Almost every hobby can be made into something profitable if you really want it to become one.
Are you a book lover who wants to start book reviewing?
Well, we’re here to talk about how to get paid to read books.
I know it sounds a little strange because reading is usually something done for school or work. However, there’s an increasing trend that has people getting paid to read books.
If you’re looking for a way to make money, freelancing is an option that’s often overlooked. It won’t work out if your goal is to become rich quickly. However, it can be a lucrative and consistent passive income stream.
Now, going from reading books to writing a book review is a completely different game. You’re the book coach now. You need to tell people why they should read a book. A book reviewer must convince their reader to commit hours and money to their book.
So let’s clarify that getting paid to read books can also mean you’re reading a book out loud to record an audiobook as much as you could also be reading, digesting and sharing your thoughts.
Table of Contents
- Freelance book reviewers
- Audiobook narrator
- Be a literary agent
Freelance book reviewers
As a freelance book reviewer, the biggest perk is that you get to share your opinion on the book, then sometimes you might get the book for free. Then you might get paid for the review.
It’s rare but you could be making big bucks if you write a review for outlets like The New York Times or some high-brow magazine.
Of course, those roles are meant for established folks in the industry. I mean, getting paid to review books is already rare. But as a job? You’d have to be the 1% of the 1%.
Wanna get paid $5-$60 and get free books?
OnlineBookClub.org describes their offering as “How it works: You are given a selection of books to choose. The books are all free for you in exchange for a review. After your first approved review, you will be eligible to get paid for the reviews too.
There is never any cost to you. This is completely free to you, the reviewer.
You do not have to say you loved the book if you didn’t. You are being paid for an honest, quick review, not a positive review.”
So, you could write an honest review, get a free book and get some money for doing it.
Springer is an interesting website that will provide “instant access for six months to the online review copy you selected.”
Springer is a much more academic publishing company with a non fiction book and journal section with subjects such as business, materials science, pharmaceutical research, water, etc.
After you send your book review to them, they will check that your review fulfilled their criteria:
- Your review must have been officially published, preferably in a specialty journal, specialty online media, or an international magazine or newspaper;
- You have sent us information about the journal/media where your review was published
If you qualify, you will be able to order a free print copy.
Reedsy Discovery is a book review platform where you can read the latest self-published books before anyone else, allowing reviewers to build up their own brands and communicate with authors directly once your reputation is established.
Payment is on a tip basis, so take note. Readers can send tips of a few dollars as a token of appreciation.
It’s a pretty interesting site, actually.
They hire freelance writers to review books for the publication and they periodically post book titles for potential reviewers. Then, you pick what you want and they pick based on a first-come-first-serve basis and on best fit.
Your reviews don’t have to be long. Anything that’s 250-300 words is accepted but you must summarize the book as well as reveal insights drawn from the reading.
So, it feels like you’re writing an online review but you’re getting paid to do it.
Blog and affiliate marketing
Writing a book blog and doing some affiliate marketing could also make you some money.
This is a step up from writing a review on Amazon or a book review website. It’s also the ultimate remote job as a paid book reviewer.
The downside is that there’s some investment necessary before you can get to this stage. You’ll have to be the person to source the books, either by buying them or by getting them.
it takes a long time too. You’ll need to hit the requisite number of words before you’ll get any meaningful traffic.
Once you get enough traffic, it’s easy to start affiliate marketing. All you have to do is find a product and then place an affiliate link on your site after you ahve written the review.
Writing a blog on books is really meant for the avid reader who can go through a labor of love to pump reviews on new books.
The good thing is that you will be able to get passive income as you display ads on your website and then affiliate links to Amazon will also garner you more revenue.
Big hustle for big rewards here. You’d have to be a person who loves the grind (and a home job).
A good way to make money is by narrating audiobooks.
Some people think narrating a book is hard, but I like it. It’s fun to be the voice of someone else’s characters, and sometimes you even get paid for it!
One thing to note is that narrating is quite tiring.
Narrating long sentences can be difficult, but there are techniques for doing that. In fact, the best thing to do is read it aloud and you’ll notice how easy it becomes once you start narrating.
One thing I learned being in radio is that in order to make the book easier to read, I would suggest using some larger font sizes. Luckily, manuscripts are usually sent digitally, especially if you use a cloud based review website where it’s almost always done digitally… which means you can expand the font sizes and line spacing to your preference.
Let’s look at some sources of audiobook opportunities.
Amazon wants to publish your audiobook and is making it easy to connect all the dots.
You can get paid under your own per-finished-hour rate that will be paid in a lump sum once the audiobook is completed, or you can share royalties with the Rights Holder.
The steps are quite easy, though you should be prepared to do some legwork before you get anywhere in ACX.
It’s simple, you sign up, upload a bunch of audio samples of different accents, genres and styles. The more you can do, the better off you will be. Then, you’ll have to audition by searching for books and then recording a sample.
If a Rights Holder likes your work, they’ll give you an offer. Then off you go, recording 15 minute samples at a time.
You can also find other experts that can help you, but you’ll need to supply some equipment including a computer, recording equipment, internet and a quiet space.
Bunny Studio is like a freelancer website that’s specifically meant for narrators (although it has now evolved to encompass more areas of expertise). Obviously, this also includes audiobooks.
There are a few areas of work you can do: you can specialize in fulfilling reuqest quickly, or get booked by a prospective client or you can do spec work (also known as putting your finished product in an hope to get picked for more money than typical).
As to how much you can earn, Bunny Studio says you get to set your own rates: “You are free to set your own rates according to your experience. Depending on the type of project, our system will calculate your personalized reward”
If you have experience in editing, you might be able to get paid to read books and edit them.
The most important skill here is to be able to follow a style and their guidelines. Whether this be Associated Press, Canadian Press, Chicago, APA, etc., you’ll need to know styles depending on markets.
This is perfect if you’ve always been an academic writer. Formatting footnotes in a journal is a thing that is ever evolving. I still remember the days when you had to write superscript footnote pointers. Not so much these days… everything is headed towards a much simpler inline formatting method.
The biggest market has to be in US English, so if you are from a non-US English country, you’ll have to be aware of how Americans spell words (maneuver vs manoeuvre) and their preferences (car park vs parking lot).
Here are some websites to check out:
Upwork is kinda like a professional directory and you have to sign up and convince people that you’re the expert in the area.
Upwork works as an online marketplace where companies post jobs they are looking to complete along with certain requirements (such as experience level) and freelancers bid on them so they may go about completing said job successfully by providing their services or products provided one meets these required specifications set forth by Upworkers who want assistance from professionals such as yourself across many different categories ranging anywhere from web design,
There is a bit of proving to be done, but once you get your first few clients, things will be on the up and up for you.
You have the power of choice in everything you decide because no matter what path or journey lies ahead there are many people who want help from experts just like yourself all over
It takes a little while to get going on Upwork, but once you have your first few clients it’s an exciting experience. You need to make sure that this is something for the long haul because getting reviews and new prospects take time – however if all goes well then potential earnings are worth waiting for!
Yes, that means that you might be earning peanuts to start.
Scribendi.com is a site that provides proofreading services. You might get journals, essays, theses, resumes to review.
They hire experienced editors with good qualifications who have studied in any related field. Payment is via PayPal or direct deposit and work is project-based so depending on your ability to get things done quickly, the wages could be better than average.
If you love using language skills like editing or even better if you know anything about the topic then consider joining their team because it’s always great when people are passionate enough to join what interests them as well which will help improve quality.
ProofreadingServices is looking for proofreaders and editors to work from home. You do not need to be in the United States, you can apply if you live anywhere in the world.
They promise these two benefits:
- Competitive pay ranging from USD 19 to 46 per hour depending on turnaround time, with the highest pay for the most urgent deadlines
- Flexible hours (work when you want, right from your living room, in any time zone)
Cactus Communications is a global scientific communications company that publishes in the physical science, health care, life science and medicine fields.
If you have any knowledge in the fields that they publish in, they’re definitely looking for specialist editors to help them with freelance editing and scientific reviewing.
Here’s the list of topics that they specialize in: Physical sciences: Engineering (all disciplines), Robotics, Automobile Engineering, Controls and Systems, Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Wireless Communication, Environmental Science, Energy, Indoor Air Quality, Nuclear Physics, Analytical Chemistry, Physical/ Computational Chemistry, General Chemistry, Applied Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Nanochemistry, Materials Science, Metallurgy, Alloys, Nanomaterials, Ceramics/Glass, Materials Engineering, Engineering Geology, Ceramics, Glass, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Optics, Mineralogy, Remote Sensing, Climate Science, Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, Paleontology, Geodesy and Earth Sciences.
Healthcare: Cardiology, Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, Chemotherapy, Plastic Surgery, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, Diabetes Research, Radiotherapy Planning
Life sciences: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Structural Biology, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Immunology, Biomaterials, Biophysics, Biostatistics, Systems Biology, Physiology, Nanobiotechnology, Genetics, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Toxicology, Drug Design & Development, Plant & Animal Genetics, Plant and Animal Biotechnology, Ecology, Taxonomy, Botany, Zoology, Neurosurgery, Computational Neuroscience
Medicine: Anatomy, Endocrinology, Dentistry, Radiology, Surgery, Medicine, Ophthalmology
Testers must have exceptional English skills and be able to analyze samples of writing. They point out errors, suggest corrections, and provide feedback on the overall quality of written work.
They are looking for people with near-native level of English, ability to be attentive to detail and accuracy in transcripts, analytical and critical thinking skills, ability to meet deadlines and computer literacy.
You’d stand a better chance if you have a degree in linguistics, journalism, translation and interpreting, or international relations and/or work experience as an editor, copyright writer, or translator
They say that you can get paid up to $1,000 a month as an editor or $2,000 per month as a managing editor, but the average is more like $20 to $750. You can get paid using Skrill, PayPal or Payoneer.
Be a literary agent
Becoming a literary agent requires you to read… a lot.
But first… what is a literary agent? They’re like actors’ agents, but for books.
A literary agent has many roles that center around books. They are responsible for finding new clients. You need to go through many book proposals or queries. Once you have those read, you’ll need to read the signs of the book market and see if anyone wants to read whatever is being proposed.
Successful literary agents have extensive knowledge of the publishing world, including connections to major and independent publishers. This allows them to market their clients’ work in a variety of ways.
How to become one?
You’ll bring your love of books and probably start with an internship or a junior role at a publishing company or agency.
It always helps to start small because the barrier to entry is lower.
Once you’re in it, you’ll need to quickly learn about how the publishing cycle works. Each publishing house has a different field of interest, although you do have some larger publishing house that encompass many areas of interest.
Then, you’ll need to make your contacts. This is pretty important because people need to get to know you and trust that you have the right acumen.
After all, you’re like a marketer. You are saying that people should put their money behind something that you believe will become the next big hit.
And this is where reading a lot helps. Reading a lot allows you to read the room better. Trends ebb and flow. I mean, 50 Shades of Gray would not have gotten anywhere in 1990 but it was a real hit just a few years ago. So… things change and you’ll need to be the one who knows.