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Taerak's Void
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Taerak's Void
(Book One of Fantastica)
A new series by multiple award winning author, M. R. Mathias

After finding a strange medallion and some maps with markings that no one in his village can understand, Braxton Bray decides to take it all to the Hall of Scholars in the kingdom's capital. But greed is everywhere. Braxton and a tough young female caravan guard named Nixy are forced to run for their lives, for someone else wants what Braxton found and is willing to go to great lengths to take it from him.

With a hefty, kingdom wide, bounty on their heads, not even the great wizards of the Sorcerious can help them. Left with nothing but each other, Braxton and Nixy have no choice but to get on a ship and go on an adventure that will take them places they would have otherwise never imagined. Elves, dwarves, giant gothicans, and trolls, treacherous forests on distant shores, love, death, terror, and magic all await...

Author Topic: Hidden Gems ARC Service  (Read 3988 times)  

Offline HiddenGems

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Hidden Gems ARC Service
« on: July 06, 2017, 11:06:56 AM »
The Hidden Gems ARC service has been sending out books for review since October 2015 and since then has just continued to grow into what we believe is one of the premiere ARC services around.  We now have over 5000 reader/reviewers and send out hundreds of books a year - on average more than 1 per day.

While we did start off by exclusively servicing the romance community, we have since branched off and begun to ARC books of ALL Genres.  All of our subscribers have selected the genres that they are interested in reading, and they only get offers to read and review books of those genres. That means we aren't going to send your Horror novel off to someone that is only interested in Young Adult novels, for example. And even within those groups, all readers only choose the books that most interest them (based on the book info you provide prior to us sending out your book), which means that we are ONLY sending your book out to subscribers that at least THINK that they will enjoy it based on that info. So again, that means that we wouldn't send a BDSM Romance to someone that only likes Sweet Romances, for example.

One of the thing that sets us apart from other ARC services is our review rates. While all reviews are voluntary and there are always reasons why some readers that sign up choose not to review a particular book after being sent it, we do keep a close eye on things to make sure there are no abusers of the system. Our service is for book lovers who enjoy reading and leaving reviews on what they read, not for people just looking to get a load of free books and never offer anything in return. As such, we have an average rate of reviews left by readers of over 80%.  That means if we send your book out to 100 readers, you will usually get more than 80 reviews back. Many sites need to send your book out to many hundreds of readers to get those sorts of numbers, which means your book is going out for FREE to far more people than it needs to - potential customers!

And to be clear, these are voluntary reviews from real readers - nothing fake or phony about these reviews. That's why we can't make any guarantees as the the number of reviews you'll get back (and be wary of any service that does!) and we also can't guarantee any sort of average star rating. While many of our reviewers choose not to review a book they didn't like (by far the  #1 reason why reviewers choose not to leave a review), that is up to them completely.  We do all of this to ensure compliance with Amazon and their ever changing rules regarding reviews. As such, we don't believe we are in violation of their rules. Readers are real and never compensated for their reviews beyond getting the book for free, and are instructed to note in their review that it was voluntary and based on a review copy. Authors pay us for the service of sending their books out to our curated list of readers that love leaving reviews, authors are not paying for the reviews themselves (which is also why we charge per reader, not per review returned). Again, be wary of services that do things in a way that may violate Amazon's rules!

While we have thousands signed up for our service, because they are segregated into different genres and only choose the books to read that they are both interested in and have time for, the number of readers interested in any given book may vary greatly. Authors choose how many readers they want their books sent to, but depending on those factors we may not always be able to meet those needs. However rest assured, we will only ever charge for the number of readers we do find, regardless of your original order. If you ask for 100 and we only find you 20, you will only be charged for 20. Romance typically gets the most interest - and we can often deliver hundreds of readers for a contemporary romance novel, while some genres like Young Adult or Science fiction might only get 20-50 readers signed up.  But we're doing our best to improve those numbers, and much of our income goes to increasing our reader base in order to continue to improve our service.

Also note that for romance ARCs, booking is recommended at least 3-4 weeks in advance as we only book 1 book per genre a day, and our romance category usually sells out that far ahead. For other genres there is more availability for now, since we only started doing those other genres recently and are still getting the word out.

For a lot more info and pricing, please see our FAQ - or just go directly to our booking calendars.

We hope to help many of you with your novel launches in the future, and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us (or reply below).  Thanks!

The Hidden Gems Team

Offline Red Riley

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 11:22:18 AM »
Bookmarking for when I have my release date set, thanks!
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Offline 555aaa

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 12:06:17 PM »
I'm interested in scheduling your service but I don't see anywhere listed your business name and location.

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 12:11:05 PM »
I'm interested in scheduling your service but I don't see anywhere listed your business name and location.

Hmm, did you try clicking on the links in the email above?  That should take you to our website which has all of the info needed for scheduling.  We're Hidden Gems, and can take bookings from anywhere in the world since we only deal with ebooks (not physical novels), so everything is digital.

Offline SA_Soule

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 12:57:48 PM »
The only problem I personally foresee is if you pay $300 for the max amount of reviewers/readers, but only get, let's say, 10 reviews posted, than it is not worth it.

Plus, a writer is paying for reviews without any guarantee of getting reviews posted and...did I mention paying for reviews? Which is against Amazon's TOS, right? And if it is a violation of the TOS, then there's a strong chance the reviews will be removed from sites like Amazon. But maybe not from goodreads...

A reviewer that I've known for years, started charging on Fiverr for reviews (I just sent my ARCs to her blog email and never paid her) and she told me that she had all 5k reviews that she posted removed and she is banned from leaving reviews on Amazon now. I guess there was this big review crack down where Amazon removed thousands of so-called "paid reviews."
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:27:15 PM by SA_Soule »

Offline Austin_Briggs

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 02:02:58 PM »
Just subscribed for a Fantasy book (no Romance) - let's see what comes of it!!! :)

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 04:28:28 PM »
I love Hidden Gems! I use the ARC service even though I have an ARC team that will get me 50-100 reviews during release week. The Hidden Gems reviewers just leave better reviews on average--they're more detailed and specific. Sure, not all of the reviews are positive, but I find the reviewers are pretty open minded.

Offline Gabriella West

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 06:49:04 PM »
Sounds interesting. How LGBT-friendly is the service?

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Offline JacquelineSweetDesign

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2017, 06:51:27 PM »
I've used Hidden Gems before--last summer--and they consistently delivered a TON of reviews for my books. I don't recall the exact numbers, but it was 50-75 reviews that all seemed like honest reviews, not just a one sentence "I liked it!" or something like that.

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2017, 07:44:38 PM »
The only problem I personally foresee is if you pay $300 for the max amount of reviewers/readers, but only get, let's say, 10 reviews posted, than it is not worth it.

As I mentioned, our average rate of review is over 80% so that just doesn't happen.  When people get below that average, it is not THAT far below.. but generally there is a very obvious reason why - which is usually that the book has problems and a lot of the reviewers chose not to leave a review rather than a negative one.  The stronger the book, the higher the percentage. We have some books that have hit 100%.  A large number get in the 90s.  So a MAX order is at least 150 readers (if not, then wouldn't get charged $300).  You would never get 10 reviews from that. Not in the 2 years we've been doing this, anyway.

Plus, a writer is paying for reviews without any guarantee of getting reviews posted and...did I mention paying for reviews? Which is against Amazon's TOS, right? And if it is a violation of the TOS, then there's a strong chance the reviews will be removed from sites like Amazon. But maybe not from goodreads...

Again, as I mentioned you are not paying for reviews.  You are paying us to send your book out to our list of book lovers that tend to leave reviews.  We DO NOT require them to leave reviews for every book - and in fact we provide a spot where they can leave a reason for not reviewing instead. This is also why we can make no guarantees on the number of reviews - because that is not what you are paying for.  You are paying us to send your book out to a specified number of readers, that is all.  We just maintain a list of readers that also very often leave reviews for the books they are sent.

We've been doing this for 2 years now and sent out about 500 books and have never once heard from any of our authors that have gotten any reviews removed or had any issues with Amazon over it.  That's not to say that Amazon one day may change their tune, but we read their TOS carefully whenever they are updated and do our best to stay within their guidelines as far as we understand them (they are not always crystal clear, unfortunately).

A reviewer that I've known for years, started charging on Fiverr for reviews (I just sent my ARCs to her blog email and never paid her) and she told me that she had all 5k reviews that she posted removed and she is banned from leaving reviews on Amazon now. I guess there was this big review crack down where Amazon removed thousands of so-called "paid reviews."

Yes, and that example is a clear violation of their service because that is a reviewer charging for their reviews.  Our readers are not paid anything by you OR by us.  They get no compensation at all.  They all do it because they love reading and this is a great way for them to have access to free books. 

Authors sending free ARC copies out for early reviews is a tradition that goes back as long as there have been books, and that is why when Amazon recently cracked down on reviews for unverified purchases they did it for everything BUT books.  They know that this is a common practice and as long as you follow the rules and play fair, they seem okay with it.  What we are providing here is no different, really, than an author sending out their novels to their own list of fans. But what about authors without that fan base?  Why should they miss out on reviews?  That's where we come in and help.  In fact, I've actually heard more stories about Amazon cracking down on fan ARCs like that because they are more obviously biased (friends and fans of an author are more likely to give positive reviews and some authors boot off people that give them less than 4 or 5 stars).

At any rate, everyone has their own comfort level so a service like ours might not be for everyone. All I can say is that we will always do our absolute best to make sure we are working within the rules that Amazon sets out, as far as we understand them. And so far that's been working.

Thanks so much for your feedback and good luck with your releases!

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 07:48:17 PM »
Sounds interesting. How LGBT-friendly is the service?

Are you talking about LGBT Romance?  We do a few of those - probably about 5 or so a month?  Generally we'll get at least 50-60 signups for those books. 

If you're talking about non-romance then you'll have to be more specific, although I don't think we've had any LGBT non-romance novels come through that I can think of.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 07:59:19 PM »
From looking over their website and my understanding of Amazon rules, I feel like this is a pretty legitimate service :) As an (hopefully soon) new author, I know that ARC's are common and popular tools to help boost a recently published book. But for a new author with zero following, it's a huge struggle to get ARC readers to sign up organically. In the future I would like that to be the case, but for a first-timer I'm not opposed to having a little help along the way.  With a service like this I also like that there's a better chance I'm being set up with readers who actually WANT to read my book as opposed to someone just wanting a free book with little intention of actually reading it. As has been stated, no one is being paid to do anything except the service itself which merely sets authors up with eager readers.
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Offline AriadneBeckett

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2017, 08:08:22 PM »
Do you have a separate LGBT segment? For example, for a gay romance/crime drama? Or would copies potentially be going to people who would find gay themes offensive?

Why haven't we heard of you? In my experience so far, successful promotion and ARC services tend to get talked about.

Quote
The only requirement for membership in the ARC program, as a reviewer, is that when you do ask for a book and are selected for that ARC, that you both LEAVE A REVIEW on Amazon, AND LOG THE REVIEW in our form. Many of you are missing that second step, and as such, we have no choice but to drop you from the program. Our authors are looking for a certain number of reviews, and it is unfair to them if we have reviewers not leaving reviews. And logging your review in our form is the only way we know that you have left one.

Is this current? Because my understanding of current amazon policy is that reviewers may *not* be required in any way to leave a review, or feel that their ability to receive future free stuff depends on their leaving a review.

One final question: why did you dodge the previous question about your business location? That poster didn't ask about info needed for scheduling; they asked about where they could see your business name and location.

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2017, 09:00:43 PM »
Do you have a separate LGBT segment? For example, for a gay romance/crime drama? Or would copies potentially be going to people who would find gay themes offensive?

The way that we have genres set up now is basically a bunch of checkboxes.. so people would select things like Science Fiction or Romance.  Since technically you could have ANY genre of book feature LGBT characters, I don't think it would make sense to have a separate genre for each possibility. 

Instead, what we do is provide a "Categories" field on our sign up form which is where authors enter this sort of Sub Genre info.  So in your example, they would put LGBT or GAY or MM or whatever in that field, and then readers that don't like that sort of content can just skip that offer and wait for the next one.

Why haven't we heard of you? In my experience so far, successful promotion and ARC services tend to get talked about.

Interesting question.  I suppose I could counter by saying that since we sell out weeks in advance, clearly SOMEONE has heard of us - and we also have a testimonial section in our FAQ that lists out some of the comments we had from our previous customers. Not to mention a few of our previous customers have shown up in this thread, which was a pleasant surprise, so they've heard about us as well. 

In all honestly, we haven't really done any big marketing aside from a few (non-kboards) author message boards that are mostly private or semi-private where we got our start, because as soon as we launched we were getting enough business through word of mouth alone.  But that was mostly romance centric - where we got our start.  Now that we've branched into other genres, we're getting the word out a little more aggressively.  Soon, hopefully, we'll be a household name.   ;)

Is this current? Because my understanding of current amazon policy is that reviewers may *not* be required in any way to leave a review, or feel that their ability to receive future free stuff depends on their leaving a review.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention.  As you can tell by the date, that was an old blog post (from a year ago) that we wrote and things have changed a lot since then.  Our reader FAQ has much more current info, and when you quoted that I searched that FAQ to see where I had wrote that, but couldn't find it - although the words sounded familiar.  I actually had to google it before realizing it was from an old blog.  Of course, the next bit that immediately follows the part that you quoted is also pretty relevant, so I will quote that here since you left it out.

Quote

Missing a few reviews is fine and unavoidable, which is why we also have the REASON field in our form...

We've always included that field and always will because we understand that life happens sometimes, and even the best reviewers will miss some reviews or simply choose not to review a book.  But membership in our program is for book loving readers that also like to leave reviews. We'll never remove someone for missing a review or two, and the more books they read, the more they can miss without it being an issue. But if someone is basically just reading and never reviewing, then they don't fit the membership criteria of the list that we maintain. Having a list full of people like that is unfair to both the authors that work with us and the other readers in our list. If someone wants a list like that, to either use for their ARCs or to be a reader for, there are plenty of other ARC services out there that will happily take them to swell their numbers and make themselves sound more valuable. 

Anyway, thanks again for pointing that out.  Even though our FAQ is more clear about all of this (I hope), I will definitely remove that old blog and replace it with a newer one sooner rather than later.

One final question: why did you dodge the previous question about your business location? That poster didn't ask about info needed for scheduling; they asked about where they could see your business name and location.

I don't think I dodged that question at all. I think our business name is pretty obvious - Hidden Gems.  And I just don't see the relevance of providing a physical location for a web-based business that deals exclusively in digital content. Are you asking about where our server is located? Where we physically live? Where our business is incorporated? And why does it matter? Maybe I'm missing something here?

Anyway, thanks for the questions.

Offline Helen_Christian

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2017, 08:14:49 AM »
Shifted Sheets is a direct competitor to Hidden Gems and I can find ZERO bad things to say about them. I used them as an author and I continue to suggest their services in addition to our own.

Many romance authors have heard of them in the groups/messageboards/forums that we frequent. They've never given anything but great customer service and value.


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2017, 08:23:27 AM »
Shifted Sheets is a direct competitor to Hidden Gems and I can find ZERO bad things to say about them. I used them as an author and I continue to suggest their services in addition to our own.

Many romance authors have heard of them in the groups/messageboards/forums that we frequent. They've never given anything but great customer service and value.


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2017, 09:03:13 AM »
Shifted Sheets is a direct competitor to Hidden Gems and I can find ZERO bad things to say about them. I used them as an author and I continue to suggest their services in addition to our own.

Many romance authors have heard of them in the groups/messageboards/forums that we frequent. They've never given anything but great customer service and value.

That's strange, is it usually polite to post about direct competition on someone's sales page? And from what I can tell, there hasn't been any "bad things" said about Hidden Gems either, only that it's fairly new and people have some questions about their services. By the name Shifted Sheets, I also assume it's only for Romance authors/readers.
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Offline Mylius Fox

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2017, 09:07:03 AM »
Are you talking about LGBT Romance?  We do a few of those - probably about 5 or so a month?  Generally we'll get at least 50-60 signups for those books.

Hi HiddenGems, how many signups do you generally get for the thriller genre? Do your thriller readers respond well to military/political thrillers? I've got a new release next week and I really like how your service sounds. :)

Offline raminar_dixon

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2017, 09:15:54 AM »
Shifted Sheets is a direct competitor to Hidden Gems and I can find ZERO bad things to say about them. I used them as an author and I continue to suggest their services in addition to our own.

Many romance authors have heard of them in the groups/messageboards/forums that we frequent. They've never given anything but great customer service and value.



Same.

Hidden Gems is also a competitor to Hot Stuff Romance and I have to say that they are a valuable, stand-up operation. They do what they say they will, charge a fair price, and work hard to make you happy. I've used them for my own book promotions and for ARC several times and I have always been pleased with the results. My Promo Stacker clients have also used them to great effect. If you need honest reviews, they are a fantastic resource.

That's strange, is it usually polite to post about direct competition on someone's sales page? And from what I can tell, there hasn't been any "bad things" said about Hidden Gems either, only that it's fairly new and people have some questions about their services. By the name Shifted Sheets, I also assume it's only for Romance authors/readers.

Yes, I'd say it is polite, as long as the feedback is not malicious. If you do such a great job that even your competition praises the quality of your services, you're doing something right. HG offers a good service and I don't mind letting people know about it, even if they are technically a competitor to one of my businesses.

Shifted Sheets is also great.  ;)


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2017, 09:17:19 AM »
That's strange, is it usually polite to post about direct competition on someone's sales page? And from what I can tell, there hasn't been any "bad things" said about Hidden Gems either, only that it's fairly new and people have some questions about their services. By the name Shifted Sheets, I also assume it's only for Romance authors/readers.

Helen *is* Shifted Sheets.  I read her post as saying that even she has used Hidden Gems as an author, and likes them, and recommends them.  That's how I read it, anyway...

But...that being said, let's keep the focus on Hidden Gems, thanks!

Betsy



/edited for clarity
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 09:25:14 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2017, 09:17:46 AM »
Welcome to Kboards!

You're welcome to promote your relevant business, service, product or website here in the Writers' Cafe!

Now that you have an official thread, you'll want to add your listing to our Yellow Pages Listing, found here:http://www.kboards.com/yp/. The listing is free to KB members and is completely self-service; you can add and edit your listing from the page.  More information on our Yellow Pages listing can be found here.

In your thread here, we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar:  you may have this one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time.  New threads about the service will be removed.  Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again to post to.  And, you may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days.  If someone responds (such as this post), you may reply but otherwise must wait seven days, thanks! Also note that very short or one/two word posts with no meaningful information, are discouraged and may be deleted at the moderators' discretion.

Note that members are allowed to provide civil and honest feedback about your service to this thread, and you may respond in a civil manner. In particular, members may have questions about how the service works, what you get for your money, as well as concerns about whether or not it might violate Amazon ToS.

Disputes between you and clients should be handled off site.

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(Note that this welcome does not constitute an endorsement or vetting of a service by KBoards.  Members should do due diligence when considering using a service.)

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2017, 09:23:54 AM »
Helen *is* Shifted Sheets.  I read her post as saying that even she has used their service as an author, and likes them, and recommends them.  That's how I read it, anyway...

Betsy

OH, I see. Since you explained it I see what you're saying. When I initially read it I thought it was like going onto someone Book Cover Sales Page and telling people to go somewhere else instead because their covers are better, and it gave me a bit of a start. Thanks for clearing it up :)
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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2017, 09:26:14 AM »
OH, I see. Since you explained it I see what you're saying. When I initially read it I thought it was like going onto someone Book Cover Sales Page and telling people to go somewhere else instead because their covers are better, and it gave me a bit of a start. Thanks for clearing it up :)

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Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2017, 10:11:08 AM »
Hi HiddenGems, how many signups do you generally get for the thriller genre? Do your thriller readers respond well to military/political thrillers? I've got a new release next week and I really like how your service sounds. :)

Hi Mylius - So far we've only run a handful of thrillers and the signups are a bit all over the place.  For example, we ran 2 at the end of last month and got 50 sign ups for them, but then we ran one early this month and only had 20 sign up.  So I guess it depends on the book and how you sell your ARC to our audience for sign up, but the readers are there...

Remember though that you only pay for the readers we can deliver on, so even if you ask for 50 and we only send 20, then you only pay for 20. So there's little risk in that regard. 

In terms of military/political I can't speak to that as the ones we've run so far haven't been those type. But again, if you are clear and upfront in the meta data that we send out to readers, then only ones interested in those types of books will sign up.

Hope that helps, but let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Offline Marishka

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2017, 10:19:41 AM »
Hidden Gems is truly a hidden gem! Their service is fantastic, especially for the romance genre, but they're branching out to other genres as well. They provide a platform to connect authors with readers who are responsive and want to engage with the authors and the books and leave reviews. The readers post both good and bad reviews, I should add, because the readers are real and their reviews are honest. I've used their service for a recent launch of my book and I have to say, I was very impressed!
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Offline Michael-Allen

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2017, 10:42:36 AM »
Do the reviews tend to be posted on Amazon or Goodreads or both?

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2017, 12:20:04 PM »
Do the reviews tend to be posted on Amazon or Goodreads or both?

Our focus is on Amazon.  That's where we ask reviews to be left, as that's where the vast majority of authors want their reviews.  But some readers do also post links to goodreads.

Offline SA_Soule

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2017, 11:07:31 AM »
Quote
Authors sending free ARC copies out for early reviews is a tradition that goes back as long as there have been books, and that is why when Amazon recently cracked down on reviews for unverified purchases they did it for everything BUT books.  They know that this is a common practice and as long as you follow the rules and play fair, they seem okay with it.  What we are providing here is no different, really, than an author sending out their novels to their own list of fans. But what about authors without that fan base?  Why should they miss out on reviews?  That's where we come in and help.  At any rate, everyone has their own comfort level so a service like ours might not be for everyone. All I can say is that we will always do our absolute best to make sure we are working within the rules that Amazon sets out, as far as we understand them. And so far that's been working. Thanks so much for your feedback and good luck with your releases!

I appreciate the time you took to address my concerns. Thank you!

Offline Nicholas Erik

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2017, 12:12:40 PM »
This is the best review service in the business, hands down. Used them for an urban fantasy book that was was sent out to 25 reviewers ($50). I got a minimum of 13 - 15 reviews that I can personally verify came from Hidden Gems. The owner indicated that 20 - 21 of the people submitted a review link to them, but I only went by how many people left the standard "I got an ARC copy" text. So consider my estimate very conservative.

The reviews were in-depth - e.g., the reviewers clearly read the book - and they send you selected comments from their reviewers. A mix of 3, 4 & 5 stars, which I like - some review services are legit, but everyone gives you ten word 5* reviews and it just looks kind of silly.

For comparison, with most services I'd expect maybe 2 - 3 reviews. Hidden Gems gets my highest recommendation.

Nick

Offline Huldra

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2017, 01:21:17 PM »
I've used Hidden Gems for their romance (Contemporary) ARCs twice last year.
Both times they have had outstanding service, both before and after, and the reviews garnered via them were generally much higher quality than from my own ARC list. (They go into a lot more detail that'll help future readers decide whether or not to buy, instead of just fangirling)

My first run was amazing, with an ~85% review rate. My second only hit about 60% (and no, there wasn't a problem with the book) which made me hesitant on using them again due to the cost. Regardless of that, HG delivered the service they promised, with excellent customer care. I also don't know if they have managed to improve their ARC list since my last run with them in the autumn.
Part of what makes services like this follow Amazon's rules is that there is no way of guaranteeing how many reviews you'll get. Please do keep this in mind when reading statements of "generally 80% rates, unless there's a problem with the book."

All in all, this is the review service I recommend to authors who are struggling with building their own ARC list, as long as they do have a sizable launch budget.

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2017, 02:20:25 PM »
My first run was amazing, with an ~85% review rate. My second only hit about 60% (and no, there wasn't a problem with the book) which made me hesitant on using them again due to the cost. Regardless of that, HG delivered the service they promised, with excellent customer care. I also don't know if they have managed to improve their ARC list since my last run with them in the autumn.
Part of what makes services like this follow Amazon's rules is that there is no way of guaranteeing how many reviews you'll get. Please do keep this in mind when reading statements of "generally 80% rates, unless there's a problem with the book."

Hi Huldra - When you say last year, are you talking about literally last calendar year?  If so then it is possible because our overall review rates have been climbing steadily month by month, and we didn't start making the 80% claim until a few months ago when we were regularly hitting that number.  Prior to that we were advertising a lower overall average.  Still, it is an average and sometimes books are lower than that, and sometimes higher.. but if you are interested in having me look into it a bit deeper, feel free to shoot me a PM with your book name and I'll take a peek at what went on with that one in particular and see if I can shed any light or if it was just one of those things where we somehow sent it to a load of readers that just couldn't get to reviewing for a variety of reasons. 

If you ran it in 2016 then I can say things have definitely improved.  For example our Average for December 2016 was only 79% of reviews left, and I can see a few in the 60s.  But for May 2017 it was actually 89%.  So depending on how long ago you ran your books, that could definitely be the case.

I do appreciate your kind words about the service though, and definitely your recommendations.  And I am very serious about looking into your particular book details if you care to share, but if not no problem.  Either way, shoot me a PM if you're interested in giving us another try.

Offline Ebook Itch

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2017, 02:27:14 PM »
Another "competitor" here to say Hidden Gems is the real deal. We don't really offer ARC services anymore because Hidden Gems is doing such a great job. 

They were even able to deliver reviews on a book in a small sci-fi subgenre - LitRPG.

Good stuff. Recommended.



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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2017, 02:45:20 PM »
To those asking about LGBT reviews-- I have used Hidden Gems service when I was starting my new gay romance series earlier this year, and their reviewers were absolutely amazing. Would definitely use again and would recommend to anybody writing LGBT romance.
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Offline Huldra

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2017, 05:58:52 PM »
Hi Huldra - When you say last year, are you talking about literally last calendar year?  If so then it is possible because our overall review rates have been climbing steadily month by month, and we didn't start making the 80% claim until a few months ago when we were regularly hitting that number.  Prior to that we were advertising a lower overall average.  Still, it is an average and sometimes books are lower than that, and sometimes higher.. but if you are interested in having me look into it a bit deeper, feel free to shoot me a PM with your book name and I'll take a peek at what went on with that one in particular and see if I can shed any light or if it was just one of those things where we somehow sent it to a load of readers that just couldn't get to reviewing for a variety of reasons. 

If you ran it in 2016 then I can say things have definitely improved.  For example our Average for December 2016 was only 79% of reviews left, and I can see a few in the 60s.  But for May 2017 it was actually 89%.  So depending on how long ago you ran your books, that could definitely be the case.

I do appreciate your kind words about the service though, and definitely your recommendations.  And I am very serious about looking into your particular book details if you care to share, but if not no problem.  Either way, shoot me a PM if you're interested in giving us another try.
Literally last calendar year, and the 60% fell within the range you gave back then, though in the lower end. No need to look into it, we even had a bit of an email conversation back then as part of your after-release round up.
I'm super pleased to hear you've gotten such a positive increase overall since then, that makes me much less hesitant with future books.

Unrelated btw - do you/can you ask reviewers to post on other vendors for wide books, as well as Amazon?

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2017, 06:26:20 PM »
Unrelated btw - do you/can you ask reviewers to post on other vendors for wide books, as well as Amazon?

I never have, but I have had the request once before.  Most authors are very Amazon centric so that's what we've always asked of our readers.  I'm not opposed to putting the request out there when we ask for reviews, but I haven't a clue how many would do it.  It would require them to have accounts on the other vendors, which I don't know how many of them have, and then to take the time to write the reviews on those vendors - and that may also then lower the number you get on Amazon, as some readers may not want to post on more than one... so it would be tough to judge the success of it after. 

I'm not opposed to it, but it would be very experimental. 

I think if I start to hear the request more and more, though, I may look to figure out how best to go about it.  Maybe build in a way for reviewers to indicate which stores they can leave reviews so that I can choose from them specifically if we get the request for reviews on other stores?  That's one though, anyway, but I think we'd need to build our subs list out a bit more before we'd do that.  And we did just launch a brand new backend system for sending books and logging reviews about a week or two ago, so I need to let that settle a bit first before we go and add any big changes.  But it is something I would think about formalizing, if the demand for it grows.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2017, 06:54:13 PM »
I'm interested in using your service for a launch months down the road. Are your reviewers fine with receiving a Book Funnel link? Or do they need a printed book?

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2017, 06:41:05 AM »
I'm interested in using your service for a launch months down the road. Are your reviewers fine with receiving a Book Funnel link? Or do they need a printed book?

We don't do printed, but we also don't use Bookfunnel.  We host the book files directly and send the links only to those selected to read/review them, and then remove them once the ARC is completed.  So prior to your date, you would just need to send us MOBI and PDF files, EPUB as well, if possible.

Offline kninemark2

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2017, 07:00:11 AM »
So do these reviews all go as unverified?

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2017, 07:09:45 AM »
So do these reviews all go as unverified?
They'd have to, but I can't think of any ethical way to get around that. One of the review services I used in the past allowed Amazon gifting as an option for giving reviewers their free copy, but those don't show as verified purchase, either.

I haven't used Hidden Gems yet, but I'll try it for my next release. I figure ARCs I could generate myself wouldn't be verified, either.


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Offline Gwen Hayes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2017, 08:17:57 AM »
I used this service to help launch a new secret pen name last month and was very pleased with the quality and enthusiasm of the reviews. I have and would rec to my author friends. A lot of the reviewers signed up for my newsletter, too. I can only speak to the romance/new adult genre, but it was worth it. I chose max and got about 250 reviews. It really helped jump start the new pen.

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Offline Gabriella West

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2017, 12:32:09 PM »
After reading all these great reports, I'm planning to use it as well. Gotta get the book done first!

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Offline kninemark2

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2017, 04:16:55 PM »
They'd have to, but I can't think of any ethical way to get around that. One of the review services I used in the past allowed Amazon gifting as an option for giving reviewers their free copy, but those don't show as verified purchase, either.

I agree with what you are saying but i am just putting myself in reader mode and wondering if i would trust a book with say 150 unverified reviews.

Offline NeilMosspark

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2017, 05:33:30 PM »
Signed up. Lets see where this goes.

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Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2017, 06:42:33 PM »
I agree with what you are saying but i am just putting myself in reader mode and wondering if i would trust a book with say 150 unverified reviews.

Yep, unless a reader goes and buys the book themselves before leaving the review (which I have seen a couple people say that they did in their comments to the authors), they will show up as unverified.  But that is true of any ARC program and even the ARC copies that authors send out to their own lists.  There's no way around it. 

However, here's my 2 cents FWIW.  First, even reviews from borrowers (through KU) show up as unverified, so personally I don't put a lot of stock in that label.  I mean, you pay for a KU membership and you borrow all the books you want to read... the author still gets paid for the pages you read, just like a sale, so why shouldn't THOSE reviews be verified?  But more importantly, when I put myself in the mind of most readers (myself included long before I started this service), when I look at a book (or any product) and consider the reviews I just really look at the overall count and score.  So like, 120 reviews with an average for 4.3.  Or 56 with an average of 2.9.  Those are the important numbers to me.. oh, that many people read the book and liked/didn't like it?  More often than not, that's enough for me to make my decision (to the extent that reviews were helping make it, at least).  It is on only the rare occasions where I bother to scroll down and actually read the reviews.  I mean, I did it sometimes, but not most of the time, and I imagine that's similar for many buyers.  And it's only when you do THAT, that the verified/unverified numbers come into play.

Anyway, take that as you will. That's my view on it, but others may agree or disagree - or maybe even consider me biased. Truth is, I AM biased, but that honestly is MY experience.

Offline Tstarnes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2017, 10:33:37 AM »
I recently used this service.  I will say that it seems their number of 70% of the estimate they give for the number of reviews looks right.  They delivered exactly what they said they would.

I will through out one caveat.  In my test at least, a high % of those reviews were a single sentence or just a couple of short sentences, followed by "I received an advance reader copy for an honest review" or something like that.  In some cases the "i received a copy" line is longer than the actual text of the review. (although I will say in their favor the one sentences do show the person actually read all or most of the book, so there's that)

If this is your sole outlet for reviews, I would caution what that would look like if that is all you have.

(Again, this was a single test.  I might try them again for a book in a different genre when my sci-fi book comes out and see if that gives different returns.  It could just be something with Thriller/Suspense readers)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 10:59:24 AM by Tstarnes »

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2017, 12:32:00 PM »
There is a difference between paying for reviews and paying someone to administer your review program. Paying a reviewer for a review is unethical and not only a violation of Amazon's TOS, but potentially a violation of FTC rules regarding endorsements. Paying someone to identify potential reviewers for you and send out the review copies for you is an administrative function, no different than if I had a clerk in my building hand mailing books to reviewers.

That said, my primary gripe here is the same gripe I have with most review services. It isn't really a review service so much as a "pay us to give your book for free to thousands of mostly unqualified people who aren't actually recognized reviewers but will probably leave a one line review on Amazon."

With a service like NetGalley, I know who the reviewers are. I can visit their blogs or websites, read their other reviews. I can make sure I am sending books to people who actually fit my target demographic. (Disclaimer, I also happen to be a NetGalley reviewer and went through the approval process). With the vast majority of these services, the only real qualifier is "I want free books and double pinky swear to leave reviews."  It is nice that this service says that it culls inactive reviewers, but at the end of the day the only real "benefit" to these services is a volume of low-content reviews specifically on Amazon. And considering the enormous pushback consumers are starting to have when they see hundreds of unverified one-line reviews on books, I don't know how much of a benefit this is.

Part of the problem for me is that I guess I am "old school" and I differentiate between "customer reviews" and "editorial reviews." I don't see most ARC programs are reaching reviewers but instead just giving away thousands of free books in the hopes for Amazon customer reviews, which really only mean anything on Amazon. And I honestly feel this fixation with QUANTITY of Amazon reviews is the root of the majority of scam issues on Amazon now. (No, I didn't call THIS service a scam. I am talking about the relentless need for quantity of reviews in the minds of too many authors).

I just personally wish there was a service out there like a NetGalley for indie authors, where I knew that I was reaching actual reviewers with online presences and their own followers who provided real editorial reviews that serve a purpose outside the Amazon ecosystem.

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Offline Tstarnes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2017, 12:44:30 PM »
I will say this service isn't, or at least doesn't seem like 'Pay to give your book to thousands'.  Before I sent them a copy, they told me 20 people had agreed to read the book after they reached out with the cover, blurb, etc.

Of those 20, 13 so far have left reviews.  So I'm not sure this is a 'thousands of free copies'.  Also, not all of them were 1 line, with the bulk being a couple of short sentences (maybe 50 to 100 words if you include the disclaimer text).  I will say they were shorter than I expected.

It would be nice if I they had web pretenses and were putting out reviews on blogs, but the reviews are, for the most part, not that type of review.  even the longer ones are much shorter and less detailed that the full review you'd see on most book blogs.

If you already have some good reviews, this is a good way to fill out with more reviews however.

Offline Gwen Hayes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2017, 12:52:19 PM »
I suspect it depends on the genre you write in also. The reviews I got for my other pen name were very enthusiastic and much more than one line. They def. talked about what made them like the book. My book was contemporary new adult romance. And I got well over 200 and most of them posted the first few days of my launch. The bonus was that a lot of the reviewers signed up for my mailing list as well, and followed me on social media.

But I have noticed that the new adult genre reader is very vocal and excited. Most books in that genre have happy reviewers. It was very much worth it for me, as a new pen name, to get in front of all the new eyes.

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Offline Silly Writer

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2017, 01:09:15 PM »
Very interesting... I must live under a rock because I've never even heard of a review service.

That said, when I published my first novel back in 2013, I used a blog tour for the cost of $150 bucks and got a half-dozen (maybe a few more?) really long, thought-out reviews. Most were very positive, some not so positive.

Also, those reviews were cross-posted to GoodReads at the prompting of the Blog organizer.

The pro's of blog tours over this (please correct me if I'm wrong), is that the bloggers are followed by readers. So if they review your book they also post it up on their blog for the readers to see the book and their review, which could result in sales (and for me, it did!).

The cons of a blog tour versus this service seem to be less reviews for the money, and that few weeks where they're reading your book you're sweating like bullets, cuz when they post a bad review, it's a doozie  :'( and they usually have HUGE followings on GoodReads.




Offline Tstarnes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2017, 01:15:10 PM »
The cons of a blog tour versus this service seem to be less reviews for the money, and that few weeks where they're reading your book you're sweating like bullets, cuz when they post a bad review, it's a doozie  :'( and they usually have HUGE followings on GoodReads.

Also review blogs have gotten less and less readership as more of them spring up. I've done one blog tour and was not wow'd by the response I got.  I ended up with a small handful of reviews but little else (including little change in sales).  For the money they charge, it just isn't worth it.

Offline N. D. Iverson

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #50 on: July 18, 2017, 01:24:31 PM »
I've just used this company for the first time. They said 35 people signed up to receive my new UF book.

The book was just released today (finally!) and so far I've gotten 6 ARC reviews directly from their service. Almost all good, except for the one just posted. It's for a completely different book! The reviewer must have so many ARC reviews going that she posted it to the wrong book :( I've reported it to Amazon, but I have a feeling they won't be removing it...

Just call me the thread killer.
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Offline Tstarnes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #51 on: July 18, 2017, 01:49:27 PM »
A person can remove their own review.  Couldn't you contact Hidden Gems, and have them reach out to the person and fix it?

Offline N. D. Iverson

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #52 on: July 18, 2017, 02:01:38 PM »
A person can remove their own review.  Couldn't you contact Hidden Gems, and have them reach out to the person and fix it?

I just contacted them now, but that's a lot of reviewers to sift through to find one person.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 02:03:21 PM by N. D. Iverson »

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Offline Tstarnes

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #53 on: July 18, 2017, 02:11:27 PM »
They have the reviewers log the reviews with them so they know how many submitted, so I bet they'll be able to track it down.  And my experience with them so far was a fairly quick and responsive customer service.  I guarantee you'll have better luck going through them than Amazon, who rarely ever get back to anyone for anything.

Offline N. D. Iverson

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #54 on: July 18, 2017, 02:22:43 PM »
They have the reviewers log the reviews with them so they know how many submitted, so I bet they'll be able to track it down.  And my experience with them so far was a fairly quick and responsive customer service.  I guarantee you'll have better luck going through them than Amazon, who rarely ever get back to anyone for anything.

You are 100% right. Hidden Gems has already replied and will send off an email to the reviewer asking them to remove their review and put it on the correct book. Great customer service!

Just call me the thread killer.
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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #55 on: July 19, 2017, 02:34:17 PM »
You are 100% right. Hidden Gems has already replied and will send off an email to the reviewer asking them to remove their review and put it on the correct book. Great customer service!

Did they end up fixing the review?  If not I'll reach out to them again.  They never responded to me but they may have gone back and removed or fixed it.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #56 on: July 19, 2017, 03:27:01 PM »
Did they end up fixing the review?  If not I'll reach out to them again.  They never responded to me but they may have gone back and removed or fixed it.

They did, thank you.

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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #57 on: July 19, 2017, 03:54:05 PM »
Is this only for pre-published books? I am interested in finding reviewers for my most recent novel, but it's been published for a few months now.

Also, for your women's literature genre, would that be closer to literary fiction or chick lit?

Laura Rae Amos writes kooky and emotional relationship dramas, stories that are usually witty, sometimes poignant, and a little bit crass. Visit me at LauraRaeAmos.com // Tweets @LauraRaeAmos // Or chat on Facebook

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #58 on: July 19, 2017, 08:58:59 PM »
Is this only for pre-published books? I am interested in finding reviewers for my most recent novel, but it's been published for a few months now.

Also, for your women's literature genre, would that be closer to literary fiction or chick lit?

We do prepublished or already published, completely up to you.  Some authors just like to get more reviews for a book that is already published.  It's very common.

As to the genre - we can always send it to more than one list if it fits in more than one. People that are interested will sign up.  So it could go to both - just mention that in your order or shoot us an email after ordering or something and we'll make it happen.

Thanks!

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2017, 08:00:03 AM »
I've been very satisfied with my Hidden Gems run on an already published book. The most important things about review services are honesty and productivity. HG scores well on both.

HG reviewers seem to be reacting honestly and definitely produce a range of rankings rather than an artificial looking five-star clump. Some of them are very brief, but others take the time to explain their reasoning. They have about the same variety I've seen in  organic reviews for high-selling books.

HG reviewers also do produce reviews. Every single potential reviewer who asked for a copy hasn't left a review so far, but that's never going to be the case with an honest operation. I started with 22 reviews and now, with reviews still trickling in, I have 45. Considering that HG is still building its reviewer list in fantasy, that isn't bad! It's also possible that more will come in over time.

I've tried other review services. There are some other honest ones, but in recent times (after the $50 purchase before reviewing requirement), others haven't been producing very well. I suspect a lot of the people in their review pools were people who interacted with Amazon primarily by posting reviews on books for which they'd received free copies. (These days, it doesn't take that much to hit $50 in total purchases.) Obviously, HG has managed to pull in reviewers who are also regular Amazon customers.


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Offline DougLawless

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #60 on: August 02, 2017, 08:39:09 AM »
It is inspiring to me that competitors of this company stepped in to offer words of encouragement. That is the kind of "rising tide lifts all boats" philosophy that pops up every now and then and reminds me that not all people are terrible monsters.

I'm just getting my feet wet in self-publishing and have not considered spending money on these kinds of services. I'm getting a little impatient with the organic approach however, so I expect I'll give these folks a try soon.
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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #61 on: August 02, 2017, 10:08:10 AM »
It is inspiring to me that competitors of this company stepped in to offer words of encouragement. That is the kind of "rising tide lifts all boats" philosophy that pops up every now and then and reminds me that not all people are terrible monsters.

I'm just getting my feet wet in self-publishing and have not considered spending money on these kinds of services. I'm getting a little impatient with the organic approach however, so I expect I'll give these folks a try soon.
Reviews are kind of a chicken-egg problem. In my limited experience, organic reviews accumulate fast when a book is selling well. If a book is selling slowly, as most of them do, reviews tend to accumulate much more slowly. My first book had ten reviews after its first year. My most recent novel had 22 after three months--because it was selling much more quickly.  The problem is that readers are more likely to take a serious look if the book has some reviews. That's not necessarily true of new books, but if a book has been sitting there for two years and has none, that does send a message.

That said, on a limited budget, the first priority is book quality: editing, cover design, that kind of thing. Second is advertising, of which review accumulation is only one component. If you have the money to encourage reviews through an ethical middleman, it's definitely worthwhile, but with a very limited budget, it's not the first place to start.


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #62 on: August 02, 2017, 11:22:32 AM »
Excellent advice, I've no doubt. Thanks Bill!
"If it's not keeping you up nights then what's the point?"

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #63 on: August 02, 2017, 02:26:43 PM »
I sent my latest young YA fantasy book to Hidden Gems. It's not one of the popular categories, so they only found 10 reviewers for me, but nine out of ten have already posted reviews! A better proportion than I'd dared anticipate.


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2017, 10:05:01 PM »
Anyone do zompoc with HG? Get many reviews?

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #65 on: August 03, 2017, 11:34:31 AM »
Anyone do zompoc with HG? Get many reviews?

Hi Brian - So I can answer that, since I've seen all the books that have come through.  We've actually never had a Zombie Apocalypse book offered before. 

I would say, though, that the way our service works the number of reviews you get back should still fall within the same general percentages that we usually get - on average, which is around 80%.  So even if we only sent it out to 10, that would hopefully get you back at least 8 reviews.  The question is - how many could we find for it??

That I can't answer. But on the positive side, there's really not much risk for you.  Even if you book the minimum of 50 readers - if only 10 sign up, that's all you pay for. So really, it's just figuring out which book genre to offer the book to.  My guess would be something like Science Fiction?  Or maybe Thriller?  Both?  I mean, as long as your description of the book is obvious what it's about, even if the genre list we send it to isn't exactly perfect, only people that are interested in it will sign up - so it shouldn't matter that much.

Anyway - let me know if you have any other questions.  Happy to help, and always interested to try out a new type of book on our readers!

HG

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #66 on: August 03, 2017, 12:27:35 PM »
Hi Brian - So I can answer that, since I've seen all the books that have come through.  We've actually never had a Zombie Apocalypse book offered before. 

I would say, though, that the way our service works the number of reviews you get back should still fall within the same general percentages that we usually get - on average, which is around 80%.  So even if we only sent it out to 10, that would hopefully get you back at least 8 reviews.  The question is - how many could we find for it??

That I can't answer. But on the positive side, there's really not much risk for you.  Even if you book the minimum of 50 readers - if only 10 sign up, that's all you pay for. So really, it's just figuring out which book genre to offer the book to.  My guess would be something like Science Fiction?  Or maybe Thriller?  Both?  I mean, as long as your description of the book is obvious what it's about, even if the genre list we send it to isn't exactly perfect, only people that are interested in it will sign up - so it shouldn't matter that much.

Anyway - let me know if you have any other questions.  Happy to help, and always interested to try out a new type of book on our readers!

HG


Thank you. Good to know and will keep you in mind.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #67 on: August 09, 2017, 05:02:31 AM »
Could someone describe the mechanics of how this works? I understand Hidden Gems hosts the file on their site and then distributes the book to potential reviewers. In what format does one submit the book? PDF? MOBI? etc. Do they convert it to other formats according to what the reviewers need?

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #68 on: August 09, 2017, 08:18:45 AM »
Could someone describe the mechanics of how this works? I understand Hidden Gems hosts the file on their site and then distributes the book to potential reviewers. In what format does one submit the book? PDF? MOBI? etc. Do they convert it to other formats according to what the reviewers need?
You upload a PDF and a mobi. They also ask for an epub if you have it. They don't do conversions, which kind of makes sense, because checking that the file converted correctly creates a whole extra process.

For the PDF, I just used the one I used for my paperback. For the mobi, I used the file I downloaded during the preview process on KDP. For the epub, I created one via Vellum. Scrivener also does flawless epub conversions. If you have neither, there seem to be online mobi to epub conversion services for free, but I'd check the output before uploading to Hidden Gems. You can open epubs in the free Adobe Digital Editions.

Apparently, mobi and PDF are there most popular requests, but not having an epub might eliminate a few potential readers.


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Offline Kay7979

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #69 on: August 09, 2017, 03:10:19 PM »
You upload a PDF and a mobi. They also ask for an epub if you have it. They don't do conversions, which kind of makes sense, because checking that the file converted correctly creates a whole extra process.

For the PDF, I just used the one I used for my paperback. For the mobi, I used the file I downloaded during the preview process on KDP. For the epub, I created one via Vellum. Scrivener also does flawless epub conversions. If you have neither, there seem to be online mobi to epub conversion services for free, but I'd check the output before uploading to Hidden Gems. You can open epubs in the free Adobe Digital Editions.

Apparently, mobi and PDF are there most popular requests, but not having an epub might eliminate a few potential readers.

Thanks so much. That's exactly what I needed to know. I'm considering doing this but I'm not sure which book. Book 2 only has a dozen reviews and book 1 has 35.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #70 on: August 11, 2017, 02:08:42 PM »
Thanks so much. That's exactly what I needed to know. I'm considering doing this but I'm not sure which book. Book 2 only has a dozen reviews and book 1 has 35.

Hi Kay - if you only want to ARC one of the two, and they're standalone (despite being a series), then I would probably go with book 2 for a variety of reasons.  PM me if you'd like to discuss more, I'd be happy to give you some more indepth reasoning or answer any other questions you have.  Thanks!

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #71 on: August 11, 2017, 02:29:45 PM »
In January or February, I'm planning on launching the first three books of a series on the same day. It's a series of standalone novels in the same small town with overlapping characters. If I wanted to use Hidden Gems for all three books, would it be better to schedule them as close to possible? Perhaps the same day if possible, or schedule them with a little bit of a break in between? I'd imagine the first two will appeal to a broader audience and the third, being M/M would appeal to a slightly different audience with overlap.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #72 on: August 11, 2017, 08:41:41 PM »
In January or February, I'm planning on launching the first three books of a series on the same day. It's a series of standalone novels in the same small town with overlapping characters. If I wanted to use Hidden Gems for all three books, would it be better to schedule them as close to possible? Perhaps the same day if possible, or schedule them with a little bit of a break in between? I'd imagine the first two will appeal to a broader audience and the third, being M/M would appeal to a slightly different audience with overlap.

I take it you aren't releasing them as a bundle, right?  If you were, that would be easiest - just 1 ARC for the whole bundle.  If not, then it's hard to say as I haven't done something like that before - I can see pros and cons with doing them close and spreading them out.  First of all, all on the same day won't work as we generally only schedule 1 book per genre per day.  On rare occasions we may run 2 if there is enough disparity between them (like one is MM and one is contemporary, for example), but I try not to do that very often and even less now that we are running so many genres (because it means we're already doing more than 1 book a day and a lot of people are in multiple genres, so I don't want to split the audiences too much so that we have enough readers for everyone's book).

So if you were to do them all on successive days, for example, I can see that being ideal because you want all your reviews as close to publication date as possible, but the problem with that is that not everyone reads that fast, so will some people just not sign up for all 3 because they don't think they can read the whole set that quickly and all at once?   Ideally, I would say you wait at least 4 or 5 days in between, but then that means by book 3 your reviews won't come in until almost a couple weeks after publication (if people wait until the due date).

And if people miss the first book, will they want to read the 2nd or 3rd?  Depends on if they're stand alone or not.  If not, what I sometimes suggest is that people include the earlier books in the same file with the later ones, for people coming into the ARC midway through the series.  So the ARC for book 2 would include book 1, and the ARC for book 3 would include books 1 and 2.  Just for people to catch up.  Less important if they're standalone, though.

Anyway, if you want to PM or email me and discuss further, I'd be happy to.  Thanks!


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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #73 on: August 12, 2017, 10:08:43 AM »
Thanks so much. That's exactly what I needed to know. I'm considering doing this but I'm not sure which book. Book 2 only has a dozen reviews and book 1 has 35.
If it were me, I would do both. I'd do book 1 first, even though it has more reviews, and then do book 2. I say this because I've done something similar with other services. Books in an even remotely sequential series benefit from having reviewers who've read the first book as reviewers of the second. Running both books through the service increases the possibility of book 2 reviews from people who've read book 1. (That also reduces the chance of those "I didn't understand what was going on," kind of book 2 reviews.) Readers who liked book 1 are particularly likely to request book 2 when it comes up.


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Offline JsFan

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2017, 11:02:01 AM »
They'd have to, but I can't think of any ethical way to get around that. One of the review services I used in the past allowed Amazon gifting as an option for giving reviewers their free copy, but those don't show as verified purchase, either.

Is it unethical to make a book free and then direct interested reviewers to its Amazon page? I don't like having to click two or more times to read unverified reviews.