Booksprout is an online service where you can post your books (you must upload your book formats to the website) and request reviews. It’s purpose is to bring together those who like to read with authors looking for reviews.
I started with the free service option, and for fairness sake, I’m trying one month of the paid option.
So far – not impressed.
UPDATE: 7 reviews promised for Knight of Cups. Used their highest setting to prevent “freeloaders” and got one review which was simplistic (“I liked the book”) and not posted on the platform I designated as required.
I DO NO RECOMMEND THEM.
Let’s talk about the free option first. With free there are some major problems which are BIG issues for me:
1.) No protection from piracy with the free version. This sucks and personally did not give me any faith in their system from the get-go. What this tells me is they are a-okay with people stealing your work on their own website!
They obviously have the technology to stop piracy as they offer that with the paid version. They simply want to extort you to level up with to the paid plan.
So if you decide to use Booksprout’s free plan, don’t put up your big books, use it to run a short story or an entry level story that you don’t care if it is stolen.
With Booksprout’s lack of accountability, they are setting up a storefront to have your book stolen.
2.) When reviewers don’t follow through, you have no method to block that reviewer so they can come back and freeload again and again.
With free or paid – you put your book on their platform, get freeloaders who sign up to get access to your files, but they never review. Later, they can come back and feed out of the same trough as much as they want.
Booksprout does not provide the free or paid plans a way to block these freeloaders unless the freeloader emails you that they had a reason (and only that person you can block).
Here is a screenshot showing you want I mean. I had 7 claim the Wicked Wolves book, but only 3 actually carried though (less than 50%) with a review. Of those that did not review, only one contacted me with a reason which meant I could not block the other two.
I’m a Power User, and my husband is a programmer with over 35 years of experience. Getting this option where you can block someone from reviewing you in the future is a no-brainer.
What I believe is Booksprout has decided to back piracy and freeloaders over the authors. So why would they do that?
My guess is it would reduce the number of people/readers using their website. Booksprout wants to sell you on this idea your book will reach ten of thousands of reviewers. So if they blocked freeloaders those numbers would plummet.
It’s not only an ego thing but something they can leverage to investors. It’s a fake to show how big they are so give us more money. This is an educated guess on what I know about the software industry and what investors want to see.
There is a LIMITED way you can reduce some freeloaders from getting your book by managing your settings.
When you set up your book that you will be promoting you need to choose a Freeloader protection option. More details from Booksprout here about how to do that and what it means.
I’d go with at least Standard and maybe Ultra.
Let’s talk about the quality of the reviews I’ve received so far. Of the 3 reviews that were posted, only one was of any real content value. The other two were basically – “I read it, it was fine.”
If I’m going to all this trouble (and RISK) on a platform, I prefer some real meat to the review. What a waste of time!
Is there really a good reason to upgrade?
With the upgrade you get their piracy protection (and I’ve already told you that was a joke), and you can have more reviews! Authors want more reviews – but will you really get any?
With the free plan you get up to 20 copies people can claim. But only 7 claimed my book so where is the incentive to upgrade to the next paid plan which allows readers to claim up to 50 copies?
These results (which were also duplicated with the Knight of Cups short story), makes me believe that their platform isn’t that big. I simply don’t believe they have that many reviewers.
In addition, they offer no way to collect emails for a fan newsletter etc… so why not just go with BookFunnel or StoryOrigin? Hm…
However, after reading some author forums, I wondered if I wouldn’t get more requests for reviews if I went paid? I wondered if at the free level, Booksprout wasn’t letting my book be seen (as it doesn’t benefit them as I am not paying)?
So I decided to go with the $10 a month version for one month. I wanted to see if that would change the number of potential reviewers and their follow through.
After signing up to the paid plan, and trying to put up another ARC, I was immediately informed by Booksprout I could only have one ARC book in play at one time. WHAT? How ridiculous! So you are paying $10 a month to get essentially only one book seen and reviewed?
You can do a book promo in addition to your ARC but my point is why are you paying for a service that is this limited?
Right there you can see this isn’t value for money. I could spend my $10 a month elsewhere more productively than having possibly 3 reviews and a bunch of pirates take my book!
Oh and with my little bit of investment on Booksprout, I already had my email spammed with a “reader” telling me that she couldn’t download my book and send her the booklink to it.
My opinion at this point is don’t bother with Booksprout.
I’ll do my paid version for December, than cancel my subscription. If I change my mind, I’ll come back and update this review.
Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin offers far more advanced options and provides more bang for the buck.