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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two questions: Hidden Gems--good ARC service or not? Anyone have experience with these guys?

Additionally, is it normal for them to be booked through next year in a Fantasy Arc? If so, any alternative sites you guys can reccomend for ARCs?

Thanks all!
 

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Yes, I noticed you have to book in advance for that site too. I thought I was reading the booking calendar wrong at first. But it seems people are really planning far in advance...
I haven;t used it myself, but I can only assume people are getting good results
 

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In terms of other ARC services to try, I've gotten a slow, but steady, trickle of reviews through Book Sirens even though my book is literary fiction. (And therefore a much harder sell than fantasy, presumably).

Basically, you pay a fee to list your book and have Book Sirens display, advertise, and host your ARC, and then you pay a set fee each time a reader selects and downloads your book. You decide how many readers you want (10? 50? 100?) and control costs that way.
 

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I've had good results with Hidden Gems, but as their lead time has increased, I've been booking less. Perhaps if I was better organized, I'd know my schedule for 2020, but atm I'm not interested in booking anything than 3-6 months out. I know I can book and try to get an earlier date, but I don't want to spend $300 on a date that might be good. I want the reviews right at release.

I was trying to set up a system where I booked an ARC every month, at the end of the month, knowing I'd have a new release at the end of every other (or every third) month, but I didn't end up doing it consistently.

I like HG a lot, but I wish they'd focus on increasing their ARC spots instead of adding all these extra services. I have a place where I get covers and promo. What I want is a place I can get 200+ reviews on the next 3-4 months.

I have a solid ARC team, so I don't need the outside reviews. I just like having them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright, thanks for the replies all. Yeah, it's a bit of a bummer to have to wait nearly a year for the ARCs. My mailing list is still relatively small--the 29 reviews on my series-leadin from a few months ago are all organic, but increasing the review count will likely increase bonafides in the eyes of the reader.
 

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Indy_Author said:
Why am I turned off by ARCs reviews? I frown when I see authors with these types of reviews.
Because you're not with the times, honestly. People don't leave organic reviews anymore. I have a book that's moved more than 100k units that has, probably, 200 organic reviews. Maybe 300 (across all regions). And that's my best-selling book. How is someone who moves 1k or even 10k or 20k units going to get organic reviews?

josephdaniel said:
Alright, thanks for the replies all. Yeah, it's a bit of a bummer to have to wait nearly a year for the ARCs. My mailing list is still relatively small--the 29 reviews on my series-leadin from a few months ago are all organic, but increasing the review count will likely increase bonafides in the eyes of the reader.
Have you tried using BookSprout? I've found them good for a few dozen reviews every release. However, I find their user support not great. I have waaaaay too many ARCs contacting me with issues. And the one time I made an extra site mandatory--it could be GoodReads or BookBub--I had several dozen readers who had issues.

I do see my number of ARC requests increase with every review, so that's nice. I have friends who funneled their ARC team through BookSprout. I've considered that, but I haven't pulled the plug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crystal_ said:
Because you're not with the times, honestly. People don't leave organic reviews anymore. I have a book that's moved more than 100k units that has, probably, 200 organic reviews. Maybe 300 (across all regions). And that's my best-selling book. How is someone who moves 1k or even 10k or 20k units going to get organic reviews?

Have you tried using BookSprout? I've found them good for a few dozen reviews every release. However, I find their user support not great. I have waaaaay too many ARCs contacting me with issues. And the one time I made an extra site mandatory--it could be GoodReads or BookBub--I had several dozen readers who had issues.

I do see my number of ARC requests increase with every review, so that's nice. I have friends who funneled their ARC team through BookSprout. I've considered that, but I haven't pulled the plug.
Oh, awesome, I'll check them out. Thanks for the tip!
 
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Be aware there are a few bad apples in the HG reviewer barrel and when there is a problem, the customer service leaves much to be desired.
 

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Crystal_ said:
I've had good results with Hidden Gems, but as their lead time has increased, I've been booking less. ...

I like HG a lot, but I wish they'd focus on increasing their ARC spots instead of adding all these extra services. I have a place where I get covers and promo. What I want is a place I can get 200+ reviews on the next 3-4 months.
They asked for feedback about their services, so I made that suggestion today (trying to decrease the wait list). They sent me a lengthy reply that basically boiled down to they don't have an easy solution to fix the problem. They like to handle a lot of things carefully for their ARC service so they can't scale up.
 
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Indy_Author said:
Why am I turned off by ARCs reviews? I frown when I see authors with these types of reviews.
Because ARC reviews aren't as legitimate as organic reviews. For a service like Hidden Gems, technically you're just getting your book into the hands of readers who are more likely to review your book. They're not really encouraged to give good reviews.

For true ARC reviews, one's that are organized by the authors, those are usually totally bogus. They have a relationship with the author. Even if it's just in email, it's still a relationship. And if they give bad reviews they won't get free copies of a book anymore. If they think a book is only worth three stars they'll give it five stars anyway just to keep the author happy. Those reviews are completely fake.

Crystal_ said:
Because you're not with the times, honestly. People don't leave organic reviews anymore. I have a book that's moved more than 100k units that has, probably, 200 organic reviews. Maybe 300 (across all regions). And that's my best-selling book. How is someone who moves 1k or even 10k or 20k units going to get organic reviews?
People do leave organic reviews. They might not leave them at the quantity you want but you will still get reviews organically as you sell more and more copies. The mentality of people who insist on having 100+ reviews at launch by any means necessary are the exact reason why Amazon reviews are worthless now. It's why services like what Hidden Gems provides are so popular. Instead of being happy with 10 reviews people feel like they need at least 50 just to compete. It's ridiculous.

I'm not knocking people who use ARC's or services like Hidden Gems. I recommend doing it! But let's call a spade a spade here. Those reviews are fake. They have no bearing on the true quality of a book and are merely marketing tools. Nothing more.
 

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I had a fantastic experience with them. My book didn't get requested by very many readers (it's a genre they're still growing), but about 85% of readers who requested it left a review. They took Gift of Light from 1 Amazon review (4 stars) to 27 on the US site (4.5 average), though there were also a couple of 3 stars on the UK site. I also got a good amount of sales and KU reads on the other book in the series shortly after the HG date, so these were definitely legitimate readers.

Because of the long waiting time I wouldn't actually use them for an ARC, but definitely recommend them if you're just looking for extra reviews to increase your Bookbub chances or whatever.  :)

I'd also like to add that none of their reviews were removed by Amazon later on. None.
 

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What true quality? Most genre fiction reviews are not about quality. The vast majority of reviews are about taste, which is actually not very helpful to other readers. They're either "loved it" or "it's garbage."

Whereas I have blogger ARCs who leave long, detailed reviews about why they liked or didn't like the book, that actually tell other readers what they can expect from the book.

Star rating is much less important than review quality.

With HG, I can understand that it's hard to scale up. But I'm simply not interested in obtaining other services from them. I have that covered. And I can't imagine that authors who are able to book a year out need cover design recs. At the end of the day, if I can't book an ARC in the next six months, I'm going to look elsewhere. But they seem to have plenty of customers, so I'm sure they'll be fine without me. (Or with less of me).
 

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kboards said:
Amazon algorithms find the verbiage Hidden Gems recommends that reviewers use, like "I received an ARC copy of this book for an honest review." and Amazon deletes the reviews.

So if you've got money to burn, give it to Hidden Gems.
Do you have an agenda here? You have just signed up and your first two posts are bashing Hidden Gems.

Copying my reply from your other post:
ImaWriter said:
This is so not true. Don't spread mis/dis information. There is enough of that here.

This truncated Google Search pull nearly 87,000 times the words I received an ARC copy... were used in a book review on the .com store.

OP, sites like HGs wouldn't still be in business--and growing by leaps and bounds--if they didn't work.

Amazon absolutely will remove reviews, and they are very clear on that in their TOS. ARC copies are not one of the reasons, but there is/can be crossover which will/can cause a deletion.
 

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I use Booksprout and love it. I publish short stories and throw them up a week before release. I'm still using the free version (which allows up to 20 readers to claim your book). The lowest number of reviews I got was 5, when I threw up a short on a busy day with lots of competition. I've gotten as many as 13 reviews for one short though. 8 reviews is the average for me.
 
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