nonetheless, I seriously loved this post! (and your design is absolutely gorgeous too 😍)
    I’ve been blogging for just over a year and a half now, and it has occurred to me that I could try and make money with my blog in some ways, but hearing how other people can spend a decade here and not make anything discouraged me. Wanting compensation for what we do is not wrong just because it’s about books. Like you said, blog tour companies get paid, but bloggers who actually do the work don’t get a penny. That’s so unfair on so many levels. We are influencers just like other bloggers in other niches, and it’s because of us that some people read or even hear about certain books. To say that because we chose to do it as a hobby, therefore we don’t deserve compensation or payment is just ridiculous.

    We definitely do need to talk about this more and I’m glad that you wrote this! Great post ❤✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked the post! One of the things I got to see when I did that thread on twitter was that “the money from blog tours should go to blog organizers only” and that’s SO unfair. They talk about the reviews being unreliable if we’re paid for that, but in most cases blog tour organizers review those books too. And they say it like there’s not other types of promotional posts.
      I also saw that an user commented that youtubers have more influence at recommending books and from the experience of fellow readers and myself, I can tell that’s untrue. Most of the books I read are recommended on blogs or twitter.

      I just hope publishing houses finally notice the value that we book bloggers have and start to compensate us for what we do soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes!! Book blogging is blogging niche too and we should be paid! Beauty bloggers get free products and still get compensation, no? Then why getting free books is enough for book blogging? And what about us international readers who don’t even get those arcs? Yess to all of this. And I am one of those bloggers who have negative numbers. Because I invested in self-hosting, domain and still I got nothing over 3 years of my blogging journey.
    Thank you, for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! Exactly, beauty and lifestyle bloggers get compensation and lots of more opportunities in their niches, so I don’t understand why asking for the same for book bloggers is so taboo. That needs to change soon and I really hope it does!

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  16. When you first made the Twitter post, I was stunned to see that it wasn’t just me that was getting no money for the blogging I did. The idea that the books we receive is payment enough is not fair, considering how much effort and money goes into the maintenance of the blog and the creation of content. I’m definitely going to do a more active part in supporting bloggers monetarily!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was actually a surprise for me too. I knew that many small bloggers like me weren’t earning money, but to see some big names speak up and say that they earned nothing was a great shock to me. And definitely the bookstagrammers as well because I thought they earned for advertising or something :/

      Like

  17. I love this post, thank you for opening up the conversation! I wish the topic wasn’t as seemingly taboo as it is. I liked what you said about comparing book blogs to blogs in other subjects. I’d be very interested in seeing some statistics about how much other blogs make per month or per year. Travel and lifestyle blogs come to mind. Or possibly combined book/travel/lifestyle? Not sure, so I’ll have to do some research! Thanks again for posting this, it was very enlightening

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to know you liked the post! There was actually a really great post on this topic that showed great research, but I can’t recall who wrote it 😦 but there’s still a few great posts out there that show great proof that bloggers from other niches earn way more!

      Like

  18. I remember seeing and replying to the tweet and finding the results so shocking! I definitely think book bloggers are under appreciated in many ways and do deserve to be acknowledged for the work they do more. Even if that’s just the publisher retweeting blog tour tweets or book reviews of arcs! It would be amazing if we could earn a living from book blogging! Great suggestions of how we can support fellow bloggers 🙂

    Like

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