Becoming an ARC Reader: Because who doesn’t love free books?
Getting free ARC books and becoming a book reviewer has never been so easy, and now you can do it for all genres and without the hassles of the past!
If you scour the web in search of book reviews and becoming an ARC reader, you’ll find plenty of articles describing how you can contact publishers or authors directly, sign up for their various mailing lists, and hopefully get free books from them whenever they actually release one (usually not more than once a month or two).
That was certainly the best way to go about it in the past.
But things are different now, and we’d like to think we helped pave the way to change.
Hidden Gems has been sending out ARC books for authors for about two years now (our first one went out in October 2015) and since then we’ve grown from 2 or 3 a week and only romance (hence our url), to more than 1 per day in all genres. Our list of ARC readers/reviewers has grown into the thousands and we’ve helped hundreds of authors, big and small, well known and just starting out, reach new audiences and help show other potential buyers that their books are worth taking a chance on.
After all, that’s the point of a good review, isn’t it? Demonstrate to anyone looking at a book, trying to decide whether to buy it or not, that others have already taken a chance and read it – and this is what they thought.
In bringing authors to a central place to send out their books, we’ve taken a lot of the work out of getting a ton of free content for our readers. The authors come to them, instead of them going to the authors. If you’re a voracious reader that goes through a novel a day, you’d have to sign up for about 30 or more ARC lists to satisfy your hunger – at least if you wanted all those books for free. With Hidden Gems, we can fill your appetite for new content all in one place. Whether you look to read romance or hard Science Fiction, Cookbooks or Self-Help, you can get it all in one place.
Is the Hidden Gems ARC Service legitimate?
Short Answer: Absolutely.
A while back, Amazon made news by cracking down on a lot of sites that offered “reviews” of products – not just books, but anything and everything that they sold on their site. The problem was that vendors were simply paying services to give them fake 5-star reviews to boost their ratings. These services would either supply the fake reviews themselves, or farm out the work to a bunch of accounts to do it for them. Either way, that’s obviously not good for anyone and so Amazon, rightly, shut the whole thing down and stopped allowing unverified reviews on any products EXCEPT for books.
The reason for this exception is that the idea of ARC reviews on novels has a long history that pre-dates even Amazon. Publishers and authors have always sent out free Advance Review Copies of their books in order to gather up early reviews and create buzz. The important distinction here is that they send out the books for free (the actual reviewers are not compensated, beyond getting a free copy of the book) and that the reviews are unbiased (and note in their review that they received a free copy of the book, for transparency reasons). That means if a book is poor, it’s going to get poor reviews.
That’s a chance the publisher/author takes.
Hidden Gems works this same way. ALL of our readers are legitimate and unbiased – free and encouraged to leave completely honest reviews of the books we send them. They are not compensated in any way, beyond getting a free e-copy of the book, and all we ask is that they do their best to leave reviews of the books they request (we don’t just blindly send out books to our readers, they opt in to each book they are sent ) on a regular basis – however even here we are not forcing anyone to leave reviews for any particular books. We understand that sometimes life gets in the way, or you decide you don’t want to leave a review for a particular book, and that’s okay. We get it.
What does Hidden Gems expect of their readers?
You have to love books and love reading, otherwise why would you even want to be part of an ARC program anyway?
You have to be willing to voluntary and regularly leave reviews of the books we send you. Again, we understand you may not get to all of them, but we only send you the books you specifically request (and even then, depending on the genre and the number of readers an author is looking for, you may not get all of the ones you request) so our hope is that you can manage your time enough to only request the books you’ll have time to read over a period of at least a week, and then hopefully leave a review of what you read. An HONEST and FAIR review of what you thought of the book. Not a copy and paste of every other review you’ve ever written and preferably not a three word “It was great!” type thing, but something thought out enough to help other readers decide if they want to read that book. But again, that’s up to you and the time you have – just remember that authors are sending these books out for free in the hopes of getting back these reviews, and if they aren’t getting back anything useful then they’ll probably stop sending out free copies – and that isn’t good for anyone!
Ready to start getting a ton of free content to fill your kindles and tablets?
The more readers we have, the more fabulous the books we can attract, so please feel free to share this article, or just the sign-up link, with everyone you know – post it on social media, use the links below to tweet and share it – and let’s continue to make Hidden Gems the best ARC program on the web!