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bookshelf

Being Paid to Read a Book and Write a Review

I’ve been reading books since grade school but I’ve started doing book reviews in 2012.

I remember when I revived my old Webs.com account and started a blog category I named “My Bookshelf”. The original plan was to write a review on each book that I have on my bookshelf literally.

However, technology has introduced us to e-books. Scrolling on a tablet or cellphone made reading much easier for me. And I enjoyed reading both printed and electronic book formats since then.

2012 was also a time of social media frenzy.  Out came the social media platforms for book lovers.

BookLikes and Goodreads

I’m not sure which I got first: BookLikes or Goodreads. But I’m sure, it was during around this time I created an account on each platform. The good thing is, they both work in sync. So whatever book I rated on the one platform, it will appear on the other. And if I posted a book review on my blog, I would just provide a link on these platforms that will lead the readers to my website.

However, there are web visitors who prefer staying on one site rather than being led to another with a click on a link. I tried to provide a written review but the fear of doing a duplicate content prevented me from doing so.

Being Paid to Read

Recently, I got the opportunity to be paid or rewarded to read a book and write a review on a website. The pay could be the book itself (which is also available on Amazon for a price) or it could be a minimal amount (in US dollars) depending on one’s reviewer score. I just started out and have posted a few reviews already. Those reviews I’ve submitted will stay on their website and if ever I’ll share it here, it would be just a link to that page or I’ll tell about it.

I’m Open to Any Book Suggestions

Also, as I’ve mentioned in one of my pages, I accept requests for book reviews. And last month, I received an email from a publishing company to review one of their publications. I’m so honored.

If you would like to send me books for me to read, send it to: Marissa N. Uycoco-Bacsa Professional Services, McArthur Highway, Poblacion 1, Moncada, Tarlac 2803 Philippines or if e-books, send it to: info@issabacsa.com (for PDF and e-pub formats) or creativemixedmediafreelancing@gmail.com  (for Kindle format).

Just so you know, I read both fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, I prefer mystery, crime, suspense thrillers. Although I also read romance, historical fiction, comedy, fantasy, and sci-fi.

For non-fiction, I prefer biographies, autobiographies, self-help, psychology, health, true crime. Although I also read about food and travel. It seems that I can read almost anything except fan fiction.

quote on reading

Read and Discover 6 Benefits

If I ask you when was the last time you read a book, chances are you’ll answer last weekend, at the least, or a month or a year ago, at the most. But if I ask you when was the last time you read something online (a tweet or a Facebook update), you’ll probably answer just a few minutes ago. Correct?

In this era of on-screen and mobile technology, we have changed the way we consume information. Teenagers and young adults have glued their eyes to their smartphones. They often read snippets, excerpts, articles (or parts of it),  messages, pieces of information from everywhere. Most of them even prefer videos over text-based content.

It’s sad that even one of the well-known social media influencers admit on her own platform that she doesn’t read much or hates reading. And to think that most of the young people today follow her on that particular social media platform adds to the “problem” of lesser reading.

These days, reading is not much as it used to years ago. But, with new technologies around us, reading a book has become a struggle for some people because:

  • They don’t have much time or they’re too busy
  • They prefer watching TV or films rather than read the novel
  • They find it hard to read or can’t even read

Digital culture has enveloped us more quickly than we ever imagined. We, as adults, are also overwhelmed by this change. And we shrug off the problem. After all, reading trends have changed in the past; television altered our consciousness and social patterns years before we were born. We and our kids survived and became adults. Literature (and reading) will survive, too, somehow.

Too many books, too little time

An article I’ve read a year ago stated that 67% of 2000 British adults said they would like to read more but 48% admitted they’re too busy to read. Work and everyday chores are factors that contribute to less reading.

Even I myself admit that I have still have books gathering dust on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Yet, I try my very best to read before going to sleep. Another trick I found much better is reading on my cellphone. An e-book reading app has a text reader and even animates the turning of the page. I was able to read a few novels on my cellphone which if I would read it using a hard copy would take me much more time to finish.

Then, There’s the TV or Movie Versions

Most films get their materials from books. The Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With the Wind, etc. have become films. Until today, films and TV shows came from bestselling novels. Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, are just some of them.

I admit, there are films and TV shows that I didn’t realize were books at first. But as much as possible, I prefer reading the book first before watching the movie.

Also, psychologists have justified that there are certain types of people who prefer watching than reading. These are the so-called “visuals”. Most of the young people today are “visuals” who would like to see things move before their eyes in order for them to absorb the information fast.

Stop illiteracy

But the much serious problem is that some people find it hard to read because of their inability to read. Until now, issues on illiteracy continues especially among the poor. With the increasing prices on education, the poor can’t afford to send their children to school.

The key to literacy is reading. One has to progress his skills from the ability to recognize letters, to understand spoken words and decode written words, and to the understanding of the text.

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educated themselves. No, read to live.Gustave Flaubert

Benefits of Reading

If you’re one of the countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out these benefits:

  • Mind stimulation – Recent studies suggest that reading slows the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Like eating right and exercising to maintain physical health, reading strengthens the muscles in your brain and can help you improve skills like memory retention and focus. It also helps sharpen the mind to be more of a critical thinker.
  • Knowledge – Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. Reading broadens our knowledge of the world.
  • Vocabulary expansion – The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
  • Better writing skills – This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on ones’ own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.
  • Reduce stress – No matter how much stress you are going through at work, in your personal life, or anywhere else, reading a good story can help you take your mind off these difficult situations.
  • Entertainment – Reading is also a form of entertainment. We find stories inspiring and sometimes help escape reality and begin to explore other realities.

What can we do?

  • Start them young. Parents should encourage their kids to read starting with age appropriate books. We are a family of book readers. My husband and I grew up reading books. So when my daughter was still a toddler, I started showing her books for her to read and play with.
  • Also, encourage kids to visit libraries and bookstores. With the Internet, it’s easy to get get e-books online. This trend has affected libraries and bookstores. My husband and I still visit bookstores and we tag along our daughter. Now, my daughter tries her hand in writing.
  • Read while waiting. Falling in line and doing nothing? Take this opportunity to read. I bring along my cellphone and read e-books while waiting in the bank, while commuting, or whatever that will put me on hold. That takes away the boredom of waiting.
  • Give away books to read. The idea of sharing books to someone is another way to encourage people to read. Let me take this opportunity to share with you my works for you to read. Not only they’re entertaining, they’re also FREE.
  • Start a reading habit. Try a few suggested tricks on how to develop a writing habit now and up to 21 days. They say that a habit can easily formed within 21 days if done regularly. I read a book before sleeping. I try to read one book a week but I haven’t achieved reading 52 books a year. I have a list of the 100 books and I tick off those that I’ve read so far.

Do you have any other suggestions? What book are you reading today?

mentor

In Search For a Writing Mentor

It is not just a question of having or not having your own writing mentor. The real question here is: Do you really need a mentor or could you do without one? Opinions vary from writer to writer. But first, let’s take a closer look at what mentoring a writer is.

When we say “mentor”, it is synonymous to a “guide” or “counselor”. He/She is someone who could give sound advice not just on our writing career but also on life in general; someone who has been there and done that and has inspired you to become a better writer.

Most likely, the mentor a writer has in mind could be someone who is well-known or experienced, who have written and published numerous articles, stories, or novels, and probably still be busy writing his/her next book. How could that mentor squeeze in time for mentoring is something the mentor can only determine.

Another common source for writing mentors is from the field of education. Teachers, professors, and even workshop instructors are always ready to act as someone’s writing mentor because it is innate in their personality and job.

I don’t have a mentor in the strict definition. I take as much advice and inspiration as I can from the people I am close to.Natalie Massenet

Mentoring follows three stages which are:

  1. To lead — It starts with the mentor leading the mentoree the way, teaching what and what not to do most of the time.
  2. To follow through — The mentor will let the writer do things on his/her own, following through the steps — this time giving advice, commenting, giving suggestions, etc.  , and
  3. To let go — When the mentor feels that the writer is successful and can do things independently without him/her, the mentor starts to let go.

But the relationship doesn’t end there. The friendship still continues.

On the other hand, there are people who don’t maintain this kind of mentor-mentoree relationship with someone. These writers would just take advice from different sources and take it from there. They are too independent that they don’t need to be followed through. Others are those who had a bad experience with mentoring before that they decide to do things on their own instead. Which brings me back to my question: Do you really need a mentor or could you do without one?

Every writer would claim to have been taught and inspired by someone to write and be the person and writer he/she is now and would consider that someone as a mentor. To maintain a professional mentoring relationship with someone is his/her own choice.