From a business perspective, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the competition. In freelance book reviews, there’s not so much a sense of “competition.” Each reviewer brings a new perspective and reaches a different audience, so overlapping business is not uncommon. I encourage it, considering the exposure such a wide reach would give the book. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to watch other reviewers for a grasp on fair prices, time frames, etc. From a cursory look on Fiverr, I’ve noticed an unsettling pattern that could affect the quality of reviews. This pattern has led to a freelancer tip which I want to share with my readers: don’t rush book reviews.
I’ve noticed more than a handful of book review gigs on Fiverr which promise a one- or two-day delivery time. Mind you, not all of them; I’ve seen time frames as long as twenty days, which is perfectly acceptable given all the effort that should go into a decent book review. That’s actually the bone I have to pick with the one- and two-day book review gigs, or reviews for any product or service, for that matter.
With some products and services, specifically ones which are a one-time use, you can write a great review in one or two days if the stars align and you’re able to receive the product or book the service quickly. Books, however, are not one of those products. I’ve found that most books submitted for reviews are not a one- or two-day read. When I do get such short books, life ends up getting in the way and it takes a few days after the gig is ordered for me to have the time to read it, and that’s when I don’t have any other review or editing gigs.
Most freelance reviewers are also writers in their own right, whether they’re fiction writers, poets, playwrights/screenwriters, biographers, essayists, journalists, or bloggers. Then there’s the fact that most reviewers have day jobs to fund their writing with reviews and other freelance work as side gigs. They also have family and friends that require attention, chores that need to be done, food that needs to be eaten, and sleep that needs to be caught. Some, such as myself, are working for their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, which leaves even less time in the day.
How do some of these Fiverr reviewers get the books read and reviewed in one or two days? I honestly don’t know. Most receive fairly positive feedback from their customers, so they must have either found a way to handle it all or they’ve found a way to fake it.
That’s the problem with a one- or two-day book review gig. You can never be certain that the reviews will be high-quality or that they will even read your book before reviewing it. For all the author knows, the reviewer may have just skimmed the book for important details and pulled together some puff piece that, while it will look appealing to readers, may not be trustworthy.
I’m not trying to rip apart those who have such short delivery times. As I said, some people really can handle such a quick turnaround and feedback from customers usually reflect that. However, as both a reader and a writer, I’m suspicious of such quick reviews and would probably choose someone with good reviews and a longer delivery time. At least then I can feel comfortable that my book was actually read and given the time and effort it deserves.
My ultimate tip, then, is this: choose quality over speed, both in what you deliver and what you pay for. Slower delivery times are annoying, but at least you have a better chance of your work getting the attention it deserves, no matter how many other projects or how tumultuous a life the reviewer has at that moment.
Are you a freelancer–writer, editor, reviewer, whatever–with tips to share? Leave them in the comments below or contact me at email@example.com for a chance to have your wisdom featured in a future post.
Also, if you are looking for an editor, writer, or book reviewer, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look me up on Fiverr.