A book blogger- what is their role exactly? I am a book blogger. I don’t work for a publishing company. I’m not an independent publicist. I actually make zero money off my blog. No ads. No sponsored posts. Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking more and more about the role of a book blogger- and what I want and can actually achieve for my blog, Traveling With T.
A few weeks ago, NoseGraze did a series of posts about bloggers making money- it was informative and got my brain thinking about things. Then she wrote this post about what bloggers think of making money– and several bloggers chimed in with their thoughts (my book BFF Rhiannon and I are quoted in the article).
So, confession: I want to make money from my blog one day. I put a lot of time into it, I put a lot of time into my social media- and my stats have really grown over the last 4 years.
But, back to the blogger’s role: What is the book blogger’s role? Am I a member of the publishing PR team? Am I a member of the author’s PR team? Should I start my own independent PR business? Where does a book blogger fit in?
Here’s the thing: We don’t actually fit in the above scenarios. While some book bloggers do make money from ads and sponsored posts- the majority of book bloggers do this for the love of books. Because we truly love books. We love to read. To talk to others about books. Our hearts are happy when we connect with people who loved the books we loved- and we even love a good and healthy discussion of why you didn’t care for the book we love.
The role of many book bloggers is this: We read books. We review said book in some way on our blog. We share the love of the said book on our social media accounts. We do this for 2 types of books: The books we own/check out from the library and the books we receive from publisher’s/authors (either ARC’s or finished copies).
Over a course of time- authors and publishers have started to look at bloggers for cheerleading efforts for their books.
But is that our role?
If you ask a blogger to think back about what he/she wanted when they started blogging- the answer is similar to “I wanted to share my love of books. I wanted to find a community of people to talk about books with.”
Somewhere, as social media has grown exponentially in our lives, the role of the book blogger has become muddled in the minds of many.
This became increasingly clear to me as I read this article- Do Book Reviewers Charge Too Much? What Do You Really Get For Your Review? (to make things CRYSTAL CLEAR- it’s not the post that has me upset- it’s a comment)
The comment (an excerpt):
Surprised that I’m the only voice of dissent here. Mike makes a few interesting points, but let’s agree on a few things. Paying for a review is buying a review. It doesn’t mean that you’re buying a “good” review, but you are buying it.
Mike can rationalize this practice by saying you’re paying for bloggers to “blast their opinion” but that’s not correct. Bloggers do that anyway. It’s their job.
I’m unsure if the person making this comment is an author or not. But let’s discuss:
The whole “paying for a review is buying a review” statement is getting old to me. We have got to change the mindset. Why don’t we start by thinking about it as more of paying for the time for said blogger/book reviewer** to read the book, to write a review? Because, make no mistake about this, it is time. It’s time that bloggers could be spending in other ways.
But here’s where I really see red: “It’s their job.”
Let me break it all down for you: It’s not our job. Why? Because people- from authors to publishers- have never paid us. If you’ve made money in blogging- you did it with ads and sponsored posts.
A job is where I work a set number of hours every week. Where I get paid a salary. Where taxes are taken out of my check. That is a job.
What is blogging? For some- a hobby. Others a way to engage with a bookish community. For me- what I want out of blogging and social media is changing.
But, T, you said way back up there that you want to make money from blogging. Yes, yes I do. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’m a social media wiz. I love to think of ideas to best showcase reviews- to make that link more clickable admist all the social media jibber-jabber. I do want to make blogging more of a job. I want to work with authors, actually work with authors and not spend time creating content that is unpaid. I actually would love for my job to be where I blast my opinions of books all over social media (as the above commenter seems to think).
But the mindset (for many) of the book blogger’s role needs to change. Book bloggers have voices that are helpful to publishers/authors. We are reaching the every day person- the average reader- the person who might flip through her People, Glamour or Cosmopolitan and see an ad for a particular book- and then turn to Google. Odds are, after she/he searches for a book on Google- it’s a book blogger’s review that convinces them to buy it.
What do you think the book blogger’s role is? Is there a difference between reviewer/blogger?
** The author of the article used the term book reviewer. To me, that means a reviewer for a newspaper, online magazine, review site. The commenter used the term blogger- now he may have meant reviewer- but the simple fact that he used blogger, to me, means that the distinction between blogger/reviewer is getting blurred.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T