The Average Salary of a Fiction Book Critic


Fiction book critics must gain experience before they can make a living. Book critics can make between $20,000 and $70,000 per year, depending on whether they write reviews regularly and who they write reviews for. Many critics work for low pay and free copies of books to get experience in the field.


Fiction book critics must prove themselves to earn significant amounts of money, according to Business Know How. Most book critics begin reviewing books for independent publications or for self-published authors who do not have enough of a reputation to secure reviews elsewhere. These reviewers may be paid with a free copy of the book. Book critics who work for major publications such as the New York Times and Los Angeles Times receive up to $300 per review. These papers only accept reviewers who have significant experience in the field.

Value of Books

Most fiction book critics receive free copies of the books they review. Review copies have an average retail value of $20 to $25. Thus, if a critic reviews 10 books a month, he earns an average of an additional $250 in merchandise to whatever fees he may secure for each review.

Trade in Kind

Beginning writers often trade in kind rather than paying directly for book reviewers or expecting a publisher to do so. These writers may ask a critic to review their books in exchange for reviewing something the critic wrote or editing and proofreading a work the critic produced. Trading reviews for editing may be lucrative, as many editors and proofreaders charge per page for their services.

Getting Bylines

If a fiction book critic hopes to make a living writing reviews, he must not only gain experience but get his reviews published. Many small publications give the critic a byline, meaning that his name is published with the review. These publications may not pay the critic for his review, but he can submit a copy of it when applying for full-time jobs with larger publications.

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