But further tweets got me thinking about something else. Melinda Salisbury did comment that she doesn't consider what she writes for book bloggers as something she should be paid for:
I am so happy to donate time to write blog posts and do blogger pieces - after all, bloggers don't get paid either!— Melinda Salisbury (@AHintofMystery) January 15, 2016
Which, is of course, awesome. And led to these interesting tweets from Jess from Jess Loves Books:
Blogger friends of other things are always so shocked when they find out that book bloggers get 0 money for it.— Jess Hearts Books (@JessHeartsBooks) January 15, 2016
In fact book blogging is one of the only forms of blogging with zero prospects of turning your blog into your job.— Jess Hearts Books (@JessHeartsBooks) January 15, 2016
I found it really surprising to read that all review bloggers, it seems, are paid for reviewing products except book bloggers. I find that quite unbelievable. I knew some bloggers got paid for reviewing certain products, but it never occurred to me that we're the only blogging community that doesn't get paid.Please remember when working with bloggers that we don't get paid for any of it and that we are essentially working for free all of the time— Jess Hearts Books (@JessHeartsBooks) January 15, 2016
In some ways, I think it's understandable; we all know that it costs a huge amount of money to produce ARCs, and sure, they're not all just for bloggers, but it is money spent for the purpose of reviews. and we get them for what we do anyway. Yet, at the same time, these days, I probably receive more finished copies to review than I do ARCs. This might be because it's cheaper to send finished copies and there are more of them, when only a certain number of ARCs are made and have already been sent out.
There is part of me that feels this isn't fair, though. We book bloggers are hard working, and put a huge amount of time and effort into our blogs and creating interesting, informative, unique and fun content. If other bloggers can be paid for doing what we do for other products, why can't we? If I was offered the chance to be paid for book blogging how I do now, I would jump at the chance. Let me say that again: I would jump at the chance to be paid for book blogging how I do now.
If we were paid as book bloggers, I think there are a lot of things that would change, such as:
- Those of us who only review books they enjoyed would have to review all books. I imagine we would be paid per book we promote; if we get sent 10 books, and only enjoy three out of the 10, and those are the only three you review, you'll get paid for just those three, despite reading the other seven, right? This would be a problem for me if I'm expected to review the unsolicited review copies I receive. Granted, I no longer get that many, but I would feel I had to read a book I knew I wasn't going to enjoy because
- We will have to read to a deadline. Makes sense right? If your being paid to review a book, the publishers will want the book reviewed by a certain time. That wouldn't work for me. I generally don't read to a deadline. I have to read the books I fancy as and when I fancy them. This does mean that sometimes review copies will not be read for months. Publishers are fine for me to do this, because they know they will be reviewed, and a later review can put the book back on readers' radars. But they're not going to pay for a review, and wait months for it.
- If we're all reading and reviewing to deadlines, we'll all be talking about the same books at the same time. Even if it's not a review but some kind of spot light post for the book, we'll still be talking about the same books at the same time. No content that's all that original.
- If we're all talking about the same books at the same time, blog readers aren't going to visit all the blogs. We might end up losing blog readers.
- Also, would those readers trust out positive reviews if we're being paid for them? Most bloggers have a disclaimer on their blog or in their reviews somewhere to explain that despite receiving books in exchange for a review, our reviews are not affected by this and our reviews are honest. Would this be as easy to believe if we were being paid?
- If we're reviewing to deadline, we'll have little time to read the books we buy or borrow from the library. Also, those books aren't going to earn us money.
As much as I would absolutely love to be paid for book blogging, I think it might end up feeling more like a chore than something I enjoy. If things were to change and we start getting paid for what we do, I'd want some clear rules set out as to what that would mean. I'd hate to have my experience of blogging to change so much it becomes unenjoyable. But I would absolutely love if it came about that book bloggers would start to be paid for the work we do, especially as other bloggers are.
What do you think? Do you think we should get paid or not? Do you think there would be more positives or negatives to being paid? And what do you think about authors not being paid for the events they take part in? Talk to me! :)