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Review Platforms: Take my free books, please.

I have written several posts about reviews. It can be one of the most frustrating aspects of being an author. Many platforms are set up to guide readers to free review copies, and even though they say that reviews are not guaranteed, one would think that if someone downloads your review copy from a book reviewer site, there should be some expectation of a review. So, I have tried a few sites with limited success. More on that later.

I always sent out a welcome email, thanking the reader. Here is what I say:

To all reviewers,

Thank you for your interest in reviewing my books. As readers, you are so important to new independent authors as your reviews allow us to compete with the multitude of other authors, signed and unsigned. We have found each other through various book platforms. Some of my early subscribers are taking advantage of my free book offer for reviews. 

Reviews do not have to be long. Even one or two sentences can attract new readers, and at the very least, a star rating would be appreciated. As for the timeline, I’m hoping that they can be done within 4 weeks of receiving your review copy. (Note: I don’t think 4 weeks is unreasonable)

For some of you, that 4 weeks is getting close. Let me know if you need more time. If you had any difficulty downloading a book, please email me with your preferred format: PDF, ePub, Mobi.

When you have completed your review, please let me know so that I can link it to my website. If you choose not to leave a review for any reason, could you please inform me, and I will remove you from the list.

Here are the review links. Please leave a review on any (or all) of the sites. As my science fiction book is only available on Amazon at the moment, that would be my preference if you are just going to post on one.

I put direct links here to make it easy!

Final Note: Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so if you enjoyed the books, please tell your friends and family and share the review on your social media!  

End of letter.

I think that it covers my expectations and empowers the reviewer to submit whatever form they wish. I added the part about not leaving a review because it is frustrating to not hear from them and I don’t want to keep sending reminders. I appreciate honesty over being ‘ghosted’.

Here are the results:

Platform A: Voracious Readers
Round One - Free trial
20 readers = 3 reviews

Round Two - 6 week promo, now pay/reader
30 readers  = 2 Reviews so far

Platform B: Booksprout - Free
3 readers = 1 review

Platform C: StortOrigin - Free Beta version, transitioning to paid
8 readers = 3 reviews

Platform D: Library Thing  -Free
12 readers = 3 reviews

Platform E: Sandra’s Book Club - Free
3 Readers = 0 review

Platform F: Reedsy - Paid
1 review

Platform G: Goodreads – Free
7 readers = 5 reviews  - GRs takes a lot of work, finding the review groups and threads.

I suspect that most readers are in it for the free books (as you can see by the stats), which is disheartening, as it does feel like you are getting taken advantage of.

What has your experience been?

-Leon


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