How to Become a Book Reviewer

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how to become a book reviewer

Do you love to read? Do you love giving your feedback on books? If this sounds like you, then the idea of becoming a book reviewer might be perfect for what you’re looking for!

If you’ve been looking for a way to make money through your love of books, becoming a reviewer might be the answer. It’s not as simple as just reading and writing about them, but it’s always an option if you want to share your thoughts on what you think is worth reading.

Book reviewers are an integral part of a book’s success, although they’re not given their due credit.

They are one of the few people in the publishing industry who don’t place their work on shelves but instead are responsible for producing quality content about books.

“I want to become a book reviewer.” You’ve likely heard that sentence or one like it countless times—maybe you’ve said it yourself.

If you’re thinking of starting down the path of becoming a book reviewer, you may be wondering how to get started on your journey. That’s where this article comes in.

This article will teach you all about how to become a book reviewer and what that entails. These are five great steps to get started on your own journey towards becoming a professional book critic, so read on and get started today!

What is a Book Reviewer?

What does a book reviewer really do?

Well, book reviewers are professionals in the publishing industry who evaluate books and share their reading experiences with others. They could work for publishers, websites focused on literary topics, or be freelancers.

Book reviewers try to be unbiased and fair when reviewing the book so that their opinion is based mostly on what is written in the book, not outside influences.

A book reviewer publishes reviews on books to help people decide whether or not they want to read them. A reviewer might also publish the full text of the book for free, but most are not given that privilege. They are usually given an advance copy of the book, which is then reviewed with a specific word count in mind. Book reviewers are responsible for reading and reviewing all their assigned books before the deadline.

Some book reviewers specialize in a particular genre, but it is much easier for book reviewers to specialize when they establish themselves in the industry. A critic might specialize in romance novels, young adult literature, or historical fiction when they carve out their niche.

a word cloud based on book review
A word cloud based on book review

Why Would One Want to Become a Book Reviewer?

Many people, especially in the literary industry, have a passion for reading. Others enjoy recommending their favorite books to friends. One great way to combine these two passions is by becoming a book reviewer.

A book reviewer reviews books and then writes reviews for magazines, newspapers, or online publications, thereby making a name for themselves.

As a book reviewer, you’ll also get to read books for free before they come out!

The internet has opened up a whole new world for readers. With books becoming more and more accessible, people want to find reviews to help them decide if they want to buy the book or not.

I haven’t talked about monetary gains, have I?

Becoming a book reviewer offers an amazing opportunity to make money by reading and reviewing books. Sometimes, it is as simple as signing up for a book-reviewing site and then looking at the available listings of books that need reviews. If you find one that you’re interested in, you simply agree to review it and then wait for the book to arrive in the mail. Once you’ve finished reading the book, just write your honest review and submit it on the site.

5 Ways to Get Started as a Book Reviewer

a man is reading a book and discussing his thoughts with a friend.

So, how Do You Become A Book Reviewer?

If you love reading and think you have what it takes to be a reviewer, there are tons of ways that you can get started.

Here are some tips on how you can become a book reviewer:

Obvious Tip: Learn How to Review a Book

This is just a bonus tip because it’s obvious you either already know how to review a book or you are quite determined to learn.

But I thought it prudent to give you a brief lesson.

So, here’s how you go about it: The first thing to do is read the book. Once you’ve finished reading it, take a break from it and then read it again. This will help you to get a feel for the flow of the book, as well as help you to determine its strengths and weaknesses.

Once you’ve finished reading a second time, think about what questions other readers might have about the book that can be answered by other reading materials or study guides. By this you should have figured a focus area, an area you find impressive, i.e., strong character development, engrossing plot points, and impressive employment of literary devices.

The last step is to review the book yourself, either on Amazon or Goodreads, depending on where your audience is most active.

1) Join the Online Community and Find Other People to Talk About Books with

There is an online community of book reviewers who are willing to review books for a fee. Joining this community will enable you to find the best ways to get your foot in the door as a reviewer. You can also approach publishing companies and suggest that they use your services as a reviewer.

It is essential to find your tribe, the book reviewing tribe. Book reviews are a great way to expand your knowledge about new books, but they can also be a great way to make friends. If you’re shy, this might be the easiest way for you to meet people who are also reading.

group of friends reviewing different books together
A group of friends reviewing different books together.

Offer your opinion on other topics related to books in the book reviewing communities. The more you engage in these topics, the more people will be interested in your opinion. The great thing about blogging is that it’s not just about books. You can write about anything you’re passionate about and talk about it alongside the book.

2) Read Books

Take time to read as often as you can. One of the most important characteristics of book reviewers is that they love books, so reading frequently can showcase your love of reading by building a list of books you can discuss after finishing them. This can help you to develop reading and comprehension skills that can inform your work as a book reviewer by allowing you to practice reading different types of books and identifying points of interest.

a young lady reads while lying on the floor surrounded by books.
A young lady reads while lying on the floor surrounded by books.

Read books from all genres and eras. The more knowledgeable you are about what has been written, the better you will be able to judge a book. You might even want to read a few of the classics that everyone should know.

Read both fiction and nonfiction because reading both is a great way to improve your analytical skills. It can also teach you new things about the world and boost your creativity. Identify a genre you don’t currently read too much of, and use your book club as an excuse to broaden your horizons!

You can find books about almost any topic of interest, so you might try reading many books in different genres to determine which types of books you most enjoy reading and critiquing.

3) Start Writing and Commenting on Reviews

a book critic is writing her reviews.
A book critic is writing her reviews.

The first step to becoming a reviewer is to write reviews. Find a book that you would want to read and then write a review of it. You can find books on Amazon or anywhere that sells books, as well as at your local library. After the books, go back to Amazon and other sites like Goodreads and post comprehensive book reviews.

Alternatively or simultaneously you can comment on other critics’ reviews.

It is a lot more work to write a review than it is to read one, but it’s worth it for those of us who want to help authors. In the end, commenting on reviews will be a big help for your credibility as an author who reviews books.

You may be able to find some reviews that you agree with and post them on your blog or social media site. That way, if someone is looking for a book review of a certain topic and they see your comment on the reviews of the top three books for that topic, they’ll know that you’re an expert on that subject.

4) Generate a Readership

Apart from the views that you share in book reviewing communities, consistently offer your reviews to the preview to get a few avid followers.

We are all aware of the power of social media platforms or popular content creation websites. You have to take advantage of this and publish book reviews independently on popular online platforms. When you have a good following, it becomes easier for you to establish yourself as a book reviewer because now you have a community that engages with your content and values your critiques. Nowadays, becoming successful independently is a game of numbers, and when you grow this community, publishers and other related potential employers will be attracted.

A great way to start is to go on YouTube and make some video reviews in which you critique books. On your channel(s), you can also discuss other important things in the world of book publishing. You can also write book reviews in social media posts and link them to your blogs and YouTube channels.

5) Pitch to Magazines, Online Publications, and Newspapers

book review newspaper
Book review newspaper. (Image credit: Thad Zajdowicz)

Having made some notable strides in your career as a book reviewer, the next step is to get your reviews in a reputable publication.

Getting your reviews in a reputable publication will definitely increase your audience, raise your credibility as a reviewer, and increase your earnings from book reviews.

The publications might be print media or online as long as they are credible and pay a bit better (the money is important if we aren’t deceiving ourselves).

There are a couple of legit book review sites that one can join. These are some of the publications that I can recommend to you:

I’m not saying that they are the only good publications out there, just recommending the ones I’ve come across.

Print publications are even better because they are rarely fraudulent and the pay is usually better. So, apply for a book reviewing role in print media entities such as magazines, journals, and newspapers.

How Long Should a Book Review Be?

The length of a review should be dependent on the reader (or site) and what they want. It might be appropriate to write a brief review for readers who are interested in a few sentences, or it might require more detail for readers who need more information before deciding if they want to purchase the book.

Usually, reviews are about 350-2000 words. Be that as it may, you’ll find out that each site or publication comes up with its own guidelines which might take the word count out of this range.

How to Promote Your Book Reviewing Business

There are many ways to promote your book reviewing business, and you CAN create passive income generating streams from your promotion methods.

You can set up a blog and build a strong social media presence to connect with other authors and readers.

You can also directly contact the local literary businesses and offer your services as a book reviewer.

Skills You Need To Become a Good Book Reviewer

You don’t necessarily need an academic qualification to become a book reviewer, but there are a few skills that you might need as a book reviewer.

Here are some of them:

  • Expert writing competences
  • Impressive reading and comprehension skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to isolate facts and be detail-oriented
  • Ability to communicate clearly and comprehensively (and being able to express opinions concisely)
  • Impressive impartiality/ open-minded nonpartisanship
  • Ability to work independently
  • Time management skills
skills you need to become a good book reviewer


Becoming a book reviewer is easy, it is becoming an established and well-respected reviewer that’s hard!

Becoming an established book reviewer takes wits, a lot of reading, and positioning yourself in the right places on reputable platforms. Your knowledge base needs to be up-to-date, you need to research a lot and absorb a lot of views from different types of authors.

If you’re that person who always critiques every piece of writing they read, you would make an excellent book reviewer. Why critique books for free when you could make an honest living out of it?

Photo of author


Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.