Hi friends! I hope you all are well 💛
I felt like writing about something complicated today, so… here goes. There have been talks on the bookish twitter-sphere in the past week, again, about book bloggers’, the value of their work and astonishingly, but not surprising, talks about how book bloggers aren’t remunerated for their work.
I kind of wanted to talk about that.
Before heading into this, though, I would very, very much underline that this discussion has started first and foremost with the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe on twitter, underlining just how publishing and the advances authors get is influenced by their race. I would recommend reading The Pond’s Book News by Skye right here which shares an important amount of information about what has happened and surfaced with this discussion. Please, please read, review, boost, support books by authors of color and Black authors, now and forever.
Aside from this has surfaced another discussion about book bloggers’ work especially and how much (or, let’s face it), how little to none they were compensate for their work.
Because, let’s face it and no matter what:
Despite being thought of as a hobby, book blogging is work.
It’s a whole lot of work and it’s time to recognize and underline it as so.
Am I having fun writing blog posts? Yes. Am I enjoying the amount of time I’m spending blogging? Yes.
This doesn’t take away the fact that it is work, and a whole lot of it for that matters.
The time book bloggers take to write a blog post alone is….endless, really. It personally takes me from an hour and a half to over a week to really write a blog post, from thinking about it to putting the final touches and hitting the schedule (or publish) button.
And this is just writing a blog post. There’s no telling how much I can spend, per day, per week, per month, per year, working on my blog as a whole. Whether it’s creating graphics, tweaking things here and there, working on promoting my blog, tweeting, blog hopping, answering to comments. I wrote a blog post about the time I spend blogging ages ago and it was very easily rounded up to over 20 hours per week.
For the disclaimer here, this is on the side of my 39 hours-a-week job.
The thing is: the amount of hours spent on book blogging shouldn’t matter as long as we’re enjoying it. Right?
Right. But, you know, some days, like this entire past week, from hopping on twitter and reading people’s answers about book blogging, about, yes, being remunerated or at least, considered enough to be remunerated, and just about book blogging as a whole, I can’t get this question out of my mind.
Is book bloggers’ work really valued?
I’ve been blogging for 5 and a half years. It’s over a quarter of my life spent on here and, you know, if I’m still here, it’s that I’m happy about it.
Sometimes book blogging feels like screaming into a void. You hear the echo of your voice and that’s it. You spend hours and hours on a blog post and nothing. It’s easier sometimes to turn to newest forms of communication, to turn to twitter, to bookstagram, to feel valued here because the follower count gets higher quicker, the likes flow in quicker, people read more easily and quickly a 240-character tweet than a long-ass blog post like this one. Or, well. If you’re a book blogger and active and with a large amount of followers on twitter, it’s easier to make your voice heard and get those retweets in and all.
It’s easier to follow book blogging as it changes and goes to other media, because these feel like they hold the real value, here, right now. Because publishers are turning to your social media accounts followers and not seeing just how much you can get people to discuss on a blog post, they are watching your tweets and stunning instagram pictures, but don’t pay attention to the way you can craft a genuine, deeply thought-out book review on a good old book blog. Because book blogs don’t bring in the numbers or the ROI they’re waiting for.
So they don’t invest in it, like they could invest paying $150 for an instagram blog post.
I’m going to be completely honest here: I read this last week and when I did, I just… shut down a little bit. I just didn’t feel like the time I spend here was actually valued.
Valued by who, what, why, you ask? Well… by myself and by others. Sometimes I’m just, like why am I doing this? Is there any way for this that, from an hour here and there, takes my entire free time and labour, to make something more out of it and feel the value of it?
Book blogging and monetary compensation…
On the topic of money, let me tell you something first and something important: There is nothing wrong with wanting to earn money from your book blog.
If some people are happy with book blogging being a hobby, if some people are happy with keeping money away from it, if some people just don’t feel like they want the compensation at all, yes, that’s their right. If some people would love to be acknowledged more in a monetary way for their work on their book blogs…well, that’s their right as well. To each their own.
If I continue being completely honest here, I’ll tell you this: I have considered making money out of the second job I have here, yes. In over 5 years of book blogging, I haven’t made a dime and, some people say that’s just because I didn’t actually ask.
I didn’t know I could. Up until last week, I had no idea bookstagrammers could get paid like this and… to be honest again, it was disheartening to figure this out. I have heard that it’s always been tough to consider book bloggers in publishers’ marketing budget. I am not going to mention how or why or when this happened, because I don’t work in publishing, and I don’t know their ways. It’s just, well, it’s just sad to know that and that’s all. That’s why I didn’t ask.
On a side note: when I’m talking about book bloggers getting paid, I am talking about the blog tours, author interviews, cover reveals specifically. I’m not talking about book reviews at all, or any kind of content we put out there because we want to. I’m talking about these kind of blog tour posts, reveals, Q&A and special features we might want to organized and/or get approached to do by publishers and authors,, for now, free of any kind of charge and that take us hours to put together.
I appreciate people telling book bloggers to stand up for themselves and to try to get monetary compensation out of this hobby. This second job. This second life. I also want to raise the number of issues that this simple condition might pose.
- Why would publishers turn to you when they can get free labour from other book bloggers? What do you have more than others? I think I have a decent looking blog, but is it enough? I don’t have 100 000 page-views per month. We’re not like fashion bloggers or beauty bloggers, where it’s the norm, for them to ask monetary compensation for their services. It feels normal to do so, in these niches. Here, it just, doesn’t.
- I am an international blogger and don’t have the same accessibility to books as US or UK-based book bloggers. I have been really, really lucky enough to get in touch with publishers, read ARCs and make my way into this world freely. What if asking for compensation, for the value of my time, everything will change? Let’s also keep in mind that some international bloggers have even less accessibility to books than I do and even less opportunities, too, no matter how hard they fight and how much they deserve it. Some people will actually rely on ARCs to read, because that’s how little access they can have. Not everyone gets approved for ARCs FREELY, so why would they even think of trying to ask for compensation? To lose even more chances?
Somehow, I feel like, as book bloggers, we need to fight harder and, sometimes I’m tired. I want the opportunities and I am so grateful for them, I am, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough compared to everything. The hours spent on the blog post for that ARC, the heart and soul I pour every single time.
Book bloggers’ work matter. A LOT.
Because, see, I believe that book bloggers can bring on a lot of value into this world and into the publishing world, just as well. So many bloggers work relentlessly to boost the books they love, with reviews, blog posts they spend hours and hours on. Some bloggers spend a lot of time working, promoting, doing their own little influencer’s work despite not even being considered as influencers by the world, not really, at least. Not enough to get passes for conventions and be considered as highly as others. Honestly, Gina right here below is a big book blogger’s mood.
It might not be with stunning pictures, it might not be with viral tweets, it might not be with instagram stories or a booktube video, but book bloggers’ work has value in different ways. In the words we write, in the book reviews we publish that will still bring on audience, new people and, yes, new potential book buyers months and years after the fact and THAT MATTERS, too. ALL thanks to blog posts, SEO, words and passion and a platform that outlasts social media’s living time.
I believe book bloggers can do just as much, even more, differently than bookstagrammers and booktubers and people getting remunerated for their work ; and I believe that they should be considered as equals and, if wanted, they should be able to get that dime, too.
Book bloggers do this out of love, of course. But I don’t feel like they’re valued, I don’t feel like WE are valued enough as a book blogger for the work we put out there.
What am I asking for, really, as a book blogger?
Am I asking for money, here? Am I asking for something to fall out of the sky when it’s just not, the norm? Am I asking for the moon, the stars and everything in between, or am I just being bitter?
The truth is: I’m not asking for the world, at all. I’m just asking for open minds, for understanding of the ginormous amount of work people put into their blogs. For thankfulness, for everything book bloggers did in the past, do now and will continue doing in the future. For a retweet, or reshare from the publisher of our blog post when we spend hours crafting a blog post for a blog tour, for free. For acknowledgment of our hard work, more and more.
Yes, for consideration if some book bloggers wish to monetize their blogs, or try, both from publishers and from other bloggers that don’t think we can, or should monetize, because, like I said it before… to each their own.
I’m asking for people to know that we, book bloggers, are here and strong and our voices matter.
Writing this, you know… people are going to tell me: if you’re not happy here, just quit.
But it’s also important to just acknowledge that book blogging makes me happy. It does. It just doesn’t make me happy all the time and, sometimes there are issues with it like this one that makes me want to reconsider everything and throw 5 years of work out the window because I’m worthless. I don’t have the worth of a bookstagrammer or the consideration of a booktuber for the world. Complex emotions, okay.
Book bloggers’ value each other in the community
Right now, and in the past years, where I found myself being valued, was thanks to the community, on book blogs themselves.
When I think back to all I’ve written, I know why I’m still here despite the fact that I’m sometimes, like today, just tired.
It’s because of you.
Book bloggers have each other’s back and value each other’s work, a lot. From the monthly wrap-ups to the sharing of each others’ blog posts, to the shouting about each others’ love. The little spark of validation I feel from my work is here because of you. I might not get thousandths of retweets or have millions of instagram followers and I might not get paid for my work, for now, but I got you and this, this is something.
When someone told me they bought a book because of me, I felt it. When someone loved a book I recommended, I felt it. When someone shared one of my posts somewhere, I felt it. When someone told me they appreciated my work, I felt it. Like my time, my energy, my rants, the years of being here, were worth something after all.
When I got approved for that ARC, got thanked by an author for a review, I felt it, too.
And you know, maybe I’ll go down that road and get shut down for wanting to be recognized in a monetary way, someday. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know.
All that I know is that, no matter what your thoughts are on this topic, no matter how disheartened you might feel, tired, wanting more, I’m here. I value the time, the energy, the love you pour into your blog, into this blog series of your heart, into this long book recommendations list you took hours to put together, into this review, into your work.
I value you, and I can only hope the world will value you more, too.
I hope this blog post will remind you to support book bloggers and their work. Every little thing matters and mean the entire world.
If you love a blogger’s work, let them know. Share, like, comment, tell them, spread the word about their work, donate to their ko-fi, patreon, wishlist, show them love in small and big ways, because it matters.
Interesting blog posts on the topic I’ve read lately:
I loved reading these two blog posts lately on the topic of book bloggers getting paid:
- Are book bloggers getting paid? – on 24h YA Book Blog
- Are book bloggers unappreciated? – on Cielo @ Belle Rose Reads’ blog
I also would 200% recommend reading May @ Forever and Everly’s study on book bloggers’ appreciation, with graphics and all the stats and amazing insight on book bloggers’ work as a whole, too.
☂️ You might also be interested in: How has book blogging changed in the past 5 years
Do you feel like book bloggers’ work is valued in the bookish community? What makes you, as a book blogger, feel value and validation?
What are some things you wish for book bloggers? Would you like to monetize your book blog? I would love to talk about this in comments!