Yesterday’s scone-eating visitor told me about the latest online discussion. After the question whether authors should be paid at book festivals, we are now debating whether bloggers should be paid. For blogging.
No! Why ever should they? I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to get money, but I can see no reason to pay people for engaging in a ‘hobby’ even if they spend hours every day, doing the blogging.
I did an event once. By that I mean, I was the event, curious though that might seem. I got paid for it. Not much, but it’s the thought that counts. And I was chauffeured there and back, all six miles, or whatever it was. I was also made to feel very welcome.
But that was sort of my book festival appearance; a thing I was asked to do as a follow-on to my main ‘work’ which is blogging. Unpaid. Because I chose it and because I fail to see who could or should pay me, was there such a thing as plentiful money (aside from for bankers and deadly weapons).
I have said this before. Possibly – probably – countless of times. No one could pay me and leave me independent enough to say what I want to say. It’s not just the glowing review that would begin to look suspicious. There are many other things I write about that might seem questionable if you knew there was money involved, and from whom. My favourite fantasy is asking J K Rowling for a witch’s stipend, but even that could turn sour pretty fast. When I refuse to say bad things about her? That would be because I was in her employ. Maybe.
What’s more, I’d probably be told what to do and when, like other employed people are. Where would the fun be in that?
This is the hobby that grew. From the imagined hour every now and then, it’s several hours a day. I get ‘paid’ in kind; free books, [some] tickets to events, the odd free meal and drink. And introductions to my heroes.
I did get paid back in the days before the 2008 financial crash. I blogged for the Guardian, every three or four weeks, when I came up with a topic they liked the sound of. The ‘exposure’ was fun. The money helped pay for my laptop. But whereas it was interesting to be able to express my views on the website of a national newspaper, I was also bound by their rules, and I was edited, both for content and for style. It was a useful experience, and occasionally I even thought the editors were right. A lot of the time I thought I was. Because I knew precisely what I wanted to say, while they knew what they wanted to pay for.
And that’s a good example. The Guardian is a body that [generally] pays people to write for them. They are the kind of organisation that would be right to pay bloggers, if bloggers in general should be paid. But I understand there is no longer any money for it. One could blog about something related to the newspaper’s other content, but not try and promote their own products.
Let’s face it. Many bloggers are still at school, or have just left. They write well, but perhaps not to newspaper standards. It seems that if you blog about fashion or beauty, you stand to make money. I don’t know about this, it’s just what I’ve heard. I don’t know why books should be different. They just are.
Bookwitch stepped out into the open of her own free will. I’m thinking that’s how most book bloggers started. I’m still here, while the quick research I did before writing this, showed me that many of my major competitors from a few years ago haven’t written much, or anything, for quite some time. That’s not necessarily bad. It’s nature’s way. You do something you like, and then you might run out of time, or you have something else you’d rather do.