OnlineBookClub – genuine or scam?

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.

12 thoughts on “OnlineBookClub – genuine or scam?

  1. 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.

    1. Thank you for your honesty I am looking for more marketing and this may not be worth my time

    2. I had a very similar experience. Their resolution was to try to sell me other services.

  2. 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.

    1. Sorry to hear about your bad experience, I guess we live and learn.

      1. 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!

  3. 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,
    Cheers, Rose

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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