Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?

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“Do you love to discover new books? Do you review and recommend books online, in print, for your bookstore, library patrons, blog readers, or classroom? Then you are what we call a “professional reader,” and NetGalley is for you. Registration is free, and allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advance reading copies, on your favorite device.”

-NetGalley

First of all, let’s be clear what NetGalley really means. In the publishing world, a galley is the uncorrected or, in some cases, the corrected copies of the books that are not yet printed. And when these galleys are provided on the internet as e-books, you have what we call as NetGalley.

NetGalley offers a wide range of books for reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

At NetGalley, publishers provide galley proofs to readers in order to get what they call as “feedbacks” and what we call as “reviews.” There are a lot of publishers, including some really big ones like Harlequin Enterprises, Penguin Books, Hachette, Harper Collins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pan MacMillan and many others in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

As a voracious reader and a reviewer (with a book blog, The Reading Bud), I’m a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley. Initially, I was so mesmerised by the whole process and the simplicity with which a reviewer can get books, that I went on a crazy spree of requesting books. I requested pretty much all the books that caught me attention at that time and then I used to happily prance like this:

giphy

Then after a while, I started getting rejected by almost everyone for reasons unknown to me. My inbox started flooding with emails saying your request has been denied and for a very long time I was like:

Love-and-Other-Drugs

Then finally, I decided to get off my ass and learn the proper way of being a “professional reader.” I google-searched like crazy, totally high on my new-found enthusiasm but it took a while before I understood my mistake. My first mistake was that I dove head first into the endless sea of galleys and apparently was hit by a very sharp rock (so to say.)

It took me almost a year of horrible experiences to finally understand how to have a peaceful reading experience on NetGalley. Today, I have around 300 books on my NetGalley shelf and a good enough ratio of around 50% (that I always try to maintain, no matter what.) I have received more than a dozen invitations from publishers for reviewing specific titles and I’m auto-approved by more than 6 publishers so far (out of these 6 a couple publishers limit their books to some countries or continents only, still I made it to their lists.) Slowly but steadily I’ve learned to be very particular about requesting titles and maintaining a minimum ratio of 55% (give or take.). And honestly, now I’m having a lot more fun.

Here’s a screenshot of how my NetGalley profile looks like: (updated 14/07/16)

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.56.20 pm

If you are wondering how to improve your ratio or how to increase your chances of getting approved then read on, I’m sure this article will help clear your doubts.

How to make an impressive profile?

Your profile is the only deciding factor for publishers when it comes to NetGalley. So maintaining a great profile is the key to getting approval.

  • Always mention your email address. “Many publishers will only approve requests if they can view your email address, for future follow-ups,” says NetGalley.
  • Provide all the possible links where your reviews get posted or shared. Following order is considered good: Your blog, Tumbler, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit.
  • Make your Bio look professional, like a resume.
  • Add a good profile photo and not a Facebook photo of yourself eating ice-cream.
  • Don’t hesitate to brag about how many followers and subscribers you have for your blog.
  • Mention that you receive a lot of traffic through search engines.
  • Drop a line about how you are bold and honest about your reviews.
  • Maintain a high ratio (at least 50%)
  • If you are a member of any Professional Associations then don’t forget to mention it.
  • Make sure all the links you provide are working.
  • Make sure not to add a fake link, it may seriously affect your image as a reviewer.

What is it with the RATIO?

As far as I know, Ratio the most important thing to keep in mind for a reviewer. NetGalley Ratio is the Feedback to Approval ratio. The recommended ratio is 80%. So if you want to get approved for the books you really want, get ready to give a feedback for each and every book your read.

This poses a problem for reviewers like me, who take their own sweet time (sometimes even months) to post the review of a  particular book, either because they are lazy or as in my case, have a lot of books to review already (as I schedule review requests from authors and publishers first.) Here are some pointers for improving ratio:

  • Decide a limit for requesting books for each month and STICK TO IT.
  • Get to reading the approved books ASAP.
  • If you take time for reviewing then just write out a mini-review for the time being and submit it. Later on, you can edit it and write a proper one.
  • If you think the book deserves 1-2 stars then don’t waste your time writing a full-fledged review for it on your blog. Just write a short review for the feedback and copy-paste it on your Goodreads and then FORGET about it and move on to the next book. (Don’t do it for the publishers you really like as your blog review link is important if you want to read their books in future.)

Why were you rejected?

  • Territorial reasons- If below the request button some names are specified, like US, UK, etc, and youimages are not from these places, then there’s 90% chance that you’ll be rejected. But, if your profile is solid, there’s always a chance for you to get approved (however small it may be.)
  • Mentioning only Goodreads in your “sites” won’t get you accepted by most publishers unless you have more than a thousand friends on Goodreads.
  • Wrong links, incomplete profile and poor ratio are a recipe for complete disaster.
  • Don’t take the books on NetGalley for a given, they are someone’s hard work and unless you are planning on reviewing it, don’t request it just because you can request it by the press of a button (which almost every newbie does!)

The reasons publishers mention while declining:

  • They may have hit their maximum allowance for that title.
  • No company association.
  • Follower counts and website hit counts are important metrics. They prefer reviewers who have established, regularly updated blogs. They look specifically for blogs that have three months of recent, continuous posting of reviews. If your blog is primarily updated with giveaways, cover reveals, and other promotional posts, they will likely decline your request.
  • They do not issue ARCs to reviewers who primarily review on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, and other social media websites.

 How to get approvedapproved

  • Your profile should be really impressive.
  • Maintain a high ratio and your chances for getting approved simply doubles.
  • In spite of the territorial reasons, in my experience, if your profile is strong enough you still have a 5-10% chance of getting accepted. So apply for off-territory books only if you really, really want the book.

To wrap this up here are a few pros and cons of NetGalley:

Pros:

  • Huge range of books per say.
  • You can contact any big publisher and if your profile is good enough you’ll get approved.
  • Serious money saving on some fabulous books.
  • Direct download on your devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.), so no issues of transferring books (check out NetGalley’s device guide here.)
  • You get a cool badge that says “I’m a professional reader” (like the one in my sidebar.)

Cons:

  • Publishers mostly prefer reviewers who have book-blogs with the heavy following.
  • Reviews are a necessity if you want an endless flow of books.
  • Have to maintain the book-blog nicely.
  • Have to maintain the RATIO.
  • You might have troubles figuring out how to read “.ascm” files.

In spite of all the negative things about NetGalley, I really love it 🙂

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62 Comments on “Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?

  1. Love this post hun and it’s sound so hard to get approved.
    For now I think I will stay in the warm comfort of my new Book Reviewing Boss 😀 ❤
    Very helpful tips hun, thank you so much for putting out this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article. I remember when I first signed up with Netgalley and was trying to figure out the process. I would only add to newbies request books that are first time authors and don’t have large followings – maybe have already been published but need reviewers. As you read these and provide feedback you will start to get the books from your coveted publishers and authors. You will always get denied some of the time. Don’t take it to heart. This is great advice for anyone who uses Netgalley and as you said there are some cons but there is a lot of reward.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I first started out I wasn’t sure how many of my requests would be approved,since my blog is new and most of the good books are restricted to the US,the UK or Australia.So,I put in requests for a large number of them.Imagine my dilemma when my inbox was overflowing with one approval after another. 😛 The only problem now is to find time to read them all before they expire.One major downside in my opinion is that the NetGalley books expire after a certain period,so I have to go out and buy the ones that I want to keep in my library anyway.
    Great article,by the way. 🙂 Very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Geetanjali! I had the same experience! And I’m going through the same… so many books and no time for reading (or reviewing!)
      I mostly receive books on my kindle with no expiration dates… the only books that expire are the ones in .ascm format (generally all the Graphic Novels) other than these, I’ve never received any book that expired…
      Thanks for reading my article 🙂

      Like

  4. Great post. Very informative. I’m actually a librarian and have yet to take advantage of NetGalley mostly because I have so many books available at my fingertips. Yet there are those books we all await eagerly so I suppose I should take the plunge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Vivian! You’re really lucky to be surrounded by books all day 🙂
      I can understand already having a lot of books to read and frankly, it’s the case with me also. But NetGalley offers amazing titles from almost all the big publishers… plus I guess being a librarian it’ll be advantageous for you to join NetGalley as you can read the galleys in advance and if you really like it, you can get them for your library and it’s members. It’s a great place to check out books before their release.
      Thanks a lot for reading this article (and for the following both of my blogs.) 🙂
      If you do join NetGalley, let me know and if you have any problem or queries, then please feel free to ask me 🙂
      Have a great day 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m also on Netgalley but I haven’t been reading any Netgalley titles for a while as I prefer reading hard copies of books. Very informative post about Netgalley. I should request some titles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even I used to feel that way, but trust me, ones you start browsing through the books available, you’ll start to rethink… hehe!
      It took me a while to be comfortable reading e-books, and now I prefer them on physical books as they are really easy to carry and the note taking and highlighting is really easy (I hate scribbling on physical books!)
      I hope you’ll start requesting titles soon!
      Thanks for reading Marjorie!
      Have a great day!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Heena. Yes, I might request soon, haven’t done for a while. Yes, I suppose the note taking aspect is useful, I tend to just stick in post-its in the pages of books to highlight particular pages I want to go back to. A tip I got from my daughter who also reviews books.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Heather,
      NetGalley’s ratio system is really messed up… there is no clear system of how “auto-approved” or books that don’t need approval affect the ratio. Some people have ratio of 120%, and some, like me, who almost review all the titles that I get approved for can’t get near 80% because of these indefinite elements.
      But in my personal opinion, they do affect the ratio, however minute the result might be, but they do consider books that don’t need approvals.
      I’ll advice you to not read only those books… try requesting some books and as soon as the first one gets approved, try and read it within days and send your feedback asap. Then see your ratio (go to your profile)… as your account is new, I guess, we can find out pretty easily how much the ratio gets affected.
      I think that like “auto-approved” books that don’t need approvals are also considered as approved to the people who download/read them.
      If your try doing what I just said then please let me also know. As I can’t try it because I already have around 200 books and half of them are no longer available on NetGalley, so I can’t find out for sure.
      I hope I haven’t confused you further… lol!
      Please let me know if you have any other questions or if you have anything more to add 🙂

      Like

      • I have two books right now. One was an auto-approved and one I received approval for. I will wind up with about a two week turn around in most cases. I also review for a promotional book tour company so I have to work the galleys in with my other commitments. I’ll keep you updated with how my ratio changes as I receive and review the first few books.

        Like

        • That’s great! Thanks for letting me know… I was a bit confused about it as I didn’t pay attention initially to this particular thing. And after about a 100 books it gets too difficult to make any sense out of the ratio in any way! lol!
          Thanks again.

          Have a great day dear!

          Like

    • I’ll say don’t stick only to the books that don’t need approval. Try requesting some books atleast, because eventually the approved books matter the most.
      As NetGalley says: “The ratio is only a guideline! It will definitely fluctuate depending on where you are in the review process for a particular title. This is why all of the other elements of your Profile are equally important.”
      So I’ll advise to request some titles, especially the territory ones (like if you stay in the States, then you have 80% more chances of getting approved for books that say: US readers are preferred.)

      Like

  6. I just joined NetGalley, but was a little nervous about requesting books without knowing much about it. I’ll probably wait until my college semester is over (only 3 more weeks!) before I request anything.

    Does librarian status give me a better chance even though I don’t have a blog? (working at a library counts as a librarian, right?)

    I have thought about starting a blog, but I probably would post mostly during the summer, and not often during the school year. I thought I would wait until I could post more consistently.

    I have a Goodreads, but I don’t have a large friend and following. I do post a review, even short ones, for almost every book I’ve read since last summer. I just joined Leafmarks, so nothing exciting there either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome news about holidays! And it’s good that you are ready to wait till the stem ends. But I’ll recommend you to request atleast 3-4 titles this week itself as it takes some time for the publishers to approve the reqs. (if you wanna get to reading straight away from the first day itself.)
      Haha! Yea, it does. And it will help you get requests.

      As for blog, I can understand what you mean, but if you’ll ask me, I’ll say go ahead and start a blog. It doesn’t matter how often or not you post. Ultimately, you’ll be blogging for yourself! Just think of it as a journal and post a post every week or 2 weeks or a month.
      There is no pressure on you to post everyday or to have followers at all! Just create a blog and whenever you have a day off write up 4-5 reviews of books you’ve read and then just schedule them (1 post per week) that way you won’t even have to visit it or take out time for posting.

      I agree about the Leafmarks thing. It’s boring as hell and I personally hate it.
      As for Goodreads, try joining 2-3 groups and make it a point to visit them every 15 days or so (weekly if you have time) and try and interact with the members… that way you’re friends number on Goodreads will increase without it being full of strangers.
      Also, you can discuss about books with them (which is the coolest thing about groups.)
      I myself run a group on Goodreads and if you want to take a look then here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/147920-rmfao-reading-my-frigging-a-off

      I really hope that you start blogging soon… 🙂

      Have a beautiful day dear!

      Like

      • Thanks for replying! I will probably request a couple titles now. It could never hurt to see how things go!

        You have convinced me. I will start a blog! I will set it up my first week off school 🙂
        I could definitely write several reviews at a time and post them periodically. I guess if I don’t have an expectation of followers, I can be happily surprised if I get any 🙂

        haha I know what you mean about Leafmarks xD
        I have joined a few groups on Goodreads. I usually get on about once a week. I will certainly be sure to engage in each of the now! Thanks for the link to your group! I will check it out!

        Thanks again for all the advice!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re very welcome dear! It’s always a pleasure to be discussing anything that’s related to books and blogging 🙂
          Let me know whenever you set up a blog. I’d love read your stuff!

          I hope you’re having a great day 🙂

          Like

  7. Thanks so much for these tips, Heena!
    I have to admit that almost every novel that tempts me is for UK/US/Australian readers only. *dramatic Indian sigh*
    In any case, I’ll get started with the two ARCs I still have to read.
    If you have time, check out my blog, Geekie Chic (it’s usually the first result on Google). It’s not primarily a book blog, although I do write about writing very often. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Swati. I’m glad that you find this post useful 🙂
      And I agree, most of them are for US/UK/Australian readers, but if you have a strong profile then publishers do accept your request.
      Though I had a really bitter experience – I got a mail from Random House – Del Rey Spectra saying that they’ve auto-approved me for their books. I was so excited that I literally had a heart attack as they are one of my favourites on NetGalley and also the biggest one. But later due to territory issues that had to withdraw… I cried for two days! lol!
      But still they are considerate enough to approve most of my book requests.
      Thanks a lot for dropping by… I’d love to check out your blog 🙂
      Have a great day!

      Like

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  10. Well done for becoming a professional Netgalley reviewer! That takes a lot of hard work and reviewing. I became a member last Spring and like you found several ups and downs. The great part was reading some brilliant books early on for free!! A treasure trove and joy to write about. However, I did find I picked a couple of duds and did not want to review these as such. As a result my ratio – oh, yes, that all important ratio – fell. A very insightful helpful post for anyone about to start the process or already reviewing for Netgalley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot, Annika. NetGalley is indeed a real treasure trove. I’ve received some mind-blowing titles from it and I must confess that I’m really addicted to it!
      Thanks a lot for all you kind words! It means a lot to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for this; I’ve been hearing about NetGalley for a while and I kind of want to get an account, but I don’t think I’m ready yet. My book blog is new and really small right now. I should’ve had it to WordPress, maybe. I always have troubles with Blogger. Well, at any rate, I’d better not add anything extra to my plate. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Really sound advice. I went a bit crazy with requests too but have learned to slow down because i just can’t read that fast.So my ratio is now up to 65%. I saw an email from an indie publisher recently which brought home to me the importance of doing the reviews – it costs the publishers a fair amount of money to provide galley copies so we should do them the courtesy of a review even if only a short one

    Like

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