How to Earn Money From Reading

Turn your passion for books into a steady stream of income

How to Earn Money From Reading

How is such a thing possible, you ask?

Buckle up for one informational ride of a lifetime.

It’s no secret that everyday more and more people utilize the internet to earn money. It’s also no secret that most people read books, and now more than ever, people like you are earning thousands of dollars a month, every month, by performing little to no work.

I know, it sounds too good to be true. I know, you’ve spent countless hours on the internet searching for just such a thing. I know, more often than not, what you come across is either fake, an exaggeration, or simply an overly convoluted scheme, which requires either hundreds of hours of your valuable time or hundreds of your valuable dollars, and for little to no return.

There are certainly numerous websites that offer books that you can read, and when you complete a book, rate, and review it, you can earn Satoshis, or Bitcoin, or some other crazy currency that amounts to peanuts, which you may or may not be able to redeem for actual cash, but what if there were an easier way?

Before jumping right into the process, I want to bring to light two concepts.

One, people who read, rate, and review books, all books, at any time, generate buzz.

When you read the Harry Potter series, or the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and you rate it, and review it, and discuss it on your book blog, website, or in your reader groups, or if you just tell your family, friends, and coworkers, you generate buzz over the series, and because of your valuable input, people buy those books.

Again, it’s no secret that when people find something they like, they want to share it with everyone; people like to belong, and when people find something they like, they share it with others in order to promote discussion—the sharing of thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Publishers count on such a paradigm; they sell numerous books because people like you read them, enjoy them, and discuss them, but there you are spending your money to purchase those books, and then you spend your time to discuss those books, but you get nothing in return; I mean, you get the joy of reading, and that’s great, but what if you could also earn actual money, real cash, for all your efforts?

Consider that when you buy, read, rate, review, and discuss the Harry Potter series, Bloomsbury Publishing, and J.K. Rowling, earn big bucks. Consider that when you purchase, read, rate, review, and discuss A Song of Ice and Fire, Bantam, and George R.R. Martin, earn big bucks. Do they give you anything in return? The next book in the series? Sure. If you buy it, and then they want you to share your thoughts and time with everyone you know, so they can turn around and earn more money.

What if you could earn a cut of the sales? Consider that when you generate buzz for books, you are selling books. Yes, you sell books. You are already doing this. You are already a salesman except you earn nothing for your efforts, but what if you did earn something for your efforts, and you didn’t have to change your routine in any way?

Does this sound like affiliate marketing? Are you familiar with affiliate marketing? If you’re reading this article, you probably are, but even if you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, you’re going to learn something that’s so simple, yet so genius, it’ll blow your socks off.

This leads right into the second concept I want to bring to light.

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be a convoluted mess. I know, I know, many of you have spent hours, days, weeks, searching YouTube, reading articles, visiting affiliate marketing experts’ websites, and all you find is a crazy mess. More often than not, you have to purchase specialized software, and then you have to trick other people into buying that software, and if you sell that software, or sometimes it’s a course, you get to earn pennies, which are placed into some nonexistent account.

Sometimes, you can download free, third-party, pay-per-click software, and if you can build the world’s greatest, most interactive, fanciest website, and cajole people into visiting your website, and subsequently trick them into clicking ads or whatever, you can earn some pennies, which you may or may not ever be able to actually drop into your bank account.

What if an easier way existed? What if you could combine your passion for reading and discussing novels and earn actual money when someone buys a novel that you enjoyed?

Here’s the deal. Here’s where everything comes together, and I promise it’s super simple, so simple that not only am I gonna’ knock your socks off, I’m gonna’ knock your knickers off, too.

There is a publishing platform, which has been growing for about 13 years. It’s called Smashwords. Anyone can publish a book to Smashwords, and not all Smashwords books are created equally, but then again, not all mainstream books are created equally either. How many mainstream authors can you name? Did you know there are millions?

Smashwords also has something called a premium catalog, and when a books meets all the requirements, it is accepted into this special catalog, and the books are then released through all online retailers including Barnes and Noble online and iBooks, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s so special about Smashwords is twofold. One, you can download free samples of most books. Some authors and indie publishers don’t allow samples; if a book doesn’t have a sample, move on to one that does. Many books are free, and I’ll discuss the benefits of the free books a little later. The other special thing about Smashwords is the fact that it provides affiliate links, also called referral URLs.

Look at the picture.

This is the bottom of the buy page for one of my books, and as you can plainly see, if you utilize this referral URL, you can earn 25% of the sale of this book. Not all authors provide referral URLs. If they don’t, move on to someone who does. Furthermore, not all authors provide 25% of a sale; most provide only 11%—the Smashwords default—I provide at least 25%. Sometimes, I provide more, but never less.

Now, here’s the beauty of it all.

If you read, rate, review, and discuss one of my books, assuming you enjoyed it, of course, you are selling that book. By placing that URL somewhere on your review site or blog, rather than a link to the buy page for the book at Barnes and Noble online or Amazon, and people purchase that book through your URL, you automatically earn a cut of the sale. Since my book sells for $4.99, and I offer you a 25% cut, you will earn about $1; Smashwords does collect a billing fee, and I get a cut, too, but you get $1. Just like that!

Obviously, you’ll need to make a Smashwords account in order to obtain your own referral URL, and that special URL will appear at the bottom of every single book, which is priced—not the free books—and if the author of that book allows a referral a link—I do!

You will also need to link your PayPal account to your Smashwords account, but both your Smashwords account and PayPal accounts are free, so there’s no cost, and all you need is an e-mail address.

No expensive software. No annoying pay-per-click program. No convoluted mess in order to sell through a third party. No Bitcoin, Satoshis, or weird currency, just money!

There’s more, though…. Oh, yeah, it gets even better; I’m going to outline how easy this all is by walking you through the concept.

Let me preface by saying that if you want to learn how to make a beautiful website, or drive traffic to that website, or master social media, you will have to do your own research on YouTube, or wherever, and find the way you enjoy best.

Nevertheless, it’s all quite simple, especially if you already belong to reading groups on sites such as Goodreads, or discuss books on Quora, Medium, or Reddit.

Now, here it is-

You can start a free website or book blog through either Wordpress or Blogger; either platform is totally free, and both are super simple and user friendly. Next, you can either buy a book from Smashwords, or you can download a free sample—most free samples are between 15% and 50% of the book, so you can tell if you’re going to enjoy it, but whether you do or don’t, and whether you read the book or not, are actually irrelevant; you don’t even need to download the free sample or read the book to be perfectly honest; you can just troll for books that already have reviews, and are priced, and then you can nab your referral URL from the bottom of the buy page.

Then, you can place the book cover on your site or blog, cut and paste the description, add your review, or cut and paste someone else’s review, and provide your URL, so your fans can buy the book from you.

See, there’s no cost, and really, there’s little to no effort if you don’t even want to read the book, but just sell it.

You can take this a step farther, too!

It’s no secret that many people are earning big bucks on YouTube. Most people release tons and tons of content, and when they build a fan base, they link their Google AdSense account—also free—to their YouTube channel and “monetize”, which allows them to earn an income from people just stumbling onto their YouTube channel.

It’s also no secret that many people who enjoy reading discuss their favorite books on YouTube; they make reader or book review vlogs (video blogs), and generate buzz for that book. You can do this, too, and you can also place that Smashwords referral URL in the video itself, or you can place it in the description, or wherever you like, and again, when people buy that book from you, you earn a cut, but you can also link your Google AdSense account (free) to your YouTube channel (free), and earn even more money.

Yet, one, more step farther: if you so wish to purchase a book, or download a free sample, instead of just discussing that book, you can perform a reading of your favorite portion. This is great for voice actors, voiceover artists, and other performers.

Performers can even gather their friends and stage group readings or skits right out of a book rather than just reviewing it!

All of this makes for great and interesting content, which will entice more likes and subscribers, which generates more buzz for the book, and your YouTube channel, so you aggregate earnings from ads, and you earn more by selling an actual product.

I know, I know; a dollar off one book doesn’t seem like much, but consider this:

You start by performing a reading from one of the free books you got from Smashwords, and build your YouTube channel. You earn free money from ads. You then download free samples of priced books, earn more money from ads, and earn a dollar every time someone buys a book, and all you did was work for five minutes. At no cost to you, you earn free money, actual money, which is deposited into your free Smashwords account, which is then automatically deposited into your free PayPal account, and I don’t think you even need to earn as much as $10 for the deposit to take place.

I do want you to know that deposits from Smashwords into your PayPal account do happen once per month, though; it isn't like a daily or weekly event.

Next thing you know, while you’re off reading, sleeping, working your day job, or hanging with friends and family, more and more people are watching more and more of your videos, or reading more and more reviews from your book blog, and without you having to do much of anything, you earn passive income. This is certainly affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing simplified, and at no cost to you.

Then, when you have ten books, twenty books, fifty books and readings all uploaded to your YouTube channel, or fifty reviews and URL links all published on your blog or website, you earn a dollar—or more for those books which are either priced higher or are offering a bigger affiliate cut—and next thing you know, you’re earning $10 a day, that’s $300 a month.

Obviously, if you have a passion for reading novels, you can be very successful, or if you are passionate about affiliate sales, you can earn more money by spending all day, every day, placing more and more readings and reviews of more and more books on your site or YouTube channel, but even if you just feel like piddling around and uploading one review on your blog per month, or one reading on your vlog per month, or whatever, you still earn real money every time someone purchases a book.

Suddenly, reading books from Smashwords sounds much more enticing than reading the mainstream publications, right?

Now, I won’t lie to you; this is not a get rich quick overnight scheme. You will need to take the time to upload readings, or discussions, or write out reviews—unless you wanna’ cut and paste other people’s reviews, which is fine—and that will take some time and effort, but once it’s done, it’s done; it’s there for everyone to see forever, and as you add more and more books, you will sell more and more books, and you will earn more and more money.

Let’s face it; indie books aren’t going anywhere, and Smashwords is getting bigger and bigger everyday. More and more regular people are writing more and more books everyday, and they are bypassing the mainstream publishers for numerous reasons. Even Stephen King self publishes books, and as I mentioned, you can either download free samples or even totally free books by the authors in order to make sure you are selling top quality merchandise.

So, to recap, if you have a passion for reading, you can use your e-mail account to create a free Smashwords account, a free PayPal account, a free website or blog, a free YouTube account, and a free Google AdSense account (optional, really), and then you can download free books and free samples, and get your free affiliate referral URL, so that when you read, rate, review, and discuss a book, you can earn free money.

This is not a joke, and I’ll explain why I’m providing you with this free information.

I love reading. I love writing. I do not enjoy most of what’s out on the market, so I write my own stories, and I give most of them away for free. I have numerous free titles, and I have built an enormous fan base by giving away these free titles for the past 5 years. I also charge a reasonable amount for my priced titles, and while Bantam charges upwards of $12.99 for some of their titles, I am releasing quality products for less because I enjoy sharing my work with people who enjoy great stories, but I cannot do it alone.

Most writers are out there trying to compete with the mainstream, big, publishing houses, and that’s just impossible, so what do they do? They hire marketing firms, or they hire book bloggers, like you, or whomever else, and spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in order to create buzz for their books, but rather than spending my money out of pocket to hire faceless companies who haven’t read my books, I prefer to pass on a portion of my profits directly to you—especially those of you who already run book review blogs, sites, and vlogs.

If you read and enjoy my books, you will want to discuss them with others anyway, which means you will either find a way to get them free copies, which is fine—I don’t care if you share my e-books—or you will entice others to purchase my titles simply by discussing them on Goodreads, Quora, Reddit, Medium, or your own site.

Why shouldn’t you earn a cut? You should. You are doing as much work as I am, and I believe that my readers deserve compensation.

This is the indie age. Games, movies, television, books, music, it’s all going indie, and rather than sticking my grubby mitts out to crowdfund on Patreon, or IndieGoGo, or Gofundme, begging people to support my next novel, I prefer to entice you to sell my next novel, and earn a cut. We all benefit this way.

I get exposure. You get money. Readers learn about a quality product. Now, I suggest you jump on this because in about six months, a year, everyone and their grandmother is going to be selling e-books through this Smashwords affiliate program. I mean; it’s free money. I can’t get over that, and I can’t stress it enough; this is free money for anyone.

Read books and discuss them on a blog or website. Perform readings alone or with friends, and share your talent with YouTube watchers. Hell, you can probably live stream a reading with friends on Twitch and just provide the referral URL, so that people can buy directly from you.

It’s so easy, so simple, and it’s totally free. This is free freaking money, and you don’t have to sell my books. Go sell anyone’s books. Just remember that you can only sell books that are published through Smashwords, that are priced, and that provide an affiliate URL. Most books from Smashwords provide all of these features, and there are hundreds of thousands of great books on Smashwords, and this is way better than using Click Bank and trying to sell books through Amazon’s convoluted process. Believe me, I know, I tried it; I’ve been where you are, and now I make tons of money because I’ve enticed tons of people to earn tons of my money.

For reassurance, I want to show you the following title. This one of my fantasy novels: The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer.

Nifty cover, eh? You can copy and paste the image to your blog.

Here’s the blurb, which you can copy and paste to your blog.

With the death of Kulshedra, Dragon of Truth, it has been revealed that Scar, the mercenary, is in fact Sarkany, the Dragon Slayer, a creature fashioned for the sole purpose of purging the Dragons from the world of Tiamhaal, yet such a thing is not so simple. Kings and queens yet war amongst one another. They, too, lie, connive, and coerce, and so, Scar and his friends must find a way to persuade those few, benevolent rulers to band together. In the midst of peace talks and dead Dragons, those still in the worship of the beasts grow more powerful. Some of them even doubly praise their oppressor in an effort to wield more magic. Now, united with his friends, Scar sets his gaze upon a hopeful horizon, but is strength in numbers sufficient to keep the Dragons from completing their machinations?


Since it’s relatively new, this is the only review, and yes, I am aware the reader has spelling errors, but you can also copy and paste this review onto your blog, and then you just provide your affiliate URL, so you don’t even have to buy or read my book if you don’t feel like it.


Best book ever written ever.

Dragon Slayer picks up right after Gods and Dragons. If you haven't read Gods and Dragons just take my word for it. It's awesome. Go read it. Now, I'm going to talk about Dragon Slayer, so if you don't want me to spoil Gods and Dragons stop reading this review.

Scar, who now knows he is Sarkany, the Dragon Slayer, has just killed the dragon Kulshedra, so Artimis flies him back to Usaj where he fights and kills Zoltek. Since Scar is on a quest for Eternus, the Dragon of Time, to gather the souls of the dragons, he has to kill the kings of every country in order to take their dragon gems. Well, after he kills Zoltek, he kills Zmaj, and of course the Zmajans lose their powers, but as it turns out, when the dragons die, and people lose their powers, the other living dragons get stronger, and their worshipers do too, so now the paladins of Inhogupta the Perseverants help Scar to try and bring the world to order, but there's all kind of chaos because Scar is a good guy and he wants the kings and queens to hand over the gems without bloodshed, but some of them are bad, and they're conspiring with each other.

There's so much more intrigue and espionage in this story than I ever expected, and it is a bit difficult to keep up with the states of the nations, but in the end, it's like background information that really brings the world to life without requiring you to memorize whatever is going on.

The short version is that Scar is on his mission to gather all the souls of each dragon, but since the dragons get stronger as the others die, it's harder for him to kill them, but then he learns how to use their powers.

It's so freakin amazing. How is this story not on the tip of everyone's tongue?

I don't know. This guy is like the best writer ever and everyone's off reading Harry Potter.

I just hope the next Dragon of Time comes out soon. In the meantime, I'll be reading whatever else Dennis releases.


This is a real review by an actual reader. This book sells itself. You can download a free sample if you want to, and without even reading it, you can sell Dragon Slayer, and earn money.

Again, I cannot stress this enough; you earn free money, but you can earn more if you create a YouTube vlog and perform a reading. In fact, you can perform several readings all from the free sample, and make numerous videos, which is great if you’re a voice actor, and you want to build a versatile portfolio.

Here’s the link to my entire list of titles on Smashwords, and you can root through and find whatever you like.

Please, go earn free money. There’s just no reason not to. Thanks for your time. Thanks for reading, and remember that you can sell all kinds of books from romance to textbooks, and from numerous authors.

Oh, yeah, for those of you who write product reviews and book reviews on Vocal’s platforms, you just found a way to augment your income! Just place your Smashwords referral URL in the product placement section.

Aaron Dennis
Aaron Dennis
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Aaron Dennis

Creator of the Lokians SciFi series, The Adventures of Larson and Garrett, The Dragon of Time series, and more.

See all posts by Aaron Dennis