How to get paid to read books
If you've always wanted to get paid to read books and write reviews, then have I got a tip for you.
Thanks to this excellent post from Carol Tice over at Make A Living Writing, I found out about BookBrowse, an online magazine for book lovers. A little bit more personal than GoodReads, which relies on algorithms and whatever your eccentric co-worker is reading to suggest books for you, BookBrowse is sort of like having a personal librarian read and recommend books you love. They only post reviews for books that they can genuinely rate four stars or above, and there's both reviews for free on the site and a membership offered. Carol Tice's article mentioned that they pay $50 for reviews of about 600 words. They also ask for a special "Beyond the Book" article that delves deeper into some aspect of the story. That's not a bad price, especially if you're a book addict and want to read advance copies of books for free.
I checked out the information under the Reviewer Info section, familiarized myself with some of the site's current reviews and news, and filled out the application. The most time-intensive part of the application is writing two sample book reviews. Fortunately, I had already done that for this blog (which is why everyone tells you to have a blog with some ready-made work samples!) I copied my book reviews for Fangirl and Everything I Never Told You, both of which I wrote just a few months ago.
Within a week, I heard back from Davina Witts, BookBrowse's co-founder, offering me a reviewer position! After reading and signing the reviewer agreement, I had my choice of my first assignment within just a few days. Since I told her that I prefer to read and review books on my Kindle (since Katelyn prefers not overloading our bookshelves in our apartment), Davina also introduced me to NetGalley, a platform for both professional and amateur reviewers to request to review books.
NetGalley is pretty awesome. I created a profile, mentioned that I now review for BookBrowse (but also listed my blog as another place that I might review), and within minutes, I was able to download an advance copy of the book I'd been assigned, The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. It was downloaded to my Kindle and ready to go in just a few clicks.
The cool thing about NetGalley is that anyone with a platform can create an account to review books - you don't have to be working for a website. Although I'm sure it's much easier to request the higher-profile titles with a publication who can work with publicists behind you. Although if you have a blog or site that gets a lot of readers and can prove it, I'm sure you'll have much better chances.
Anyway, just a tip of success to share with others! Obviously since I can only read and write a review for one book at a time, reviewing for BookBrowse will never be a sole source of income, but let's face it - I'm really doing it for the free books, anyway.
Has anyone else had any experiences with NetGalley or getting ARC of books to review? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
And look for my review of The Impossible Fortress, coming soon! Reviews on BookBrowse are free to all for the first few weeks, so when my first review is up, I'll link to it here.