Beginners Guide to Becoming a Reviewer of Books Online
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If you have a passion for reading and want to share your thoughts on the books you read, then the perfect career choice for you might just be becoming an online books reviewer!
The job title “reviewer of books” is pretty self-explanatory, you read through books and share your honest opinions on them.
And if you’re interested in working from home, one of the biggest perks of being a books reviewer is being able to work remotely.
If you’re ready to get paid to read books, below are the steps you need to take in order to become a successful book reviewer.
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What is a Reviewer of Books
Right now, around 600,000 to 1,000,000 books are published each year.
With so many to choose from, it can be hard for an average reader to figure out how to find the right books.
This is where a book reviewer comes in! Their job is to write reviews in order to help readers find the best books.
Book reviewers have the option to work with publishing companies or become independent contractors, where they are hired to give honest reviews of books that have been recently published.
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Like many industries, it is best to find a niche where you can become an expert in order to gain authority and trust from readers.
Gaining trust will result in readers flocking to your recommended books, which means more income for you!
In order to do this, you have to go out there and start exploring which genre of books you are interested in. Is it fantasy, biographies, romance, science fiction, history, or something else?
Most reviewer of books start their career as freelancers, which allows them to have more freedom with the projects they choose.
It also helps them narrow down where they want to focus their expertise in.
How to become a Book Reviewer
Although being a books reviewer seems simple, there are still requirements that you must meet before landing the job.
Here are a few skills that you should master before you can get paid to read books:
You must enjoy reading
If you didn’t know this already, you have to read a ton of books as a reviewer!
That is why having enjoyment for reading is one of the biggest criteria for this position.
Yes, you can become a reviewer of books even if you don’t love to read.
But, we can almost guarantee that you won’t last in the position.
Don’t get us wrong. You will be reading books that you may not enjoy, but that is actually one of the beauties of being a books reviewer, which is to be able to critique the work.
So before jumping in, make sure that you love reading books and are not afraid to share your honest and unbiased opinion of the work you are reading.
You Must Have Strong Writing Skills
Being a lover of books and reading may seem like no-brainer qualifications as a reviewer of books, but another skill that many may not think of is having great writing skills.
One of the biggest tasks you will have to do is to explain your views on the book you are reading. And to share your opinion on what makes it good, bad, ugly, and everything else in between.
If you’re not able to share these critiques in a well written form that will be helpful to potential readers, then you will not get paid to read books.
That is why practicing your skills as a writer and using programs like grammarly are a great way to become better prepared for the job.
Have Great time Management Skills
As a remote worker and reviewer of books, having the ability to organize your time that will allow you to be the most productive is crucial to success.
If you are working from home, you may be faced with a lot of distractions like family obligations or even Netflix.
There will be a lot of deadlines and demands from your clients, that is why being able to submit your work on time and being professional is a must in the book review industry.
Having a Literature Background is Helpful
Although going to school for writing or literature is not a must to become a reviewer of books, having past experiences in literature can help you because you may have a better understanding of the subjects and topics that you will be writing about.
If you are applying for an online job as a books reviewer it will also be a great addition to your remote work resume.
However, if you are starting as a freelancer, having past experiences in literature can also help to land your clients.
Where to post your Book Reviews
Now that you know how to become a reviewer of books, you likely want to know where you can post your reviews.
One option is to start posting your book reviews in your own blog on platforms like WordPress and use a reliable hosting like Bluehost for your site.
By creating a blog post, you will be able to provide a portfolio of your writing that potential clients can use as a sample of your work.
The other option is to look into posting your reviews on larger websites.
These platforms are great to help you practice your writing and reviewing skills that will allow you to land remote book reviewer jobs.
Below are several platforms where you can submit your work and fine-tune your skills as a reviewer of books:
- Netgalley is a platform that promotes itself as helping books shine; through the reviews its users share.
- Edelweiss+ is a membership platform that offers free early access to books.
- Goodreads lets its users choose what types of books they’ll get to review by personal preference, although early review copies are less common on their site.
- Book Browse has a program where users can get advanced copies of books that they can review.
- Moody Publishers gives members of its book review program early copies of books. This program is for bloggers and they must share their reviews on their blogs.
Once you’ve built up your portfolio then it is time to get paid to read books and start applying.
Below is a list of companies that hire books reviewers:
- Discovery offers a book reviewing service, where you can sign up. The average payment per review on this website is $100.
- The US Review of Books hires reviewers who are expected to write 200-300 word reviews. The average pay is between $5-60 per review.
- Publisher’s Weekly periodically has openings for new book reviewers on their website, and they expect each review to be around 200 words. Standard pay is $25 per review.
- Kirkus Media looks for readers who are skilled in both English and Spanish. The average pay for Kirkus is $50 per 350-word review, with the yearly average for most of their reviewers being $60,000+ a year.
- Booklist expects its reviewers to write brief 150-175 word reviews. The payment per review is $15.
- Writerful Books has a minimum review length of 350 words. Average payment can go as high as $50 per review.
- Online Book Club after signing up you’ll be sent your first book for a quick and honest review. Payment ranges between $5-50 per review.
- CBR has openings for reviewers of graphic novels and comics where they require you to be able to write 1-3 reviews a week. The average payment for CBR writers and reviewers is between $46,609 to 50,467 yearly.
- Women’s Review of Books mainly looks for reviewers with experience. Their average payment is $100 per review.
- Bethany House is mainly focused on Christian books. They don’t offer direct pay, but they do offer affiliate links for blogs that review their books.
The salary an average book reviewer can expect to make is between $31,000-110,000 a year. The higher numbers are usually more reflective of the expert reviewers.
One important thing to keep in mind is that reviews on websites are often paid by the review, rather than hourly. This means that in order to get higher payment, you must review more books.
This is where blog ownership differs from review posting on other websites, most of your income on a blog will come from web traffic revenue.
That is why if you choose to become a book reviewer through your site, using platforms like Keysearch is crucial to your success since it will help you find the right keywords that will drive more traffic to your website.
How to Become a Successful Reviewer of Books
Once you’ve committed yourself to becoming a books reviewer, it’s time to take a look at the strategies you need to implement in order to become successful.
Here are a few strategies you can use when writing your book reviews:
Always think of the reader first. While the review is based on your opinion, you have to write for your ideal reader.
Make sure that you are giving them the right information that will help them decide if the book will be worth the read.
Never spoil the book. This can sometimes unintentionally happen when you’re giving a brief explanation of the book.
Make sure that you are giving enough information that it will peak their interest, but not too much that it ruins their experience.
Stick to the guidelines. In order to have a good relationship with the companies you write for, or to have the best user experience on your website, you have to follow your clients directions and to be as unbiased as possible when providing your reviews.
Keep it brief. Try to keep your reviews at 300-500 words. Think about how much time the average reader will spend looking at your review.
If you follow all the advice above, you shouldn’t run into many problems when submitting your reviews and of course you will keep getting better as you go!
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Joining the Community
Joining a books reviewer community is a great way to find the right resources and be surrounded by individuals who will be able to point you in the right direction.
Below are a couple of communities you can join:
- National Book Critics Circle has a membership program starting at $50. You’ll gain access to a variety of subscription discounts, their exclusive newsletter, and some helpful guides
- The Association of Writers & Writing Programs isn’t exclusively about reviewing books, but their resources can prove exceptionally useful. The memberships for this association start at $75.
Just remember, it takes a bit of time to start earning a higher income as a reviewer of books and you must practice a lot of patience. If you can overcome the slow start, you’re bound to become an expert reviewer.