Most book reviewers do not make money for reviewing books. They spend a lot of time reading books, wading through e-mails, & posting social media. They work hard on their blogs--writing and re-writing reviews so they are worded just right. They go out of their way to post these reviews in areas where authors want them to be posted. They do all these things out of love and have to put up with a lot of complaining and whining at times from authors who are unappreciative. I've seen a lot of these kinds of posts on facebook lately from book bloggers.
As an author, I appreciate reviewers more than anything. Not just reviewers who give me five star reviews, but ALL reviewers, even the ones who never read my books or hate my books. They work hard, just like me, but rarely get thank you's or anything in return. I can relate. It's very difficult to be appreciated or make money in this industry.
And that's why I want to help pay them back. I want them all to understand that there are ways to make money reviewing books if that's something they'd be interested in. They don't have to do all the things they do for free. They deserve some compensation.
Here's a list of ways you can possibly make money as a book blogger...
1. Monetize Your Blog Or Website
My blog, the one you are reading right now, is monetized. If you notice, there are advertisements in a couple of places. That's because I have a google adsense account. As soon as you have at least ten pages on your web-site or blog, you likely qualify for a google adsense account. If you're getting a lot of views on your blogs, then this could make you some decent cash. Unless you have a really huge following, it's unlikely to replace your day job, but it will at least give you the opportunity to make a little cash on the side, money that you deserve.
Go to http://www.google.com/adsense to learn more about it.
There are other sites that allow you to use ads that you might be interested in using in addition to google adsense or instead of it, but those web-sites are generally harder to use than google adsense (most websites have features that allow you to easily add google adsense to them with minimal effort on your part) and have less family friendly advertisements. It might be a better fit for you, though, if you specialize in reviewing erotica novels, since google adsense is more focused on family friendly themes.
2. Write Reviews For Hubpages
Hubpages uses google adsense and its own advertisements to pay you. It pays better than google adsense on its own. It also helps bring traffic naturally to its own site without any effort at all on your part. They work with google to do this.
The one problem with hubpages is if you post reviews there, you can't post them anywhere else. Not to your own blog, not to Amazon, not to Barnes & Noble. They demand exclusivity, which is why I have my own blog and don't post everything I write on that site.
That being said, I'm making as much writing for hubpages as I am self-publishing novels. It's worth considering and using if possible.
3. Sell The Physical Copies Of Books You Receive
You have no obligation to keep the books you receive for free from authors. As long as a book has had it's release day officially for the public to buy and consume, you should be able to sell it on Ebay to help you make some money.
This might be a problem with ARCs because they aren't fully edited or finished in a way that the author or publisher would like the public to see, but other copies should be fine.
Another option is you can give away a stack of your books in a contest, which will likely help you get more subscribers to your newsletter or blog. In turn, those subscribers can make you more money if you go the adsense route because of more views to your blog. Authors love participating in contests, so if you want, you can also make a sign up sheet where authors can pay $5-$15 to participate in the contest by asking for follows on their newsletter, twitter, instagram, or likes on their facebook pages. This could help you earn a little bit of money as well if enough authors sign up for it.
The only thing to keep in mind about contests is these days rafflecopter asks for a lot of money to use their website and this will cut into your profit.
4. Get A Reviewing Job For A Newspaper, Website, Or Magazine
If you have hundreds of reviews on your blog of various books, especially if you have faithfully reviewed a book every week or month (or whatever your schedule is) and rarely missed a deadline, then you can possibly use that as a portfolio to get a job working for a newspaper, website, or magazine that will pay you. They'll especially like you if you have a large following that you can bring with you to the new place.
5. Organizing Blog Tours
I don't know about book blogging, but as an author, I wind up making friends with and getting to know a lot of other authors, so I imagine its the same in the book blogging community. You probably have connections with a lot of other book bloggers. It will take a lot of work, but it's possible that you could get some of them to sign up to receive books to review from you and then to use your connections to create blog tours. Authors are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for services like that, so if you think you can handle it (and you can make your own blogs part of the tour), it could possibly make you a ton of money. Just make sure you have enough book bloggers interested that you can keep your promises about how many sites each author will have their books featured on, on average.
6. Accepting Donations
It's not the easiest thing in the world to convince people to give you donations and you may feel shy about doing so because you don't want to bother people. You don't have to be over-the-top about it. Just providing a way, like through paypal or patreon, for people to donate to you may be enough. If you have a large following there might be some people who want to give you money in appreciation for your services, but you've never provided a way for them to do so.
And I know some book bloggers actually have a URL they pay for to host their book reviews. You at least deserve some compensation for that, since you're taking money out of your own pocket to make people happy.
So consider setting up an account on either patreon or paypal where you can receive donations and leave a link on your site with a thank you on it. That's all you have to do.
It's not selfish or bad for you to ask for help, but if you use patreon, you'll probably have to offer some special services to people who donate to you there and you'll have to figure out what that kind of special service might be. Like maybe tutorials on how to become a book blogger as well or how to get as many views as you get on your blog.
7. Make A Youtube Channel
A lot of book bloggers are posting their reviews on youtube these days. I know this may be hard for you. I have a youtube channel and an instagram, both of which I rarely use because I don't like pictures or videos of myself. I'm shy. Most readers and writers are introverts.
But if you are feeling up for it, you can try posting videos to youtube of books you have reviewed. If you get enough views, youtube will pay you for them by monetizing your channel and you can also use google adsense to monetize your videos as well.
Ways You Should Be Cautious About And Avoid When Trying To Make Money As A Book Blogger...
1. Reviewing A Book Because An Author Gave You Money
As long as you make sure the review is fair and honest, then technically this isn't unethical, but it really skirts the line between what is ethical and unethical. There's no way to prove that a five star review that you posted and were paid for is unbiased if you received money for it. People are suspicious nowadays after some authors were caught paying for people to write fake five star reviews.
Also, Amazon has been filing lawsuits and tracking down reviewers they suspect have received
money in exchange for five star reviews. It's better to stay away from this whole area altogether in order to protect yourself. You don't want to be facing a lawsuit from Amazon who has big lawyers that receive giant paychecks from them and know how to twist the law in their favor.
2. Becoming A Top Reviewer On Amazon
I already kind of covered why you shouldn't do this in #1, but I have more to say.
A lot of people have been making money by becoming top reviewers on Amazon for various products. As a top reviewer, they get all kinds of free things that they can later resell and make money off of or keep and just benefit from. It sounds nice, receiving all that free stuff.
But there's been a history lately of Amazon treating book bloggers poorly. A lot of them can't even post to Amazon anymore because they've been threatened with lifetime bans from the company for supposed fake reviews. Amazon tends to be the judge, jury, and executioner about these types of issues. They don't care what proof you have of your innocent or your arguments, they just bring the punishment and there's very little you can do about it.
So it might be better in some cases to not post reviews on Amazon at all. Even though I benefit the most when book bloggers post their reviews to Amazon, I also know how horrible Amazon can be to them sometimes and am always understanding when they can't.