What is AAR? It’s not a business–we don’t make any money and no one gets paid. It truly is a labor of love for all of us. (I do give the staff gift certificates at the end of the year to say thanks for all their hard work. The rest of the money we earn goes to keeping the site online.) The closest thing we are is a daily newspaper. We cover romance and women’s fiction, publishing multiple pieces of content each day. We have a publisher and an editor and a group of writers.

And, by most measures, we had a very successful year. In 2019, our users were up 20%–790,000–and those users had almost 1.3 million sessions. Our readers commented over 7500 times. Via our click throughs, we sold 23 thousand books through Amazon alone. We published almost 800 book reviews and countless blogs. We worked hard.

And, like newspapers and blog sites (HEA USA, the Romance Reader, and others) everywhere, we are in danger of going dark.

AAR supports itself one of two ways. We sell ads – this makes up about 30% of our revenue these days- and we make money as an Amazon affiliate. Amazon used to give affiliates 9% of sales–three years ago that number dropped to 4% or less. It’s my bet that, within the year, Amazon will cut that number further. Barnes and Noble and Kobo have both basically stopped paying affiliate funds and, given that Amazon doesn’t really need affiliate sales to make the big bucks, I suspect they too will follow suit.

What happens to AAR at that point?

I don’t know. I’ve believed for some time that the only way we can stay on line is on a subscription/donation basis but it’s unclear to me our readers have any appetite for that. There are, perhaps, other ways to make money–podcasts, Patreon, GoFundMe–but those all require a time commitment that I just don’t have–I barely have enough time to keep up with the work of the site as it is.

It’s a conundrum. We’ve been around a long time–since October of 1996–and I hope that continues. In the meantime, please consider linking to Amazon through our site every time you purchase something there. (Here’s the link.) Share the link with friends and family. (They have to log on to Amazon via our site.) Consider signing up for a monthly donation. If all our readers were to donate $10 a month, that would make a huge difference. (Here’s the link: Donate to AAR.)

I am considering some sort of monthly offer where all who donated that month would be entered in a draw for a box of books. If we had regular benefactors, we’d create a thank you page and acknowledge your generosity. Anything you can do or any ideas you have, I’d be more grateful to hear them.

Much love,

Dabney