I have a suggestion for unpublished writers. If you want to improve your writing skills, read more books and get writing credits, you might want to apply to be a children’s book reviewer. I have been a book reviewer in the past and it helped me in many ways.
I knew this would get your attention. Did you know that book reviewers receive FREE BOOKS in the mail? It’s true. The publication that you work for will send you a list of books that need reviewing every month or quarter. You then choose books that look interesting and after the publications gets feedback from all of their reviewers, they mail books to each of you. The first time I got home and found a FedEx envelope on my doorstep with a free book inside, my heart beat a little faster. Many months I received 2 or 3 books that needed reviewing. The books are usually hardcover. They are also new books you will get to read before the general public. I don’t know about you, but that is exciting to me.
CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEWERS ARE IN DEMAND
We all have one thing in common: we love children’s books. We wouldn’t be trying to write for children if we didn’t. Most book reviewers are in this business for free books. Publishers get more volunteers to be book reviewers for adult fiction. They need children’s book reviewers.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Getting started is surprisingly easy. I have written for both Kidsreads.com, Teenreads.com, and Book Pages. You might want to start with an online review service and later offer your skills to a print magazine. The online review services provide reviewers with free books, but generally do not pay them. Write up a couple of sample reviews to send.
I have learned valuable time management skills as a reviewer. With each book that I receive, I get a review deadline. I usually have about one month to read and write my review of each book, but it is sometimes shorter. This has sharpened my time management skills and it has made me a faster reader. Writing reviews also forces you to cut through the book and write a tight summary. This skill is especially useful when you need to write a query letter or a synopsis of a novel.
READERS MAKE BETTER WRITERS
Every writer has heard that you won’t have the skills to write unless you read.
If you like to read children’s books as much as I do, I think you might enjoy being a book reviewer. It forces you to read and write on schedule. You will be surprised that when your writing life becomes more structured, you will be a much more productive writer. Good luck and happy reading!