If you’re an avid reader, you might zip through two or three books a week (maybe more!). Maybe you even write book reviews and post them at Amazon or other online venues. Have you ever thought of maintaining your own blog, posting the reviews there, and making money from your efforts?
I’m not promising that you could make a hundred thousand dollars a year doing this (though I suppose it’s possible), but I make several hundred bucks a month through the Amazon affiliate program, and there’s no reason you couldn’t make some extra cash too.
While it does take time and effort to build up a blog, it’s something you can do in your spare time, and if you’re a story-lover then it’ll be a breeze to review the books you read, so it won’t seem like work (thus making it easier to stick to it!).
Here’s how to get started:
Pick a niche
While you can build up a blog that reviews all sorts of books, it’s easiest to draw an audience (and start “ranking” in the search engines) if you become known as a reviewer of certain types of books. For example, I enjoy reading fantasy stories and business books, so either one of those might make a good niche for me to cover.
Your goal is to attract readers to your blog, and if they love whatever genre or non-fiction niche you regular review, they’ll be more likely to come back again and again. If you review a mystery novel one day, a cookbook the next, and a history book the day after that, your readers might not come back as often (since they’re only interested in some of the books you review). It’s best to become the go-to person in a certain niche.
Start your blog
You can start a blog without spending a dime if you sign up at Blogger or another site that offers everything you need for free. If you get serious and start making some money, you can always register a domain name and pay for your own web hosting later on.
In the beginning, the most important thing is to just get started. Since you’ve probably already read scores of books in your niche, it shouldn’t be hard to whip out those first few book reviews. Once you’ve posted five or ten reviews, you can find an affiliate program to sign up for.
Sign up to be an affiliate
Being an affiliate is essentially working on commission. You get special links to put on your site (i.e. if you reviewed a Harry Potter book, you’d want to link to that specific book at the bookstore), and you make money when a reader buys that book through your link. Typical earnings are around 5%-6% for books, which isn’t a lot, but it adds up over time. The more reviews you write (and books you link to), the more money you can end up making. Every review you write will stay on your blog indefinitely, which means that three years from now you could still be earning commissions on reviews you write today.
As far as which affiliate program to join, all of the major booksellers have them. I like Amazon because they sell so much more than books. It’s not at all uncommon for someone to click on the book link I mentioned and end up buying other things while they’re there. Once, I made $70 in one sale when someone bought a plasma tv (something I’d never written about).
Bring readers to your blog
There are whole books out there on building traffic to your site, so I’ll just touch on this briefly, but you need to do more than write reviews. The big money starts coming when lots and lots of people are finding your reviews (either through the search engines or through links from other sites).
The main way to become more “findable” is to get lots and lots of links pointing to your blog. You can start out asking friends and family members to link to you. Then you might go out and find related blogs and see if they’ll let you “guest post” in exchange for a link to your site. You can also look up “article marketing” for more ideas on how to get links.
That’s all I have time to mention in this article, but I hope I’ve inspired you to make some money from your reading habit. If nothing else, you could end up making enough to pay for a few new books every month!
By Tc Thorn
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