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June 7, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Money (ArmchairBEA edition)

Some of my coins. bin/
Some of my coins. Earn Money From Your Website: Information Packaging Affiliate Program (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Welcome to Day 4 of ArmchairBEA. Today's official topic is Beyond the Blog. I've changed it slightly to fit with the titles of my Tips on Thursday posts. While I hope you did not start blogging with dollar signs in your eyes, it is always nice to get a little compensation for your hard work.

As far as hobbies go, book blogging can support your reading habit. Since I started blogging, I have bought few books. Though to be honest, I've probably have bought more since I started blogging than I have my entire adult life (if you don't count the charity library sales). If your goal, like many hobbyist, is to support your hobby, then there are plenty of free books to be had. Check out Netgalley and Edelweiss for galleys. Discover Indie authors who are all too happy to send free finished digital copies to bloggers. If you are more interested in print copies, get on mailing lists with publishers, agents, publicists, editors to receive both ARCs and finished books. If you don't know how to get on such lists, ask your fellow bloggers if they will mention you to their contacts.

If you are wanting to go beyond just supporting your habit, erm...hobby, by making pocket money (extra spending money) there are a few ways. Perhaps one advantage Blogger has over free Wordpress is the ability to monetize your blog. I haven't fully read Wordpress's TOS, but they may not even allow affiliate links. Please check your TOS before implementing the tips I offer below.


If you are using Blogger, or perhaps self-hosted Wordpress, you can easily add Google Ads to your site. I run them on my site and my RSS feed. Unless you are pulling in at least 30K - 50K pageviews a month, you aren't going to get rich quick. Last month was the first month that I earned something almost daily from my adds and it was only a penny a day. While occasionally someone will click on the ad (and sometimes earn as much as $1.30), it is mostly impressions that will bring in the "steady" income.

I've noticed some bloggers have started offering paid advertising on their blogs. While this can bring in more money, I caution you on the accountability issues you may encounter. In the US (probably in other countries that have taxes), you will need to account for this income and if you make more than $600 you will pay income taxes on it. Those who you are selling advertisement space to may also wish for you disclose the number of impressions and/or clicks their ad received. Authors and other outlets want to make sure they are getting their money worth.

Affiliate/Partner Programs

Bloggers are in fact online advertisements in many ways. Do you link to booksellers in your reviews? Why not get paid for it? Many booksellers have affiliate or partner programs where you will receive a small (usually 4 - 7%) advertisement fee should someone purchase through your link. Because you get an accounting report, it can also help bolster your reputation with publishers if you can show you recommendation leads to sales. Most bloggers I know are Amazon affiliates, but do not overlook supporting your (or your readers') independent bookstore. You can sign up for the Affiliate program at IndieBound, which allows readers to find their favorite books at their local book store. You may also wish to talk to your independent bookstore about possible partnerships. Maybe you could offer a coupon on your site that readers then used in the store and you received a small compensation.


In today's economy no job is safe. Have you thought about the writing, marketing, networking, etc skills you are gaining through maintaining a blog?

Freelance writing: I'm sure many, including me, have looked into freelance writing opportunities. Have you seen HubPages in your search queries? Anyone writing for them? I've read some about it, but would love to hear personal stories.

Writing jobs are difficult to break into. You will need to build your credits/by line a bit more than your blog if you new to this. I have started writing for my local It doesn't pay, but my writing gets a bit more visibility. Many communities have a, but if not they may be interested in starting one in your area. If you editorial and/or journalism experience they may hire you to run it. There are "blogs" that are collaborations that accept contributions. Some pay and some don't. You can check out Huffington Post, Book Riot, and I just had a new one follow me on twitter yesterday ThunderDome Magazine. You can also check out literary magazines and journals for libraries/booksellers as they often pay for reviews. Roughly $20 can be expected depending on length requirements and circulation of publication.

Blog to Book: Isn't everyone writing a book? Depending on what you write on your blog, you may have content that can be reworked into a book. It is becoming easier and easier to get your words in front of the masses and earn a little bit of money at it. By offering expanded/unique content in book format, you have a ready made audience.

Freelance reading: One day, I kind of jokingly tweeted that I wanted a job where I read all day. Then I started wondering what kind of reading jobs might be available. The normal ones that have large amounts of reading in their job description popped up - literary agent, editor. But a couple of jobs I didn't know existed also turned up. Granted these are few and far between, might be dependent on where you live, and don't necessarily pay well, but they would be cool jobs to have.
  • Manuscript reader: Literary agencies and editors get way more submissions than they could possibly go through on their own. There are a few that rely on "slush pile" readers to help them narrow down the possibilities. But did you know the film industry also rely on script readers? Providing script coverage is more detailed than simply writing a review. Readers are paid per manuscript/screenplay. I saw a few bloggers mention a pay scale. It ranged from $25 - $125 (lower rates for manuscripts you reject and higher for ones you recommend and can be contingent on the length of the script). It should be noted that many in the industry are now using interns and assistants to fulfill this job.
  • Book scout: This is a new position that I learned about from a blogger in the film industry. It would be super cool and I will talk a bit more about why more bloggers could become book scouts in tomorrows post. In essence, a book scout finds books for film/television adaptation. I learned some really interesting stuff from Amanda of The Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog. Book scouts are often employed by a studio or production company and work closely with publishers and literary agents to discover titles maybe a year in advance of its publication. This is a salaried position that may receive a "signing bonus" and even film credit. Check out my post tomorrow for more of my thoughts on book scouting.
Well, this post turned out longer than my typical posts. As you can see there are many options should you want to pursue blogging, reading, writing on a more professional level. One last tip - it is often who you know so put those networking skills we talked about yesterday to work and you never know where it might lead.

Day 1 - Introductions
Day 2 - Giveaways!
Day 3 - Real Life
Day 5 - Future of Blogging

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  1. Wow, that is a LOT of good advice in there. Pretty much something for everyone. Thanks for this, I'll be checking out some of these things.

    1. Great! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad I provide some good info.

  2. A book scout? I love that idea! I've never heard of ThunderDome, so I'm going to check that out now.

    If you have the time, I’d love to hear from you at my armchair BEA post.