A guide to how to get more reviews as #indieauthors and ‘The Best & Most Comprehensive Free Book/Review Resource On The Web.’

I have noticed how much harder it is now than say, two years ago, to get more reviews as authors. I don’t have the answer to that but I can help whether you are a reader looking for free books for review purposes or looking for more reviews as authors.

I recently came across a wonderful resource for both readers and authors with a really extensive list of links to places to go whether reader or writer. I will link to that at the foot of this post.

In the meantime, I will give you three of my own favorite reader/review resources. In no particular order, they are:

Hidden Gems ARC Program

The Hidden Gems ARC program is one of the oldest and most respected ARC programs on the web today, and they’re looking for more book lovers like you!

They need readers of ALL GENRES that love to read and leave reviews on Amazon. It’s ABSOLUTELY FREE and thousands of other book lovers are already using their service. Sign up, choose your favorite genres, and then only hear about books that you are interested in. Sign up only for the ones you want to read, and do it as often as you like.

I like them so much that I trust them with my own books! I also wrote a guest post for Hidden Gems Books recently.

So don’t miss another free book if you are a reader or sign up as an author for the ARC review program – sign up today by using this special link! 

Here is another reason I like Hidden Gems. Not just because I received a nice review but I adore this type of reader who posts a review in style! See the review below of my book Dilemma.

Voracious Readers Only

Voracious Readers Only (VRO) is a service I have used and still am using. They provide a free service for authors limiting the author to twenty potential reviews or twenty readers who request your book (they are not always the same thing).

They do also provide what they call an ‘Evergreen’ service. That extends your free twenty downloads and is billed at $20 per month after a free 6-week trial period.

All of these readers who request your book opt-in to your email list too. You can check them out here. A word of caution. VRO in their emails to authors, appear to condone the practice of sending Amazon gift cards to readers so it becomes a ‘verified review.’ Don;t do it! It contravenes Amazon”s ToS about compensation for a review and could lead to the reader’s community privileges being revoked and /or the author being banished from Amazon.

Bookgobbler.com

Another free service for both readers and authors. I have had mixed results here and it appears their reader list has suffered since the advent of GDPR in Europe. A shame, as I like the site and the people involved with it.

Who knows? It may improve in time. Try it and let me know what you think. Click here to go to BookGobbler.

The Best & Most Comprehensive Free Book/Review Resource On The Web

Big claim and I believe it to be true. It’s not my work. It was compiled by an active book blogger with a website called Devouring Books.

This is part of what she wrote:

What are ARCs?

An ARC is an advanced readers copy, it is a copy of a book prior to release intended for marketing and review purposes. Advanced readers copies can’t be sold and are given to bloggers, reviewers and booksellers for review and to help generate buzz about a book before it comes out.

Important note: For most of these resources you must review the books you receive. This is not just a list of places to get free books, although there are a few of those kinds of places towards the bottom of the list. These are ways to obtain advanced readers copies, and those are for people willing to write a review about the title. Some of these resources are explicitly for bloggers and some are for anyone who has a Goodreads or Amazon account. Please take into consideration that writing a review that the least you can do for a free book. Reviews really make a difference for authors, especially indie authors or debut authors. If you use some of these sources and then never write reviews people will remember that and stop sending you free books.

Where can I get ARC’s?

Goodreads

Goodreads Giveaways: This is how I got started. Goodreads has a whole section of giveaways. I signed up for a bunch of these and then someone pointed me in the direction of read and review groups on Goodreads..
Goodreads Read and Review groups –There are tons of groups like these on Goodreads that you can join. You sign up for a book that you want to read and then the author or moderator will send you a copy. When you are done you write a review on Goodreads (and sometimes Amazon). This is a great resource for someone who is just starting out as a reviewer. You can also post in some of these groups that you are accepting review requests. I would also suggest writing in your profile if you are accepting review requests. Some of these authors offer e-books, but some will also send hard copies. When I first started my blog I posted in these groups for material to review. Here are some groups that I have used:
Making Connections Goodreads Reviewers’ Group Lovers of Paranormal Read 4 Review Group Advanced Copies for Review & Book
Direct Author Contact– If you have a blog and somewhere on there it says you are accepting review requests, then authors will contact you with review requests. This can also happen on Goodreads, but not as frequently. This can also happen the reverse way, you can contact an author asking for a review copy. My advice here would be to check their website first, a lot of established author’s review copies go through the publisher, but tons of indie authors need reviews and will say yes. I have gotten ARCs both ways, them contacting me and vice versa.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways– These are similar to Goodreads Giveaways, but with a much higher chance of winning. I have gotten a ton of great titles from LibraryThing, both e-books and hard copies. I pretty much win a title a month from here.

Booklikes Giveaways– Also like Goodreads Giveaways with a high chance of winning, but lower quality books. They will have something good pop up every once in a while though.

Netgalley and Edelweiss– These two sites are very similar. If you haven’t heard of them, they will probably become your most used tool out of this list. These are sites where you create a profile as a reviewer or blogger and then request ebook titles of books that are unreleased. I would suggest to use both, because they both have different titles and sometimes if they do both have the same title, one site will deny you while the other will approve you. My big mistake when first starting out was to request way more titles than I could read. It’s important to keep your review to request ratio high. Meaning don’t request something if you don’t want to review it.

Shelf Awareness Pro Emails — This is one of my favorites. They send out emails that are full of book news, but the emails also contain these ads for books and most of the time they’re advertisements for chances to win advanced review copies. These ads lead you to a Google Doc or something similar where you fill in your info and if you win books will show up at your house. No one will notify you that you won. I have received to a TON of titles this way. Probably at least 3 or 4 a month every single month. You should definitely sign up for the Pro email, but sometimes the regular email has offers for ARCs as well.

Publishers Weekly Emails – These emails also occasionally have ads for ARC sweepstakes, just not as often as Shelf Awareness Pro emails do. I have received titles from here. Once I won the same book from Shelf Awareness and Publishers Weekly.

Amazon First Reads – If you are an Amazon Prime member that membership comes with two features for free books. Prime reading, which has a selection of free books and Amazon First Reads, where you get to read one title before release every month.

Hidden Gems ARC Program -This is a place that sends out emails for books available to review. Select the genres you like when you sign up and they will send you emails about books they have in that category for review.

Reading Deals – This site has e-book deals, but they also have a review club. If you sign up for it they will send you an email every so often with the titles for review.
Publishers newsletters– Every now and then publisher’s newsletters will have giveaways. I won one once for Sadie. Penguin Random House definitely does giveaways, but most publishers do as well. When you’re on their websites subscribe to their newsletters. This is also a good way to find out about upcoming releases that you can request on Netgalley.

Author Newsletters and/or Street Teams-– When I review a book that I like on Goodreads, I go to the author’s Goodreads page and then their website. From there most have a spot where you can sign up for their newsletter. This is a good way to find out about your favorite authors, but to also know about their upcoming releases and events. Some authors have street teams which are full of fans who typically get first dibs on ARCs. Most of these are on Facebook, but some you have to fill out Google Docs or join a specific newsletter. If they do have a Facebook Group to join a link will typically be included in the newsletter. I am on a few street teams of authors that I really love.

You also can receive swag from some authors for free. I know from experience that if you send a self addressed stamped envelope to Jennifer L Armentrout and Holly Black they will send back book swag. A lot of authors do this, check their website and this would typically be under a tab called Extras or something similar. I got Holly Black’s autograph on swag for The Cruel Prince this way. This is definitely worth checking out if you’re a big fan.

Facebook groups and events– A lot of indie authors do Facebook release day parties. I have won countless prizes from these sorts of things, from bath soap to books and Amazon gift cards, these are happening all over the place on Facebook and I usually walk away with something if I participate. There will be all sorts of prizes and most of the time there aren’t a ton of participants, so it’s easy to win books this way. I have discovered awesome indie authors this way. Follow individual author’s groups that you like. Most of the time if they have one they will list it in their email newsletter.

Specific Facebook Review Groups– These are kind of like Goodreads review groups, but a bit more intense. There are a lot of books available and a lot of authors competing for attention, so it was kind of overwhelming for me. There are a TON of authors seeking reviews, 

You can read the whole article here.

I hope that helps. Like many of you, I’m on a limited budget meaning the likes of NetGalley and Kirkus Indie Review services are luxuries. I did try NetGalley once and I didn’t get value for money.

If you are interested in becoming a beta reader/early reviewer, a member of my street team, please email me directly. The address is at the top of the page.

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