Hello, fellow book bloggers. Today, I want to
rant talk about affiliate programs.
As bloggers, we’re continually bombarded with “make money from your blog“. In 2019 I wrote about my rather sceptical view of book bloggers being able to earn a living from our
obsession hobby and my own lacklustre experience.
So, how do bloggers make money?
Take a look at some of the more well-known “full-time blogger” blogs, and you’ll see that they make their money from a combination of the following methods:
- Advertising banners
- Affiliate sales
- Membership areas
- Sponsored posts
The million-dollar question is:
Can book bloggers make a living from their blogs?
Sadly, my answer has to be: No. 😭😭😭
Let me explain how I’ve come to this disappointing conclusion.
Hurdle #1: We don’t get enough page views
When you check out those bloggers who are “easily earning $2,000 each month” their blog’s stats show over 125,000 page views per month! 125k!! 😮 I don’t know any book blogger who sees this much traffic, do you? Flora’s Musings saw 1,507 page views in January and I was ecstatic! 🎉
Hurdle #2: Publishers won’t pay us to review
The book blogging community is overflowing with people reviewing books for free… so why should publishers pay for it?
I think the only chance that that will happen is if you somehow turn your book blog into the next Kirkus, where your word becomes law, to the point where people will pay for it. You would have to be extremely well known in both the online and offline world for that to even possibly happen.
Hurdle #3: Bloggers don’t really trust paid reviews
Another big way that bloggers make money is through sponsored posts (getting paid to write certain things or review certain products). I don’t think that this method works as well when we’re talking about book reviews. Do you? In my experience, it’s a pretty common opinion that paid reviews are less honest; many bloggers even feel that paid reviews are underhanded.
Hurdle #4: Book-related affiliate links give you almost nothing
How many of you are Amazon affiliates? Now, how many of you make more than $5 per month from that program?
I’ve personally made less than $3 from Amazon affiliates in over 5 years of book blogging. And I’ve heard many other book bloggers report similar non-life-changing figures. Every single one of my reviews, new release posts, and list type posts have purchase links. It’s obvious that it’s never even going to pay enough to cover my audiobook-buying habit. Lol!
Why are the numbers so low for book bloggers?
Well, I think that as book bloggers, our traffic mainly comes from other book bloggers. Other book bloggers read our posts, and most importantly: our reviews. HOWEVER, how many of you are like me and “Don’t read reviews from other bloggers until after I’ve written my own”? It makes sense. We don’t want to read spoilers, plus I certainly don’t want my review to be influenced by someone else’s.
So there’s the problem when it comes to affiliate links. It means by the time people DO read our reviews, they’ve probably already read the book – they have no reason to click on our money-making link.
Of course, that’s just one possibility. I’m sure there are loads of reasons if we put our minds to it, such as:
- People read reviews on their phone, but aren’t in a position to actually buy the book in that moment. So they buy it later when they’re on their computer, but at that point they just search for the book directly instead of clicking on an affiliate link.
- If most traffic comes from book bloggers, maybe those bloggers already got a free copy of the book from a publisher (ARCs).
- Book bloggers read a lot and many of them are very selective about the books they buy, or they place themselves on book buying bans, or they just get books from the library.
So how can you make money blogging about books?
I’ve joined the affiliate teams for the companies that make my book blogging experience a dream instead of a chore.
First up, let me talk about ChemiCloud.
I love being a self-hosted blog with ChemiCloud and can’t recommend them enough. They’ve been quick to respond to my (many) queries and never make me feel like a tech-dummy. Go check them out. Their 70% discount means their plans start at just 2.99 per month! If you use my link, I’ll get a little referrer fee credited to my account. 💚 I want to thank the 302 of you that have already visited ChemiCloud using my link. Thanks for your comments and kind words.
You may have noticed that I’ve also been looking at the graphics on my blog and across my social media accounts. I’ve been using Canva for a couple of years but recently upgraded to Canva Pro. I love it. The extras are AMAZING! 😉 If you use my link, I’ll get a little referrer fee for this too. 💚
I’ve been working through my existing reviews and adding the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin by Ashley @ NoseGraze to the posts. I love the plugin so much that I asked Ashley if I could be an affiliate! So again, if you use my link, I’ll get a little referrer fee which helps with the running costs of the blog. 💚
I’ve been browsing the various blog posts out there. It seems to me that the best way to make money is not through blogging itself. Instead, use your book blog to drive traffic to a freelance business.
I don’t have a freelance business of my own to plug, and I’m not expecting to make my fortune being part of these affiliate teams. However, I’d just like to earn a couple of quid to buy some more audiobooks to review for you.
Do you belong to any affiliate programs? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Drop me a comment below and we can chat.
Bye for now,