As I sit here typing this latest post, lounging in my fluffy PJs at 11 o’clock in the morning on a weekday, I can almost imagine getting to be an eccentric PJ hermitty writer full-time, and getting paid to sit in my fluffy PJs and be awesome. It’s a lovely thought, filled with sunshine and puppydogs and pizza, and publishing houses tripping over themselves to publish the next in my line of inexplicably must-have books.
…And it’s usually around there in that lovely thought that I remember 1) I don’t get much sunshine yet because it’s winter still (I don’t care what the bleeping calendar says), 2) I only get to see my boyfriend and his puppydog Emma on weekends because I’m stuck on afternoon/evening shifts for the foreseeable future, and 3) the only one tripping over anything because of my writing is me, over my laundry, because I wrote instead of cleaning house again today.
Sigh. But a girl can dream. And at least, no matter what, I can still have that pizza. So it’s not all bad.
But oh, right, a review. There’s supposed to be a review in here… so yeah, let’s get to that.
This will be the first of many such reviews to come, where I share how the submission process goes for a particular site/magazine/whatever it may be, and dish on guidelines, waiting times, if it’s worth your time (in my opinion, of course), and so on. Not just in the name of holding myself accountable to my lofty “I’m going to make something out of myself!” goals, I hope that these Scoops will prove helpful to the average writing Joe when getting up to all sorts of writerly mischief.
For those of you who aren’t the writerly types, and don’t care about this sort of thing, feel free to skip this one and come back for the next post – there’s going to be one involving giant squids and Jason Statham. Seriously.
Now, given that I’ve already recommended this following site because I was so excited at the idea of it, I figured it only made sense to kick off this shindig with OnlineBookClub.org.
What the Site’s All About
Well, for starters, the title is pretty self-explanatory: it’s an online book club of sorts, where readers can go to read reviews and get recommendations on books to check out (a lot of indie/small press work so far, from what I’ve looked at), where writers/publishers can go to submit a book to get reviewed, and where reviewers can go to get free books to write and submit reviews for. All in all, pretty cool setup, and well organized for all involved.
What Submitting (a Review) Is Like
While I can’t speak to the experience of submitting something to be reviewed, from the reviewer’s perspective, it is a nice simple process. Once you’ve made yourself a free account on the site, you begin, of course, by selecting a book from the ones available to you to read, and then download and read it (Tip: Take notes as you’re reading about what you think of it along the way – much easier to work with later).
There’s a tab in the reviewer section where you update the status of your chosen book, first to say that you’ve successfully downloaded it, then to say you’ve finished reading it, and then to submit your review for the editors to sign off on or reject.
The really good news is that the editors give very specific guidelines for the whole process, so you know start to finish what’s expected of you for timeframe and review content. You are also not obligated to make it a nice review, even though authors will see it – they pride their site of having honest opinions, and they will want yours on the quality of the text, its editing, and its recomendability to other readers.
(*Side bar of shameless self promotion: Click here to read the review of mine they published for Dave Robertson’s The Ultimate Guide to Zombies)
What the Timing is Like
The other really good news is that while you get a nice span of time to do your work (four days to confirm you’ve downloaded a copy of your book, a month to read it, and about a week to write and submit your review), the editors are really on the ball in evaluating your review for publication on their site.
From submitting it to getting a lovely little email confirming they’d published it, I waited less than 24 hours. That timeframe might well fluctuate based on how many submissions they have to review at a given time, but still, that’s a damn good first impression.
What’s the Aftertaste
All in all, this was a great first experience with this site, and looking now at the rest of the options available for their reviewers, I’m even more impressed. They have a great span of on-site forums for everyone to interact about topics of interest, and although your ability to eventually get paid reviews does depend on how high you can get your reviewer score (based on people’s feedback on your reviews), the site offers social media sharing options to get your reviews out there, as well as promotion of your on their Facebook page, and the option to list OnlineBookClub Reviewer as one of your professions on your own Facebook page.
So What’s the Verdict?
I will absolutely be submitting to this site again, and taking the available options for extra promotion and participation. And it’s not just to get to the paid option (though, obviously, that would be nice too), but also because it seems like a good community to get involved in, both as a reader and a writer.
But since I know that the internet likes arbitrary review scales, I’ll finish this off with one of my own:
I give OnlineBookClub.org the full 5 out of 5 Ninjas of Excellence, for all the good stuff they have on offer.
And today’s wise quote of wizened wisdom:
“I hope someday to write something worth plagiarizing.” -Unknown Author
Stay strong, write often, and love pizza, fellow Writerlings.