How writing book reviews works for me
I have written reviews here and there for products and occasionally a book, but never often and never regularly. But I have been looking for ways to earn some side money, so in my brainstorming I can back to the idea of reviews. I had joined the Online Book Club several years ago, and this summer began actually writing reviews in hopes of earning some petty cash. This is a great site to start on because they have pages of precise instructions of what should be italicized, bold, and the order of details. They have a precise minimal word count and minimal paragraph count. They expect a certain number of paragraphs to describe the book, and other specific questions to consider and answer as well. Without a doubt, this formula has made me better at writing reviews.
The expectation is that the very first one or two reviews for them will be unpaid, and sure enough after that test, I have steadily been earning money. Initially I had only $5 choices, now I have choices up to $12. The more reviews and the more active I am on their forums the greater choices I should have. Eventually there is a $50 level. This money will not make me rich, but I can complete many novels in 2-3 weeks and complete a review within a day of finishing. So right now, I am earning about $20-25 a month. This does not really pay the bills, but it is easy earnings since I love to read, read quickly, and writing five paragraphs about a good book is easy.
Also, through Amazon, where I also have book reviews posted, I have had a few authors reach out and ask me to review their book. These Amazon reach outs have not paid, they have simply provided me with a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. Soon I hope to receive some form of payment, too.
You’re Ready to Start Reviewing
So, you’re ready to review. First, check what the review requirements are, and keep them in mind while reading. Some require that you keep a tally of typos/error, some want the text example and page number. The same for erotic content. Ditto for foul language. The Online Book Club does require you to note these while reading.
Second, after you have finished reading, check those requirements for the layout of your review. More than likely you will be told that the title and author must be mentioned in the first paragraph, perhaps the first sentence. Also, you must follow their pattern of stars, it doesn’t work to rate a book five stars if this organization only uses three.
Having written your review, check those requirements again. I once lost 30 points out of 100 because I was four words short of the minimum. Totally my error, easily preventable, and lesson learned.
Check your deadlines often. You may have to regularly update. With the Online Book Club, I have to update when choosing a book, having downloaded it, completed reading, and then submitting the review. They in turn update when they publish my review and when payment is approved.
Promote Your Review
Lastly, you want to promote your review as the more views and responses it has, the better your ranking, the more needed that you are. Once my review is published, I have a chance to promote it via any social media I want as well as email etc. Therefore, I try to promote one of my published reviews daily on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. I also link to it on my blog. The more you promote it, the more likely someone will read it. Better than just reading it is when you get actual responses to your review. Respond to those comments. The more you forge a bond with your readers the more likely they will read your other reviews.
Finally, many review sites want you to be active on their forums, promoting the books to more readers, participating in conversation, and thus drawing up interest in the books. The more active I am, the higher my Reviewer Score is. This coupled with how many points I earn via the score of my review itself, and how much it has been promoted leads to my Review Score. The higher my score the better selection of paid reviews that I can do, and the better pay I have options of.
I no longer write reviews for the Online Book Club. I built up my levels with them and found more and more authors, narrators, and publishers reaching our to me. I still say OBC is a great place to start, but once you have started making a name for yourself you can freelance. This allows you to be more flexible in your reviews, without their stringent rules. You still need to follow the expectations of the author or publisher, but you have more control.
I now also post my reviews on Goodreads and promote on Twitter.
I still do a mix of paid and unpaid, reviews.
You may like to check out my reviews
Or, some of my favorite TBR challenges!