What Do Book Bloggers Actually Do?

What do book bloggers actually do?  Let me count the ways a book blogger can contribute to this growing industry!  Book reviews are almost the lifeblood of book marketing as they offer social proof that a book is worthy of reading and engaging with. They also have a huge influence on the book-selling website algorithms. Book bloggers come in by offering their blogging platform to authors looking for a review of their work.

Role of a Book Blogger

Book bloggers produce an extensive amount of book-related content ranging from reading challenges, blog tours, discussion posts and book reviews. A respected book blogger has a powerful influence and an ability to motivate conversations on social media amongst readers. Book bloggers are essential in reaching key audiences and promoting books. Their opinions are coveted so much that they are usually mentioned alongside well-established book critics in cover quotes. As such, it is imperative that a book blogger be honest, trustworthy and thorough.  Creating a book blogger or book review policy is highly recommended.  It will let everyone know exactly where you stand.  This is my own Book Review Policy as an example.

Most book bloggers post their reviews on websites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and because they post a substantial number of reviews, they set up their own ranking and following on these websites.  I have personally increased my own ranking on Amazon in very short period of time.  Quality work and reviews allow this to occur. Book bloggers also have various social media platforms because a book blogger who has taken a liking to a book, will praise it everywhere they can for many people to hear about it. Publishers frequently collaborate with book bloggers as a marketing outlet while writers do so to gain a fan while reaching a wider audience. Writers can also benefit from book bloggers in that their critique can help them improve their writing by gauging what the audience likes or does not like in a certain book.

Each book blogger has a personal purpose for his or her book blog. One book blogger could have started a blog to share personal book favorites, to review books, to recommend ideal gems, to share book discussions, or to make money from it.  Personally, I set up my book blog as a memorial to my Grandfather who was an amazing author in his own right.  I am providing a service that I wish had been offered to him.  Once you decide to start a book blog and focus on a specific niche, you can set it up and start planning for the content.

Setting Up a Book Blog

Setting up a book blog does not have to be challenging and costly for the book blogger. There are simple and affordable ways to go about it using platforms such as WordPress, Siteground, or Bluehost, which offer affordable domain and hosting packages, not to mention the different designs and plugins available.  I use Siteground as my host with WordPress installed.  I have also purchased an Elegant theme called Extra.  I find the additional miniscule cost has made the entire experience very user friendly. After setting up the blog, the next step involves planning the content strategy where you would list down all the things you will write about and your blog posts. Planning blog posts in advance can save a book blogger a lot of time.

How do Book Bloggers Earn Money

Everybody gets into book blogging for their own reasons.  I have already stated mine.  As such, it is not about money for me personally.  However, money can be made from a variety of sources.  Book bloggers can earn money in several ways but the main source of revenue would be affiliate advertising. When a book blogger is an affiliate of a particular website, he or she earns a commission for every book and product sold. Book bloggers may not earn a commission for free books but certain websites will allow them to earn a commission for items bought after people click through a free book link to their website. Commissions for book bloggers tend to be low but it can be a good way to supplement one’s income.  I do use Google Adsense on my own blog.  Any income I make from ads all goes back into allowing me to purchase books to review.  I have not actually broken even yet (it still costs me money) but the rapid growth of my blog means it is probably only a matter of time.

Some popular affiliate programs used by book bloggers include:

  1.  Smashwords is an eBook seller specializing in eBooks written by independent authors. It has an affiliate program for some of its books.
  2. Kobo is another well-known ebook seller with an affiliate program for book enthusiasts.
  3.  Barnes & Noble provides an affiliate program through Commission Junction. After setting up an account, one can apply for other affiliate programs such as Thriftbooks, Moleskine, and Books A Million etc.
  4.  iBooks is an affiliate program allowing book bloggers to earn commission on paid books and also on music, apps, and other items ordered on iTunes within 24 hours.
  5.  Amazon has an established affiliate program that is quite popular among book bloggers as they can earn money for items purchased after clicking on their link within 24 hours.

These are just a few of the options available for book bloggers if one decides to follow this path. However, before doing so, proper research on the affiliates available should be done to know which programs will work best for you. Book bloggers should also get to know the rules and restrictions of each affiliate program so they know how to go about it accordingly.

Once a book blog is up and running, the next step is to ensure people read it, which is why book bloggers also have to put up social media accounts for their book blogs on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. These networks are essential to promoting a book blog and the content, while also holding conversations with other book enthusiasts. Book bloggers can also promote their blogs without being spammers through forums, newsletters, Facebook groups, and Twitter chats.

Before a writer approaches a book blogger for a review, it is important to find out about their audience, their book preference, and their reviewing policy. Book bloggers are very passionate about what they do and running a book blog can be extremely hectic. The best engagements between authors and book bloggers may be with collaborations on subjects that both parties are passionate about. This makes it fun and interesting for the blogger to work on a certain book review and it allows readers to know the author on another level.

Facts about Book Blogging

Book blogs usually take time to hit with an audience, as is the case with any other blog. It can take months before search engines recognize a blog, which is why a book blogger needs to learn patience.

Earning money from book blogging will also take some time and you might not get rewards as a book blogger for at least a year.

Publishers give free books to popular bloggers only. Publishers receive tons of requests on a daily basis from bloggers looking to review free books and if they were to accept each of these requests then they would be giving away free books by the boatload. This is not cost effective on their part. Only the most influential and popular bloggers are usually contacted by authors and publishers to review books.  As an aside, my policy is not to accept any free material or money for book reviews.  This has been offered many times but I refuse it on every occasion.

All in all, being a book blogger can be a worthwhile, exciting and rewarding experience.  You get to meet exceptionally interesting people and read top quality material.  It can also be very demanding and labor intensive.  I have had a number of occasions where an author has felt I did not review their work quickly enough and let me know that fact in no uncertain terms.  Be that as it may, those instances are few and far between. Before jumping into this you really should make sure that book blogging is truly what you want to do.  Not a single day will go by where you will not be working on this endeavor.  What are your reasons?  Are they worth it?  If so…go into it at full speed!


More about Leonard Tillerman

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