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wizard tim
08-03-2011, 09:10 PM
Hello all,

I'm curious what everyone thinks about trading free copies of an ebook in return for reviews on bookseller sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Has anyone tried this? Is it something they would recommend? Where did they give away the copies--on their blog, or here at AW?

Getting people to take the time to go leave a review is difficult, so I'm curious what people think about this.

Opinions and advice welcome. Thank you.

skylark
08-03-2011, 09:46 PM
What are you going to do if they don't review?

What are you going to do if the review they leave isn't as glowing as you'd hoped?

Jamesaritchie
08-03-2011, 10:32 PM
Free review copies is normal, publishers send them out all the time, but the understanding should be that the reviewers don't have to review the book, should they read it and decide it isn't something they want to write about, and only if you don't expect a good review in return.

The reviewer must be free to write a bad review, or no review at all.

gayle12
08-03-2011, 11:06 PM
Advanced Readers are a regular in the industry. If you've made an agreement that you'll only trade copies for "nice" reviews, that's a big problem because it's not ethical, but other than that, I just see it as part of the launch process.

Gayle

IceCreamEmpress
08-04-2011, 12:08 AM
If you want to distribute advance or complimentary copies to reader-reviewers, that is a) completely ordinary, as James and others say, and b) probably best done through something like goodreads.com, where you have a chance to see people's reviewing habits and styles.

Mutive
08-04-2011, 01:03 AM
Complimentary copies to reviewers is pretty normal. (Just don't expect them to review you favorably...or necessarily at all.) It's probably the first thing that I'd be doing if I was trying to flog a book - it seems like one of the best ways out there to get publicity.

AlishaS
08-04-2011, 03:28 AM
Go ahead and give out free copies, however, the reviewer should have the right to give you a good review, and bad one or one not at all.
Most online blogs that I've come across say this, you can't expect only good reviews.

Becky Black
08-04-2011, 12:17 PM
I'd be dubious about viewing it as "trading". Trading essentially means two parties exchange something of value. They both get (or at least that's the theory) some advantage out of the trade. But with giving away review copies that's not guaranteed for the writer. (And depending on the quality of the book, not for the reviewer either!)

I think it's better to view it not as a trade, but as seeking an opinion and remember the recipient of the free copy is under no obligation to provide a good review, or one at all. Anything else, even an implied obligation to give a good review because they got the book free is very bad form. While reviews can be of benefit to the writer, that's not their intention. Reviews are for the benefit of readers.

KTC
08-04-2011, 02:54 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't suggest trading for reviews. Seems unethical. I've been mailing/emailing out copies of my book for review lately, myself. And my publisher is doing the same. I have no expectation that those receiving my book will give me a good review, a bad review or a review of any kind at all. That's their decision to make. I wouldn't even consider trading books with someone for reciprocal reviews...that just doesn't sit well with me. Both parties would be inclined to write reviews to please the other.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-04-2011, 04:00 PM
I have two Amazon accounts [.com and .uk] and I can post reviews of e-books that have been mailed to me as .mobi files. If the review will be less than glowing, I confer with the author if he really wants the review.

That said, I don't jump through hoops to get review copies - no Smashword coupons, etcetera, just a .mobi file mailed as an attachment to my email address. And I do care about proper formatting, etcetera, so any awkwardness in that area will be in the review.

Reviews are free, manuscript doctoring is not free.

wizard tim
08-04-2011, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the input, all. I should be more precise in my wording. An honest review is the only type I'd want, even though it's painful to read about my mistakes. Becky pointed out that reviews are for readers, but I think they have value for writers, too.

Reviews may be only one person's opinion, but they are still feedback, and it's possible we can learn from them. Or at least I hope to.

areteus
08-04-2011, 08:29 PM
If you are with a publisher, they will generally send out a few review copies anyway. One contract I read basically stated that this would be the case (publisher will send out review copies to a number of relevant reviewers they have relationships with) but the author was also free to send out any of thier free copies to anyone they wanted, including other reviewers. In the case of ebooks, I think this is pretty much all you can do with them - send them to reviewers - because they aren't nearly as nice as a free print book as a gift to friends and family :)

There has been a trend recently among authors to hold competitions for copies of their book (basically using the ARCs to buld publicity by giving them away on their blog for some pretext - the 111th commenter on this blog or the person who convinces me they should have it in a haiku format) and a number of other writers have been offering prizes for reviews and spamming of social networking sites...

Darkshore
08-04-2011, 10:11 PM
I see nothing wrong with it at all. Though you will get a few people who wont give reviews even after you gave them a free book, but hey what can you do? Just don't expect glowing reviews and hope the work is good enough that they will feel obligated to give it praise :D.

Jamesaritchie
08-05-2011, 08:06 PM
Thanks for the input, all. I should be more precise in my wording. An honest review is the only type I'd want, even though it's painful to read about my mistakes. Becky pointed out that reviews are for readers, but I think they have value for writers, too.

Reviews may be only one person's opinion, but they are still feedback, and it's possible we can learn from them. Or at least I hope to.

Here's the simple answer. As long as you have no expectations of a good review, or of any review at all, send your book to as many possible reviewers and review sites as possible.

Top publishers often send out hundreds of review copies, and allow the writer to either provide a list of any reviewers they missed, and to send out free copies on his own.

The more people who read your book, the better, even if they don't have to buy it. This is one reason I love library sales. Patrons don't buy books I have in libraries, but the read them, and if they like them, they become fans and start buying. They also tell all their friends about them, who tell their friends, etc.