I decided to give BookRooster a try last month. For $67, they guarantee at least 10 reviews from their list of over 3,000 reviewers.
From their website:
to invite suitable reviewers to review your book, to distribute your book to those who have agreed to review it and to track to make sure at least ten reviews are submitted by reviewers.
They don't guarantee favorable reviews, I figured it's an easier way of getting my book in the hands of people who are willing to write a review. They may like it, they may hate it, but at least I wouldn't have to send out a gazillion more emails to potential reviewers, most of which will never respond.
I paid my money, and within a couple of weeks, I started seeing reviews for Special Offers posted on Amazon. I think I ended up with 12 reviews (it might have been more, it's hard to tell sometimes if a reviewer got the book through BookRooster). All but one were very complimentary. The not-so-good review gave Special Offers one star, but explained why they hated it. That's fine; I don't expect everyone to like the book and they had reasons why they wanted to blow their brains out after they read it. I don't agree with the assessment, obviously, but they made their case and that's all anyone can ask from a reviewer.
You might assume that the experiment was a success and I wouldn't hesitate to pay another $67 to have the second book - Special Rewards - sent out to their stable of eager reviewers. That would be the case if not for one glitch. One of the reviewers posted a 4-star review, but some of the write-up was obviously not for Special Offers.
"I received a copy of this book for review. very good book, i read it in two sittings,(then got the book prior to it Spirit Binder. i suggest that spirit binder should be read first.) the characters were interesting and felt sort of real, or on the edge. I love scfi, romance, intrique,mystery this book has it all."
Special Offers is part sci-fi, part romance, part mystery but Spirit Binder is neither the previous book in the series (Special Offers is book one) nor did I write Spirit Binder. Okay, no biggie. Maybe the reviewer just mixed something up, or was writing two reviews at the same time, or had a temporary brain fart.
I emailed BookRooster, and asked if they could have the reviewer fix it, even if the 4-stars weren't meant for my book and I ended up with another low review.
I never heard back from them, and the review wasn't altered.
That lack of follow up makes me hesitant to use their services again. If they can't be bothered to respond to a concern, why should I fork out more money? It wasn't like I was complaining about the 1-star review. I wasn't expecting all fantastic, glowing comments. I wasn't paying for good reviews of Special Offers, I was paying for reviews of Special Offers. And that review seems like it isn't for my book.
For BookRooster to let such a blunder go without remedy indicates they aren't really paying too much attention to details. They take your money, send out the book, maybe make sure you get at least 10 reviews and that’s it.
Technically, I suppose that’s all they say they’ll do. Their Terms of Service state:
They’re not liable for the content, but shouldn’t they encourage an obvious screw-up to be amended? And is doing their best include never answering their emails?
That’s my story. Is BookRooster a good deal to get some unbiased reviews or just a guy's hands painted to look like a rooster? You can decide if it’s worth the cash or not.