I recently came across a book that another blogger had written a review of and provided an interview with the author. The book sounded interesting and was a fit for the topic of one of my blogs. I sent an e-mail to the author offering to review the book and post an interview with him. I told him I would be happy with an electronic review copy – thinking this would save him printing costs, postage and effort.
He responded fairly quickly suggesting that he’d like to do this and that the easiest thing would be for me to buy his book from Amazon as this would be “simpler and inexpensive”.
I understand the situation from his perspective. Out of the blue, he gets an e-mail that seems to be from someone interested in his book who is too cheap to pay $5 for it. He sees the value in having a blog promote his material, but doesn’t want to give away what he’s created for free. He suggests, wanting the best of both worlds, that I buy it then promote it for him.
From my perspective, I have many opportunities to do sponsored posts for my blogs and can easily charge a few hundred dollars for them. I feel that I’ve just offered him a gift: I’m willing to spend hours of my time reading his book, provide feedback on it in the form of a review, give him a chance to respond to that feedback and talk about the content with my audience. Readers who find the review or interview interesting are more likely to buy his book. Having a write up about it and links to its Amazon page will help it and him rank higher in search engines. This will continue to provide him benefit for as long as the blog, and that post, remain on the internet.
Conservatively this would be worth $500 from a smaller blog or thousands of dollars from a large, well established blog.
My reaction was exactly what you would expect if you offered someone a $500 gift and they demanded $505 instead: I shrugged my shoulders and moved on to another book that I was interested in reading.
I read a post months ago where the author talked about helping companies understand how to work with bloggers. One of the things that surprised me was that companies are often indignant when bloggers expect to be paid. For some reason companies expect that bloggers will drop everything and focus on saying nice things about their products for free. I think we all occasionally do that for something we are especially taken with – I was initially willing to do that for the author of this book. For something that we’re less enthusiastic about, that promotion has value.
Anyone who wants to benefit from that promotion should be prepared to recognize this value and either be appreciative if it’s offered to them for free or view it as comparable to a TV station or newspaper telling them their ad rates when they’re told what the blogger charges.