Not too long ago I was having a lovely conversation with a friend about my book review website, and I mentioned the percentage that my website’s income had gone up over the past year. She was floored that I actually made money from reviewing books, and said, “You mean those people who write websites get paid to do that? I thought it was just people who liked to talk a lot!”
I mean, I do like to talk a lot, but, yep, websites exist to make the owner money. This is a good thing! If you’re an author looking to get your book reviewed by bloggers, you can utilize the website’s money-making strategies to your advantage. A basic understanding of how book bloggers make money will help you make your book more attractive to review or feature, and will allow you to understand an important piece of the book-marketing pie.
(I am going to use the term “book blogger,” but these principles are how most websites make money, so you can use them if you are asking for a review from homeschool blogs, faith blogs, parenting blogs, etc.)
Advertisements on Book Blogs
It should be pretty clear if a website has ads or not. Just look for them! They’re those boxes in the sidebars, or video popups.
The way ads work is that the website owner makes money when ads on their site are seen and clicked on.
Since bloggers make money from more eyeballs seeing the ads, anything you can do to increase that site’s traffic would be welcome. So, an author’s book looks attractive to review or feature if doing so brings more people to the website.
You’ve probably noticed the increase in celebrities writing books that then get featured on EVERY book website. Part of the allure of reviewing a celebrity’s book is that they may then share your site, driving up pageviews, thus bringing in more ad revenue.
Authors, you can use this to your advantage, even if you aren’t a celebrity! Any attempt to get the website owner more site-views shows you understand their business, and want to help them. That makes them more inclined to take the time to review your book.
For example, you could say something like, “I share a link to every review of my book (whether positive or negative) with my email list of 12,000 engaged readers.”
Or, if you have an especially large social media following, you can mention it and say something like, “If you choose to review my book, please let me know, because I make a unique coffee art picture for every review and post it and a link to the review to my hundreds of thousands of followers.”
If you don’t have a huge following that you can send the reviewers’ way, you can still say something like, “I really enjoyed your list of clean audiobooks for families, and shared it on my personal social media page. Do let me know if you decide to share my book with your audience, as I would like to share your review on Twitter and Facebook.”
Of course, do not abuse this idea, and try to manipulate a reviewer into giving you only positive reviews.
Affiliate Income for Book Bloggers
Bloggers can also earn money by being affiliate sellers of certain products or brands. This is done by linking to products in an article. The blogger receives a commission every time someone purchases something through their personalized link. So, the more purchases that a blogger drives, the more commission they make.
You could use the knowledge of affiliate income to approach a blogger and hopefully get more eyeballs on your book. When doing this, you don’t need to say anything about “affiliate income” in your email pitch. You just need to present an idea that will allow the blogger to use their own affiliate links for your products.
For example, multiple authors have written guest posts about their own books to be published on my site with my own affiliate links. For example, Laura Sassi wrote a lovely piece about picture books with halos on Jesus and the Holy family. Because I used my affiliate links to Amazon for her books in this article, it drives revenue for me. At the same time, it gives the author the benefit of reaching my already well-established audience. As long as the book lines up with what my audience is reading, it’s a win-win!
Sponsored Content for Authors
Sponsored content on a website is advertising that is created in collaboration with a brand or advertiser. It is supposed to blend in with the website’s regular content, and can also be called “native advertising” or “branded content.”
It will look like a normal article or write-up, but in this case, an author or publishing company has paid for it to be created, and has some control over what goes into the article. Sponsored content should always be clearly marked as such on social media and on the website itself.
I personally do not use this type of monetization because it removes the ability to have an impartial “review,” but it is an option an author could look at. Lots of websites or content creators will happily post sponsored content about your book. Before paying a blogger for sponsored content, be sure you have a contract in place that spells out exactly how much you are paying, and what you are receiving in exchange.
Authors Can Be Great Salespeople!
It can be intimidating to approach bloggers or reviewers. However, now that you know a little bit about how these websites make money, you can make your email stand out from the crowd, and hopefully reach more readers!
Kristin Wynalda provides picky-Christian-mom reviews of children’s books at bigbookslittleears.com. Her favorite books involve animals wearing clothes, preferably dress clothes.