Just before publication, I used the services of ‘The Pigeonhole‘ to try and get more book reviews once my novel, HOW WE GOT TO TODAY, was published.
I’d never heard of them before so I asked around and got some good feedback.
It’s essentially an online book club where readers can sign up for free and get access to books before they’re published to read them. This is organised by dividing the book up into 10 sections and then releasing a section everyday for 10 days. Readers can read on the site or on the app.
The unique part is that each reader can add comments anywhere on the manuscript for others to see and reply to.
This was the nerve-racking bit!
My novel went live on The Pigeonhole about a week before publication, a new section (stave) everyday which remains on the site for readers up to 14 days after the last section.
The feedback everyday was really good to read, and although I could’ve replied, I decided to stay clear so it didn’t look like I was looking over the reader’s shoulders like Big Brother.
This constant commentary everyday with people speculating about what might and mightn’t happen, assessing the story as they went was really interesting and something I hadn’t expected. When you give a book to someone, they read it and then tell you about the whole book after they’ve read it. To get this kind of feedback after every few chapters was really insightful and has definitely had an impact on me as a writer especially as I’m in the early stages of thinking of my next novel. It really hammered home the point that readers need to be engaged and interested in the story and the story needs to keep moving forward. You can skip bits, don’t bog them down in exposition, leave gaps for the reader to fill in, make them work a little, but keep it interesting with forward momentum.
Some people gave up on it but I think a vast majority finished the novel and enjoyed it, which was great.
The main point for me was to get book reviews – and it achieved this extremely well. The guys at The Pigeonhole do a pretty good job of encouraging readers to leave reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, and most of mine on Amazon and Goodreads so far (about 30) have come from The Pigeonhole as a direct result of this service. I would say this has been a better source of book reviews than NetGalley.
The service does have a cost for the author but I’d say it was well worth it and I would recommend it to others. They are very approachable so contact them to find out more.
Below is a thank you video I did for all the readers.
I think this service would be great for when an author wants beta readers. From all the feedback you notice certain themes appear. Finding (good) beta readers seems to be an aspect of being a writer which I don’t hear much about. Writers either don’t have them, rely on 1 or 2 or have magically conjured up about 20 of them.
I have about 5 or 6 family and friends that I can rely on to give me some solid feedback, but utilising a site like this to get a far broader range of feedback could be good. But then again, it might be a bit of an expense for just a draft copy, plus would readers want to read an early draft which hasn’t gone through a professional developmental edit or a copy-edit?
Anyway, ‘The Pigeonhole‘ gets a serious thumbs up from me and if you (or your publisher) has the funds, then it is definitely worth the investment to give your book that extra boost of reviews on launch day and soon after.