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If reading is your great love in life, why not turn it into a side hustle and get paid to read books?
Publishing companies hire people solely to read manuscripts for clarity and readability. The extra set of eyes on a novel can also help spot editorial issues, such as misspellings, grammatical errors and sentence structure. Professional readers understandably do not make as much money as editors but it is an effective way to get your foot in the door of the publishing industry. Whether you aspire to be an editor, agent or to run your own publishing house, professional reading is a stepping stone to a future helping shape literatures future.
Recommended for avid readers
How much can you earn? About $5-$10 per 500 words on freelancing sites like Fiverr; that’s about $1,000 to $2,000 for a 20k-word book (however, those projects are definitely rarer!)
Start-up costs: none – just your time!
Another way that avid readers can make money online is from beta reading. Some authors, established ones in particular, can get beta readers for free (after all, fans will give anything to read your books before everyone else does, even if they have to provide feedback!); however, it’s much safer and more effective for authors to use a more experienced beta reader.
That’s because if you get free beta readers, there isn’t much incentive for them to give you honest and productive feedback – if they’re even capable of it. They’re most likely in it because they get a free book that they’d like.
A good, paid beta reader on the other hand, is getting paid for a specific service: to read your book in full and provide honest, productive feedback. They’re not editors so they won’t give you a lot of specific instructions on how to improve character development and critique your work in detail, but they’ll tell you their honest thoughts on the book and whether they caught any glaring errors or even if they didn’t like a specific scene in your book.
So if you love reading, head over to Fiverr and create an account to sell your beta reading services – it’s a great way to make some extra money doing something that you genuinely like to do.
Make extra money with book review opportunities
If you arent necessarily looking to pay all your bills by reading books, you may be able to find work as a paid book reviewer or at least get a free book in exchange for an online review. Here are some sites where you can provide paid book reviews or get a new book.
- Online Book Club requires your first review be unpaid, but you will still get a free book to review! After your initial review, most projects offer $5 to $60. As you can see, book reviewing really isn’t a gig that compensates well for the time involved. You really need to love to read — and quickly — and consider any compensation a bonus while having fun.
- Kirkus hires freelance reviewers and expects a 350-word review within a 2-week time frame.
- Booklist accepts freelance book reviews – assigned reviews only. Freelance opportunities are limited but pay $12.50 for a blog post and $15 for a full book review.
- The US Review does pay for reviews, though their website does not say how much. Reviews must include a short book summary, be turned around within 2-3 weeks, and follow a style guide.
- Bethany House specializes in Christian books and is specifically looking for reviewers who have an existing online platform like a YouTube channel, a book blog, etc. There is no mention of compensation, but you may be able to use your affiliate marketing link within your review on your own website or channel. (Learn more about book blogger opportunities.)
- Writerful will allow you to submit an honest review of any book of your choosing. You just won’t get paid as a new reviewer, so expect to put in some time on the site. Paid book reviewer opportunities are offered if you become a trusted, experienced reviewer. These paid opportunities compensate $10 to $50 per review.
- Moody Publishers is another publishing house specializing in Christian titles. They do not pay for your reviews, but you will receive free books.
If you need to earn a living from your side hustle, you will probably have to do more than review books. Here are some additional opportunities that pay more and will still have you reading.
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Need more ideas?
Explore more online business ideas. Check out our website business ideas or freelancing opportunities for more online business opportunities.