Saturday, July 18, 2015

Word from the Herd--Authors shouldn't work for free...but Bloggers should...?

A little bit back and author's post went through my Facebook timeline.

She'd encountered a blogger that mentioned that she didn't charge for review but accepted donations. And the author was wanting people's opinions.

There were some pretty opinionated anti-blogger replies from both authors and reviewers because how dare a blogger ask for monetary...anything. Their "payment" should be the free book and the honor of reading it.

And it's something I wanted to talk about today because it's been bothering me a bit.

Yall, hear me out until the end, please. I'm kind of playing devil's advocate here on the topic ;)

While the idea of paid reviews isn't something I exactly support I do find one of the things that popped up again and again in the thread interesting.

The idea that: Bloggers should blog for free...because they love it and are passionate about what they do.
They shouldn't be trying to bilk authors out of their hard earned money.
(mentioned by multiple authors in the thread)

And yet...

We hear time and time again that authors shouldn't have to work for free
(aka the book pricing debate against lower priced books and the pirating issue)

After all it's their passion and they spend endless hours writing those books for readers to enjoy and they should be paid appropriately.

But at the exact same time...

I have a passion for blogging...I spend endless hours writing posts for readers to ya see where I'm going here? Yet... I should do it for free because it's my passion.
*scratches head*

Why the double standard?

Blogging can be expensive and extremely time consuming.
I can easily spend 8 hours a day working on the blog between drafting posts, writing reviews/discussions, reading the books I receive for review (which is NOT the same as just for fun reading), promo-ing those posts, pulling together interviews, networking with other bloggers to increase blog traffic, etc.

It's an insane amount of time.

Then add in the costs of purchasing graphics, paying a designer if you can't do it on your own, buying domain names, hosting, swag or business cards, giveaways and shipping to winners. It can easily cost hundreds or thousands a year depending.

But as a Blogger I should do this for FREE.
My "payment" should be the book I'm receiving and the honor of getting to help the author.

All while providing authors FREE advertisement and promotions on my blog in the form of guest posts, interviews and reviews. Helping authors sell their books and make money while costing me money. There aren't too many industries where the sellers expect and get free advertisements on a daily basis and feel entitled to it as well. Quite the opposite really. Most industries pay quite a bit for promotions and spreading the word about their products and services. But authors should get that for their business for free.

Now. I'm just gonna lay this out there for yall.

I love what I do. I enjoy the blog and reviewing and helping out authors.
I don't accept payment for reviews and really have no plans to start charging for them.

But ladies, lets be honest...receiving a 99cent to $25 book (depending on format) in exchange for all the time I'm going to spend reading and promoting that book...that's some really shitty time-value return we've got going there. At best $25 value for 8 hours of work. Um...

So, yeah, I could understand that original blogger and why she put the idea of accepting donations up on her requests page. 

There's another double standard in this as well though. 
The trust worthiness of paid reviews.
The basic stance is that if a blogger is paid for their review it won't be trust worthy.
Hmm, yeah. I could see that. I'm not all that into paid reviews, interviews or guest posts.

But then what about places like RT or Kirkus reviews?
Their approval and high ratings are sought after by authors and then if favorable they're used liberally to promote the author's work. I get review requests from publishers constatly that tout how the author got a starred review from here or there.

And yet...those reviewers are paid.
So why is it okay for RT and Kirkus to pay their reviewers for reviews and be considered credible but if a blog does the same they're vilified? 
Interesting, yeah?

I don't really have an answer to any of the above.
I was just bothered by the double standards and felt like talking about it.
It's food for thought at least.

[edited to add: I'm more talking about payment for honest review so same expectations of review honesty that would be there in exchange for a free book. Not saying paid review that guarantees it's favorable, just wanted to clarify :) ]

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