Tag Archives: book reviewer

Giving up on Paid Book Reviews

me reading

If you remember, awhile back I thought I’d try my hand at reviewing books.  (See Online Book Reviewer).  I have officially thrown in the towel on this venture.  Can you make money reviewing books?  Yes.  Did I make money reviewing books?  Yes.  Do I want to continue doing this?  No.

There are a few reasons for this.  Originally, I had the option to review books on my blog and get paid for it.  Not all the books I reviewed were paid, but there were some that gave me that extra incentive.  Recently the rules were changed.  Now, book reviews would be paid based on the blog’s popularity instead of a fixed amount.  Well, I’m not going to win any popularity contests, so that seriously cut into my profit margin.

Then the new policy stated that only reviewers with a level 4 or higher could even apply for these paid reviews.  I’m stuck at level 2.  I mean, really stuck there even though my editorial analysis score is 73% (the average rating is 58%) and I have received several perfect review scores recently.  I thought maybe I could do a few more free reviews to bolster my status, but when I went to pick a new book, I discovered that the webmaster placed a bogus book on the list to make sure that reviewers were reading the book information before choosing a book.  I always do, so I didn’t trigger the trap, but it was annoying. 

I figured I still had the chance to win the daily drawing.  Even if I didn’t win randomly, eventually I would get to the top of the heap and they would HAVE to give me some money.  So 477 entries later, I did win.

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The retweets for cash option also underwent some changes.  Now, instead of just liking, retweeting and commenting on the tweet, I would have to add the book to my virtual shelf.  Only the system didn’t recognize a book that I already had added to my shelf and so I get this message:

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And that was the final straw.  You may still see some book reviews on my blog now and then, but they won’t be for this particular organization.

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Failing as an Online Book Reviewer

me reading

So it’s been 2 months now since I began reviewing books.  I’d say I’ve been having mixed results. I had to work my way up from level 0 in order to qualify for paid review options.  In order to do that, I had to do several volunteer reviews.  Well, nothing wrong with that.  I mean, I want to improve my reviewing skills after all.  

I made it to level 2 and the new options opened up.  Unfortunately, I choose a book that was horrendous as my first paid review.  I mean, I really wanted to give up.  Terrible grammar–just awful. But I soldiered on and finished it.  I wrote a review and got paid $16.  Cool.  Then I won a $10 amazon card from the daily giveaway.  Cool.  A few more reviews, a little more cash and by the end of the month I made about $60.  

Then the bottom fell out.  I used Grammarly to edit another paid review and apparently Grammarly was wrong.  I had 4 grammar errors.  My reviewer score dropped to 0 again.  That will teach me to use only one grammar checker.  Well, as I liked what I was doing, I went ahead and started over again.

I worked my way up to level 2 again.  And for a second time, I picked a humdinger of a book. The information said it was 225 pages, but it really was 451 pages.  When I agreed to review it, I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that it wasn’t available in mobi format either, only in pdf.  So I couldn’t read on my Kindle. I had to sit in front of my computer to read.  It took me a week to finish, which for me is a long time.  I wrote the review and submitted it.  

One of the requirements was to write a private blurb to the author to demonstrate I had read the book.  Well, I had, so no biggy.  Only the author rejected my comment.  There was a “dispute” opened.  The instructions for the private blurb were to concentrate on the end of the book, which I did.  However, the author felt that didn’t prove that I read the book.  He wanted more “suggestions.”  I spent over an hour pouring over the notes I had written about the book (yes, I had NOTES) and sent another paragraph with things that could be improved on.  Then the author responded again.  I replied and wished him well, hoping that would be the end of it.  I waited a week and requested the dispute closed.  Apparently, the author wasn’t quite finished and sent another comment.  I responded and waited another week.

Then, to add insult to injury, the other book I reviewed was REJECTED based on that same private blurb requirement.  The moderator sent me an email.  “Though the book may have been read fully, it is hard to determine if it was by reading the private blurb. For this part, it is beneficial to give specifics of the ending and how it ties to the rest of the story rather than giving one fact and an opinion. Thank you.”

Well, I did read the book.  I didn’t comment specifically on the last chapter, but the end of the book in general.  Whatever. How is it that when I did confine my comments to the end of the book, the other author opened a dispute saying I didn’t read the book.  What’s a reviewer to do?

I sent an email to the site organizer with this information and asking what exactly I should include in the private blurb since I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Furthermore, since the second book was reviewed on my site, but REJECTED by the moderator, I can remove the review, right?  I also suggested that the order of the whole setup be changed.  Instead of first submitting the link to the post on my blog, I should submit the private blurb.  Then if that blurb is rejected for some random reason, I am under no obligation to post the review.  If the blurb is accepted, well, then that’s just dandy, the review gets posted and I submit a link to said post to get paid.  I probably wasn’t as tactful as I could have been.

A few days later, I received a response.  The head mucky-muck of the whole shebang said yes, he would allow me to resubmit the private blurb and that in the future there would be an option to do so in the event of a rejection.  No comment about my proposal.

In my next submission, I commented on the final chapter and added if the moderator wished, I could summarize each chapter prior to the final chapter as well in order to prove I had read the book. I also included the link to the post but specified that it was scheduled a week later.  I know, I should just let it go and not try to be right–but hey, then I just wouldn’t be me.

Then bam and bam, two more rejects.  I swear that moderator has it in for me.  This time because the link didn’t work.  Well, this part was my fault.  I entered the link AND “scheduled for x date).  I had no idea that everything I wrote in that box would get turned into a link. I emailed the head mucky-muck.  He said he’d fix it.

I had submitted two posts with this process and the second post was rejected AGAIN.  And again it was my fault. The moderator decided to check the link two days before it was scheduled to be posted.  I emailed the mucky-muck.  I’m sure he’s tired of hearing from me.

Then, as sort of throwing a bone to a dog, I won the daily drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.  Of course, I had to prove that I downloaded the free book, which I had, by forwarding the Amazon confirmation email, which I had saved.  Upon receipt, I was given the gift card and applied it to my Amazon account.

Then I did the daily Twitter retweets, which should earn me about $6 because I have so few followers.  

I worked myself up into a tizzy about this.  Then, when I calmed down, I figured that it’s a learning experience if nothing else. I did finally get payment for 3 of the reviews mentioned above for a total of $40 USD, including the retweets.  

I currently have 2 books to review and we shall see how long these payments take.  If it continues to be too many hurdles to jump, well, I’ll just concentrate on something more lucrative.

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Failing at your own business–book reviewer

me readingSo as I was gearing up for my transition away from elementary school teaching, I began looking for other ways to supplement my income.  The net loss from not working at the school was $250 USD per month. Therefore, I needed something that would fill that hole with moolah.

Reading books and getting paid for it seemed like the perfect job for me! I started searching about a bit for companies that were hiring in that field.  I applied and was accepted for 2 different reviewer jobs.

The first website was BookLookBloggers.  The catch is you are required to have your own blog with a minimum number of followers.  There is no cash payout.  You will receive a book to review free of charge.  You must post the review of at least 200 words on your blog with links back to the site, plus post a review on a consumer website like Amazon.  AND it’s a Christian publishing company, so not everyone’s cup of tea.  I figured it would be a good experience, so went ahead and requested my first book.

I was not disappointed in the reading selection. It took more time than I anticipated to write the review.  I wanted to get it just right.  You can read my review of The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron here.  

The second book reviewer position was with Online Book Club.  This setup was a bit more complicated. However, there is the promise of a cash payout at the end.  You can choose a book to review. However, the options available to you are limited by your reviewer score.  For example, as a newbie, I could only download certain books in certain formats.  There are specific deadlines as well.  Within 4 days of acceptance, you must confirm you have a readable version of the book.  Then within 30 days of the download, you must confirm you finished it.  Finally, within 7 days of finishing, you must submit the review.

The review is subject to approval.  It must be at least 5 paragraphs with at least 400 words.  You must rate the book on a 4-star system.  You can NOT publish the review on your blog, but you MUST share the link to the review once it’s been reviewed on your social media networks.  Payments vary according to the books and are sent via Paypal.  As I was still a reviewer in training, I did not get paid for either of these reviews.

I reviewed Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks by Morton E Tavel, MD. You can see my review here.

I also reviewed My Trip to Adele by A.I.Alyaseer, R.I.Alyaseer.  You can see my review here.

There is a second option for income with the Online Book Club. With the Twitter Retweet Rewards, if you like, reply and tweet the Book of the Day post  @TwBookClub, you can earn $5 plus $1 per 100 followers, rounded up to the nearest dollar.  I don’t have a lot of followers on Twitter, so I only qualify for the minimum payout, but it’s something.  You must retweet, like, and reply to each BOTD announcement tweet for all 30 days within 24 hours of the original tweet in order to get your reward.  

Then there is always the chance for a $10 Amazon gift card. There are 2 given away daily, one to the person with the highest number of points and one randomly.  You receive more entries by sharing, liking or pinning the BOTD on a variety of social media sites.

So, while I have yet to make any money at this venture, I’m going to stick with it a bit longer and see what happens.  After all, I enjoy reading, and the potential to get paid for this hobby is a nice additional incentive.

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