A few months ago, I shared a post about a job listing I came across willing to pay for book reviews. While my post garnered a lot of interest and chatter, my inquiry about the job did not result in any response at all. I gathered that was because the firm advertising did not agree with my desire to be able to provide honest reviews for cash. This past week I came across yet another poster looking to pay for book reviews. I followed the application instructions and waited for a response. Several days later I received a standard form letter e-mail explaining all of the details and procedures. This was a one-off deal – three books reviewed for one set price within a certain period of time. Reviews were to be honest, brief and provide a “why” explanation, regardless of my POV. A listing of titles was provided for my selection and a contract was attached for my completion if I wanted to proceed. In addition to payment, the books would be mine to keep.
There are two initial problems for me from a business sense in this scenario. Number One, the pay equated to a mere $15 per review. Number Two, it was a challenge to find three titles of interest from the list.
I have minimal time in which to read. If I am going to read something, I want it to be of direct interest or relevance to my life, my needs, my curiosity. I am also unable to craft a review barely exceeding the maximum characters in Twitter. It seriously takes me longer to write a short post/article/review than it does to blather on and on. I doubt I could write three quickies in an hour’s time. Which is what this opportunity is geared towards. Making $45 an hour is awesome. But not a realistic outcome here.
The books – all non-fiction, all a few hundred pages, all “how-to’s” – would be quick enough to get through, but it’s going to take up several hours of my time nonetheless. Writing up a blurb review for each one would take me another few hours because of my own self-imposed high standards.
This company isn’t paying for my high standards, commitment to the material or reading time. It is paying for skimming, unoriginal summaries and thumbs up or thumbs down, with a simple “why” to justify itself. Any press is good press in these instances. Getting paid below minimum wage to read and review something on Amazon is not my idea of beneficial reviewing.
Trying to plow my way through material I may or may not care for, and then trying to put down my thoughts in a matter of minutes on a website in order to maximize my hourly rate of return does not benefit the authors of these materials. Finding a book blogger interested in their subject, looking to write thoughtful posts that engage a built-in audience is a far better platform choice for authors and their publishers/agents/PR firms. Not to mention that said book bloggers do this for free.