Do Book Review Services/Publications Pay Some Reviewers Less Than Minimum Wage?

I’ve always said you should NEVER PAY a book reviewer to review your book. Here is further proof that this is a horrible practice. I received the following email in response to my post, WHO ARE THE REAL STARVING WRITERS? Book Reviewers.

Hey Angela!

I just read your article on book reviewers being the new starving writers and I wanted to chime in with my experience as a book reviewer. I wrote reviews for both [a book review publication that now charges some authors for reviews] and [another popular book review service] and I was paid $50 for regular reviews of 300 words or more and $75 for reviewing books that were longer, anywhere from 600-1,200 pages.

Since they only allow veteran reviewers the ability to choose which books to review, I was assigned specific books after providing them with a list of genres that I favored and genres that I refuse to read. Oddly enough, the editors never seemed to know which books were in which genres because I received more than a couple of (books that were in those categories).

Roughly 98 percent of the books I was assigned were very poorly written, difficult to read, and full of cardboard characters or stereotypes and plots that moved at a slug-like pace. These were all P.O.D. or self-published books. I followed all the guidelines (there are several pages of guidelines they give you when you start working for them), and did my best to explain why the novel was so awful and, about 40 percent of the time, the review service editor would get back to me with this long list of whiney complaints by the author. So I’d have to respond to all these questions, which generally took an entire day. When I’d complain about it I was (only given a small additional amount that wasn’t enough to pay for my time).

Book reviewers are treated like expendable people and I found that I was spending so much time reading my way through terrible prose and then responding to the authors’ whining that I wasn’t making minimum wage by the time all was said and done. So, I quit. It then took several months for them to stop emailing me, and requesting that I read and review more horrible books.

These services make (several hundred dollars per review) – they once sent me an author’s invoice by accident – and the reviewer is getting only a tiny bit of that.

-Name not published on request

While it’s true the book review service set up their own website, and are advertising to attract writers, it’s beyond ridiculous that they pay book reviewers less than minimum wage to review their customer’s books. Collecting several hundred dollars up front and then paying the reviewer only $50-$75 to do the bulk of the work, while then forcing them to explain their review to disgruntled authors, is extremely unfair. Services like this should pay their contractors an hourly rate, and that rate should be a respectable amount.

If the review service can’t afford to pay their contractors more, they should raise the rates they charge authors. It’s better to charge a fair rate to the author, and to pay a fair rate to the contractor, than to pay the contractor a wage that is below the legal minimum hourly rate.

Authors should not contribute to this industry by paying for book reviews, which can destroy your reputation. That’s a whole other article in itself, which is HERE.

Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises. - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors. - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.


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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

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