I don’t like posting rants on my blog. It makes me feel icky and like I’m complaining, which I guess I technically am, but that’s besides the point.
I’m making an exception for this though.Today, I want to talk about the newest blogging controversy and the disrespect bloggers experience in the book industry.
As I’m sure you may have seen, an article came out on how book tiktokers, or booktokers, can make hundreds or thousands of dollars from sponsorships and deals with publishers. And since that article came out, people have been commenting on bloggers on how we’re basically worthless and book tours are useless scams after they spoke up saying that we should be compensated too.
I am getting so tired of being shit on by publishers and authors.
Every time some kind of article comes out talking about YouTubers, TikTok, Instagram or whatever in relation to book reviewers, they are praised. But book bloggers wanting compensation for their reviews, for their promotion, and we’re seen as greedy and evil. I absolutely hate the hypocrisy of the situation. Reviewers using media other than blogs deserve compensation from their hard work but bloggers shouldn’t? What the hell kind of thinking is that?
And as someone who owns a book tour company – who has to do the tours for free because publishers don’t have $20 of marketing money to spend on tours – it’s so frustrating. We ask for the bare minimum to compensate our time, the cost of the website, and other inherent costs we face. And yet, publishers can’t find money to pay us the minimum amount for all the work we do. If we even want to offer tours, we have to do it for free, otherwise we would never be able to run a tour again. And it fucking sucks.
And it’s even worse as a blogger. As a blogger, I’ve made barely a few dollars from ads on my blog and zero dollars from publishers. I’ve spent over $100 to host my own site plus the hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars on books to review. And while I would have spent the money on books anyways, I definitely don’t have to take hours from my day reading them quickly, drafting reviews, and promoting them on social media. Is asking for compensation too much to ask for? Granted, I’m a small blogger, but I see other, larger bloggers who receive nothing for their hard work. It gets me so angry.
I’m so tired of the hate we receive. Hosting a website costs money, unlike sites like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. And just like these platforms, writing reviews, designing the posts, and spending time preparing for them takes a lot of time. The average blog post takes me over an hour to write – if I haven’t had to read a book to write it. Sometimes I could be writing posts for hours during the week, trying to think of and get up content that I’m proud of and enjoy.
And don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. It brings me a lot of joy to share my thoughts and connect with people who have the same interests as me. But it’s an expensive hobby and I shouldn’t be shamed or ridiculed or discarded just because I’m a blogger. And I see the difference in treatment as a TikToker and Instagrammer. If I request a book for review and don’t include those sites, I’m basically tossed aside and not even considered. I had to restart a bookstagram in order to even have a chance at reviewing books and partnering up with publishers for free.
While free books are a great compensation for the most part, they don’t pay the bills. And the amount of time I put into blogging is almost as much as I put into my full time job. I watch as other bloggers, who write amazing content on beautifully designed websites, are thrown aside for people on other platforms because publishers think that’s where people are.
What they seem to forget is without book bloggers, there wouldn’t be whole communities of book nerds joining together. The word of mouth recommendations are huge and while they think that an Instagram post with 1,000 likes will sell books, honest and good reviews sell more. I worked as a bookseller and saw how far recommendations and reviews go with people. Even now, I see the same ten favorite series circulating these platforms and nothing new gets discussed or discovered.
It’s time that publishers acknowledge bloggers and all the hard work they do. Their referrals create big business for them, even if they want to ignore it for other platforms. If they don’t start appreciating us, they may lose their biggest ally and lose their biggest supporters in the process.
Okay, I’m glad I got that off my chest. What do you think of the current blogger drama? Every time I hear people shitting on bloggers I just get so mad. It’s just not fair.
8 thoughts on “Addressing the Blogging Controversy”
I like blogging and do do it as a hobby; I’ve been personally interested in earning money (though it’s fine if other people are), and this still drives me nuts.
I’ve also been saying for years I actually understand why bloggers aren’t generally paid. A review that gets 50 views isn’t worth the same to publishers as a TikTok video that gets a million views! And this still drives me nuts.
Because even while authors and publishers frequently directly say bloggers are worthless (and even more frequently imply it by refusing us ARCs and not even retweeting our reviews or blog tour posts they ASK us to post), they still…do keep asking us for labor. Ok, blog tours are worthless. Then publishers need to stop asking bloggers to spend time doing them! If they’re worth doing….then they need to pay the organizers a measly $20. If they have a paid intern, they’d be paying them more per hour in NYC to set up a blog tour themselves, so $20 is a steal.
I rarely did blog tours, but the two I did with major publishers were honestly awful experiences in terms of how disorganized they were, how quickly they expected me to read the book and create content, how last-minute they were sending info and then expecting me to drop everything to add it to a post that was going live the next day, etc. Then they don’t even acknowledge the blog tour exists by tweeting the posts or even, you know, thanking the bloggers. I literally don’t even want to be paid. I just want publishers and authors to seem vaguely happy bloggers are reading and loving and engaging really in-depth with their books instead of regularly churning out “why bloggers suck and you should look at bookstagram instead” Twitter threads.
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I 100% agree! People need to get their priorities straight and instead of coming after bloggers and book tour companies and saying what they’re doing is worthless, while still asking them to do the work, maybe they should do the work themselves. Publisher blog tours are all honesty based. They don’t actually care if the people post or what they put out – they just want the opportunity for people to read this book, review it, talk about it, and promote it. Meanwhile, blog tour companies spend hours working on content, getting things organized, promoting the tour, staying on top of bloggers who are late/unresponsive, all for the publishers to say “Thanks! Please do it all again for free.” I’m nowhere near a big blogger, I’m not even a medium sized blogger and I don’t expect to get paid, but I do want big bloggers who are getting views to have the same opportunity as people on other platforms for paid work. This whole thing is just so disheartening and it makes me as a blogger and book tour company feel like my work is worthless and unappreciated. And if that’s the case, maybe I’ll take my interests somewhere else.
It is high time that bloggers are recognized for their work but we also need to realize that it IS a numbers game re:being paid. Generally speaking book bloggers stats (for a blog) are fairly low. A ‘popular’ book blog might get what, 5k views a month? That’s great for the blogger but pretty low for a blog [I know lifestyle blogs get 100k views in a month.] Even compared to a booktube video, booktok, or bookstagram, that’s still fairly low.
Really publishers should do a better job of diversifying their social media reach re:ARCs and/or payment by spreading it out among bloggers, booktube, bookstagram, and booktok. Primarily by putting all their eggs in one basket, they miss out on a lot. I’ve been in the online book community for nearly a decade now but don’t do booktube or booktok. I’m sure everyone else has their little niches too.
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I agree, the numbers are very important. But numbers also mean different things on different platforms. A TikTok could go viral and hundreds of thousands or millions of people see it, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been influenced to do anything. Just because someone is getting views doesn’t mean that the people viewing them are interested in the books or are planning on purchasing them. I’m on all platforms but YouTube, and I can say that 100 blog views = 1,000 Instagram views = 10,000 TikTok views in terms of actions. If 100 people read my post and 1 person is encouraged to buy a book, it would take 1,000 Instagram views or 10,000 TikTok views for one person to be encouraged – ya know?
I definitely agree that publishers need to diversify their social media outreach, especially money wise, because once you start paying people on platforms, the platforms get over saturated and people leave where they’re not making money to go make money. If they can make money in the first place. And they’re missing out on a whole community by ignoring bloggers completely. It’s just so frustrating and I feel so bad for the people who have been blogging for years with no recognition.
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As a teen book blogger, I get overlooked a lot for the simple fact that I’m not on Instagram. Why the hell should that matter? I’m writing reviews that I care about to try and promote books that I love .
I’m working toward publishing a book of my own currently and I will make sure that the bloggers get thanked first. The amount of time that bloggers spend writing posts just to be told we aren’t good enough is stupid.
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Agreed! I’m also writing a book and if it ever manages to see the light of day and get in reader’s hands, then everyone is going to appreciated for what they do. Especially bloggers. I just hate that some platforms are seen as more desirable than others, like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. And if publishers really think the work that bloggers do is worthless, then they shouldn’t benefit from it and ask people reviews in exchange for ARCs/free books. People can’t have it both ways. You can ask for us to do work for free then turn around and say everything we did is worthless. It’s just not right.