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discussion

i’ve thought, drafted, and never published posts about this topic for months now. i’ve consulted my number one source for help (google) too many times to count, regarding money making and blogging and how that relates in the book community. i’ve read a few bloggers (mainly Ashley from Nose Graze) talk about it, but it was generally avoided and considered “wrong” in the community. but when there were #bloggerconfessions going around on twitter yesterday, i decided to share the following tweet:

i was surprised by how many others responded; money making in book blogging is usually considered sketchy, but in order to make something a real JOB you need to make money! am i not the only one who think it could be a possibility? Aneeqah (The Writing Hustle), Kristen (Blissful Bookworm), and i started talking about how this needs to be a thing(!!), which led to Aneeqah writing her discussion post about it. if you haven’t yet, GO READ IT. anyway, Aneeqah made me realize that i really should talk about this. so peeps, LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS.

why is it considered wrong for book bloggers to make money?

there have been incidents of book bloggers trying to make money by selling their ARCs on eBay, which is absolutely ridiculous. when the majority of us bloggers talk about money making, we obviously don’t mean selling ARCs but after these happenings people tend to feel uncomfortable and wrong about money and books and blogging, which is understandable. but not every blogger is going to be shady when it comes to money and book blogging.

it’s normal to feel wary about the whole situation, but why are we allowing this to stop us? there are tons and tons of bloggers in fashion, lifestyle, fitness, WHATEVER that are happily making a living from their blogs; how and why is book blogging different from those subjects?

blogger burnout IS a thing. (i actually feel like i’m suffering from it right now.) if you’re a blogger, you know that we spend hours and hours and HOURS putting together this website, creating posts, interacting with others, taking pictures, brainstorming ideas, and more. it takes a lot out of a person, and what are we getting out of it? views? comments? sure that motivates for a while, but we burnout. i love blogging; it allows me to release my thoughts and meet others who relate to me. but when it starts to feel a bit like a chore? you’re stressed about not posting in a week? and you’re wonder why you’re doing something so exhausting – even though there are perks? yeah, it kinda sucks. it begins to feel like you’re wasting your time since book blogging isn’t something that you could rely on in the future. especially when you’re a teenager like me, i begin to feel like i should be doing something that could support me – something i could make a living out of. and it’s really depressing because i WANT to blog, but it’s not realistic and negativity grows from that seed. then i think: why CAN’T i make a living out of something i enjoy so much?

but apparently, there actually are ways to make money from blogging.

after my research (google!), i’ve realized there are four (main) ways to make money from your book blog. (but feel free to let me know if there are more ways!)

  • advertisements – you can put ads on your blog, which is actually the most common in book blogging. personally, this isn’t my favorite method because you’re leading people AWAY from your blog (aka source of income, if you want think of it like that) and for not THAT much.
  • affiliates – this is when a blogger (or internet person) is affiliated with a company (ex: amazon) and gets a percentage of commission every time someone purchases whatever you led the link to. it’s also fairly common in book blogging. i think this is alright, but not reliable since you’re also leading people away from your blog as well. i’m an affiliate with amazon and the book depository and probably got ~$20 in my year and a half of blogging. so, also not super reliable.
  • providing a service or product – this is where real things can happen! this category is open to LOTS of ideas. you could design blog themes, provide an e-course, create products… you get the idea.
  • sponsored posts – this, i think, is the most controversial of all the choices, but could also provide a good amount of money. it’s also not something reaaaaally reliable since it depends on the companies/people who sponsor you, as opposed to creating/providing something on your own like the previous choice.

so… what’s up with sponsored content?

there are many people who think getting paid for sponsored posts make the blogger/blog less genuine. that’s a reasonable assumption, but i personally think they’re fine. it’s up to you to trust the blogger that he/she is going to promote something they personally support. (i mean, even if you offer to pay me a million dollars to do a sponsored post for something i don’t believe in, i wouldn’t accept it.)

i also think they’re a more interesting way for companies to do advertisements. they trust bloggers or youtubers to use their product(s) to promote it in an entertaining way. instead of the usual “BUY THIS PRODUCT” we can be more creative with it. we basically do that already with feature posts, so what difference does it really make on the authenticity of the post if it were sponsored? i actually think the post would turn out even better because you’d generally want to do a better job once you know you’re getting paid for it.

in other blogging communities, i know companies will sometimes pay bloggers for reviews – additionally to providing the product. you might think that’s CRAZY – it’s okay; that was my first thought – but it actually makes sense because think of the amount of time it takes to put together a book review (+ the amount of time to read it). if you think about it, i’m spending 8+ hours on a singular post? and i’m not reeaaaally getting anything out of it? i mean, yes, you get the book but you HAVE to have the book in order to review it, so if companies are expecting a review it should be provided. (which is why i like review considerations so i won’t feel pressured to guarantee a review!) i don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but when i hear some bloggers talk about how they NEED to finish this ARC but they’re not in the mood for it, i’m just thinking… why? you’re stressing yourself out and being unhappy and probably going to write a poor review for…. what, exactly? i know the idea of this being in the book blogging community will probably take a loooooong time and people might disagree, but just a thought!

here’s a small reminder:

my desire to make money from blogging does not mean i’m “faking” my love for books and simply using it as a business outlet. it’s quite the opposite, really, because I LOVE BOOK BLOGGING SO MUCH that i actually want to do it forever and ever. having an income flow from it will make it possible. SO if you’ve been like me the past few months – wanting to make blogging a business, but not wanting to be called a “fake” or whatever – i want you to stop feeling guilty. i’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your passion into something sustainable and tangible. (unless you’re doing something illegal, like selling ARCs; in that case, you really need to stop.)

what are your thoughts on book bloggers making money? let me know! (and it’s seriously okay if you disagree)

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.