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Kirkus Job Review: Get Paid to Review Books? Yes!

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In the past, I created a post that talked about the many ways you can get paid to read.  And, one very popular company that I mentioned, Kirkus, promises to do just that.  However, it’s a company that doesn’t have the best reputation online.

In today’s review, I wanted to dig deeper into this company to see how it works, what you can get paid as well as what people think of it.  As in all of my reviews, I always remain non-bias and let you know how it is.  We are the world’s most honest finance site, after all!

If you love the idea of reading books and getting paid for doing so, then Kirkus may be an option to consider.  Be sure to read this review to see what it’s all about and if I recommend it in the end.

Let’s begin.

What is Kirkus?

Kirkus is a very well-known magazine that focuses mainly on book reviews.  Founded in 1933, they are based in New York City and  will review any book, at a price, of course.  At the time of this review, they have reviewed more than 10,000 books in a year and see more than two million visitors a month.

Authors from around the globe often turn to this magazine in hopes for a positive review as some have found the exposure to be good for their book.  In many cases, you will see a “Kirkus” review right next to some of the more prominent book reviewers such as the New York Times.

Seeing it’s very easy to get snag a review, Kirkus has since hired freelancers to keep up with the overwhelming demand.  This is where you can come into the picture.

According to the many reviews I have read online, it doesn’t appear to be a job that replaces your part- or full-time gig, but rather, an opportunity to earn some spare change in your free time.



Signing up as a Freelancer

If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer to get paid to read books, the company doesn’t have a strict set of standards.  In fact, if you look at the job description, it will look something this:

And, as you can see, they only ask you to be an “experienced book reviewer” and have the same high standards as other reviews.  They also mention that you must be willing to write 350+ words and submit your review in less than two weeks.  In regards to what experience means, it could range anywhere from having your blog to in-depth reviews on GoodReads.  Generally, as long as you can submit a decent writing sample, you shouldn’t have a problem being considered.

From what I read, as long as you can competently write a review that’s similar to that of other reviews on the site, you shouldn’t have a problem.

If you’re interested in the job, they do ask that you submit a resume, a writing sample, as well as a list of specialties to the email noted in that screenshot above.

They don’t offer a whole lot in terms of what they are looking for.  So, as long as you feel you can write a decent book review, it’s worth a shot to at least send over a resume and writing sample to see what they think.  Worst case, you don’t hear back.

Working for Kirkus as a Freelancer

As a freelancer, Kirkus will assign you books based on your reading preferences and habits.  In most cases, you will have up to two weeks to read the book and submit a written opinion, which should be in the 350~ word range.

Any review that you submit should be well written and form a conclusive conclusion, written concisely so that the reader leaves your review knowing what you thought.

In most cases, reviews shouldn’t take you any longer than 60 to 90 minutes to write.

All jobs are 100% flexible, as you are a freelancer, and you’re able to work from home.  There’s no commute to an office nor do you have to accept a schedule.  You will just commit to a book and then submit your review with that two-week timeline.

How Much Does Kirkus Pay?

While Kirkus charges more than $400+ to have them review your book, they, unfortunately, do not pass much of this money onto you.  In fact, a very small amount of it will be passed along to you, usually in the tune of $50 or so, at least according to multiple reports I read online.

While this isn’t to be looked at as a bad thing, per se, you do have to remember that Kirkus finds the books for you to review online and they don’t expect too much in regards to your review.  Remember, you only need to write about 350~ words to get it accepted.  And, in many cases, since they send you books based on your reading habits, there’s a good chance you will like the book you’re reading.

However, on the downside, you may read a book you may not enjoy and may find yourself investing upwards of 15+ hours just to read.  Then, after you write the review, you could be making a few dollars an hour.  This can be frustrating to some.

What Are Others Saying

In looking online, there was a fair share of people sharing their experiences with Kirkus, both good and bad, of course.

On Glassdoor, for instance, there were only four reviews, with it being a split.

The positive reviewer noted that there were a lot of writing opportunities, with the option to review books from a variety of genres.  There was rarely downtime.

As for the negatives, they felt that you needed to leave a positive review.  In doing so, it led to more reviews.  In the case you didn’t write a positive review, the editor would ask to change it.  After some time, this particular reviewer was left in the dark after so many negative reviews and wasn’t asked to review again.

In regards to the authors who bought a review, most were happy, at least according to this SelfPublishingAdvice article.  This could be based on the fact that the company sways reviewers to post only positive reviews so that Kirkus can continue to sell its $400+ reviews.  This can’t be confirmed, however.

Final Thoughts

If you like the idea of receiving an unknown book in a genre you like, it’s one to consider.  You won’t get rich, but you could make $50 a review.  Remember, though, you will more than likely have to invest 10+ hours into reading the book.  And, if the book stinks, then it could be torture to earn that money.

As long as you have some reviewing experience, whether it’s writing a review on a blog or via GoodReads, send your resume over.  It’s a very reputable company and you will get paid.  It’s just the question if you want to read unknown books.

As always, if you have something to say about Kirkus, whether it’s good or bad, or maybe you have a question/concern, then that’s what the comment section is designed for.  Feel free to leave a comment to let you know what you think.

In the meantime, if you want to get paid to read books, it can be done, and Kirkus is an option.  The question is, however, if you can get approved.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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