Jilly: Free Books for Honest Reviewers

If you’re a regular visitor to 8LW, chances are you’re an avid reader. Would you like to get your hands on the latest releases, for free, before they hit the market? If you’re willing to write an honest review of the book on Amazon, Goodreads or a similar platform, chances are you could do just that.

In today’s ultra-connected world, most savvy bibliophiles use reviews to help them decide whether to click the button and buy the book. Which means that most savvy authors will do everything they can to make sure their book has a good selection of honest reviews. Starred ratings are useful, but a paragraph or two describing what worked—or didn’t—for the reviewer is invaluable. It’s as important to warn off the wrong reader as it is to attract the right one, because word of mouth works both ways and the last thing an author wants is a disappointed reader.

So how do authors find these treasured reviewers? Sometimes through carefully cultivated “street teams”, but often by using a reputable ARC (Advance Review Copy) organization such as NetGalley, Hidden Gems or Booksprout.

It’s not permitted for an author to buy reviews, nor is it allowed to give a reader a free book in return for a review, honest or not. However, publishers large and small are allowed to pay an ARC organization who will match advance copies of their books with eager readers. The readers are not paid and are not required to review the books they receive—but as you may imagine, readers who reliably post insightful reviews are in great demand, while those who take the freebies and post anodyne one-liners, or nothing, aren’t likely to stay on the list for long.

Told you that to tell you this: there’s a huge demand for good reader/reviewers. As regular readers of this blog will know, my debut fantasy romance, The Seeds of Power, was published on Amazon this week. I’ve been working hard to try to secure reviews, so I’ve been investigating all my options.

I was lucky enough to secure a spot on NetGalley, and I chose to make my book available to some relatively new reviewers who had a talent for summing up their reading experience in a paragraph or two. I’m waiting to find out how that goes, but I’ve got my fingers crossed! I was also looking forward to working with Hidden Gems, until I discovered that their earliest free slots are for the end of 2020. A whole year ahead!

Which brings me neatly to the purpose of this post. Any reader can join these ARC programs. If you love to read, if you’d like to get your hands on the latest books before they even go on sale, for free, and if you’d be willing to offer a brief review of your experience, you might consider giving it a go. If you like the idea, here are some links to get you started:

NetGalley

Hidden Gems

BookSprout

Would you consider becoming an ARC reviewer?

3 thoughts on “Jilly: Free Books for Honest Reviewers

  1. Thanks for the heads-up! And congratulations on getting your baby out into the world! I just downloaded it into my Kindle, and I think (if I can wait that long!) I’ll read it during the weekend with a nice hot pot of tea and some kitties snuggled on my lap. It’ll be a perfect reward for cleaning up the kitchen for the New Year.

    • Thank you, Michaeline! I’m honored to be part of your reward system :-D. A nice hot pot of tea and a kitty or two sounds lovely.

      And I hear you on the cleaning! We’ve had a crew of builders in the house for the last couple of weeks. Just repairs, nothing momentous, but all the floors are a disgrace and everything else is covered in fine dust. They’re due to finish today, and then I’ll have to get to work 😦 .

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