When I decided to start this crazy journey towards being an indie author, I reached out to friends who had done the same thing. And each and every one told me the importance of sending out ARCs to get reviews ahead of publication date. They had each done it a different way–some had sent out physical copies, others had made a list of bloggers and emailed them individually, while another had used a blog tour service to do a review blitz.
After many, many hours of internet research, I decided to go another way: I decided to use Netgalley! Patchwork Press runs a Netgalley Co-Op for indie authors, and I decided the cost ($125 for 3 months) was definitely worth the exposure. (Note: I’ll be posting a budget breakdown eventually, but ARCs made up about 30% of my total expenses.) PWP not only listed my book, but they handled the request approvals. This saved on my most valuable resource: my time.
Has it been worth it? So far, YES. Disclaimer: I still have about one month to go, but at the moment? I’m so glad I did it. Let’s take a look at the reasons why:
AMD&B is currently one the most requested titles in the co-op. That means that reviewers are not only seeing my book–they’re requesting it.
With just over 3 weeks before my release date, AMD&B currently has 62 ratings, 46 reviews, and over 950 adds on Goodreads. I’ve had 51 reviews in total emailed to me from Netgalley, and like I said before, I still have just about one month left.
Since my book is still in pre-order, I have yet to see how these reviews will translate to sales/and or reviews on retailer websites. So I can’t speak to the effectiveness of the co-op on that front. But I can tell you that I’ve been interacting with some of the sweetest and most enthusiastic book bloggers around. They’re fantastic.
Of course, the experience hasn’t been all peaches and glitter and sparkles. Netgalley reviewers are notoriously harsh–something PWP warns authors about up front. While I’ve been (mostly) lucky on that front, I could see how having every review is forwarded to me could get overwhelming. But every reader’s opinion is valid, and negative reviews are a part of this business, so I haven’t let them bother me.
There is one other issue. One I haven’t talked about yet, and one that I’m still coming to terms with: about a week ago, I discovered that AMD&B had been pirated. I sent my takedown notice to the site, but it’s since appeared on three more. This, of course, isn’t Patchwork Press’ fault. It isn’t Netgalley’s fault, either. I knew that piracy was a risk going into this, and I decided that using Netgalley was worth the risk. Am I angry someone decided to steal my book? Yes. But it doesn’t change the fact that overall, I’ve had a great experience with the PWP co-op, and I’d happily recommend it to anyone going the indie route!