A while back, someone recommended Book Rooster to me as a way of promoting one of my novels and gaining some reviews.
The first thing you will have noticed is that I have not linked the site. I tend to link to sites I back, agree with, or want my readers to draw their own conclusions about. For books, I'll link whether or not I liked the book.
My experiences with Book Rooster have been so unsatisfactory that I refuse to help them even by improving their SEO via a link. Before I go into the how and the why of my feelings, I'll talk about what Book Rooster is about — and why it could possibly work if they were able to deliver what they claim.
Book Rooster is a non-paid review site: by this, I mean, the readers are not paid to review the books. This part is legitimate. I signed up for their services as a reader/reviewer about six months prior to when I actually tried it myself. As a reviewer, I was able to easily acquire the book I was interested in reading and reviewing without any hassle. Whenever a book was available I wanted to read / review, I just followed the instructions and got the book for reading. Easy, peasy.
That part looked very promising — my experiences as a reader / reviewer were good. That boded well for being an author in their system.
Because it came recommended to me, I decided to dip my toe in these waters to see how well their system worked. At the time, their $60ish dollar fee for the mailing list didn't seem all that extravagant, and it was something I was in a position to gamble with (and could afford to lose entirely on.)
I also went in anticipating writing this blog post about their services.
Now, before I go into the performance of the campaign, I'm going to talk about what the process is like. You buy the service. Like many other author services, non-refundable — which is why I didn't think much about it at the time. Most of the author services I have seen are non-refundable, thus no red-flag went up.
From there, you fill in information about your book, provide a copy of the cover art, and the book in either mobi or doc format. They'll take care of formatting the book to mobi if you provide a doc. I was notified fairly quickly (within 24 hours) of when my book would be scheduled to be sent to the mailing list. It was sent on time. (Since I'm a member of my genre's mailing list, I was able to see when the email was sent. Yes, I used two different email accounts to confirm there was a mailing for my book done.)
Thirty days went by. No reviews.
Book Rooster sent another mailing of my novel without me having to ask them.
At this point, they fell off the face of the planet.
I didn't receive a single review from their service. While I can understand that the number of reviews is dependent on who reads the book, Book Rooster has one flaw fatale which I did test.
They do nothing to encourage their readers to review the books. How did I test this? I acquired a book for review and didn't review it. I wasn't given a notice or anything stating I had gotten this book for review. Nothing to indicate or remind me to do this review. I've been sitting on this specific book for three months.
This service could work, if the operators made a little effort or ran a script checking that review A didn't review Book B and send a reminder to do so. So, I'm out $67, with nothing to show for it.
Short and sweet point? Avoid Book Rooster. There are other services and book tours that will land you reviews at a much lower risk of your income.
I don't feel bad about sacrificing the $67. I went in expecting to either get some reviews, the proposed ~10 reviews, or no reviews. I did this to get a good look at this service and how it worked.
My opinion? You're better off going with a book touring service. At least that way you get the boost to your book for search engines as the other blogs link to your book and your personal website. That's worth the fee on its own. (Of course, depending on the touring group.)
Writer, Beware. Book Rooster, while it does maintain a legitimate mailing list, is as close to as scam as it gets. IF their mailing list was more robust, it could work.
Right now? Run and hide, because you're wasting your money.