How To Get A Job As A Book Reviewer

If you love to read a job as a book reviewer might be perfect for you. This article shows how to get a job reading books for a living.

Bibliophiles the world over share the same lament: too many books, not enough time. Not only that, but books can be expensive. Wouldn't it be nice, book lovers ask, if they could get books for free, and have all day to read them? If this sounds good to you, you may want to consider a job as a book reviewer.

A book reviewer's job is simply to read books a publishing house or reviewing publication sends to him or her, and then get paid to write their opinion about it. This seems ideal, but it also seems like it would be difficult to get such a job. It's actually not as difficult as it seems.

Like most jobs, becoming a book reviewer requires a set of skills and some experience. The primary skill required is to be a fast and thorough reader. You only get paid based on how well you've reviewed the book and how many books you can review, so it pays to read quickly and comprehensively. The other skill you need to have is some sort of critical thinking and writing ability. Merely summarizing the plot of a story is not enough to be a good book reviewer - you also need to be able to form an opinion of what worked and what didn't, and why. If you can do this, and write a succinct article describing the book and your opinion of it, you are well on your way to becoming a book reviewer.

It seems, sometimes, that it is impossible to break into the world of book reviewing without experience. Yet it is hard to gain that experience if you are required to have it in the first place. It is the same conundrum that people looking for jobs share in all the fields. In the literary world there are places, though, where it is possible to gain experience - possibly more so in book reviewing than in other fields.

If you have absolutely no experience book reviewing, but are interested in getting involved in the field, you can begin by voluntarily reviewing books for websites. Many booksellers offer "reader review" sections for any book they sell. If you've read a book, and want to practice writing reviews, these are a great option. Many of these same online sites offer links to professional reviews; study these professional reviews for an idea of how different publications handle them, and then try and follow their example. Once you've written a few of these reviews, you can print out copies of what you've written and keep them as writing samples. These are not as good as professional clips, but many times review publications are more interested in how you review rather than what you've reviewed, and having a sample can be handy in these cases.

After you've practiced how to write reviews, you can begin to seek out real-world experience. The next step up from the voluntary reader-reviews is to write reviews for websites or local publications who accept freelance work. Oftentimes these are for no pay, and sometimes they may even reject your submission. However, there are literally hundreds of these book-review websites which are in constant need of help; simply contact the editor and ask how to go about reviewing books for the site. You don't have to mention that you haven't written professional reviews yet, just say you have several samples you can send if required. The same goes for local publication - these can be church newsletters, neighborhood bulletins, or the town weekly. Again, you probably won't get paid for these reviews (and you won't even get free books) but they are experience. Once they are published, you can say that you're a freelance book reviewer in your cover letter to larger publications.

After you've established a few reviewing credits, you are probably ready to approach the larger markets. You may want to consider one of the big reviewing houses - Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly are two of the biggest, although there are others. These companies come out with huge volumes of book reviews every week or two, and they depend solely on freelancers to get the job done. The pay is not great - usually about $50 per review - but the books are free and you are actually getting money to read books. Meanwhile, having this on your resume will show other publications - the city newspaper, for example - that you have experience working in an intensive, professional book review situation. At this point, you are ready to apply for any reviewing jobs interest you.

A few tips about sending in your application and resume for a reviewing job: First, only send in your best clips, or samples that seem to fit the style of reviewing the publication follows. Don't send reviews of inappropriate books to publications; for example, don't send a glowing review you wrote of anti-Catholic book to a Catholic magazine as a sample of what you can do. Also, tailor your resume to include all writing and reviewing credits, as well as including relevant experience for the types of reviewing your doing. For example, if you are applying to review books for a construction trade journal, it is probably okay to list your years as a carpenter on your resume. Otherwise, leave it off.

If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to begin your career as a book reviewer in just a few months. There's only one thing left to do, and that should be easy for you: Start reading!

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