NetGalley is a website that helps connect publishers and book reviewers/early influencers, to help books succeed. Basically it is a website where you can request to receive ebooks of titles not yet published in order to review them. I have been using NetGalley for just over a year and it’s one of the best websites to use if you love to review books. To use NetGalley you must be able to receive ebooks. I use my Kindle to read all NetGalley books, but you can use a computer or other device that supports PDFs.
I find it extremely easy to use and get approved for most requests I make. Below I will detail how to register and start using NetGalley, along with some tips and tricks to help you get approved for more titles.
This is what NetGalleys home page looks like, and you can find it at: www.netgalley.com. Click the button in the centre at the bottom of the page -‘Become a Member’.
This will take you to the registration page. A very basic and easy to fill in form.
You want to make sure the ‘Register as a Member/Reader’ tab is selected, as it is in the above picture. Fill in the form and click register. Once you are registered you can start requesting titles.
Once you register and are logged in, you should have a page that looks a little like this:
This is your ‘Dashboard’. Every time you log in you should be taken to this page. From here you can access every part of NetGalley. On the left hand side you can see which categories you have listed as your favourites, mine include those listed there PLUS YA and Sci-fi. ‘Your Badges’ is a small section where you can see the badges you have earned from certain tasks or achievements. In the top right corner, you can see the link to ‘My Profile’. This is important.
You can see in Green the different buttons that will take you to different pages. They are: Dashboard, Your Shelf, Find Titles and Browse Publishers. I’ll explain each below.
This is what the Your Shelf page looks like. It has it’s own subheadings/buttons such as Give Feedback, Feedback Sent etc. The Give Feedback tab shows all the books you have currently been approved for and are yet to review/give feedback for. Feedback Sent contains all the reviews you have returned. This page looks like this:
The Start Reading tab is where, once approved, you can send the title to your selected e-reader. The Not Active tab is where you can see titles that you were not approved for, ie ‘declined’.
This is the Find Titles green tab. You can find every title on NetGalley from this screen. I rarely use this page, but when starting out it is good to have a browse in the section to find titles you like.
Again, this tab contains every publisher that uses NetGalley to send books to reviewers. If you want to search through these you can do so in alphabetical order. When I first started out I went through and ‘Favourited’ all the publishers in Australia that I wanted to request from. You can favourite them by clicking the love heart on each publisher profile.
Publisher Profiles are a key part of requesting titles when you first start out. As you can see above on the Bloomsbury UK & ANZ profile, there is a button called ‘View Approval Preferences’. This is where you can click and see what requirements a publisher has for approving you as a reviewer. Most of the time, publishers will ask for a contact email, blog of at least 3 month history and blog stats to be displayed in your profile. Basically, for your favourite publishers, make sure you have the information they require to approve you IN YOUR PROFILE.
Your Profile is what publisher see when they receive a request for a title. NetGalley has its own ‘Help’ section on what to put in your profile, but keep in mind you need to display WHY you should be approved and you need to do it in a way publishers can quickly and easily read. Below I have an example of what is in my profile:
The display picture is my profile picture. Next to that it details WHERE I review (my blog and instagram) and HOW MANY followers I have. The publishers want to know how much influence you have.
A very quick point to make about the Feedback Ratio displayed here on your profile. It shows how many titles you have been approved for and how many you have actually sent feedback for. Publishers will not continue to approve you if you’ve been approved for lots of titles but barely return feedback. For example: you have been approved for 20 but have only given feedback on 5. This is a no no.
You can see in the above image I have my stats in my bio. Basically I introduce myself briefly and detail what kind of ‘REACH’ I have. How many followers, from which countries. Having this at the top of your bio is a trick to get more approvals. The more reach you have the more likely you are to get approved.
When you first start out, keep in mind you will not get approved for super popular titles. It takes a little bit of time to build up towards more popular and highly requested titles. Publishers are trying to sell things. They will generally approve someone who has 10,000 followers over someone with 2,500 followers. (This is not ALWAYS the case, but most often it is).
When requesting a title you might like you will see this page:
It shows the title, with description along with the publisher and publication date. Read through this page. If you wish to request the title, select the ‘REQUEST’ button in green, shown above.
If you click on a title and it has ‘This book is currently not available to request’ and a ‘WISH FOR IT’ button, it usually means this is from a publisher who is not in your region. For example, a US based publisher who does not approve Australian NetGalley users. You CAN click ‘WISH FOR IT’ and on a rare occasion get approved, but usually not.
It can take time to be approved, even up to a few weeks. The approval time is publisher and book dependent. I have been approved hours after requesting, but also weeks after. You should receive email notifications when approved/declined.
Once you have been approved for a title you should see the page below, when viewing the title page:
You have a few options: Send to Kindle, Download protected PDF and Help. In purple in the right hand corner you can see a link to ‘Give Feedback’. Make sure you READ THE TITLE BY PUBLICATION DATE. Publishers usually want the reviews done so they can use them to promote the book on release.
If you are declined
This will happen from time to time. The publisher usually states why. If this is something you can fix (ie you did not have your stats in your profile) then it is actually very good to hear this from publishers. Do not worry about being declined.
When you click Give Feedback you are taken to a review page, where you can paste/type your review into the box. NetGalley has a page on ‘Tips for Writing Reviews’ which you can view at https://netgalley.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003991154. No spoilers, say what you liked, and why others should read it.
Tips & Tricks
What to do:
- Fill in your profile properly – where do you review? How many followers do you have? State your REACH. Publishers need this information to be easy to see.
- ONLY REQUEST TITLES YOU WILL ACTUALLY READ – this is so important! I cannot stress enough that you request titles you will actually read. Do not get stuck having to read titles you do not like.
- Make sure you keep track of which ones are due when – AND BE REALISTIC.
- Try to keep your feedback ratio above 70%
- Read the ‘Before you Request’ NetGalley blog page at http://blog.netgalley.com/before-you-request/
What NOT to do:
- Do not request 10 titles at once, all due around the same time – this links in with point #3 above – when I first started out I found myself in a bit of a pickle having to return 8 reviews all at once – that’s a lot of reading! Think about how fast you read, other life commitments etc.
- Do not get discouraged if you get declined for certain books – publishers sometimes have a first in, best dressed policy. Some have only a certain number of people they can approve. Sometimes you just don’t have enough reach. Popular titles are more likely to go to reviewers with high reach.
I hope you have enjoyed my guide on NetGalley and found it useful! If there is anything more you would like to see in this guide, feel free to comment below or email me!