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Discussion Starter #1
To be clear - not suggesting anything shady :)

With my mailing list growing steadily, I'm hoping to create maybe a small review group that would receive my works and hopefully leave reviews.

Who has their own ARC teams and how well has it worked out?

What's the typical conversion rate (i.e. # of people who enrolled vs. who review)?

And do you use any of the services like booksprout or storyorigin? (any other) - any recommendations?

Would love some direction!

thank you
 

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Here's my experience. They're all for honest reviews and aren't shady:
My newsletter: I get a couple. Usually when they contact me, they review but they're a few. My list is around 500 and I continue to grow my list.
Booksprout: I get a handful. I recommend.
StoryOrigin: I haven't had much luck with StoryOrigin. I find that, though people talk about reviews here, it seems primarily for sales or newsletter growth. Perhaps others can chime in here. I use them successfully for book fairs and newsletter growth.
Library Thing: I'm actually running a current giveaway for my upcoming book there. I usually get a couple.
Shifted Sheets on Fiverr ($50): I got around 3-4 when I used them last time. They run a similar giveaway system to LibraryThings but they aren't free.
Netgalley: Hmm. Netalley seems academic and can be brutal, so tread carefully (though to be fair I've got a couple really nice ones there). If you're wide, Kobo runs a really good discounted service for Netgalley.
Hidden Gems: Top notch. This is where it's at, but you have to plan a year in advance (which is crazy for prolific Indies like me). They know they're good and, apparently, so does everybody else.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the hugely informative response, alhawke!

I have an upcoming Hiddengems and I used one last year. Their wait times are brutal but understandable I guess.

I'll give booksprout a try - do you use their subscription or the free version? I'm wondering about the $10/mo price tag. Not a big deal but just curious.

When you built your booksprout arc, did you get the joiners through your mailing list?
 

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If I get 50 people that agree to do it, I'll get 10 to 15 that will actually do a timely review--a few will leave it less timely.

I also use BookSprout, LibraryThing Give away, and voraciousreadersonly.com.
 

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jm2019 said:
I'll give booksprout a try - do you use their subscription or the free version? I'm wondering about the $10/mo price tag. Not a big deal but just curious.
The main reason to consider the paid version on Booksprout is that it'll put your book in the featured category. Alas, I don't get more than 20 reviewers, so increasing possible reviewers from 20 (free) to 50 (paid) isn't that enticing to me. But I've tried both services and was a bit disappointed with the free # of reviewers garnered (4 instead of 8 recently). So, now that you mention it, I might try their paid version again for my upcoming ARCs. :)
jm2019 said:
When you built your booksprout arc, did you get the joiners through your mailing list?
No, Booksprout doesn't use your mailing list, they use their own. You can only have readers "follow" you through their service. Shifted Sheets does tell readers that they're also being entered into your mailing list, but a great many of them unsubscribe after the ARC distribution.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Scott, alhawke.  I remembered I've used voraciousreaders and found them pretty good. The $20/month is a bit too steep, esp for my genre (I didn't get too many reviews)

I'll pursue booksprout and relook at voraciousreaders.
 
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