From hobby to ‘jobby’: 5 ways to turn a love of reading & books into a business

Writers aren’t the only ones who can transform their passion into a career. Readers can turn their love of books into an income stream, too. Here are five business ideas for readers and/or book lovers. While these opportunities won’t make your rich, they can generate part-time or even full-time income, depending on how much effort you put into the venture. From easiest to most complex, here are five ways to transform a love of books into some cash:

  1. Start a review blog and sell advertising. You read anyway, right? Start a blog and begin writing book reviews. You’ll gets loads of free books from authors requesting reviews. Once you build up blog traffic, you can sell sidebar ads to authors wanting to promote their books. Depending on ad size and blog traffic, ads typically sell from $30 to $100 per month. You can sell ads on your home page—and on pages related to specific genres. (Note: income is derived from the sale of blog ads, not reviews. Selling reviews is unethical, and reputable authors won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole). To get an idea which genres are underserved and offer the most opportunity, refer to this Facebook post.
  2. Start a book promotion newsletter and sell advertising. You can promote free & 99 cent books (popular with readers), focus on specific genres (popular with authors), or focus on new releases (desperately needed in the market), or even do a book review newsletter. You’ll need a website/landing page where readers can subscribe. Once you have a subscriber base you can sell advertisement in the newsletter. How much you earn depends on the number of subscribers and the ROI you can deliver. Some newsletters charge $10 for a listing; others charge $100 or more (the latter generally has proven ROI or return on investment). If you target your emails by genre, authors will love you.
  3. Start a blog tour service. Schedule and coordinate guest appearances, interviews, cover reveals, spotlight posts for authors on various blogs. This involves building a list of receptive bloggers willing to host guest authors. Many book bloggers focus on “general romance,” and most blog tour companies tend to focus on those. However, there are many woefully underserved niche markets such as science fiction romance and sports romance. Blog tour companies can earn between $50 and $200 per booking depending the length and complexity of the tour. (A one-day cover reveal might be $50, a multi-week tour could be $200).
  4. Organize multi-author promotions for a build-your-newsletter-list campaign. This MUST be targeted by genre. Basically, you run giveaway promotion in which readers enter to win a prize in exchange for signing up for authors’ newsletter lists. The prize can be a gift certificate, an ereader, a book package or any combination. Authors pay to be included in the giveaway and may donate a book for the package (if that’s the prize). You coordinate/promote the drawing and collect and distribute the prizes to the winners and provide the email addresses to the authors. Depending on the numbers of authors involved, typical entry fees range from $30-$75 per author. Promotions can get 25-50+ authors participating. Authors will assist with promotions (you make that part of the entry requirement), but you do need to have a strong social media presence to make this one work.
  5. Become an author’s Personal Assistant. PAs manage an author’s administrative/promotional tasks to free up an author for writing. They schedule guest appearances, develop and coordinate street teams, send out books for reviews, manage/update an author’s social media sites, create SWAG, assist the author at conferences, etc. You must have excellent English, computer, and social media skills. PA either charge monthly flat fee of several hundred dollars or by hour (a quick Google search showed the range from $12-$30 per hour). To find out more about what PAs do, refer to this Facebook post.

What are your money-making suggestions for book lovers?

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2 Responses to From hobby to ‘jobby’: 5 ways to turn a love of reading & books into a business

  1. Thanks, Cara.

    These are all very interesting ideas. And, it was you who suggested I start a book review blog. 🙂
    One thing that is important to remember, particularly for impatient people like me, is that it can take a few months (or longer) and a lot of effort to build up to the point where you’re making a decent amount of money so make sure you’re in it for the long haul and be prepared for bumps along the road.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      That’s true. All of these take some time to build up to the point where you can earn some money (just like publishing!).

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