How Reading Books Can Lead You to an Exciting New Career

We've all seen the title under someone's name: Book Reviewer. What is that? How do they get paid to do something they love and what are the benefits? If you love to read, how can you start working as a book reviewer?
A book reviewer is someone who usually receives a beta copy of the book before it's released. While it's the final draft for the author, they still have a chance to make changes and revisions based on review suggestions like your own. Oftentimes, this is a great way for authors to check the sale value of a story before they invest money into a full-on publishing contract. It also lets them see if there are any glaring mistakes that need corrected before the launch date.

-Go Where the Authors Are
When you see a group of people you want to talk to, do you just stand across the street and wait for them to notice you? Of course not, so keep that in mind when you're online as well. One of the best places to meet with professional authors is through Facebook and Twitter. Become a member of their reader groups and take part on their pages. Communicate with them and respond to their posts.
Let them know you're in the market for a great book and check out their previous titles. Once you've been able to introduce yourself like this, they will pay more attention when you offer your services as a book reviewer. If you have done anything like this in the past, share that information. Keep in mind though that not every author requires previous experience to entrust you with this job. They may want a fresh pair of eyes entirely.
If you're a member of a local book club that meets with authors, then start making contacts there as well. This face-to-face contact can often lead to productive working relationships and more opportunities based on personal friendships. If you want to meet these people, you must have enough faith to step out and go for it. You'd be surprised how much a simple Hello can get you in terms of valuable contacts and professional associations.

-Compensation and Benefits are Two Different Things
First of all, you should know that book reviewing is not always a paid position. Value doesn't always come in cash form. Sometimes, it comes in the form of connections made with professional and/or award-winning authors to learn from. If you do this service for them, they will be happy to return the favor when your book launches. You can also use their knowledge while you are writing your first project and ask them various questions. However, if you never make contact with them or work with them in the first place, you'll be lacking in resources.

-Duties of a Book Reviewer
These authors are not just handing out free beta copies of books like candy. You need to give them a valuable service in return. This is more than saying, "I really like your book." Instead, you need to give them a critique that points out what you like, what you didn't and any recommendations you may have. It's up to them whether they actually put these into use, but this collection of suggestions from various reviewers gives them a pool to choose from. They can see which recommendations have a common theme and which are random thoughts by only a few people.
While you're reading, you also need to check for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Spell check is not always a writer's best friend because you can still use the wrong word and spell it right. Authors miss things and make mistakes, and you're acting as another pair of eyes for them. If you spot one of these mistakes, make a note of the page number and paragraph so they can easily correct it. If you granted you the right to "track changes" in Word, then follow this method so they can spot the items right away.

-Experience with Different Genres
The more you work with various authors, the better you're going to get at book reviewing. This will improve your online reputation, especially as you post reviews on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Goodreads, Smashwords, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you have your own blog, you can also post it for your readers and share it with the authors directly. It's good to have a range of titles so your immediate potential is seen by authors who haven't used your services before.
Keep in mind that the whole time you're reviewing books, you're getting knowledge about how to write your own. You are finding out what works and what doesn't and then seeing how well that plays out in the market. When you see the sales of a particular copy go up that you reviewed, you know the fundamentals of that story were great. However, if you see a book that is struggling, this will show you what to avoid in your writing. Everyone has their own audience to write for but there are certain basics each author needs to pay attention to.

-Summary
If you're interested in becoming a book reviewer, then it's very easy to start. What books have you read to date? Write reviews for them and post them in the proper places online. This will start to increase your online presence even before you've spoken to one author. Once you've made contact with someone, then you can refer them to the reviews you have posted. It starts out with just a little effort, but can have some big payoffs. Reading books can lead you to an exciting career if you're willing to follow these few simple steps!

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