“Better grab an umbrella I make it rain”: On Monetization

Book Blogger Taboo?

I notice every once in awhile when I hop on the twitters people say monetization like it’s a dirty word. They act like monetization is the most taboo thing a book blogger can participate in and that one should be ashamed of it. I can’t help but laugh derisively at that. I mean, okay I will be the last person to say I’m not judgmental, because I totes am, but WHO THE FRICK ARE YOU to judge someone for wanting to make cashmoney on the side.

Make It Rain, Get Money, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe

Make It Rain

Fun Hobby Or Full Time Job

Sometimes blogging feels like a full time job. If you are a successful blogger and I’ll leave you to determine your metrics for that, you likely put in AT LEAST 14 hours per week blogging. You deserve to be compensated for that. Not criticized. Not to mention all the hours spent reading. Then add in the time promoting your blog and creating community and whoa Nelly it seems like you do more work on your blog than you do at your job.

What Are My Book Blogging Out Of Pocket Costs?

Further I am sure SO MANY OF YOU can relate to spending out of pocket money on your own blog. I will give you the figures for what I have spent, because I am such a full disclosure kind of girl. I spend $56 a year for hosting my blog. I spend $10 a year on my domain name. I spent a one time cost of $87 for my Thesis theme which has helped my SEO tremendously. And I’ve probably spent around $200 this year on shipping. (Sorry I just am unable to muster pity for people who whine about shipping one book within the US media mail for $3, cheapass).

Recouping Costs

So, I am recouping my costs and I will be damned if I hear another person complaining about other people monetizing. When you pay my blogging salary, then you can complain to me about my ads. Before that, I shall laugh in YO FACE.

How Am I Monetizing?

Blog ads. You have to apply to join, but when you are accepted you just put in your data and source and set your own ad prices. Then they create HTML for ad strips for you. Those ad strips do measure your stats, so if you click on mine it will tell you approximate weekly impressions. Then people will submit ads to you and you simply click yes or no for the ad and that is IT. (FYI if you want to advertise your blog or book here my prices are low and my stats are relatively high for the book blogging niche).

Amazon Affiliation: When I review a book I always link to Amazon and get a 4-6% commission if people buy ANYTHING on Amazon after clicking the link. Also, I try to be funny in that affiliate section. So far I have made a grand total of $17.

I’m certainly NOT getting rich off of blogging, but I am slowly and steadily saving my way towards one of these because it will TOTALLY enhance my blogging experience plus is a HUGE upgrade from my tiny netbook.

So, a few takeaway questions I wanted to ask you:

  • What are you doing to monetize your book blog?

  • Do you think monetization is selling out?

  • Any interesting success stories?

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I envy those bloggers who have decided to monetize their blogs, including you. I want to, but I just had that fear that people will look down at me, and like you said, think of it as a bad thing.

    But I’ve seriously started thinking of monetizing now. Thing is, I think I need to garner more views first ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I applaud you for posting about this. I have Adsense on my blog and I’m not ashamed. Just because Blogger hosting is free it doesn’t mean there aren’t any other expenses. Like you said, shipping costs, web design fees, domain fee, all that stuff adds up.

  3. Make it rain, April! Make it rain! Seriously, I don’t see the harm in this at all. If people don’t like looking at ads, they can get themselves an ad-blocker or stop visiting your site. If people don’t want to buy from Amazon, they don’t have to click on your links. If people just simply don’t like the idea of you making money, they have some more serious problems to deal with.

  4. I want to monetize but at this point it seems more hassle than helpful. But I would never begrudge anyone else the ability to monetize on their blog.

    • Honestly, monetizing is not too terribly hard. The application for BlogAds took about 15 minutes to fill out and then they do all of the html so I just had to post the widgets on my blog and then I click yes or no. It’s a super quick process.

  5. I could not agree with you more!

    I had a reader of my blog make a comment on my survey that I did a few moths ago: “I remember you saying that blogging isn’t work for you, and you don’t recieve money from your blog, but then it seemed like a week later you started with paid advertisment on your blog.”

    And it of pissed me off! My blog isn’t work for me, but I don’t get paid to do it. Do I wish that I did? Hell yes I do! Why wouldn’t a person want to get paid for something that they love doing? Isn’t that the ultimate dream? Then you never have to “work” a day in your life. Why should I feel bad about wanting that? As long as I’m not getting “paid” to spin my reviews one way or another, what does it matter.

    I like you use BlogAds and the Amazon Associates program. I also use Google Adsense too. (I have a remnant code for google when I don’t have a blogad running, that way I still “make” money with or without a ad from BlogAds.)

    Also like you, I’m not getting rich by blogging, but it’s nice to have the extra cash to send a package, buy a book I want, or go to an event.

    As long as your not doing pop up ads, or working a million affiliate links in your posts, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m not trying to trick my readers into helping me make money!

    Sorry for the book long comment, but I just wish that it wasn’t such a taboo too.

    • I will always love book long comments.

      I may have to investigate into the Adsense remnant code thing, for when I don’t have ads running.

      I’m really glad you provided your take on monetizing here ๐Ÿ˜€

      And it sucks that we can’t all be happy for each other for making some money from all the time put in blogging.

  6. Lol – first off – love the title of your post! Make it rain all the way to the bank!!! I have 2 blogs which are monetized for the past 3 years (both through Glam Media in case anyone is interested – they are pretty good long term). Here’s what I say and I’m sticking by it – for personal blogs, like today I did my hair, went to a party etc. I’m not a fan of them monetizing because it’s not really a service – but do I care if they do – hells no. For anyone else who is providing information or a service – book reviews (or any review of any kind), DIY, music playlists, daily style (what I wore today type thing) – whatev’s – monetize the hell out of it – if you want.

    And if you do monetize. Ignore the haters. Don’t respond – heck skim read that email or hating a$$ blog post – because they are wasting your time – your valuable time.

  7. Ways I monetize: I am a Youtube partner, which means I’m hooked up with Google Adsense. I can put ads on my blog from Google Adsense. I’m also an Amazon Affiliate and link as much as possible.

    It is SO not selling out. Like you said, book blogging is NOT cheap, so we have to recoup our cost. I think it would be selling out only if you’re reviewing a product that is either unrelated to your blog or if you are biased because of your payment.

    I don’t fear the people who criticize those of use who monetize. I see it as being paid for the service and opinions I provide. Book bloggers are some of the most important people in the circle of (book) life! We’re the common people telling other common people what’s good and what’s not.

    • Fair point. The ad I’m running now for Scandalous Desires actually makes me want to read the book, because I like romance, but if I do read the book, I won’t review it on here.

      That’s cool that Youtube allows people to monetize their videos now.

  8. The way I see it, if you’re monetizing to help cover costs from running the blog (i.e. you want to host giveaways and need to cover shipping, etc.) then there isn’t a problem here. I think a lot of people immediately think “You’re just trying to get rich off your blog.” I have been blogging for a billionty years (it feels like 2003 was that long ago, anyhow), but only since having my book blog become more popular and having a ton of books I’d like to give away, but I can’t afford Canadian postage (ugh) – I thought, why not try and bring in income to cover that? I recently put Google ads on my blog (in the last month) and I was torn over that decision because I blog for myself, not to make money. Then again, all these ARCs I have that I know could have better homes? I need to have help with postage costs.

    I put amazon links to books that I REALLY loved now on my posts. If I thought the book was “meh” I don’t. That’s my personal way of dealing with it though. I’m not going to try and “make money off of” something I don’t 100% endorse. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was the common ground between my warring “Don’t put ads!” and “the ads will help you!” mindsets.

    • Haha I have the amazon links up to books that I don’t 100% endorse, but I also see it as, click the link and buy something else if you want.

      I really am not sure how any one gets rich off of a book blog, lol. It seems the bloggers who get rich are the ones in SEO and web design and who blog about blogging and write ebooks are the ones that get rich.

  9. I support you fully–it’s an expensive hobby, when done right. I’ll read you either way. Your posts crack me up!

    I do have a question, though. You mentioned your SEO (which I’m just starting to figure out) — what’s a “thesis theme” and how did it help you?

  10. I have only been blogging for approx 6 months so I dont Monetize mine at the moment. I honestly didn’t know much about Monetizing. I have seen people tweeting about it with a negative tone.. but even not knowing much about it.. I’m smart enough to realize that the amount you make off that is probably not a ton. In the short amount of time I have been blogging though, I have spent a decent amount of ‘out of pocket’ money. By choice of course, for giveaways because they are fun. I have seen some of the boxes of books you giveaway, I cringe to think of the shipping that must cost you.

    And the work you put into a blog.. Now I just blog for fun. If I had time, I would take it more seriously, but as it is now, I barely find the time to write reviews sometimes. I can’t even imagine the kind of work you, and other bloggers put into yours. Of course you deserve to be compensated.

    So I dont think it’s a sell out at all. Keep doing what your doing because your obviously doing it right :0)

    I’m not stalking your blog btw, I just started email subscribing.. yours is the first blog i’m trying out with that since your not on blogger, and I have to say, it’s very convinient. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Haha, I am cool with that, email subscriptions. Also, if you read blogs via google reader, there should be a spot where you can just pop in a URL and that will just add in the blog’s feed to google reader.

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment! AND congrats on making it to 5 months, hope you stick around for the long haul ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Haters gonna hate.

    I was reading on your blog last night and I can’t remember if I asked you or not on your november events post about the ads, but I was going to…became I’m just hella interested in it. So, you pretty much provided a service to me today by answering all of these questions.

    Thanks!

  12. I think ads aren’t a big deal as long as your blog’s layout is still easy to nagivate and read. I have ads on my youtube channels, and so far I’ve made $2.34! Oh boy, I’m rich. But seriously, I think people that protest tastefully done ads on blogs are just jelly. They wish their blog was as cool as yours, so they bitch.

    ***Though just to play devil’s advocate, some could argue that you get “paid” in ARCs and swag and whatnot for posting good solid reviews and having a good following. I’ve never gotten an ARC from a publisher (I know you have to pay to attend BEA) so I don’t really know that side of things, but I can see how people could make that argument. I know it’s not the same as getting paid money, but still.

    • Yo, $2.34 isn’t too terrible.

      Yes, an ARC is a free book, BUT when you consider the amount of hours you invest in the book with reading it is where the trade-off comes, especially because you are sent the book with an expectation of a review. And you trade the time you could be using at a second job or whatever reading the ARC.

      I do love the devil’s advocacy, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather have money than an ARC. If I really need/want a book I will get it at a library, haha.

  13. A. Knight says:

    Now, I’m thinking about doing it. I didn’t ever think it was a bad idea. I just wasn’t sure if it was WORTH doing. But it seems productive. I’d like to have extra cash for shipping costs, at least. Maybe even save for BEA…?

    I laughed so much from this post, thanks for sharing. And those who say you’re doing wrong with monetizing, I SAY STICK IT! >_<

  14. (Sorry I just am unable to muster pity for people who whine about shipping one book within the US media mail for $3, cheapass).

    BAHAHAHA.

    I’m not doing anything to monetize on my blog, and I’m not sure if I ever will get to that point. I’m not even sure if that’s a goal, y’know? TBH, I just haven’t thought about it. But for folks like you who want to monetize, girl GO GET YOURS. That’s awesome. No one’s paying you to lie to anyone, your ads aren’t taking up 90% of the screen real estate, so what’s the harm?

    • Word. There is ZERO harm. I think instead of this whole ‘the first rule of monetization culture is you do not talk about monetization’ we should all just celebrate each other being able to make a buck or two off of a passion.

  15. Thank you for this!

    I just started my blog back up a month ago with full force and I’m loving it. I’ve always wondered how to make some money off of the blog, though, to cover costs. If I get dedicated readers, I would like to eventually buy my domain and have a few more giveaways. Giveaways irk me so much right now … I’m in Canada and every.single.giveaway. is for US only. I sent away a book to the states and it cost $3 … I wondered why it’s such a big deal? Then I had my blogiversary giveaway and sent a package for $12. And some people do this all the time!

    I mainly do this for my own enjoyment and to meet people in the blogging world, but yes, it would be nice. There are so many hours I put in reading–mainly for enjoyment, but I always review what I read–not to mention at least an hour or two a day working on posts.

    However, it is nice to be contacted about books and ARCs … maybe in the future I’ll get more requests for reviews–hopefully for some more well-known books. But for now, it’s all so new and exciting.

    Oh, and I link every single review to Amazon or a reputable purchasing website. I don’t know if there’s reimbursement for stuff like that or not!

    Anyway, thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You do get reimbursed if you sign up to be an affiliate and people buy things after clicking your links.

      I remember back when I was on BookMooch it was never very much to ship internationally, but it seems shipping internationally, out of US, has just skyrocketed.

  16. Bring it!

  17. okay, i should write more, but i feel like you’ve already said it all.

    LOL

    so just cheering you on and fingers crossed you continue to get more hits, etc and get that screen, yeah? ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I am off to check out this ad link because I have always considered doing this as well but never thought there would be book ads. Thanks for the tip and I say good for you!

  19. You know how I feel on this subject. MAKE IT RAIN GIRL! I just feel like..it’s not effecting the quality of your blog and you DO spend so much time and money out of it…why not be able to support some of it.

    PS. I was totally going to do a Thumbs Up Thumbs Down (since I haven’t done one in a bajillion years) this Friday asking people what they thought about it since I’m contemplating it as a future goal…especailly because of our recent gchats about. NOW I DON’T HAVE TOOO. This post is so good and organized and awesome!

  20. Completely agree. I used to have adsense on my blogger site, but since I’ve moved to wordpress I’ve been looking at other options. Blogads sounds like a great idea, although I don’t think I have the traffic for it yet.

    Out of curiosity, would it be wrong of a book blogger if they actually managed to make a bit of an income on their blog? Whenever I read a monetization posts, the majority of them speak of recouping losses, but… What if you were able to do more than that? Would it still be acceptable then?

  21. I’m not doing anything to monetize my blog right now and it’s mostly because I’m too lazy to do anything about it. LOL WordPress doesn’t allow ads in its free blogs so I’d have to transfer my blog to a self-hosted site and I’m not ready to do all the work involved in that. Plus, I don’t think I get enough hits on my blog to make monetizing worth my time. I don’t mind following blogs who do that though. Yay for you guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is a pain in the ass to transfer to self-hosted, but honestly, I think that it is worth it! And yeah, it is a LOT of hard work to get enough hits to be worth monetizing, but to me, it was worth it.

      And thanks!

  22. I don’t look down on it or have a problem with it I only don’t like those blogs that have more ads then content. You know the ones where there is a banner all over the place. I can understand it too I mean hosting costs domain name cost and shipping cost ugh cost cost cost. My question as it’s sort of on subject is I’l like to switch to wordpress myself was it hard? Did you have any problems? I want to but I’m scared I’ll mess it up.

    • Honestly, I did MESS up my feed when I transferred to wordpress, but other than that, it’s quite easy. I mean, it took me about 30 minutes to do every thing. What took the most time was finding a good layout, and WP isn’t too hard to understand if you play around with it. If you can figure out blogger, you can figure out wordpress!

  23. u know, it makes me laugh when people are like UR TRYING TO GET RICH OFF UR BLOG!!!!

    srsly? do you have a brain you complete dimwits! and i don’t care about ads tbh, you do what you’ve got to do.

  24. Awesome post, April!

    I spend a lot of money on shipping. 98% of my giveaways are international so that really adds up…O.o Not to mention the time and effort put into blogging. My biggest problem with ads is the fact that I’m anal about my sidebar lol. I try to keep everything as neat as possible, but I finally made myself get over it. I recently added Adsense and I got accepted to Blogads just a few days but I haven’t done anything with it yet. I see nothing wrong with it as long as the blogger isn’t completely junking up their blog with ads. It’s crazy not to want to make a little money!

  25. I don’t have a problem with monetizing. At this point, I realize how costly it is to maintain a blog. From my perspective though, I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle setting up all these accounts. I may spend the same number of hours as you do running my blog, but my audience certainly isn’t as large.

    And by the way, if you’re ever looking to switch a host, check out bubble.nu. I’ve been using Bubble for over 2 years now and I’ve only experience downtime… once and that was over a year ago. Best part is it’s free.

  26. I just realized you changed your theme. NICE! And yeah I have been thinking of monetizing, but just haven’t not because of the taboo because how much work will it be to set up compared to how much I will actually make.

    And I agree, when I was very active on my blog, I spent min amount of 20 hours plus reading time on the blog. It takes a lot of work!

  27. Right on ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel ya on the costs.

  28. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I love how you are getting people talking about this. I had really hoped that there would be more interaction on the Goodreads group and I have a few more ideas for easing our readers into accepting the fact that this crap takes time and money. Just because we love doing it doesn’t mean that we should be paying for the privilege of doing it well. ARC’s and popularity do not pay for hosting, our time, or giveaways.

  29. Yay! I agree. I’ve been trying out different things this year to make some money– mostly to afford hosting and domain name buying and whatever– and so far it’s been pretty abysmal. I’ve got different ads up and some affiliate memberships, and probably this month I’ve made maybe $1. ๐Ÿ™ Sigh. Other months were better in the earnings department, though, and I don’t know what I did different then that I’m not doing now! It’s very annoying.

  30. I’m very late to this post but I completely agree with you. As a broke, unemployed blogger, monetization helps in case I want/need to do a giveaway. But for the most part, I don’t get that much off of it. I think I’ve gotten a total of like $25 from Amazon Affiliates over the course of three years or so. That’s like 3 hours of work at my old job. So yeah, not exactly getting rich here.

    I tried doing BlogAds but they never got back to me, so I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe I should try again? I have Google AdSense right now, doing Amazon Affiliates, and monetize my Youtube videos, but I probably make a couple cents a day if that. It certainly adds up, but it takes a long time.

    I never had any qualms about monetizing because a) it’s my blog and b) I’m broke. Even when I had a job, any extra money helped. Knowing that I’m making something off my blog is a nice feeling because I do put so much into it.

  31. I just re-read this post for a vlog I’m doing to explain my own monetization, and I just saw the link for the iMac. THE PRETTY. And it will definitely help you with blogging AND it has easy-to-use video editing software :]

  32. It seems I’m 2.5 months late on this discussion, but it’s never too late to join the party. Right?!

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with putting ads on your blog. I actually love BlogAds! Is that weird? I like seeing actual ads for books, I think it’s pretty cool. I also like Amazon links. What’s not to like about being able to click the link and buy the books immediately. Easy peasy. I don’t like blogs that have so many ads I can’t even read the content, or I don’t know where to look. What’s up with that?

    I’d love to monetize my blog with Amazon and BlogAds. I’m an affiliate with Amazon UK, but I have a bigger USA readership, so…it doesn’t help all that much. Plus, I don’t have any ads on my blog for it. I’m an idiot, I know this. I’d love to do BlogAds, but I don’t think my stats are good enough. I’m working on it though, and I’m surprised at how much I’ve grown this year already. But it’s my goal to be able to do BlogAds by the summer. But, I’m pretty small fry even though I’ve been blogging since June 2009.

    I think I should get paid (even if it’s just a little bit) for my hard work and time. I don’t have problems with anyone else doing it either.

Trackbacks

  1. […] โ€œBetter grab an umbrella I make it rainโ€: On Monetization – April has a fantastic post about monetizing your book blog and her reasons for going that direction. Well worth the read! […]

  2. […] โ€œBetter grab an umbrella I make it rainโ€: On Monetization: I notice every once in awhile when I hop on the twitters people say monetization like itโ€™s a dirty word. They act like monetization is the most taboo thing a book blogger can participate in and that one should be ashamed of it. I canโ€™t help but laugh derisively at that. I mean, okay I will be the last person to say Iโ€™m not judgmental, because I totes am, but WHO THE FRICK ARE YOU to judge someone for wanting to make cashmoney on the side. […]

  3. […] page rank by clicking here.ย I spent $87 on my wordpress theme Thesis which is SEO ready.I also monetized in November and have made $293.68 via Blog Ads. I signed up for Google Ad Sense in December and have made $15 […]

  4. Ruby's Reads says:

    […] the purposes of this survey BUT recently April from Good Books and Good Wine had a great post about monetizing your blog and whether or not it is a book blogger taboo. ALSO, I remember way back in the beginning of the […]

  5. […] the purposes of this survey BUT recently April from Good Books and Good Wine had a great post about monetizing your blog and whether or not it is a book blogger taboo. ALSO, I remember way back in the beginning of the […]

  6. […] “Better grab an umbrella I make it rain”: On Monetization: […]

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