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Author Topic: Hidden Gems ARC Service  (Read 19629 times)  

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #150 on: November 27, 2017, 07:32:50 AM »
Yes. You only pay for the signups you actually receive. Keep in mind that HG started out as an ARC service for romance books, so the number of romance reviewers is large. The numbers in the other genres vary. Also, the reaction to individual books varies.

For my urban fantasy, I got about 35 signups and ended up with approximately 30 reviews from HG reviewers. (Some reviews are difficult to identify.)

I imagine the 50 minimum is in place because the service doesn't bombard the reviewers with too many requests at a time. That means there are a limited number of slots. HG wants to avoid a deluge of orders from budget-conscious indies wanting five. That could mean a lot more reviewers than can be accommodated request a book. HG needs to keep the reviewers happy enough to keep being willing to work with HG. Conceivably in a genre with a small and/or a book that's tough sell, someone might only get five, but most people will get more.

I could be wrong, but HG will correct me if I'm misinterpreting the rationale for the 50 minimum.

That's exactly right, Bill.  Man, the way you answer questions on this thread makes me wonder if I should put you on the payroll!  :)

Just to add a bit of behind the scenes info - currently I try to limit the number of books I send out in a day to 4, and almost always only 1 per genre (with the exception of Romance which I'll explain below). 

The website takes 1 book per genre per day and then blocks the day off when I hit 4.  As you mentioned, Romance is my biggest group by far, but readers self select their genres and out of the 15 or so we have active, they can choose as many or as few as they like. 

Limiting the number to 4 helps by not spreading the readers too thinly, since most readers have chosen multiple genre preferences but only sign up for the ones they want most.  If we give them too much choice, every book just gets less people signing up.  Until I can beef up my # of reviewers (something I'm always working on and looking at ways to improve), that number will stay at 4. But in the future perhaps we'll be able to expand it.

The 50 limit is there for the reason you mentioned - for high demand books it means me turning away less reviewers - but also because, to be completely honest, running an ARC properly is a fair bit of work and it's just not worth it if everyone was ordered 10 reviewers.  Since I only charge per sign up, I often do books for that number anyway (especially in certain genres where my number of reviewers is lower), but that's more incentive for me to beef up those areas...

And since with romance we have such huge numbers, even with the 50 minimum I'm often turning many reviewers away so in some cases I will double book romances and run 2 in a day - depending on the types and the numbers people want.  It's a manual thing someone emails me asking if I have an opening and if they're flexible I'll try to put them in the schedule early - especially since romance's are booked out until March at this point. I know that's way too far in advance for a lot of people, so I do my best to accommodate.  But the 4 a day rule still applies in those cases, so 2 romances means only 2 slots left for non romance. I usually won't double book a romance if it's ordered MAX, unless it's a really fringe romance that I'm fairly sure won't get many sign ups in the first place.  Then I may schedule another one just to give some variety.

It's all a juggling act to try and satisfy both the authors and the reviewers.

Anyway - hopefully that explains things a bit more for anyone interested in the nitty gritty.

BTW - speaking of our constant need to get more reviewers - if anyone is interested in advertising our service to your own mailing list (or social media, or anywhere else tbh), please contact me as we have an affiliate program for that sort of thing, where we'll pay you per sign up that we get. Shoot me a message and I'll send you the details.

Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #151 on: November 27, 2017, 07:45:59 AM »
For those who have used this service, what was your timeline for send out ARCs in relation to your launch? I was thinking maybe a month prior?

Also, did you send eBook ARCs?

Hi Saklopfenstein - we generally recommend a week in terms of the timeline, as that's the minimum amount of time we give readers before asking for reviews.  So if we sent a book out today, our default date to ask for reviews would be Dec 3rd.  You can do longer, but I wouldn't recommend going too much longer as readers may forget some of the details of your book since they're likely reading others as well.  Our readers are pretty voracious, so most of them get done in a week or sometimes a few days longer.

And we only deal in ebooks - so we need a PDF and MOBI version at least, EPUB is optional (but recommended). 

Thanks, and let me know if you have any other questions.

HG

Offline saklopfenstein

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #152 on: November 27, 2017, 04:08:54 PM »
Hi Saklopfenstein - we generally recommend a week in terms of the timeline, as that's the minimum amount of time we give readers before asking for reviews.  So if we sent a book out today, our default date to ask for reviews would be Dec 3rd.  You can do longer, but I wouldn't recommend going too much longer as readers may forget some of the details of your book since they're likely reading others as well.  Our readers are pretty voracious, so most of them get done in a week or sometimes a few days longer.

And we only deal in ebooks - so we need a PDF and MOBI version at least, EPUB is optional (but recommended). 

Thanks, and let me know if you have any other questions.

HG

Thanks for the clarification. That helps a lot. I am still a ways out from my launch. Hoping for late April - early May, but still finalizing the date. How far in advance do you recommend booking for reviews?
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Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #153 on: November 27, 2017, 07:49:23 PM »
Thanks for the clarification. That helps a lot. I am still a ways out from my launch. Hoping for late April - early May, but still finalizing the date. How far in advance do you recommend booking for reviews?

For romance, we're booking around March at this point.  For all other genres, only because of the 4 book a day limit, we're usually booking out a week or two in advance.

Offline baldricko

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #154 on: November 28, 2017, 08:26:21 PM »
I totally recommend Hidden Gems for the purpose of finding reviewers.

The reviews are honest and clearly by different reviewers. On the whole, the they are well considered and fair, and they are posted promptly, and they continue to roll in for a while after. What more could you ask for?

Another thing I like a lot about HG is the follow up. You can receive reviewer comments and even requests emailed to you by HG for weeks after the day. I think details like this really do matter.

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Offline wilsonharp

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #155 on: December 12, 2017, 08:38:10 AM »
Just another testimonial for Hidden Gems. I had my Epic Fantasy 'The Alabaster Throne' go out last Tuesday. It was 20 reviewers for $40, and as of now, I already have 11 new reviews. Very happy with the quality of the reviews and will be using Hidden Gems for all of my launches from now on.
     

Offline Bob Stewart

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #156 on: December 12, 2017, 11:04:44 AM »
For those of you who have used this ARC service, how have you timed it in regards to your release date?

If the book's on preorder, readers can't post reviews. So do you have your book listed at Hidden Gems just as the book is going live?

Thanks.

Offline Joseph John

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #157 on: December 12, 2017, 02:45:39 PM »
For those of you who have used this ARC service, how have you timed it in regards to your release date?

If the book's on preorder, readers can't post reviews. So do you have your book listed at Hidden Gems just as the book is going live?

Thanks.

Hidden Gems recommends sending your ARC out one week before release. So that's what I did. So far so good; the reviews have started rolling in.

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Offline IntoTheAbyss

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #158 on: December 12, 2017, 02:50:12 PM »
For those of you who have used this ARC service, how have you timed it in regards to your release date?

If the book's on preorder, readers can't post reviews. So do you have your book listed at Hidden Gems just as the book is going live?

Thanks.

Put pre-order up for ebook. Put up live paperback at the same time. Have the two linked. Then they can leave reviews on the paperback and when the e-book goes live, the reviews from the paperback will start to show for the ebook.

Offline C L Salaski

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #159 on: December 19, 2017, 04:08:58 PM »
I've just had another Hidden Gems review taken down today. Anyone else seeing this problem rise up again?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 04:10:59 PM by C L Salaski »

Offline Sam B

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #160 on: December 19, 2017, 04:30:53 PM »
I've just had another Hidden Gems review taken down today. Anyone else seeing this problem rise up again?

I've lost three or so. I feel bad for those reviewers who are having all of their work removed, sometimes thousands of reviews.

I get that Amazon doesn't want fake reviews, but I've seen an amazon book review that says "I'm friends with the author!" and that hasn't been taken down... So obviously whatever they're doing, they're coming at this wrong.

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #161 on: December 19, 2017, 05:02:51 PM »
I haven't had a chance to catch up on the whole issue of Amazon taking down so many HG reviews, but I was just curious if Hidden Gems might consider focusing more attention on Goodreads reviews that hold a good amount of weight and can't be taken down?
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Offline IntoTheAbyss

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #162 on: December 19, 2017, 05:31:30 PM »
Both of mine that had been taken down both reappeared, so yeah, your reviews may reappear in time.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #163 on: December 19, 2017, 06:31:18 PM »
I haven't had a chance to catch up on the whole issue of Amazon taking down so many HG reviews, but I was just curious if Hidden Gems might consider focusing more attention on Goodreads reviews that hold a good amount of weight and can't be taken down?
Amazon owns Goodreads. The fact that it hasn't gone after Goodreads reviews doesn't mean it wouldn't at some point in the future.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #164 on: December 19, 2017, 06:32:36 PM »
Both of mine that had been taken down both reappeared, so yeah, your reviews may reappear in time.
Last time this happened, a number of people reported that the reviews reappear. I've had one disappear and then reappear. That's more likely a glitch than a review purge.


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Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #165 on: December 21, 2017, 01:03:55 PM »
Hi everyone - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Just wanted to poke in with a couple of comments in regards to the disappearing reviews.  As most of you know, it has nothing to do with HG specifically and has affected reviewers from everywhere, whether they used our service, someone else's, or no service at all.  As we ARC more books than almost anyone and deal with thousands of reviewers, we're unfortunately going to have the most visibility around the issue. 

What seems to be happening is that Amazon is targeting individual reviewers for whatever unknown reason (likely due to a new heavy-handed algorithm) and then blowing away their entire review history - whether the reviews are for ARC books, or for products (books or not) that they have actually purchased - and then blocking them from leaving new reviews on anything.  (Which is another reason the problem seems to affect us more, and perhaps seem a big worse than it really is - for example, if a single HG reader reviews 20 different books and has all their reviews removed, that affects 20 different authors who now come out and say they, too, had reviews removed... but it's still just a single account removal affecting all those different authors).

Typically Amazon will send an email with some vague reason, although sometimes not. 

From Amazon's perspective, deleting every review is obviously much easier and cheaper than identifying individual reviews since they can do it all automatically instead of paying a rep to investigate or whatever.

Since Amazon doesn't really tell us (or anyone) how they work, some of the above is speculation of course, but it's based on evidence of what we're hearing from readers affected, knowledge of how Amazon typically deals with stuff like this, and more importantly, how they're responding to complaints about it. 

Which brings me to the GOOD NEWS about the situation.

In the VAST majority of cases (over 80%) that have been brought to our attention, reviewers that have reached out to Amazon have had ALL of their reviews restored as well as their reviewing privileges.  No questions asked.

To me, this means that Amazon knows that they're new algo is hitting innocent reviewers as well as guilty ones, and they are restoring those innocents as soon as they hear from them.

That also explains why many of you saw some reviews disappear and then eventually reappear.  That's what's happening there.  For others that have been more recently affected, hopefully most of those will return as well but feel free to reach out to me via email or PM here and let me know which book of yours was affected and I can investigate.

We don't have an easy way to identify when previously logged reviews go missing, so we rely on the author or reader to let us know.  In every case we have worked with the readers to help them get their accounts restored - mainly by just simply explaining what's going on and giving them the correct email address to contact to appeal their case.  It usually takes 2-3 days while Amazon investigates before everything is restored.

Which, by the way, is a counter argument to the belief that some people have that they are targeting ARC reviews.  If that was the case, none of our readers affected would have been restored since they all review ARC books.  Yet not a single one has been denied yet (that we know of, at least).  Anyone from Amazon that investigates them and looks at their reviews would know that they are reviewing ARC books, so if that was the issue then they would have denied their appeal.  Plus, if their algo was targeting these types of reviews, we would be much harder hit - as in, we'd have lost pretty much everyone.  Yet so far we've only identified less than 20 of our readers that have been affected (again, there may be more but those are the ones we know about) and of the 2 or 3 that haven't been restored yet, I think they either haven't sent the appeal email or are still waiting to hear back.

Anyway, hopefully that puts some minds at ease.  That's the way things have been going so far - whether they change in the future is up to Amazon, but as usual we'll keep on top of things as best we can for both our authors and our readers.

Thanks,
HG

Offline Mylius Fox

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #166 on: January 30, 2018, 04:34:11 AM »
Just wanted to say that several months after my launch, I had another ARC review pop up out of the blue. :)
Hidden Gems -- the gift that keeps on giving. :D

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #167 on: January 30, 2018, 08:52:45 AM »
Just wanted to say that several months after my launch, I had another ARC review pop up out of the blue. :)
Hidden Gems -- the gift that keeps on giving. :D
I've had the same thing happen. In some ways, that's better than having them all appear at once.


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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #168 on: January 30, 2018, 11:58:48 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. :)
Good to see later on that it worked for you. I've just signed up for one for my latest thriller, A Stolen Woman. So far, 30 readers have opted in, and HiddenGems has billed me $40 plus the original $20, and very kindly offered any further readers for free. I went into this knowing that the readership is mostly romance, so I'm open to the results. So far, they've been great to deal with.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 12:00:47 PM by Catherine Lea »


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Offline AliceS

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #169 on: January 30, 2018, 12:27:33 PM »
Signed up for a space fantasy for mid-Feb. Can't wait to see how well this works.


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Offline Rex Jameson

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #170 on: January 30, 2018, 12:42:11 PM »
I will definitely be talking to you guys in the near future. Thanks for providing what looks like a well-reviewed, impactful service to the community!

Offline Adomwrites

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #171 on: February 02, 2018, 06:52:03 AM »
The earliest ARC booking for romance is in June O_O
« Last Edit: February 02, 2018, 06:54:29 AM by Adomwrites »
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Offline AliceS

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #172 on: February 18, 2018, 08:01:39 AM »
My goal was to get enough reviews so I could use some of the better promo services. I had 4 going in and I'm up to 11 now. Since 10 is the minimum for many promo sites, I'm good. The reviews all sound as if the reader actually read the book, so I am very pleased.

The pool for scifi is small. Only 10 people signed up for my space opera. But as I said, that reached my goal. I'll be using them again for a mystery later in the year.


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Offline HiddenGems

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #173 on: March 17, 2018, 06:46:40 AM »
Hey everyone - just want to leave a quick note to say we've moved domains and can now be found at https://www.hiddengemsbooks.com.  We've been running our ARC on non romance genres for months, so this move is long overdue.  New site is more secure (on https now) and much faster (after a few growing pains during our first week) than our old site, so come and have a look.  We also plan on adding a few more services for authors in the near future.

Also, we're doing a big subscriber push for new readers so if you're interested in spreading the word about our service to your own mailing list of readers, or on social media, or whatever, then I'm willing to pay you $1 per sign up (via use of a personalized affiliate link).  If you want to give it a try just send me a PM and I'll get you started.  In the past I've paid out thousands when I've run this, as authors have access to lots of readers so the response from their lists are usually very positive.

Growing our reader/reviewer group for all genres is the best way for us to combat the growing issue of our long waiting list that I know is frustrating for both authors and us, so we're doing everything we can to make that happen as fast as possible.

Thanks!

Offline AlisonSol

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Re: Hidden Gems ARC Service
« Reply #174 on: March 20, 2018, 10:07:19 AM »
Hi, hope I'm posting this in the right place. I have a question for Hidden Gems. I have a mystery to be published this summer I'd like to put in for review. While the main genre is mystery, most of the characters are women/lesbians and there is a romance between two women. The book is set in Gulfport Florida, which is a very LGBTQ friendly community. I'm concerned that there will be reviewers who won't want to review, or will give a bad review if they are homophobic. My last two books have been enjoyed by both gay and straight audiences, but I've occasionally had reviews from people who panned them solely because they had lesbians in them.