One of my favorite things to do is read. If I can read 100 pages in a day, I feel like I accomplished something. It doesn’t matter if it’s pulp fiction or something a little more hardcore. As I flip through the pages and I can see the book going from front to middle to end, I get a sense of fulfillment. Unfortunately, there are few ways to make reading pay the rent. I certainly haven’t figured out how to get paid for reading, yet, but I want to. Here are some suggestions I’ve run across:
You can review books and get paid. Yes, this is a real job, and if you’re lucky enough to find a place that will pay you a regular, living salary to read and write about what you read, hold onto it. Unfortunately, most book reviewers will spend years before they ever make any money for their book reviews. Some won’t ever make any money because they’re doing it on websites like Amazon and Good Reads – super helpful to the authors; not so much to the people writing the review (unless they are hoping to get more of that kind of story from the author.
A book blog is one way to build a resume to help find a book reviewer job. You can even monetize it, but unless you’re getting thousands of views a day, you won’t pay the bills. Chances are you won’t even pay for the site itself.
People will, sometimes, pay you to edit their writing, whether or not you have actual qualifications. The going rate for editing is two cents a word. For a 100,000-word book, you’re looking at $2,000. Almost no author wants to pay that kind of money to get the edit on their book done. Whether or not this will sustain your lifestyle will depend on how quickly you can edit. Of course, this is the median price for basic proofreading. Developmental editing should cost more.
The biggest problem here is that most editing will be done on a computer. It’s certainly more efficient that way. There’s less a sense of accomplishment, and when you’re reading to correct, it takes longer. In my case, I often only get 3 pages done in an hour. There aren’t 33 hours in a day.
A lot of the books I read for fun lack the ability to inspire me to write something about them. The Forgotten Realms: The Harpers series is great. They’re a set of loosely connected stories that are based in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. They are fast to read, and enjoyable. But they are just so much bubble gum; by the time you’re done reading them, the flavor has run out and you forget what you’re chewing. Great for relieving stress and getting out of the real world, just difficult to write anything of worth.
Still, there are some mass market books worth writing about. Currently, “Bravely” looks like a read that is fun and inspiring. It’s just hard to find them, and if you want to get paid for reading, you have to be able to read and write quickly enough to churn out the articles for your audience.
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