First of all, this is not some crazy online get-rich-quick scheme. You won't get rich and you won't be able to leave your day job. This also isn't one of those things where we promise you billions of dollars if you just send us a small fee. This is completely free to you, the reviewer.
So what is this? It's actually fairly simple:
Many publishers and up-and-coming authors are willing to give you a free copy of their book in exchange for you writing an honest review of the book. Indeed, over a thousand authors have sent us their book for review. This is a collection of books that each normally cost money to purchase but from which you can choose a free book.
In fact, there is such a high demand for reviewers to accept these offers that many of them are now coming with a payment in addition to the free book. In other words, you will get a free copy of a book and then you will get paid to honestly review that book. You do not have to lie and say you loved it if you didn't. You are being paid for an honest, quick review, not a positive review.
Most payouts currently range between $5-$60 per review. Like we said, you won't get rich but you can make a couple hundred dollars a month, probably not at first but rather as you establish yourself as a reviewer. And then there's the savings from getting your books for free instead of paying for them.
If you are the kind of person who hasn't read a book in the last year, this probably isn't for you. However, if you are the kind of person who likes to read books and enjoys finding new authors, then this is an awesome offer for you. Wouldn't you like to earn some cash and save money you would have spent on books anyway to do what you would have done anyway, which is read books in your spare time.
To get started, you will need to register an account if you do not have one already, which is quick and completely free. Then you will go to the Usergroups tab of the User Control Panel and click to join either of the review team groups. Then make a few posts to get your post count up to 10. Then choose your first free book!
Why do authors/publishers want these honest reviews so much that they are willing to give away free copies of their book and even pay money?
Our article How to Promote Your Independently Published Book or Ebook argues that the number one way to promote and market a good book is to get it honestly reviewed. Keep in mind, the review you write won't just be pasted up on your fridge, it will be published publicly on a top, trusted, high-traffic website used specifically by readers -- that is, this website, OnlineBookClub.org. An author/publisher expects a good review on our popular readers' website to lead to a significant number of sales of their book.
What if the review isn't good? What if I don't like the book?
If you do not like the book, then you give it a negative review. You are being paid and given free books to write honest reviews, not to lie. The entire system would be undermined by dishonest reviews. A positive review from a team of reviewers that cannot be trusted is worthless. It's because our readers know you won't just say the book is good if it isn't, in your opinion, that our reviews are trusted and good reviews on our site spell great things for the author/publisher. If your review is negative, the author is expected to take it as constructive criticism which ultimately is still in the author's best interest. Do you pay your doctor to tell you good news even if it isn't true? If anything, you get even more for your money if the news your doctor gives you is bad.
If you hate the book so much you do not even finish reading it, that's fine. You won't get paid if it was a paid review, but there is no penalty for accepting the free copy of the book. Of course, if you do not finish most of your books, you may be booted from the team.
How come you are willing to pay me to write reviews when you don't know me?
That's a great question! We use an element of quasi-seniority based on post count, participation in the forums and number of previously approved reviews to deal with this issue. New review opportunities are first shown to reviewers who have already submitted a review. This gives reviewers whose work has already been checked first dibs. Needless to say, we expect that the highest paid reviews will go first. As a new reviewer, your first review will almost certainly not be a paid review but just a review in exchange for a free book -- which is still a great offer. (In fact, we used to run the system only as free books in exchange for reviews but the demand was so high for reviews we needed to start paying reviewers.) This means your first couple reviews will act sort of like a trial run in which we can make sure you are capable of reading a book and writing an honest review. As you finish reviews, you will have access to the new review requests and the chance to take a paid review opportunity. Also, we do require you to have a post count of 5 on the forums before we will let you claim a free book, so that the community has a little chance to get to know you before you start giving official reviews. Similarly, until you have established yourself by officially reviewing free books for us, you can also improve your standing by participating in the community which is free and involves things as simple as chatting about reading or posting unofficial reviews of other books you have already read.
In short, we get to know you when you post your own reviews of books you have already read, review free books for us and chat in our forums. More importantly, the community of book lovers gets to know you and respect your opinion as an internet friend and that is why an honest review from you will become valuable enough to pay for.
If you are just in it for the money, it's not for you. Having to 'earn' your right to first dibs at books by reviewing books for no pay and/or by participating in the book forums will seem like an annoying chore that is not worth the eventual payout. However, if you like chatting about books and already read books regularly, it's a great way to get free books and eventually earn some extra cash by doing what you do anyway.
Even if you do not have a special ereader like a Kindle, you can read ebooks on a smartphone or computer. We do have review offers for books in traditional format (i.e. paperback/hardcover) which will be mailed to you, so you do not need an ereader and you do not need to be willing to read ebooks. But reading ebooks is quicker and opens you up to review books that are only available for review as an ebook.
How hard is it to write a review?
It's not very hard. You do not need to write a doctoral thesis about the book you just read. We want at least 5 paragraphs and at least 400 words. You just need to briefly summarize the book without spoilers and briefly explain why you would or why you wouldn't recommend it. You don't need to be an English major or an expert writer yourself. You just need to be able to write in coherent English with the assistance of a spellchecker.
How fast do I have to read the books?
The deadlines are pretty lax. You can read at your own pace. If you want to only do a couple of books a year and take a month to read each book with breaks in-between, that's fine. If you want to read and review 5 books a month, that's fine too.
How can you afford to pay so much?
$60 for reading a book and writing a quick review may seem like a lot when it feels like you are getting $60 for pretty much nothing since you would be reading books and talking about them anyway. But if you consider that it may take you 12 or even more hours of time to read some of these books, then suddenly you can see that the value is subjective. It's a win-win. People who enjoy reading get money and freebies for doing what they do anyway which feels like getting money for doing almost nothing; publishers/authors in desperate need of someone to read and review a book are getting a motivated person for less than they could hire some disinterested minimum-wage store clerk to suffer through it just for the paycheck.
How do I sign up?
To get started, you will need to register an account if you do not have one already, which is quick and completely free. Then you will go to the Usergroups tab of the User Control Panel and request membership in the review team group. Then make a few posts on the forum until your post count reaches 5, and then choose your first free book!