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WOW! Women On Writing Workshops & Classes

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This class is currently closed. Visit the Classroom Page for a current schedule.

by Allena Tapia

START DATE:  Closed.

DURATION:  6 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  For many reader/writers, getting paid to read sounds like a pipe dream. But it’s not! Magazines, newspapers, blogs, newsletters, websites and author promotion companies all need content, and will often pay for well-written book reviews. In addition, the new push in self-publication results in new ways to review and be paid for it!

This course includes:

  • Weekly lesson material via text format (PDF, Prezi, etc).
  • Supporting lesson video posted privately (for class only) on YouTube as appropriate to the week’s material. Transcripts of videos are also included.
  • Brief homework assignments with personalized, targeted feedback.
  • A private group forum via Facebook for contact, questions and camaraderie (optional participation).
  • Optional wrap-up Q & A session near the end of the class via Google Hangout (web video that allows face-to-face interaction in real time). The Q & A session will be recorded for those who do not wish to participate.
  • Class conclusion includes a one-on-one consultation with the instructor to point you toward your “first step” or implementation plan.
  • Students who complete the course are invited to submit a book review to the instructor for publication on one of her websites, in exchange for a first byline.
  • Open virtual communication and support with the instructor during and after the course.

Allena's class offered a plethora of valuable information on the book review market and how to break into it. Shortly after taking her class I was offered free Advanced Reader Copies of books by a well known author. She also helped me build published clips of reviews at the end of the class by offering all her students a chance to appear on her page as guest reviewers. I highly recommend her class. It is well worth the investment. ~ Ann Schwarz, WOW! How to Become a Paid Book Reviewer student

I hired [Allena] to do a workshop for my writer’s group and found her knowledge and wit compared to no other workshop. She set the bar very high for future speakers. ~ Candy Little, Author, via LinkedIn

Allena and I have regularly crossed paths online in the last several years. She’s got a highly engaging writing and community management style and really knows her stuff. ~ Dana Prince, Freelance Writer, via LinkedIn

[Allena] can write about complex matters in a way that makes them so clear, educating readers in a way that is truly necessary today. ~ Thursday Bram, Writer, via LinkedIn

I signed up for this class after I saw Allena speak at [a conference], and I was not disappointed. She has a very relatable personality and seems genuinely interested in just sharing her experience and information. ~ Community Education student, Lansing Community College, Lansing MI

Allena is a true professional. She has developed and grown successful business ventures and has built a loyal client following thanks to her skill and personality. As the community guide at’s freelance writing site, Allena has become a valuable resource herself. Her depth of experience and willingness to mentor and motivate is enviable. ~ Lori Widmer, Freelance Writer, via LinkedIn

Allena is one of the smartest voices out there in advising freelance writers on how to run their business. I consider her column must-reading. ~ Carol Tice, Freelance Writer, via LinkedIn


Week One

  • Introduction to the career field and three “paid pathways” within book reviewing.
  • Introduction to the book industry, including publishers, publicists and major review outlets.
  • The ideal reviewer: tools, documents and characteristics you’ll need.
  • Assignment: Goal planning/intro, byline offer intention and Google Hangout scheduling.

Week Two

  • The first paid pathway—book reviewing for print.
  • Qualifications, potential income and how to get the work.
  • What’s the first step?
  • Assignment: Pitch letters/outlet research.

Week Three

  • The second pathway—book review blogs and online earning.
  • Qualifications, potential income and how to start.
  • Book blogging hints and tips.
  • Assignment: Reading list and planning worksheet.

Week Four

  • The third pathway—promo services.
  • Qualifications, potential income and where to find work.
  • Caveats: ethics, payments and your reputation as a writer.
  • Assignment: Application documents/planning.

Week Five

  • How to read for reviewing
  • Different kinds of book reviews
  • Writing the review: voice/tone/style/editorial
  • Assignment: Practice review.

Week Six

  • Professionalizing yourself: payments, taxes and business considerations.
  • Book review ethics and practices.
  • Assignment: Targeted research and planning of the business side of things.
  • Wrap up and end consultation with instructor.
  • Q & A via Google Hangout.
  • What’s your path and your next step?

Materials needed:  Internet access, e-mail, access to books to review, word processing software, Facebook account for private forum (optional), Google account (for Google Hangout—optional) and a web cam (optional). YouTube videos will be overlapping information with written lessons, so those who prefer not to view videos will still be able to take part in all aspects of this course. Transcripts of videos are also included.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:  Allena Tapia is a full time communications professional with nearly a decade of publishing experience. In addition to communications work, she has taught at both Lansing Community College’s community ed program (“How to Be a Freelance Writer,” “Blogging for Beginners,” “Social Media—What’s the Big Deal?”) and Michigan State University (freshman composition). Past students have described her teaching style as engaging, informal, approachable and friendly.

Allena’s book reviews have been published by paid outlets such as Bitch magazine, Sacramento Book Review, and Kirkus Indie. She has written for Huffington Post, Latino Leaders, Hispanic Business, Green Building and Design, and MediaBistro. She’s held contracts with The New York Times, Gale Cengage and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

COST:  $175, which includes written lessons, video lessons, personal attention via e-mail, homework, feedback, an optional Google Hangout Q & A session, an optional private group communication space, a free consultation at the end of the class, ongoing virtual support from the instructor, and placement of one book review with byline on a website of instructor’s choice.

BUY NOW:  How to Become a Paid Book Reviewer, by Allena Tapia (6 weeks, starting 4/7/2014) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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