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Authors love positive reviews. Readers love honest reviews. For this reason, there is an ethical debate involved around book reviews. Book critics are professionals who evaluate the merits of a book. Their pay may come from a publisher, an author, or another source. In general, these professionals write trustworthy reviews that reflect their honest appraisal of the writing.

On and many other sites, you will see reviews from customers. These layman's’ reviews recount the buyer’s personal experience. In theory, these people do not review for monetary gain. However, according to a data-mining expert interviewed by the New York Times, hired hands write more than thirty percent of book reviews as marketing ploys to attract readers with positive reviews. Writing insincere reviews without reading the book could hurt your reputation as a reviewer. Consider carefully whether you should accept this type of work.

Bloggers occupy the middle road. They are not professional book critics, but are authors or readers who provide a sincere commentary on the books they read. This work is not necessarily lucrative on its own. The blog writers often work for free, or in exchange for a free copy of the book.  Is it possible to make money from book reviews?  The answer is yes! In my work at Grammarly, I have seen authors employ some ingenious methods to make money from book reviews. Here are just a few:

1. If you do not already have a blog, get one!

Blogs give you a voice. You can attract readers to your blog by reviewing popular novels. People seek out reviews to see if they want to buy a book. If you consistently give interesting, helpful commentary on books, readers will begin to trust your judgment. They will visit your site regularly to check for new postings.

Next, monetize your blog. You want to take advantage of the traffic that book reviews bring to your website. One of the most common ways to generate income is to list advertisements. Businesses will pay you a small amount each time someone clicks one of their ads on your website. For nine more ways to make money with your blog, consult the article “Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies, Ranked in Order,” by David Risley.

2. Share your contact information.

As you develop your reputation online, authors will begin to seek you out to review their books. They may send free copies or offer to promote your books for free on their blog. Your networking will form professional relationships that will pay off in the long run.

3. Charge membership fees.

Some bloggers have regular followers that pay a monthly fee to access special features of the site. While you will need free content to attract new readership, you can provide premium services at a cost. For example, imagine that you reviewed the book of a new author on your website. You could make the review available for all website visitors. However, you could interview the author, post a video review, or provide a list of similar books for premium subscribers. Make sure that you regularly add new premium content or your subscribers will see no reason to renew at the end of a billing cycle. If you shared your contact information, you can allow premium members to request reviews of specific books. They will feel thrilled to see you respond to their requests.

Tip:  Thorough, informative reviews that do not give the plot away attract readers most effectively. Use an online proofreading service to give all the material that you post a once-over. Error-free documents establish credibility almost as much as the content of the blog.

You will probably not make a living writing book reviews unless you become a professional book critic. However, you can make serious money if you use your blog to your advantage. Monetize your blog in as many ways as possible. Charge a little extra for premium content. Publish exceptional reviews, and soon you will have loyal customers. Do not forget to share your contact information. As your reputation builds, readers and authors will want to seek your opinion on the next bestseller.

By Nikolas Baron

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.