Read & Review Program to Rival NetGalley

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jul• 27•14


Choosy Bookworm

Choosy Bookworm

A Read and Review program for indie authors that rivals NetGalley.

How did that happen? Is it true? Yes it is true and eNovel Authors at Work has the privilege to announce it. You want the skinny up front.  Here it is: Jay Lee, the founder of Choosy Bookworm rolled out the program in an email to his 5,000+ subscribers as a beta test Sunday, July 20, 2014.  The response was phenomenal. It is a done deal and will be open solely to indie authors on or about September 03, 2014.

The backstory: I am an indie author. The single thing I’ve learned in my first year of indie authorship is my titles must have reviews or they wander in cyberspace  never to be anchored on a Kindle Fire or other reading app. Choosy Bookworm is new  this year.  For six months Jay Lee promoted indie titles free. I liked his service. Early on downloads were not great. An author could expect about  30 books moved on free or 99¢.  Six months later, an indie title can expect an average download of 180 books. That is pretty darn good. I don’t know about you, but when I spend $$$ to promote on a site–

Jackie Weger

Click image to go to Jackie’s Amazon Author Page.

I want to know who owns it. When I’m spending my money with a promoter–or not, they insist I follow on Twitter, Like on Facebook,  Tweet and Google+ their page. Okay. Fine.  But few  follow me back on Twitter, like my Facebook page or have a decent  short hashtag. Some have hashtags that take up 10-12 characters. Done so that  an author can’t use another hashtag for more RTs. Pffft. Yep. And some promoters want $5 to post on their Facebook pages. They have less followers than I do. HUH? Some promo sites have Alexa ratings lower than eNovel Authors at Work–or none at all.

So,  I started getting ornery with site owners… They tell you how  fabulous their book promotions. I got a little wiggle in my brain and started looking at the books they tout. The books they often promote have Amazon Best Seller rates drilling holes to China. When I called a site owner on it, she got snarky: “It’s up to the author to write a book that will sell.”  No foolin’.  By the time I started talking with Jay Lee, I was cranky and wore my snake gun on my hip. I told him straight up what authors needed. He listened. Jay Lee is a good listener. It might be because he’s a House Husband and nannies his kids while his wife is in the great big corporate universe.  Notice I capitalized that.  So, I told Jay Lee: Indie authors need reviews. We need a way to get them. We cannot get our titles on the best promo sites without them. Amazon browsers just cruise right on past our titles… Savvy readers discount those early five star reviews because most indie authors are stacking those first critical reviews by trading reviews with other authors or  beggin’ Aunt Hattie to post a five star review–most of which don’t hold water once stranger reviews start popping up.

Jay Lee, founder-Choosy Bookworm

Jay Lee, founder-Choosy Bookworm

I told Jay Lee:  Indie authors just need to buy a little corner space on your newsletter to offer our titles to your subscribers for honest reviews. Simple is better. I suggested: Tell subscribers to type:  “Review and (title of book) in the subject line on the reply email.”  That worked like a charm. The email was forwarded to the author of the book. We took it from there and got our books to the volunteer reviewers.

Indie authors cannot afford NetGalley. $300 – $500 a week to target a book to a specific reading audience of say romance reviewers or thriller reviewers (Ordinary people like you and me). I have a colleague who hired NetGalley for three months for 67 reviews.  Fifteen months later the title is sitting on Amazon with less than 110 reviews.  The book still has to be promoted–no author can get around that.

Here is NetGalley’s Offer to Authors and PublishersDedicated Feed Your Reader eblasts, targeted to specific members (Price dependent on target list and number of titles included; Minimum $500. Our eblasts are extraordinarily successful and our most popular marketing program. Target the community in the way you want—by genre interest, member type… promote one title or many titles.

Reviews don’t make a book visible–they are stepping stones to visibility.  So, Jay Lee and I worked out a viable Read & Review program he could offer to his subscribers. Indie Authors pay a small fee to have their titles posted in his newsletter as available to Read & Review.  Golly. NetGalley does the same thing. Pop for $500 and NetGalley will post your title in their email blast.

We streamlined it. Authors Amazon gift, send PDF or Mobi files (reader’s choice) to a Choosy Bookworm subscriber who volunteers to Read & Review and post the review on Amazon or Goodreads within three weeks.  All reviews must have the No Fail Disclaimer: “I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.” Authors remind the reviewer to add the disclaimer in the message box when we gift the book, or in the subject line if we send Mobi or PDF.  You caught that word “honest” didn’t you?

This is in Jay Lee’s guidelines: Choosy will not accept for review any book on which the author requests to have only four and five star reviews posted.  An honest review is just that–however many stars a book earns or does not.

You want to know how much this is gonna cost you. Here it is: Introductory fee of  $20 paid to Choosy Bookworm via Paypal for the posting in the newsletter. That is the same way NetGalley puts  books in front of reviewers. Authors get to say how many reviews they hope their titles will earn. Starts at 20 and goes up to 45.  Or, you can tell Jay Lee you will send your book to all subscribers who want to Read and  Review your book. Here’s another nut Jay Lee cracked. If the  posting doesn’t pull 20 reviews, he will keep posting the title until it does at No Charge.  NetGalley doesn’t make that guarantee. If you need more reviews–you gotta fork out more moola to keep posting in Feed Your Reader eblasts.

Here are the stats on the beta test that went out Sunday, the 20th of July. Within two hours of the newsletter hitting subscribers inboxes, Choosy had 103 responders to R&R Sharon Cupp Pennington’s Hoodoo Money, a mystery.  Sharon opted to AZ gift 30 responders. We did not want to disappoint the other 73 responders in the beta test. So Choosy offered The Reluctant Hero, a romance, as a reserve. 28 subscribers opted to R&R.  It cost Sharon $98 to AZ gift the book to 30 reviewers. After royalties are paid on those sales, Sharon has an out-of-pocket expense of $30. She did not have to pay for the posting as it was a beta test.  Of the 28 responders to R&R The Reluctant Hero, 22 claimed their AZ gift books within 48 hours. Sharon and I requested gift card credits from Amazon on those books left unclaimed.  Two responder reviews are already up on Hoodoo Money as well as The Reluctant Hero.

eNovel author’s books are the guinea pigs during August as Jay Lee continues to tweak the R&R program. His bread and butter are his subscribers. Authors are  reminded to be on their best behavior.  While it would be lovely if we earned a few fans for our books–distance is better. Choosy Bookworm encourages that distance from the reviewer as professional and ethical.  Nothing is ever guaranteed, but Jay Lee decided if he is gonna take an author’s $$$, he will keep running the post until 20 responders have posted reviews. IMO–that is not  entirely feasible. So don’t look for that to continue. Perhaps two follow-up posts would suffice.  What is grand is that we have another site on which we may submit our  titles for reviews. Jay Lee is forward thinking. We get to post our books on a site that is not author-top heavy. As his subscriber list grows, we have a greater audience for our books and the opportunity for reviews.  Bloggers who accept our books for read and review have TBR  stacks         into the stratosphere. How many times have you  raised a blogger/review site only learn submissions are closed until the blogger catches up? Hundreds! That’s how many. I’ve been there.

Lest you start naysaying, this is a pay-for-review program, it is NOT. Author’s pay Choosy Bookworm to post that a title is available for review to his subscribers.  Time is money. Jay Lee will touch base with his volunteer subscribers/reviewers after three weeks to remind them to Read and Review, which  allows the author to maintain the appropriate distance the the reviewer to maintain his or her sovereignty or anonymity.  However, in my view, we let the reader/reviewer decide. Some of  Choosy’s reviewers have already been in touch with me via email or Facebook or my website.  I welcomed each, said thank you and keep in touch. Some will, some won’t. Their choice.

Jay Lee has the Read and Review submission page up today. FIRST, you must subscribe to Choosy Bookworm.  Next tick For Authors. Submit your title for review for September 03, 2014 and beyond.  If this doesn’t suit, Big Al, the premier reviewer of indie books posts a list of 340 reviews on the Indie View.  Or submit to Amazon and Goodreads TOP 1000 reviewer, Julie Whiteley. Julie also reviews for NetGalley and is eNovel Authors at Work Resident Reviewer. Another Amazon TOP 1000 Reviewer on Amazon US and Amazon UK is Jeannie Zelos.

Comments are welcome whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent. Consideration of another’s POV is utmost.  Edgy is okay, but denigrating is not. I zap it or shoot with my snake gun. Just sayin’…

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  1. Mary Smith says:

    I think it is a brilliant idea and have already signed up. And I’m not just saying so because I’m afraid of that snake gun, Jackie Weger totes around all the time!
    I did mention to Jay someone told me (if only I could remember who I could get back to ask for more info) that Amazon won’t publish reviews of books which have been gifted. I hope they were wrong. It is one reason why I’d be happier to send reviewers a MOBI or PDF file. I’m not a naysayer and I’ve signed up because I think it is fantastic of Jay to do this for indie authors. Mary Smith

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Mary! Books get gifted all of the time and reviews get written on those books. The disclaimer is key! That has to be on the review. Some reviewers do forget. That happens. It is part of it. Nothing is perfect. We just have to work with what we have.
      Jackie Weger

      • Jackie Weger says:

        PS. I doesn’t matter the venue of how an author gets a book to a reviewer. If a book is given in exchange for a review–that disclaimer has to be at the foot of the review. If it isn’t Amazon has the option to delete it. That’s it. You just did something that I frown upon and fight like crazy to curb. You shared a rumor “somebody told you Amazon won’t publish reviews on gifted books,” with no facts to support it. When you hear rumors–you have to search deep for the raw facts.

        • Jackie Weger says:

          Here are more of Amazon’s rules and what will cause Amazon to remove a review.

          A product manufacturer posts a review of their own product, posing as an unbiased shopper
          • A shopper, unhappy with her purchase, posts multiple negative reviews for the same product.
          • A customer posts a review in exchange for $5.
          • A customer posts a review of a game, in exchange for bonus in-game credits.
          • A family member of the product creator posts a five-star customer review to help boost sales. (Oops–forget Aunt Hattie).
          • A shopper posts a review of the product, after being promised a refund in exchange.
          • A seller posts negative reviews on his competitor’s product. (Trolls).
          • An artist posts a positive review on a peer’s album in exchange for receiving a positive review from them. (Trading reviews).
          Choosy Bookworm’s subscribers receive our titles FREE in exchange for an honest review. We remind the subscriber to post the Disclaimer. So does Choosy. We’re good. Notice Amazon does not require the word “honest”. Choosy does.

      • Jackie Weger says:

        Let’s just get it from the horse’s mouth! Go here to read Amazon’s rules on Reviews:
        Here is the most important on that list:
        • Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge.

    • Mary,
      That rumor comes and goes like so many others. It’s false. I have gifted people books before for birthdays etc. AZ is not going to allow this person to write a review because their mom gifted them the book? Someone paid for it and that’s all AZ needs to know. You don’t have to advertise the book was gifted to you from AZ. All the reviewer to say is the received a copy for review purposes. AZ doesn’t know how a person got the book. The do keep track of Amazon verified purchases, but they don’t know where you got your book unless YOU tell them. You might have gotten in on B & N. Lots of reviewers post reviews on both sites by request. So, that is patently false! Also, Mary by gifting the reviewer a book it helps to cut down on piracy. Many review sites will send a copy of the book to your kindle address or have a site like Netgalley sent it directly to your kindle or other device to avoid that sort of thing. Usually, you don’t have to worry about honest reviewer but you can’t be too careful. It’s up to you of course. Sending out file through email is a little bit of a hassle since I have to use a converter in many cases and have to USB the book to my kindle but it is much easier for some authors so I accept whatever is easier for them to deal with. But, I would like to clear up that misunderstanding.

    • Rich Meyer says:

      That’s ludicrous. Books are gifted all the time and I’ve never seen a review be tossed for that reason. I mean, it’s an integral part of Amazon’s purchasing system – that “Verified Purchase” box you can click is a virtual guarantee that Amazon’s gonna like that review since they know you spent (or someone spent) hard cash on it.

      Now I have heard of people with non-verified reviews getting them tossed, but it all depends on who sets the parameters for the spider bots on any given day. If you say something in your review like “Well, I’m writing this review for my best friend Mary Smith, who paid me to say her book is the bee’s knees”, then yeah, that’s going to the Recycle Bin in the sky. If you say “I received a complimentary copy of Mary Smith’s book in exchange for an honest review”, then you’re fine.

      Amazon will PUBLISH ANY REVIEW that meets its minimum standards (word count, no objectionable language, no spoilers, etc.). What happens afterwards has to possibility of many options, but 99% of the time, the review is there for folks to enjoy until that EMP comes from the sky and fries the internet.

      • I have heard this rumor before, but not for a long while. I thought Jackie shot it with her snake gun. Someone needs to. Common sense would tell you that doesn’t make sense at all. Please nip this in the bud! Authors DO NOT be wary of gifting your book. I get gifts all the time and I have never once had a review taken down.

  2. Rich Meyer says:

    Sounds like a pretty good deal there with Choosy Bookworm.

    But more importantly, I like the way you do the research and find out about a company BEFORE using it, Jackie. In my minor league indie-punditry, I’ve always stressed due diligence before jumping into anything in this new, expanded field. If more people did that, there would be a lot less disappointments and people stuck in horrible contracts with vanity predators like iUniverse, AuthorSolutions, PublishAmerica and their nasty ilk. Kudos for showing how any indie can get the scoop they need to make an informed decision!

    • Hi Rich,

      I agree that it is important to research a company before you work with them. Boy, did Jackie research Choosy Bookworm! I just checked our email account, and saw that there have been 268 emails going back and forth between Jackie and I. In a couple, she did shoot me with her snake gun. 🙂

      Considering the R&R program is Jackie’s brain child, I am very excited to launch this program here on!

      • Jackie Weger says:

        Hey! Jay Lee–you passed. Choosy’s business model passed. I like Southern boys ’cause I know you were raised right. I like house-husband entrepreneurs with a good sense of self. You need to make some $$$. So do indie authors. We need that leg up in a balanced environment. Not all take and not all give. Indie authors often don’t get value for our $$$. With Choosy–we do. Choosy looks after its subscribers–our readers. That was key for me. You’re good.

  3. Mike Markel says:

    Thank you, Jackie, for doing all this homework and helping indie authors get the exposure they need and deserve. I have already signed up with Jay for an R&R and will be happy to report the results.

    You are performing an extremely valuable service, as Rich suggests, one that will help the most worthy authors rise to the top and help us all fulfill the potential of indie publishing.

  4. Julie Frayn says:

    I think this idea is inspired, Jackie and Jay. So thankful to be part of the ‘tweaking’ period and looking forward to sending Mazie Baby out to those who choose to read and review her!

  5. YAY! This is long overdue!!
    I’m of course on the other side of things. The resident non- author. However, I DO review books, all day, everyday. So, the plan here looks like it has been well thought out, all the bases are covered and I really can’t see how anyone could go wrong with this deal. If you don’t have the cash to give out to Netgalley you find yourself out there pimpin for book reviews all by your lonesome. This is a long and draining process. I don’t have to tell you. So, frankly, the time this will save you is worth the investment.
    Now, this discussion should have authors really excited!!! Now, as a reviewer, I have tons of questions. Who do I ask? My email is I would LOVE to sign up as a reviewer.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Julie! Just head on over to Choosy Bookworm and sign up as a subscriber. That’s it. You pick the books you want to review–same way you do on NetGalley.
      Ain’t that somethin’?

      • I’m going right now!

        • Jackie Weger says:

          Woot! Woot! Now Choosy Bookworm has a TOP 1000 Goodreads and Amazon Reviewer!
          Hot dog! I’m gonna ride that mule to town!

          • Actually Jackie they’ve now got two 🙂 as I’ve just signed up too! Thanks for the link.
            I try to keep my review list low so I can get to review within two weeks, sometimes it takes a bit longer but I’ve never let myself get such a long list that I close it…I get most books from Netgalley, try to do research to ensure its one I’ll likely enjoy ( still get it wrong sometimes though)and that way my list never gets too long. If its more than 20 books long I restrict myself to books I am sure I want to read – nothing thats a bit speculative. I miss some gems that way, but it means i can clear my list easily in two weeks. Usually i read 2-3 books daily, depends on length of course but 200-300 pages average each book. I like netgalley format, have tried a couple of others but they make it hard to find book info, and don’t give me much space for profile so that authors know what I can do and choose me…
            gifting and amazon – I’ve had gifted review books no problem. PDF etc you are trusting the reviewer not to spread around…I wouldn’t but i’m sure there are those that do. I’m an artist so copyright means alot to me too.
            re top reviewers lists: for a long time I didn’t know they existed, so when I found them I watched my figures creep closer. I’ve never asked friends, family or anyone to uprate my reviews ( I don’t think any of them read them anyway – only son no one is a book lover and we have very dif tastes!)so I have the pleasure of knowing they are genuine. Integrity is important to me and I always add the ARC received rider – though I have forgotten a couple of times and had to go back. I only recently found goodreads have a top reviewers list and I’m usually around no 10 there – have been up to no 3!! I review to get books to read that I can’t afford to buy going through so many daily…so I love that these sites provide a bridge. And the 4-5 star priviso, I’ve had that request a couple of times and I don’t like it. An honest review should be just that, not all books suit all readers and so long as reviewers give reasons for low star it shouldn’t be a problem.

          • Jackie Weger says:

            Jeannie! Oh, my Gosh! I am so happy you jumped the Pond and came over for a visit and signed on to Choosy. You are gonna love working with Jay Lee. I follow your reviews. You have earned that TOP AZ 1000 ticket. You are so gentle with indie authors whose books are less than stellar and so encouraging.

    • Hi Julie,

      first of all, thank you so much for your interest! I am truly honored!

      We are currently not creating a list of read-and-reviewers. So far, the plan was to give out the books on a first come, first serve basis. The books will be included in our daily newsletter, and this exclusivity would likely encourage readers to open our newsletters with priority.

      However, now that you’ve asked, it does sound like a good idea to have a list of few consistent/steady reviewers to help out authors – especially if these reviewers, like you, love what they do and do it “day in and day out”. How exciting!

  6. Wow, I really love the idea of this! Reviews are so very important for every author in this industry. This process has made it easier to get reviews that are needed to help make our books more visible. Bravo and well done! In my opinion, authors everywhere should take advantage of this service. At this cost and the positive outcome it’s had so far, why would anyone not want to?

  7. Donna Fasano says:

    Stop pointing that snake gun in my direction. lol Jackie, you are one savvy indie author and I applaud you!

  8. Dale Furse says:

    Thank you for your research, Jackie. A big thank you for being open to authors, Jay. I think it’s a great idea!

    I read Choosy Bookworms letter to their subscribers. It states, the free book is for honest reviews not a solicitation for 5-star reviews. You can’t ask for more than that. Oh, and I signed up too. 🙂

  9. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Sounds like a cool service.

    The rumor about the reviews on gifted books is just a rumor.

    • Hi Vinny,

      thank you for your input!

      Just want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping out Choosybookworm as the site was in its infancy. Many of the authors who have signed up for our services found us on *your* site first. :o)

  10. Jackie,

    thank you so much for your very kind words! And thank you for your direction! Of course I listen to you. You know what’s going on and you are full of ideas!

    I agree that it might not be a good idea to guarantee 20 reviews. Maybe I can guarantee that at least 20 *reviewers* will receive the book…but I probably shouldn’t even attempt to guarantee that they will actually review the book.

    Let me know your thoughts, everyone. I always appreciate input. Thank you!

    – Jay :o)

  11. Jackie, one of my online artist freinds makes his full time living from it – he reckons he spends his time roughly 60% marketing and 40% painting. IOf course it would be great to paint all day and not worry about marketing my when its your living it just has to be done…I guess thats the same for authors. writing the book/finishing the painting is really just the start. Actually he’s just stepped into writing too with his biography, so i’ll point him toward this site and to choosy bookworm! He’s a fantastic artist, very talented and a hard worker always willing to help others and thats whats needed IMO – people who’ll help spread the load.

  12. Thank you, Jackie, for making this review program possible–and danke, Jay Lee! It’s so difficult to get those coveted “stranger reviews.” Even begging nicely in the back of our novels doesn’t always net results. I’m good with gifting books for reviews, as long as it’s not “rubber-stamping,” a practice among authors that I truly dislike. Honest reviews–that’s what you said and that’s what I want, good, bad, or otherwise.

    What about the “disclaimer”? Any definitive answer on that? If an author gifts a book to me, I always put that in the review, since a “verified purchase” is not shown. Also, will we be able to submit other books once our first one is read/reviewed?

    I got a kick out of the German when I signed up at Choosy Bookworm. I used to speak the language with my grandmother when she was alive…but boy, am I rusty now!

  13. When I agreed to let Hoodoo Money be the “guinea pig” for Jay’s new R&R program launch at Choosy Bookworm, I was worried I’d be like the little school girl all dressed up for her Saturday birthday party and no one shows. But the response was immediate. Emails from Jay came fast and furious. Thank you, Jay. You worked really hard that night. As Jackie said, I gifted 30 copies of HM to responders. Of those 30, 7 never claimed their books. But thanks to Jackie’s dogged investigative work, I learned there was also a way to get Amazon credit for those purchased books. Thank you, Jackie! The “distance” thing was trickier. So far I’ve gotten 5 reviews from 3 reviewers (2 reviews were for Mangroves and Monsters). 2 of the reviewers actually contacted me via email to tell me how much they enjoyed HM and that they were going right over to Amazon to purchase the 2nd book in my Stolen Nickel Series. They also wanted to be notified when the 3rd book is released, hopefully in the fall. 1 reviewer even said that as long as I write books, she will read them. Nice! So . . . Jay’s R&R program at Choosy Bookworm was an all ’round win for me. I’m thrilled. Glad to see so many others signing up.

    Sharon Pennington

    • Hi Sharon,

      I just love hearing your feedback so far!

      You have some new fans!

      Although I do agree that it may be important to keep a distance between authors and reviewers, on the other hand, I think it would be a great benefit to gain some enthusiastic fans in the process.

      I remember Donna Fasano writing that she has started a street team — a group of interested readers who are willing and wanting to support and ready to read and review when a new book comes out.

      I am not sure which would be the right way to go here: keep the distance, or enjoy the connections? One could argue either way.

      What do y’all think?

    • UPDATE: I’m absolutely thrilled with the results of Choosy Bookworm’s R&R launch that I wanted to share more results with you guys. Hoodoo Money has received 15 reviews in the last 4 weeks, with 6 of those reviewers going on to purchase and/or review Mangroves and Monsters (Book 2). HM now has 40 reviews: 32/5*, 6/4* and 2/3* (and 1 of those was actually a 3.5) MAM now has 20 reviews.

      That’s 60 reviews between the 2 books! Many of those reviewers have asked to be notified when Book 3 is released.

      Now, I know this doesn’t seem like a lot of reviews to some of you. To me, it’s huge – and so much better than I ever did with my traditional publisher.

      I’m thrilled! Thank you, Jay! And, Jackie, for all your hard work behind the scenes of this R&R program.

      May this program continue to benefit other indie authors.

      Sharon Pennington

  14. Neil Ostroff says:

    I have signed up two of my books. THE END TIME and DROP OUT. I’m very excited to see what the reviews will bring since all my Amazon reviews are from total strangers and most are all 4 and 5 star. Thanks for the program.

    • Hi Neil,

      thank you for your trust in the program! This is very exciting!

      Today launches the first R&R book in our newsletter. Jackie’s Finding Home. Looking forward to reporting the results back to everyone!

  15. I love the Read and Review idea and have a few titles in mind I’m going to submit. But I have the .mobi files (I submitted that format to Amazon), so I would simply send those rather than gifting from Amazon. Is there a problem I’m not seeing with that? I also have the PDF files.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Stephen. It has to be Reader/Reviewer’s choice on the format. Some subscribers might not be tech savvy. We are on one side of the cyber universe, readers and book buyers are on the other. Choosy is allowing authors to put our books in front of volunteer reviewers. They are not professionals. We cannot expect them to be. Choosy subscribers are ordinary readers who own ereaders–just the kinds of reviewers we want for our books. Yu and I live in the cyber universe. We had to learn it to publish our books. Readers don’t need to know anything except to sign into Amazon and tick Buy Now. That is why Amazon is so successful.

  16. kristen stone says:

    A wonderful scheme, but is this confined to US authors or can those in the UK also join. We can’t gift books, but like Stephen, I have .mobi and .epub copies of all my books which can be put onto a kindle or other reader using drag and drop to get them to the right place.
    Although Amazon likes to think of itself as the main player, there are other outlets out there, too.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Kristen, the program is open to all authors. I think when Jay Lee offers a book to his subscribers he might have to mention mobi or pdf file only available. We will find a way to make mobi and pdf available. Choosy’s subscribers have to know upfront the available formats. Some may not be tech savvy. Amazon IS the main player for ebooks. It has more than 65% of the global market. We know there are other sales venues–but experience has shown an author needs to develop a readership and exposure on Amazon before leaping into other venues. I’m just coming off of a FREE promo on The House on Persimmon Road. 27,504 readers downloaded the title, not to mention it has earned 244 reviews. Show me how to do that on Barnes & Noble or Smashwords, Kobo or iTunes and I’ll jump on it.


  17. I signed up all three of my novels and am keeping my fingers crossed. I will gift the actual e-books to any interested readers, via Amazon.

    Looking forward to more updates!

    • Hi Linda,

      thank you so much for signing up!

      Today is the Day! Jackie’s Finding Home will be the first R&R book in our newsletter. Keep your fingers crossed! Can’t wait to see how it goes.

      We’ll update everyone as soon as results are in. :o)

      • All right, Jay. Can’t wait to hear, too! Will we be notified when our books are appearing in the newsletter? I really need more “stranger reviews”–not “strange reviews”! LOL.


  18. Dr. Ken says:

    Is there any author in his right mind who won’t take advantage of this oppportunity? Will be signing up TWISTED as soon as it goes LIVE! 🙂

  19. Hi Jackie, thanks for this post. I wanted to clarify a few items about NetGalley which are incorrect in your blog post (and which we would appreciate if you corrected above).

    NetGalley offers both a single title listing, and a subscription option. Our single title listing is $399 for 6 months, not one week! During that time the author or publisher has access to all of the tools and reporting we offer, and exposure to the over 200,000 booksellers, librarians, educators, media and reviewers who use the site. We absolutely don’t guarantee reviews and would agree with you that book publicity and marketing is a many-legged animal! We’re only one tool, but have been grateful to work with so many authors who have benefited from listing their title on NetGalley.

    In the last six months, we’ve added new ways for members to provide and share feedback, including with their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks. We’ve added ways for members to vote on covers they like; search on and purchase previously-published titles; and enhanced the reporting we provide to our clients.

    The marketing program you referenced above is optional, and we actually offer a number of different programs depending on budget and goal.

    In addition to listing a single title with NetGalley directly, we also have a partnership with the IBPA, where they offer a discounted listing, and handle the title set-up.

    And in addition to that, we’ve worked with many author co-ops this year, who have joined together to subscribe to NetGalley, and share costs. We don’t coordinate those efforts but are glad that authors have found creative ways to share costs and best practices in this way.

    We wish you the best of luck with this new endeavor and truly support all efforts to help books find readers!

    Susan Ruszala
    President, NetGalley

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Susan! Thank you so much for stopping by. I stand corrected on the one week…change that to 6 months. Glad to…but I pulled that info right off your site. Perhaps one has to dig a little deeper to find those less costly jewels. A single title listing for $399 for six months doesn’t make the cut for an indie author. Most of NetGalley’s clients are bricks and mortar publishers and they get lovely discounts. I appreciate that NetGalley is top tier. That’s why I designed Choosy Bookworm’s R&R program as close to NetGalley’s business model as possible. For $ value though, I spent $260 with Bookbub to put Finding Home FREE in front of over one million subscribers which brought in 250 reviews within 90 days, which is darn good for an ebook. The bottom line is NetGalley is overpriced for an ebook and the indie author. With Choosy’s Read and Review program indie authors have an honest and affordable review program. I know you have a catalogue that goes out to schools and librarians. It features hardback and softback books and a few ebooks. However, indie authors do not have a system in place to sell ebooks to institutions–so that market is dead to us until some bright soul designs the catalogue and a system to deliver indie author digitals. The Big Five do deliver ebooks to libraries. Those ebooks go out on loan only 12 times before the library has to purchase the title again. But! We do have Amazon and other e-venus. Again, thank you for stopping by–and if NetGalley ever develops an affordable R&R program for indie authors, let me know! But, I think savvy ebook promoters will soon introduce R&R systems to their subscribers. I know of two other e-promoters with R&R programs in the development stages. Do keep in touch–if for no other reason than you are a woman at the top of your corporation. eNovel Authors at Work admires smart women with the moxie to get to the top. Highest regards, from JackieWeger

  20. BigAl says:

    At first glance, this appears like a great idea to get a good cross section of reader reviews.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Big Al…I see your cautious foot steps. Never fear! Choosy Bookworm is not gonna steal your thunder. Every indie author above the salt knows Books and Pals is the premier review site for indies. I always submit my titles to you first. If I pull a 3 star review or better from you or your reviewers, I know I have a sound book. I know it measures up. The instant I see the Books and Pals review posted, I promote the heck out my book. Right this minute the three indie titles I submitted to you are sitting on Amazon with 539 reviews. I think the average review rank is 4.4/5.0. A Books and Pals review is the gold foundation of a book. We can launch from there. But we have to have more reviews. That’s where Choosy comes in. I’ve been fortunate to get Bookbub slots on two of my titles, which helped to bring in reviews. But! I’ve had a heck of time getting a 3rd slot. So, have dozens of other indie authors, two of whom have solid five star reviews from Big Al’s Books and Pals. There are thousands of indie authors. NetGalley could have looked us and said, Hey! There’s an untapped market and built an affordable Read and Review program for us. Didn’t happen. So now we have Choosy Bookworm. We are gonna go by the rules and make it work. Just sayin’…

  21. Alicia says:

    What a cool idea!

  22. Jackie, you and Jay Lee have produced a very promising review program, and I am excited to be a part of it. I wish I had even half of your marketing smarts!

  23. Mary Collins says:

    Excellent information. Independent authors and aspiring authors thank you.

  24. Just enrolled both TERMS OF SURRENDER and TIMELAPSE. I’m really excited! I’ve had nothing but great experiences working with Jay and Choosy Bookworm. I have asked to gift through Amazon, though, rather than sending pdfs or even mobis. I hope that will be agreeable to people, as I have had some piracy issues. (Not with Choosy Bookworm, I hasten to add!)

    Thank you, too, Jackie, for making this program happen! You rock!!

  25. Pete Barber says:

    Congratulations, Jay. This is an excellent idea and a natural extension of your business model. May it bring you many more subscribers.

    Jackie–nice job. But you should try to word your posts so they don’t offend people–my Aunt Hattie is very upset!

  26. I’m hoping that this endeavor will be a big success! Have to keep trying new things, right?

  27. […] Since mid-November of 2103 readers have posted more than 600 reviews on my three indie titles.  Go Here to read about Choosy Book Worm’s Read and Review program, opening to all indie authors on […]

  28. Rosie Dean says:

    Another interesting article. I have added the recommended links into my To-Do list. I have a lot of work ahead…


  29. Amy Vansant says:

    I’m booked for September 13th – hope I get some attention, I’m in the 3rd month out doldrums!

  30. […] don’t trade reviews. We all agreed that we need organic reviews. I reached out to Jay Lee of Choosy Bookworm soon after his site went live in early 2014,  and sent him begging letters…to please give […]

  31. […] a subscriber lists of readers who actually buy books, you need a certain number of reviews.  Go HERE to find out where you can get those first critical reviews. Go HERE  to get a list of  more than […]

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