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TBD
by TBD

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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: Hidden Gems ARC Service  (Read 12019 times)  

Offline IntoTheAbyss

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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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Offline ParkerAvrile

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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.

Offline Travelian

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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.