How to Become a Book Reviewer Online

Oct 20, 2021

Introduction to a Book Reviewing Career

Book reviewing requires not only a knowledge of literature and strong writing skills but also the ability to pick out the pros and cons of a work of literature. This type of work can be done anywhere a writer has access to a laptop and an internet connection. Keep in mind that the salary statistics below are for writers in general; book reviewing varies greatly in payment. Some writers may make $30 or less per review, whereas other reviewers who have an established media presence might make hundreds.

Required Skills Critical-reading skills, understanding of literary concepts, writing skills, social media skills
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 0% for all writers and authors
Median Salary (2018)* $62,170 for all writers and authors

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Book Reviewer Online

Becoming a book reviewer online has a few key steps - obtaining a degree in literature or a similar area, developing strong writing skills, and deciding whether to pursue employment at a publication that regularly reviews books or branch out on one's own and build a book reviewing brand of their own. These steps can be completed entirely online, but establishing the connections needed can also be done through conferences, panels, and other in-person networking events.

Step 1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Many book reviewers have at least a bachelor's degree in an area such as English literature, journalism, or liberal arts. Communications is another area book reviewers might decide to study. During this schooling it is imperative that prospective book reviewers learn how to analyze literature, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and write persuasively about the pros and cons of a work of literature. Luckily, degrees in all of these fields are readily available online, and some of them allow students to receive credit for completing internships.

Step 2. Establish Connections

After obtaining a degree, prospective book reviewers will have to decide whether they want to work for a company, becoming a staff writer, or take the entrepreneurial route and work for themselves. Either way, it behooves book reviewers to make connections in the publishing industry. To be considered for a writing position with a large magazine, a prospective reviewer will have to query the company, usually with an email that expresses interest in reviewing and includes their qualifications, resume, and some of their best writing samples. Writers should take care to read the reviews published by each company and fit their writing style to suit.

Step 3. Create an Online Platform

If a book reviewer decides to be a freelance reviewer, he or she will need a professional website and a way to generate leads to his or her site. Writing reviews for a certain genre can be a way to generate name notoriety and web traffic. Many publications accept book reviews written by freelancers who can demonstrate their prior work. A website can also draw independent authors, who pay reviewers, sometimes handsomely, for reviewing their books. Another way to generate an audience is to join independent book groups on social media platforms like Facebook to find potential clients for reviews.

Step 4. Establish a Voice

Book reviewers need to be able to not only summarize a work but impactfully state the pros and cons of the work. Writers become known for their taste and objectivity, their use of language in their reviews. Will a reviewer become known for his or her searing attacks, or for finding those gems in the indie stacks? Establishing a voice involves not only publishing reviews on a personal online platform but also writing for other online and print-based sources over time.

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