Can you really get paid for writing reviews?
I think that depends on your perspective. If you are looking for a quick way to make money, forget it. Equally, if you are looking to make a fortune, I would say you are out of luck here as well. If you are used to writing reviews for free, then you may be able to make a little extra, eventually.
I joined the book club in April 2018 and to date, I have not qualified for any paid reviews. On the website, they say you only need to read one book and providing you adhere to the guidelines you are ready to start receiving paid reviews. This is not strictly true, you need 35 points before you qualify for any paid reviews. I’ve read 12 books and I still only have 10 points. Why? I’m not very good with rules!
Rule 1: You must stick to the guidelines, or you’re toast. My first review got 13 points, my second left me with -16 points, because they can not only give, they can take away. You must summarise the plot, but this can’t be more than half the review, so use your word count and for a 400-word review, the summary must not be more than 200 words. Don’t include spoilers. Make sure you mention who would like the book – men/women, young adults, lovers of romance, crime fiction, fantasy etc. Watch your spacing, bold type and italics, remember all book titles should be in italics. The formatting guidelines are worth 30 marks out of 100 and are all or nothing, so it is very important you adhere to them.
Rule 2: Grammar and spelling. You are only allowed 4 mistakes then you get no credit at all. If you are like me you hardly ever get any credit for this, so you need to try and make up for it with a good review. The free version of Grammarly helps weed out some mistakes.
Rule 3: Only choose books from the select button on the review score page. If it is not listed there you won’t get any credit for reading it.
Rule 4: Book of the month. You get extra points if you join in the discussion around the book of the month by posting to the forums. I have been able to get the book of the month under the select button, but I’m not sure how I did it. I think it was by claiming the free copy and then going to the review score page. Be aware I once called one book of the month 50 shades of tripe. I was a little miffed as I had bought it at full price and it wasn’t as good as the indie book I had just finished.
Rule 5: Twitter/Facebook. If you are willing to post on social media, then you get a little more credit to add to your score. I only usually post my reviews on Twitter. They have daily books which you can tweet about, but I don’t like talking about things I haven’t read, so I don’t get any credit.
What you get out of it depends on what you are willing to do. Most of the books are free and if you see something that isn’t, it probably will be included in the daily deals at some point in the near future, so keep looking.
They have an author service, but I could not find the price when writing this. I think it used to be about $79 for 10 reviews, but you need to register before you are told the price now. I note that in the author questions it states that the cost of reviews are minimal compared to other things a publishing company pays for and if you can’t afford it perhaps you shouldn’t be publishing a book. You can draw your own conclusions from that.
Will I continue to strive to meet their targets? I don’t know, it is an awful lot of work and you can’t post the same review on Amazon. You’re constantly on a treadmill trying to get through as many books as possible and so you don’t have the time to offer reviews to any other indie authors. For me, it will never be a replacement income and I think my enthusiasm for it will wane over time.
84 thoughts on “OnlineBookClub – genuine or scam?”
Just curious: if you had purchased the review service for a novel of your own, would you be satisfied with the kinds of reviews you’ve seen from this service?
I actually prefer reviews that are very skimpy with the plot summaries – and write about the emotional experience, the quality of the writing, whether they will read the next book from this author. Anyone can provide a plot summary, but how can that be different from reviewer to reviewer?
I don’t review books very often because it takes energy I don’t have, so I am always grateful when readers review my debut novel, and tell me they’re waiting for the next one (I’m working on it!). Plus, if you review someone else’s book, they should not review any of yours, to avoid the appearance of a quid pro quo. As Amazon and Goodreads are connected, Amazon could use the information to delete their review – after all that work.
Thank you for your honesty I am looking for more marketing and this may not be worth my time
I had a very similar experience. Their resolution was to try to sell me other services.
But you have energy To read The books though
Online book club is indeed a scam. Once I qualified to write paid reviews they never paid me. I waited for months and never received a dime.
The editors were instrumental in improving my writing, but I wasn’t so rusty to begin with. I scored 80% on my first review and kept on getting better. The day I submitted a sponsored review my scores started plummeting until I eventually scored 12% on a sponsored review.
I went on the discussion forum and discovered that they make up rules as they go just to keep new reviewers from rising to the upper echelons. It makes sense because they make more money when you don’t. No author receives a free review even if you write it for free.
I raised my concerns and got quite a few rude responses from editors. One of them said that it couldn’t be a scam because in her two year stint working for online bookclub she had earned $800! You already know how much work it takes just to be allowed to make $5 on their platform. It must have been the reason she thought making so little in two years was okay.
Online book club operates like an evil corporation that’s out to destroy your self worth. Everyday you’re willing to do more for less.
What’s even more disheartening is the poor quality of reviews written by level 6 reviewers. I clicked on my editors’ reviews and was horrified by what I found. It appeared like they hadn’t even read the books.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience, I guess we live and learn.
These people are now desperate. I guess they’re being found out. Over a year ago I signed up as a reviewer. The supervisor pointed at an error that wasn’t there. I complained and was told that the supervisor’s decision was final.
I quit, disgusted with the scam.
A couple of days ago the company was advertised with AARP. I clicked on it and it wanted me as a writer (that I am). Now they’re writing me daily emails asking to send my novels. STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY THEIR PROMISES ARE FAKE NEWS!
So glad I found this thread! One of my author friends had joined the Online Book Club, and seemed to get a lot of reviews for his book. I checked into it, but it seemed too expensive. Then (miraculously!) I received an offer to post my book for half-price ($148) and it would qualify for reviews. Well, if you’re a writer, you know how hard it is to get reviews for your book, so I joined. I now have ONE review for my novel “The Way to Remember.”
But yesterday, I received another email from Online Book Club, stating that, because of my “amazing” review, I now qualified to make my novel a “Book of the Day.” It would only cost $598! And if I want to purchase a review “package” (what is that?). The packages run from 25 reviews ($375) to 1,000 reviews ($6,000). I’m not looking to pay for reviews, believe me. I think I learned a $148 lesson.
I had the same experience Martha and just got the emails about “Book of the Day” this week. I spent nearly $300 earlier to get a top reviewer, she gave me a 4 out-of-4 star review, and it resulted on 0 additional sales. When I questioned them about this, they just forwarded more sale packages to up-charge me for.
Well, that explains a lot. I tried to be a reviewer. I already read a lot and figured I could review a few books a year and make a few bucks. They only had a few books available for a first-time reviewer, most of them sounded terrible except for one that actually sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the book was horribly written but I pressed through and finished it. I was careful not to see any reviews or anything before I wrote my review, which only gave the book 1 out of 4 stars or whatever their silly rating system is because the book was terrible.
They accused me of plagiarism. The only source they gave for my plagiarism was to link to the page’s website- which I had never been to before. They said other things were bad about my review but the plagiarism accusation has me banned from reviewing for their scam again. I didn’t plagiarize, it really is that terrible of a book. People saying similar things about such a bad book is natural, not plagiarism.
I’m wondering if they only rejected my review (and accused me of plagiarism) because I gave a negative review, the author isn’t paying them for realistic reviews.
I challenged the accusation, they’re still claiming it has plagiarism in it but won’t say where. I challenged them again but it probably won’t go anywhere or be worth the trouble.
Better than live and learn, how about make things right? Would be nice to know a deserving reviewer like Maureen is being taken care of financialy, just as she is taking care of your business with her competent reviews.
Hey. That word’s finanacially. Argh! Typos! 🙂
I enjoy writing. If you are joining this club because of the money you can make, you may want to ask yourself, how much do I enjoy what I do if the money is that important!! I love this site. As a new writer, I have learned so much and I want to thank everyone associated with this venue for helping me do what I love!
I am glad you find it useful. Like many writers I write a lot of reviews for free, Amazon would not have it any other way!
As an author, I don’t write for free. I have to eat, too.
I totally agree. I’m a member of a writing group here in Spain and every one of our members were either let down by OBC or got fed up of being plagued to invest money. It’s a scam like so many so called “Let us help you sell your book” schemes. I’ve sold some books on Amazon Kindle and Google play and all I can say is get a friend or students to read your book back to you before self publishing. Like me, you’ll be shocked by how many typos and grammar errors we inadvertently make. Good luck and stay safe.
Tracey, Thanks so much for this article as I paid to have my book reviewed and was very disappointed with the onlinebookclub.org review. Now that I see what a reviewer has to go through and how strict the guidelines are I understand better. I paid $300 for the quick turnaround and hopefully to use it for sales before Christmas. In the end the reviewer said they’d give me a 2.5 rating if they could so I got a 2 rating.
I had over a year ago, five Reviewers from Readers Favorites give me 5 Star reviews for this same book and I have a 4.5 Star rating on Amazon (maybe that doesn’t count). Anyway, I thought the person was prejudice to my character who is a very flamboyant guy. Their comments, said he was gay, when I never said he was. I realized it wasn’t worth the money in the end and I did not have them post the review. The company tried to get me to take a 2nd review but at the prices I don’t think its worth the gamble. It seems their guidelines are detrimental to bringing good, enjoyable, and entertaining books to the Book Club people in the world.
If you come across better avenues to use for authors to get reviews at a better price I’m all ears. And I can highly recommend Readers’ Favorites to everyone. Take Care,
Thank you for your comments, sorry you did not get the review you hoped for and I’ll certainly check out Readers Favourites.
Thanks for this, Rose. I joined about 4-6 weeks ago, because they offered services at 50% off. I paid $147 and still haven’t received any reviews, but I did notice that they have advertising packages for as much as $15,000 (yes!) or I could get 1,000 reviews for $9,000. I kid you not.
I’ll chalk it up to an expensive lesson learned.
Are you seriously complaining that you got honest reviews? If you want to buy positive reviews, yeah, OBC isn’t the place. That’s actually a good thing. Lol
Onlinebookclub.org is definitely a scam. I worked for them for 3 years and never got past level two. The editors approving the reviews are not sincere. I once got a high paying book to review, but then after submitting it they kept it pending for a long time without paying me. I sent emails about the matter, their reply was rude and unacceptable. They later rejected the review (which they had already accepted and given a score) just to avoid paying me.
That’s terrible. Even I joined the club couple months back and have reviewed 3 paid books, but still haven’t been paid for the last two, while the first one has been marked paid for ages but still haven’t received anything. I swear to god, if the situation does not change for the two pending books, I’ll quit. I mean, I believe I write good reviews and I was so excited to put my love of reading books and writing about them to use. This all being a scam is disheartening.
I can confirm they are terrible! I paid nearly $300 for an unprofessional review that was more or less a personal attack against me. They accused me of saying in my bio that I’m an LGBT advocate to push an agenda. If they’d bothered to find anything out about me at all they would have known I’m queer and trans. They also accused me of trying to imitate the author whose work inspired my own. I never said I wanted to upsurp that author. I just saw a story within a story and went with it.
I was excited to do this and I reviewed 4-5 books. Then I reviewed on that they wouldn’t allow an automatic extension on and you had to contact them. I contacted them in every way I could find and they kept sending me e-mails that a non-reply asking for an update. I think they website is awful and needs an update. They deleted my account because they don’t check their contact forms if they even work. I’m very disappointed in the whole process. I was really enjoying the process but was feeling like this might not be legit. Now I know. At the very least very badly managed. Don’t waste your time.
Hi I am writing a review because I have had some difficulty in the time frame of which my campaign ad has been promoted. I can imagine that the obc has had some hardship due to COVID. Although there was an ad placed today, that ad did not mention the information that I asked for initially. Please help and in return I can update my rating. Thanks
This company does not read your manuscript. They skim it and then tell you they liked it to get you to agree they read it. Then they trash your book. If you post a negative review of their company they harass you until you delete it. Scott at OnlineBookClub is, IMO, a very unstable neurotic. He told me just now he would post a negative review of my book I’d I did not remove my negative review of their company. Is this a threat to get me to pull a negative review. I think so!
What a waste of money. I had the book reviewed twice- and received the same rating (a 2). The first time was before the book went to the editor and the second time was after significant changes. They used two different people and I was arguing that this is a subjective review and want to see their rating criteria. I complained and all they did was try to sell me more stuff. Don’t waste your money for a review from this company.
What’s the name of your book Jen? Are you on Kindle?
What’s the title of your book? I’d like to read it and send you an honest review…
Well I tried to be a reviewer for this company, Onlinebookclub.org, however they posted a fake book. It Strikes Again. By Tristen O Treal. Hilariously, I had no idea that they would conduct fraud, I just found the cover of the fake book appealing. So I put the book onto my bookshelf, and after I gave them personal information, they decided to block me. The message I received stated:
You have been blocked from using Bookshelves because you added a fake book to your shelves.
I find this hilarious because I do not make the fake book available to select, they do. I find them to be, arguably, borderline retarded.
Hello. I am sorry about your experience. I am a reviewer there, myself, but I do think there was a misunderstanding of why Scott added that book. Authors have been complaining about reviewers who skim or do not read the books. Scott has been trying to eliminate those kinds of reviewers from the website by adding fake books and stating clearly in the description that anyone who will choose to review/add them will be banned. He does this because anyone who does not read the description clearly (a must as a reviewer to review a book) will add it because it pays a lot. Scott will, then, know this person is choosing the highest-paying books without bothering to read descriptions or research it first. I, for one, support his methods.
This paragraph is so ridiculous. Who is Scott? He sounds so intriguing and he is adding fake books to an obscure book review website to trick his writers? It’s also called ‘It Strikes Again’ in some complete bonkers reference to its own lethal capabilities! It ‘Strikes’ and takes out another dodgy book reviewer. My God. And this micro-world has a really strict set of rules that all must obey but these rules are fickle and indiscriminate and fiercely argued. Wow. What a world. I didn’t know that this place existed. It’s like finding the mould on your pickles has evolved into a civilisation while you were at work. I mean, I am sure that Scott is lovely but it seems like there is about ten reviews of the company here that suggest he is not paying people. One might be a disgruntled writer without skills but ten? Anyway, I’ll put it on the list of obscure internet kingdoms not to do business with. All praise Scott! Lord of the review, Deceiver of the unwary. Scourge of the ungrammatical.
I love the last part. I seriously got my whole review scraped over a mission comma. They have turned down both of my reviews but in this last one they had nothing. So they invented a comma where one doesn’t belong and told me the word “its/it’s” doesn’t fit even though there was no other appropriate word.
Actually, I am a book review for Onlinebookclub and I understand what you are talking about. If you actually read the description of the book, you would know that it is a fake book. They do this periodically to weed up people who do not read the descriptions of reviewable books. One of the biggest rules is to read the description before agreeing to review a book. I’m sorry that you fell victim to this, but I do not blame them for your carelessness.
One scam makes a book.
I used them recently for a review that cost me $197. They get my book 3/4 stars which was fine by me, but the review itself was horribly written. It honestly seemed like it was written by someone who didn’t speak English well and therefore was not a usable review for me. The person also downloaded the copy I sent and reviewed it within less than 24 hours, got details wrong in the blurb they had to write for me to show they had in fact read it. I got better reviews from Booksprout totally for free. I complained to this company and did get a second review done for free. It was moderately better, but was definitely not worth the money it cost. Lesson learned, these are NOT the professional reviewers that you’d expect when you pay money for a review AND it’s just basically all about what additional stuff you can pay for. Google Nick Stephenson and check out his webinars for better resources to get marketing and reviews and sales. Would highly discourage anyone from using this service – as a writer or a reader.
I am a reviewer for this company. It is definitely NOT EASY. They give no leeway for mistakes. On one of my reviews, I got 44% because there was an error with my italics. I got knocked down and my reviewer score plummeted. I respect their methods of levels, but if you’re new to reviewing it is definitely hard to build if you did not start off well. I had some good reviews to catch my fall, but I knew I would have quit if I did not have a good score already. I’ve made around $50 for 4 books. It is not super lucrative, but it made money for me. I, however, have no experience on the author’s side. I’m sorry to hear about all these bad experiences in the comments :/
I have recently reviewed a book for OBC.org and have since deleted my account with them and sent them a very firm but polite email explaining exactly what I think of them. I spent significant time and effort reviewing the book I chose only to have my writing unfairly criticized. The editor picked on things like comma placement which is subjective and in this case did not affect the meaning of the text and the fact that I did not use initial capitals for the book’s sub-title. (honestly, who except a neurotic sociopath is going to let that bother them) After reading other posts on this forum from reviewers and authors alike I am glad I got out when I did. (after reviewing just one book) The editor gave me a low score and stated that I had not adhered to the guidelines. I had, in fact, read and carefully followed all of them. They are so incredibly
picky it is amazing that they get any reviewers at all. Judging from the above posts it appears they prefer to employ non-English speakers who write in ‘childish English’ possibly because they cannot complain properly and can be ignored and/or confused by Scot, the so called leader. He does not appear to be managing his affairs very well and is possibly operating on the fringes of legality (judging from the posts)
My advise is avoid this sham company and use your talents to benefit people appreciate them.
Hi William, I reviewed my first book for OBC.org recently. I spent a great deal of time and energy reading the book and writing my review. My grammar and punctuation was also unfairly criticized. In one section, the editor claimed I had left out a comma, but I had purposely left out the comma to place proper emphasis on the right words. So his critique was baseless. There was also another grammar issue that they corrected which was not actually an error. I kept to all of the other guidelines and the editor told me that despite the errors, he found my review interesting. However, later I found out that my pay of $13 for the review was rejected because I didn’t detect a borderline profane word in the text: “ass”. I will not be working with this company anymore.
Onlinebookclub is the perfect example of the kind of organization you DO NOT want to work with in any way. My experience as a reviewer was a nice one at first, despite having no contract, there being delayed payments, and an overall pay rate that’s not even close to minimum wage. I saw a lot of reviews online that claimed the website had not paid them/banned them for an illegitimate reason/ stolen their work. Of course, I had not experience any of that and needed the money, so I ignore them. But I hope current or potential reviewers listen to this:
My sister and I were banned from the website for basically using the same laptop. The reason for our ban was having the same I.P address or having ‘duplicate accounts’. One would guess this is an easily explainable mistake, but not with OnlineBookClub. Only my sister was banned at first and, after speaking with the moderator of the site who basically threatened to ban me if I don’t stop contacting her, I was banned too. At that point, I had 5 published reviews that I wasn’t paid for yet and 4 pending ones. Although Scott, the owner of the site, claims that all pending reviews of a banned member are rejected because the website wouldn’t pay a banned member, ALL 4 of my pending reviews were published after my ban and I wasn’t paid for any of the 9 reviews. After two months of back and forth emails with Scott and me discovering that the appeal process for a ban at onlinebookclub is nonexistent, Scott finally offered to take down my unpaid reviews after I threatened to tell their publishers and authors. That was two weeks ago and, yet, my STOLEN work is still up on the website and gaining profit for it.
Reviewers, keep in mind:
1. The website can ban you at any time for an illegtimate reason and Scott could ignore your attempts to appeal that ban even if it was unjustified.
2. The website can post your work and simply not pay you for it, ignoring your emails about the issue.
Of course, I don’t have experience utilizing the website as an author, but, for authors, here is what I know:
1. Reviewers aren’t trained or asked for CVs. The only condition to joining the website as a reviewer is to write an ‘average’ review of a randomly selected book, no matter the reviewer’s age, professional or education background, integrity, or any other information relevant to the job.
2. The supposed ‘marketing strategy’ of Onlinebookclub is a huge scam. It may seem like the website is a success at promotion, but most if not all the comments on posts about the books shared on social media are made by the reviewers, themselves, not by potential buyers or readers. Why would there be hundreds of reviewers commenting on promotional material? Because the website allows reviewers to work higher-paying jobs and gives them amazon gift cards if they comment on social media posts about authors’ books.
3. Onlinebookclub spams authors constantly, offering services that cost way more than they are worth. You are only guaranteed that reviewers actually read your book if you pay for a more expensive package, at which point, the reviewer sends you a blurb that guarantees they read the book. Otherwise, you can never be sure if a reviewer read, skipped, or didn’t even open your book.
I urge all reviewers and authors who have been wronged by Onlinebookclub to speak up and post about it to prevent this website from taking advantage of more individuals. Thank you!
I am currently going through similar issues with OBC.
I joined OBC on the 27th of October, 2020. I scored 100% in 3 out of the 4 reviews I wrote. I diligently built my points by commenting in the forums and on the various social media platforms. My reviewer and editorial scores were in the 90s. Just when I was a step away from from entering Level 6 (the highest level), I realised I had been banned.
Their reason is that, I opened a duplicate account. After I joined the club, I had recommended it to my sister (who lives in a different country). She had an issue with signing up, so I helped her from my end (that was all). I was notified that my 4th review had been published right before I was banned; the $25 I was supposed to receive from that review was never given to me. The interesting things is that my sister’s account is still active (she only has 3 points because she’s been too busy to put in the work necessary to build her reviewer score). They claim the accounts are duplicates and decided to ban the one with very high scores and leave the one with almost no score. Why not ban both? The mere fact that they left one of the alleged duplicate accounts active is an acknowledgment that they are not duplicates.
All my attempts at appealing the said ban have been fruitless. They keep referring me to a link that takes me to a private Facebook group; I am told to request to join in order to appeal, but they won’t accept my request to join the said group.
After reading your story, I now understand the futility of pursuing an appeal. Thank you for sharing your story; now I know not to waste my precious time. If anyone knows of a legit book reviewing platform, where reviewers and authors are not taken advantage of, I’m all ears.
Agreed! I just tried to write my first review for them and was banned for plagiarism (when I hadn’t read any other reviews) because my review praised the characters and the “intertwining” plots. That one word was similar to another review who also praised the characters and the plot (both were really good). I had NO other errors and after reading this, think I’m lucky to be out when I did. Was looking forward to the free books but I’ll use the library instead. I sent a request for recheck but think I will delete my account anyway after reading this. Too bad, it’s a good idea that seems to have gone corrupt.
I enrolled for highest review package, they didn’t give me feedback or any single review. I am running for my refund around a month, the owner scott and mmonica they are scam, jut they getting your money, do not believe those dude, still l am in pain, they are rejecting refund my money. So disrespectful, and dishonest people. Really l do not know how to get back my money. They are serious cheaters!!!!
Absolutely terrible authors. Don’t do it. It’s really a Ponzi scheme passing itself off as a book club. What at waste of money. My review was terrible, or the reader just didn’t get it, it’s irony, humor, literary, not schlock crap, and all he did was post it on their website. He was “not able” to post it on Amazon or any other sites. I paid over $100 for this. It’s absolutely terrible. I cannot speak if you are a reader but based on what I read above, NO. Also, no response on my request for a refund. They’re too busy laughing and having a nice time on that beach in Aruba. Don’t be a sucker.
I’ve always received great star ratings from onlinebookclub but have found the organization has become a little seedy, a little too slick. It seems to prey upon naive writers eager to receive ‘professional’ feedback. And the review period takes too long unless one is willing to pay indulgences, while the quality of the review is questionable. My last review I could tell the reviewer never really read the book; the reviewer’s writing was amateurish and somewhat illiterate. So, with that in mind, I’d rather go elsewhere. Some reviewers are great, others really need to go back to school. And with onlinebookclub, you never know which type of reviewer you’re going to get.
I submitted a book to be reviewed by multiple reviewers. The first review I was offered contained several grammatical errors. It also gave away the plot (except that the reviewer hadn’t really understood the plot). When I complained, the review was scrapped completely.
The next reviewer claimed to have found ten grammatical errors in my book (two good professional editors had edited my book before it was published). I rejected all of these errors except for one relating to a misplaced comma. However, someone at onlinebookclub rejected my rejection, saying that the errors were indeed valid and commenting, “I can tell from the notes provided that the errors listed are objective undebatable errors.”. Whoever said this had as little understanding of grammar as the reviewer and had probably not even read or understood my reasons for rejecting the “errors”. If they had they would have noticed that some of the supposed errors were in dialogue and I had explained why the characters concerned would speak like this. In fact, the characters concerned were not even speaking in an ungrammatical way but were using collective nouns and ellipsis.
The final straw was that one of the reviews was put on hold indefinitely because the reviewer’s opinion of whether or not the book contained profanity or sexual content differed from mine. This was an optional opinion, and I had decided to err on the side of caution – saying the book contained profanity and sexual content (even though neither was a huge feature of the story).
There is something absolutely wrong with this site. Many complains have been filed by authors who submit their books for review on BBB site. They charge them a lot of money. I joined as a writer they sent something I couldn’t download they keep harassing me to download it. I could not resign. This is definitely a scam that benefits no one.
Scott is the most despicable scumbags it has ever been my misfortune to encounter and I would encourage everyone here to copy their messages and put them on Trustpilot. On Trustpilot, Scott likes to claim genuine experiences are fake. He deals in spam email and no reputable author writer or publisher should deal with this evil company which is registered in PANAMA where I’m sure all the authors money is avoiding tax wonderfully
SCAM !!! Buyers beware I’ve asked fir a refund fir an entire month. I have already notified my credit card company. They keep lying , I even have several emails that said they refunded my money-All lies. I wish I had seen this before hand. Save yourself a lot of time I’m a new writer “Snippets of Life” and was trying to get my book out there during this pandemic chose the wrong company. Scam Artist don’t do it.
I only joined this company 5 days ago and was disgusted to find that although I paid for the top package that all advertising and help, even extra reviews have to be paid for at extortionate rates, I have asked for my money back and am about to set up a claim through paypal. I can’t believe I was stupid enough to borrow money to pat for their service.
ALTHOUGH I was able to use some glowing praise from my novel’s 3-star review, I must agree with several authors quoted here who rightly point out the shortcomings of their specific reviewer; mine displayed the writing skills of a capable but not outstanding highschool English student. In fact, their clunky grammatical construction was typical of someone who has only recently learned English as a second language.
On a comprehensive level, they misconstrued elemental literary devices AND misreported one well-established character profile.
It was clear to me that either they lacked the intellectual depth required to capture the nuance and essence of multiple themes, or they simply skimmed through the book and did their best.
Either way, it’s not the place for serious literary reviews.
I was a reviewer for a short while, horrible, horrible experience.
Join this site if you like being told to proofread your work after you have proof read it more than 5 times with a several hour break between proofreads, and used spelling and grammar checking software.
Join this site if you don’t mind having some unknown editor tell you your review isn’t good enough for subjective reasons when you put forth the same effort that got you top marks in writing in University classes.
Join this site if you don’t mind not being able to improve your score no matter how hard you work.
Join this site if you think your time is worth less than that of the teens working fast food, even though you graduated from University with highest honors.
Join this site if you are OK with eventually associating your ereader or computer with frustration.
If you want to continue to enjoy reading and avoid regretting the amount of time you have wasted, run away now. This has been not just a frustrating experience for me, but due to the amount of stress I have endured from one thing after another all last year, this frustration was genuinely unhealthy for my body. I will be blocking this site on all my devices so that I do not have the opportunity to stumble back and end up triggering a negative adrenaline feedback look yet again. It’s like a bad relationship, sucks you back in with the promise of money, only to smack you yet again and cost you hours of anger damage to your self esteem.
Wow! I deactivated my account earlier this year because I realized that the site wasn’t worth my while as a writer. This site makes you work like it’s a day job for peanuts and your peace of mind. Asides from being a doctor, I write for renowned sites. I thought since I loved to read books, why don’t I get paid for it? Online book club stressed me the hell out, making me do so much for nothing.
You realize that all your time goes into commenting on the book of the day from site to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn. There are so many rules to follow, the worst of them being editors who know absolutely nothing about grammar messing up your work, yet, you’re not even allowed to read books that appeal to you. Whenever you review a high-paying book, there’s always an issue that comes up. I was lucky to get all my monies, which was little anyway. But the minute I hit level four, I deactivated. I’d rather write on a platform where I read the books I love, get professional correction if any, and have peace of mind. I’d recommend Readers’ Favorite any day. Although this place pays lesser, I’ve read more books and made over five times in about seven months, than what I made at Online Book Club in over a year. Plus, authors are the ones who rate reviewers on Readers’ Favorite, so you know the ratings are honest.
Being a “writer” is not a professional thing any more, dear friends of the written word. If you love to write, your best choice is to find a context where you can simply express your self to someone. Personal letters, emails, facebook, twitter, youtube – there are dozens of ways to actively engage with others using all of your skill and ideas. It isn’t a professional career in 2021, even though you can find exceptions.
As I read the reviews posted here, I begin to feel the weight of the earnestness from all of your hearts. The careful, perhaps even spiritual nature of writing, takes time, focus, desire, care, and then more of everything, and then more time. It’s almost heartbreaking to me to see the comments, all of which are honest attempts to make a point – that this company doesn’t help you as a writer or as a human being.
It doesn’t, and it won’t. Ever. But that’s not bad, as long as you know. You need to write for free. As much as you can. To whomever you can. Write from the heart, to explain, convince, to entertain, to enlighten, to complain, to sum up, to decry, to protest, to express, to play, to joke, to achieve – whatever you want or need to say. Have a purpose. Just write words where/when-ever you can. Diary? Maybe not. You should be communicating, not saving your treasure.
Trying to make a living as a writer is prohibitively confining for most of us. It will stop you from doing what you love and it will give permission to companies like this to toy with your dreams, steal what they can and cheapen and destroy what they don’t care to steal. They’re dream-killers and soul-eaters, and they’ve given up on their futures and want to pass the misery on to you.
It’s not that they’re ineffective, unfair or exploitative. For reasons I can’t understand, they want to hurt you, inflict real suffering on you. Write for any possible reason EXCEPT for a career. It’s a hateful, poisonous arena for almost everyone.
You write. Good things will follow
Exactly this. And then I read the reviews done by their high-level members that get posted with so many punctuation and grammar errors.
Thank you for this comment. I joined it few days back and did a review for them. However, I do realize the amount of work to be put into writing the review at their site will take the fun away from reading. Also, the books listed there do not seem to be good either: neither in the fiction category nor the non-fiction category. I was planning to review a book on anxiety on that platform but found that the author of that book has been involved in scamming the US government by charging for treatment he never did on the patients. I am glad I came across this entire thread. I am not going to invest any time in it now. Thanks.
I joined as a reviewer on the 25th of January 2021 and I have been busy reading books and submitting reviews. I know there were not perfect but Scott just removed my account. His reason was I was not answering a question of what I liked the least about the book. Actually all my reviews I answered that question, just because I loved everything about the book and mentioned it doesn’t mean I didn’t answer the question. He wants an honest review and I gave him one.
Tracey, thank you so much for your review of OnlineBookClub! I thank all who wrote their replies as well. I am a new author finding my way and reviews like these help me to avoid costly mistakes. Wishing you all a beautiful, happy reading and writing day!
C.W. Isaac~ My Calling, My Quest- Truth
The hard and fast rule is Never Pay for a Review. The second rule is, there is a sucker born every minute. Scams like OBC pay because of rule number 2.
Well after all these negative feedback I had read as a result they are all compelling and speaking the truth which I have no time spending my energy for this club. I signed up but not going for this. It is good I sense there are catch 22 on the advertisement which is normal every business small or large there is always some hidden agenda sooner or later to know. But the behavior the way they handle business inside for me all the testimonials in form of evidences admissible on my watch. This book club going nowhere.
This comment is the perspective of an author. Perhaps I’m lucky. Several years ago as a new author, I wanted an opinion other than friends and family. I happened to find the Onlinebookclub (OBC) and decided to give them a try, despite (as I thought) was a fairly high cost. The reviewer loved my book. Her preference for adolescent adventure and magical realism matched my genre perfectly. She was thorough and it was quite clear she read the entire book. Incidentally, OBC asks the reviewers to forward a separate blurb to the author confirming that the reviewer read the entire book. I have since used OBC’s service and the same reviewer for two additional books in the series. She loved these books as well.
I also had my first two books reviewed by Kirkus (twice the cost of the OBC) and was quite disappointed. For the first book it was clear the reviewer didn’t like my genre nor the fact that very few women or girls were in the story. Little was said of the nature of the story. I have found that gaining the services of a reviewer who enjoys your genre is critical. The second Kirkus review was disheartening. The reviewer made comment that indicated to me they did not understand, failed to read, or assumed critical parts of the story. I had to demand a retraction (which was ultimately given). This same book was ultimately the winner in the 2020 Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) literary fiction book awards contest conferring my trust in the OBC. I will never again seek a Kirkus review.
I also have received emails from Scott asking if I needed help on several occasions. I occasionally follow him on Facebook and he seems to be an upstanding young man.
This is really interesting in a sea of disgruntled voices.
I am a new author trying to get my books, which are all published on Amazon, now reviewed; so OBC seemed a good find, and I would even have jumped right in and payed the fee had there been a penny left in my bank account this month!
Perhaps it is a disaster for reviewers hoping to be paid, but works okay for authors?
I was thinking perhaps when I have money next month, to give people I meet a £10 note ($10?) asking them to buy one of my books from Amazon to read and review… and that way I get a royalty payment too!
ps. Books on Amazon so far: The Turner Trilogy, On Davidstow Moor, Three Loves And One Baby, and Meelo; then Virginia to Greece and Bobcat’s Big Adventure
I loved the idea of earning from reviews and picked a book. The first service comes free.
I quickly picked up a small 140-page book hoping this would be a quick read but the book was really difficult and turned out to be biographical memoirs. But the book was interesting and it took me almost 3 weeks to complete reading it and note down points to write a review. And then another 2 weeks to write the review and submit it. Now this 5 weeks because understanding their review guidelines is a mammoth task and your eligibility and future earnings are dependent upon your score as a reviewer !!
And honestly speaking, i actually spent 5 weeks full-time only on this book.
And as the author of this article rightly points out that the review team/author will have umpteen reason to keep cutting the score and to make it works it fluctuates based on your activity on the site. And this engagement on site is also not easy to understand.
So in a way, you may earn some peanuts if you are really active.
Once the first review is published the reviewer is eligible for paid reviews. In my case, the books that showed up were carrying a tag of max $5. And this goes up as you grow your score ? if i am correct.
Wondering if it is worth it to pursue another book ? I agree with the author of this article “If you are used to writing reviews for free, then you may be able to make a little extra, eventually”.
My only hope is to promote my review as a marketing strategy to secure paid work :))
I’m so glad to have come across this forum.
I’ve only been with OBC for a few weeks and after submitting 3 reviews I’m still on a minus score.
One of the authors that I reviewed happens to be a personal friend so out of interest I sent my review to him.
He absolutely loved it and was fuming when I showed him a screenshot of the response to my review from OBC. I think we have to walk on water to get to Level 6.
i found the reviews of two of my very challenging unconventional books very honest and candid. reaching top review status by two different reviewers. but this was when they didn’t cost much. i don;t know what reviewers receive but the fact it wasn’t much in the past ADDED CREDIBILITY to the value and quality of the independent review and reviewers
I am not sure that holds true now that payment increase is a means of revenue for the company.
Ohh, what a relief having read all the above reviews! So glad I am saved from the frustrations I was bound to hit simply because my efforts would be in vain. It’s so embarrassing spending every little time to polish up a review for OBC and at the end, all you get is maximum disappointment. Hope authors take their potion of lesson as well and avoid all these scam. Special appreciation goes to every other individual engaged in the mitigation of this unjust operation by OBC.
Many thanks Tracey for such an honest review of this service. Thanks also to all the authors and other reviewers who responded. I think you many have stopped me making a big mistake.
I’m glad to have found this article.
After getting targeted by OnlineBookClub to write reviews and get paid for it, I wondered how legit it was. I tried to find out more about it, reading the terms and conditions, seeing the website in action… and found I could no get access to any of this until I had signed up. Huh? An organisation that demands you to join before it reveals how it works? That made me suspicious.
So I tried it the other way round, from the perspective of a publisher/author. The same thing happened? I would have to sign up before being told what’s involved. Yikes!
By now, my suspicions were on flaming red alert. I looked further… and seeing your article, I know I was right.
This is clearly designed to trick both reviewers (luring them with prospects of payment, but deducting points so that they don’t actually earn any) and publishers (luring them with many reviews, but those reviews don’t actually get read by the book-buying public).
I’m glad I was suspicious, and I thank you for sharing your experiences.
They are a scam.
(Please note I am a bit frustrated and tired right now so excuse the ranting and any mistakes)
They advertise that you can get to review books for free to get you in. They want you to write a preliminary review for free to see if you meet their standards and then you can get paid. They advertise that you can make between $60 and $100 per review.
When you actually make an account you find out that you don’t get free books and they say that you have to sign up for Kindle unlimited and borrow the book. They say that it is technically free because Kindle gives you 1 month free.
When you read the book you have to take extensive notes and it makes you feel more like a beta reader and editor, which would be ok if they weren’t making you do it for free at first.
You have to pass their standards to get your review posted and if you don’t it is rejected but here’s the thing; even if you’re rejected, they post your review.
I got a %9 score on my review of my review in which they said it was rejected and then posted it. They took off 30 points because I didn’t properly use HTML code to bold the star rating I gave. They told me I wasn’t allowed to mark grammar mistakes that “may be a personal writing style of the author” then proceeded to take off marks because they wanted me to use a ; rather than a , and the reviewer said that “There were so many mistakes that it drastically reduced my overall score. You have to strive to do better.”
I was grammatically correct. I checked numerous times and rewrote the review numerous times. I ran it through my personal grammar check, Grammarly, and sent it to my mother who is a professional editor. I myself am an author and have published a magazine for the past year.
I’m not saying I am perfect (nobody is) but it passed me, software, and an actual editor and I poured hours into note-taking and writing and editing only to be docked for personal writing preference.
I was also told that my review went against community guidelines but they never specified what I did. (It was a negative review of a shitty book. If you don’t want honest reviews then don’t run a review website.)
They also asked me if I was an author after I submitted the review and when I said yes, they changed my account to an author account. They told me the only way to review anything was to submit my own book to have it reviewed (which costs from $97 to $300), then review another person’s book. I would not get paid but would receive a small commission from anyone who bought the book after my review.
I went to ask for help in returning it to the normal account but couldn’t find any way to do so beyond posting on the forums and waiting 5 hours for someone to tell me that the option is in fine print at the bottom of the contact tab.
All of this I could forgive if not for the fact that they published the supposed rejected review, insulted my writing and told me I have to try harder.
The community guidelines comment was likely due to the negative nature of the review, but the book was sexist, racist, ableist, poorly written, judgmental to non-Christians, and involved transphobic slurs and themes as well as homophobic themes.
I am non-binary, autistic, and pansexual, why would I like the damn book?
It was a waste of time, money, and effort. They had the audacity to lie to my face about the review being rejected, and tried to extort me out of money to put my books on their site.
I deleted my account and am fuming. I suppose I should have taken the ugly web design and the fact that one of the first links on the website was talking about changing rules to “remove the scam reviewers” as a red flag. I also have half a mind to send the author my 17 page document of notes and corrections with a bill because the fact I did this for free is astounding to me.
All this because I needed some more money to put towards rent.
Do not sign up for this site, it is an absolute scam.
I also signed up for this as a reviewer. I was hoping for a little extra income in retirement. Stay away from this site. I have a professional website and am a published writer. They said my first review had too many errors to count. Also, following their directions for making the title “bold”, made the entire review bold. Lots of time put in for nothing. Take it from me, there were no errors. I followed their myriad of instructions (too many to credit) to the letter. I even compared mine to some posted, just for good measure. It’s a joke. And, the “reviewer score” is maintained by several things required and counted. So, it’s not just your review they score. You must comment in their forums, choose books for your “shelves” etc. The emails they send you are “no return” so you must hunt for addresses. I was told to “ask Scott” – no email address given. Very unprofessional. Let me see if I can score their antiquated site….-5. 🙂
I recently joined OBC and during one of my reviews I pointed out a mistake that was valid, yet the reviewers said that I was wrong and on the basis of this one thing, rejected my review. I think that this website is a waste of time and no matter how carefully you read the books or how much effort you put into writing a good review they will just change the rules to keep you as a low-level reviewer.
This is a very bad service for authors. In their initial ad to submit your book, it states 200 sales guaranteed! I can tell you this doesn’t happen. First time there was a review, the reviewer didn’t typically read my genre anyway so it was a negative review. It did nothing for sales. I emailed Scott who was very condescending and rude and tried to insist there would be sales if I paid for a book of the day option, (it was around $2K at the time) Yeah I wasn’t going to pay that. Buyer beware and all that. This is a massive scam. The second review I got wasn’t much better but luckily I’d only paid $140 odd….I would advise all authors and readers to stay away from it.
I have been closely involved in the site for several years, as a reviewer. It was pretty good (well better than now) around 2018, 2019, but more recently it has been infiltrated by scammers. Most active reviewers are in this category so the odds are authors will get reviewed by one of them; your experience, and Scott’s response, don’t surprise me at all. I’m sorry.
I think he relies on casting a wide net to find many customers who shrug and move on when they don’t get a good service for relatively small sums like your $140. But that adds up for him. BTW the reviewer does not see much of that $140. They maybe get $20 for their review and have often purchased the book themselves out of that.
This means they have no incentive to select and read the books carefully, and they don’t. Their main goal is to get their $20 payments to add up, so they churn out reviews as fast as they can, which has not left the quality unscathed. They are also dominating the quality control checks and set the bar low. A handful of us have tried to combat the tendency and plead for more integrity but as I say, the scammers rule okay at this point.
Authors and readers should absolutely stay away – I hope the word gets out.
I just signed up for this site maybe a month ago and they sent me my first free book to read. I knew I wasn’t going to get paid for the review but according to the site I had to submit one review free before I could start getting paid. So I read the book and hated it. I wrote an honest review for it when I was done, because the site says to be honest even if you don’t like the book. I triple-checked all the ridiculous guidelines to make sure I’d followed them. I submitted the review and got a response some hours later saying I scored a 46% because I missed a single word in one sentence and used a “comma splice”. It wasn’t a comma splice at all, and I’ll accept that I missed that word but I have no idea why it deducts 10 pts per mistake! I didn’t get any points for one section because I didn’t mention specifically what the first profanity was in the book. Absolutely ridiculous site with no way to win, pretentious, and constantly shifting goalposts. Also, I tried posting about the book in a forum discussion, and my post was rejected because “you can dislike the book, but be civil about it”. I have no idea what specifically I said in my post to make them reject it and it wouldn’t allow me to edit my review and resubmit it, or to look at the rejected forum post. Or if it would allow me to do either of those things I don’t know because the site is so confusing to use. Stay far away from this one, folks.
“Absolutely ridiculous site with no way to win, pretentious, and constantly shifting goalposts.”
I have been doing reviews for them for two years but am tired of having to write an entire synopsis to “prove” I read the book on top of having to write a review adhering to their ridiculous guidelines. On one occasion I had 10 points taken away because I bolded the period at the end of the statement “I rate this book three out of four stars.” Tut tut, you are only supposed to bold the text! I mean, what?
Recently, reviewers are supposed to write “the editing was exemplary” if there were no errors found in the book. I forgot to do that so I got dinged ten points. Look, I know editing is a thankless job, but I’m supposed to be reviewing the story, not the editor. It just seems to be getting worse. Also, they are offering fewer and fewer advance review copies and reviewers now have to pay full price for most books.
I may continue reviewing kids’ books for them but with the lengthy synopsis that must be written to prove you read the book, longer books just aren’t worth my time.
OBC is a big scam, more annoying and frustrating than I would ever imagine anything to be.
The manner in which they treat their reviewers is nothing to write home about. I worked for them for a year and six months and got nothing in return. Don’t waste your time there.
I was banned for plagiarism recently. Is there any effective solution to this?. I want the ban lifted
I don’t recommend it! I was a reviewer for almost 2 years, but I was banned out of the blue.
It is a lot of work for a small amount of money. I did it because I loved to read books.
As a 6-level reviewer I also got to edit other reviews, but it was very stressful. They let anyone be a editor if they reached level 6. Which was not a good idea because every review turned into a battle between editors. The fact that there are so many rules and some of them can be interpreted in many ways does not help.
Also, some of the moderators are very rude and you cannot complain about anything in the forum.
The only good thing about them was that they always paid.
Don’t waste your time in OBC!
I wish I had found this before I signed up to be a reviewer. I just completed my first review last week. The book I read was poorly written and would have benefitted greatly from an editor’s eye/hand. My review pointed out a few positives, but also clearly stated the negatives. It was a carefully though-out and honest review. I received the “editor scorecard” yesterday and scored -6. I didn’t expect that my first review would be perfect, but this is laughable! They cited errors that weren’t there. In fact, their suggester edits were flat-out wrong. I may make errors, as anyone does, but I’ve also been writing and editing professionally for more than 20 years. In addition, the scorecard was clearly written by someone who is not a native English speaker. Today, when I tried to log in to try to close/delete my account, I found that I’ve been locked out of the site, so I assume I’ve been banned. Glad I only read one book and didn’t waste more time on this!
I joined OnlineBookClub 3 months ago as a reviewer. I’ve always been a passionate reader and had been given an apple mac for my 70th birthday and was determined to learn how to use it. I was overjoyed at having my first review published and was excited to show family and friends my published work. I found that I was working harder than I’d ever worked before and often sat up till late at night to finish a book or write a review. It would take me a good hour to post comments on social media every day for the daily giveaway – I seemed to be working flat out for them. The editors would often reject my reviews for having more than 4 errors, ie missing commas etc. I was giving them my all for the odd 5$ but still I kept writing and submitting. I kept reading the guidelines over and over to ensure that I was aware of all their requirements, and eventually started using grammarly. I had 6 published reviews and thought they were pretty good, when out of the blue they banned me for plagiarism of the first review I had written which was published back in November, stating that I had shared it on someone’s blog. I did’nt have a clue what they were on about and still dont. I was devastated and it took me a week to get my head around what had happened here.
I’d like to thank them for the 3 month’s experience that I gained from them and would have been happy
to continue writing for them but they did’nt even have the decency to respond to my queries asking for an explanation for their action.
I’ve been left really disillusioned with onlinebookclub.org.
Onlinebookclub.org promises payment but fails to deliver, and the editors and customer service representatives are unhelpful. The owner, Scott, is never available when payment issues arise. I was promised $100 for buying Scott’s book, “In It Together,” from Barnes & Noble, which only cost $32.42. However, each time I checked my status update, they would ask for additional information or make excuses. First they put that I needed to provide my phone number, and then they said that I didn’t declare the book contained profanity when others have. My cultural background makes it so that I do not consider any of the language in the book to be profanity. Then they opened some “PRQ dispute” pertaining to that. Basically, making a big deal out of nothing so they can not pay you. They are always finding excuses to avoid payment. They squander and exploit the time of well-meaning people. In other words, they manipulate and deceive well-intentioned individuals, using their time and effort for their own gain. I regret buying the hardcover edition of “In It Together” and wish I had read the negative reviews earlier of Onlinebookclub.org. Onlinebookclub.org is a scam, and the owner does not practice what he preaches in his book. The editors aka the CSRs are unprofessional and judgmental, making it difficult for authors and reviewers. The personal assistant is probably a bot, and the owner hides behind it. Criminalizing decent authors and reviewers is unfair, and I wasted my time dealing with Onlinebookclub.org. The positive reviews are fake and incentivized, and I urge others not to be fooled by them.
I also found Online Book Club to be more about promotion of their add-on services than on actual progress with my own books. Pubby wasn’t bad at one time, and I’ve had good results with BookSirens.
I joined the Online Book Club and finally qualified to write my first paid review for $13. I spent a ton of time and energy reading the book and writing my review. I felt that I wrote a fair, honest, and fairly well written review. My review was published and I shared it with several friends, who told me it was a well written review. However, just before they sent me the money, they told me that I hadn’t detected the profanity in the book. See, if you review for Online Book Club you have to read every single word of the book and mark any profane words. In this case, I missed the word “ass”, which doesn’t really seem much like profanity to me. I also missed the phrase “screw it”, which also doesn’t seem too profane. So what does Online Book Club do after I failed to detect the profanity? Dock my pay perhaps? No. They completely rejected my published review and will not pay me anything. So I spent two weeks, hours every day, reading a book. Then I spent a good 6-8 hours writing my review. But because I failed to detect one profane word in a 300 page book, I don’t get paid anything. This is crazy to me. I understand if they dock $5 off my pay for this, but to not pay me anything feels very unfair. I definitely will not engage with this business anymore.
Reading these comments has been an eye opening experience! I joined OBC about two months ago as a reviewer. I read a LOT-usually three hours a day, and thought I could make a bit of money from OBC. I refer to the editors as The Witches: some are good, some are pure soul crushing evil. I’ve had seven reviews published on OBC and been paid for two so far. It seems as if they are trying as hard as possible to keep your score low. I read every single word of every book I reviewed. I’ve learned the following: if you are reviewing a book from an established author THERE ARE NO TYPOS or your review will be rejected for some other bullshit reason. Do not ever buy a book to review (they claim to pay higher for this) because you will be stuck with a book you’ve paid for and not reimbursed. They will not acknowledge your receipt of payment. But hey—an author sold a book! They claim they want honest reviews but they don’t. Always rate the books five stars. Honestly some of the books I read were pretty good, so not a waste of time. And you’ll get a thick skin and learn to take punishment like a boxer. Scott is branching out now as a “mentor” for a bunch of entrepreneurs so this site may be going down the tubes. Also, in order to boost my score I read, in full, over 200 reviews by other reviewers. Some were pretty good, some were seriously lazy, and some were absolutely horrible. The stories here from authors are heartbreaking. I am a good reviewer who actually reads the entire book and thoughtfully writes my reviews. I guess it’s a matter of time until I’m banned…