Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year – 2018

I’ve been continuously blogging over at TRB since December and also in the first week of 2018, so it feels weird to do my first post here SO LATE. Still, I have to do it to get past the “first-post-of-the-year” thing and get on with a much defined regular schedule of posts.

Late 2017 proved to be a really busy time for me as we shifted our home and got a kitten, Eva (more on this in my next post!) and everything just got overwhelming. Finally, things have settled into a steady rhythm and now I’m able to think of my weekly schedules and planning things.

For this blog, I’m reviving WOW – Word Of the Week so that at least I’ll have something to post regularly on the blog and also because I’m working on my vocabulary this year. So like before, WOW is going to be a weekly thing. I’m planning to post this every Saturday as Saturdays for me are quite relaxed.

I’ll try and post some short fiction or poems every month and will try and do a monthly round-up post, though I’m not promising anything.

I’m already working on my 2018 BuJo setup, 3 new story ideas and a couple of other things. I’ll be posting about random stuff more this year as my planned and scheduled posts take a lot of time for preps and stuff. And plus, I’ve discovered lately that I love random posts more than the planned ones.

Anyway, so here’s hoping that this year proves to be the best one for all of us. Cheers!

Ciao ❤

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RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old way by having 1 unique mainstream genre per month. The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR.7

The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR. Most of the times we end up reading the new recommendations and our TBR pile grows more than ever, but that’s how the life of a book lover is, isn’t it?

Anyway, in case if you guys want to participate, just join the group (if you haven’t already) and announce your participation on the main challenge thread. It can be found here: RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge.

Apart from this, we have other fun Challenges too:

  • Classic Catchup:
    Hosted by RMFAO’s Classics’ Professor Dagny, this challenge gives you a chance to read the Classics. But the best part for me about this challenge is Dagny’s Classic recommendations. I’ve read so many different classics (so much more than I’d have ever read on my own) since I started joining this challenge. So if you’re a classic lover then this place is definitely for you, but in case if you’re like me who is not into classics and have no clue what to read, then is the place to start.classics-catchup
  • RMFAO 2017 Series Challenge:
    This challenge focuses on completing book series. You can either complete a series your started earlier and never got around to finishing it, or you can start a new one and try to finish it within the year.
    To participate all you have to do is drop by the thread (click the name of the challenge above) and announce your participation.series
  • RMFAO 2017 NetGalley Challenge: This challenge needs no explanation. If you are on NetGalley then you should definitely check this one out! The challenge will help you finish all those books that you requested and were accepted for once upon a time, and as a result, it will help you improve your Ratio. It can’t get better than this, can it?!netgalley

New members are welcome to join any time of the year, so don’t forget to drop by and have a look around! Also, feel free to share about these challenges with your friends and reading buddies. The more, the merrier.

Ciao ❤

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 🙂

National Readathon

Hi guys, this is a piece of news I came across on various blogs and Goodreads so I thought of sharing it with you guys and also to announce what I’ll be pledging to read. I read everyday but this feels like being a part of something bigger! So I’ve decided to participate inspite of being from a different country, after all reading is all that matters! I’ll be reading all day today. I’m planning to read Frozen (Heart Of Dread#1) which I’ve recieved from NetGalley upon my request, Duma Key issued from library and Almost Adept requested by author. I’ve already started these three books and I’m planning to finish them for this Readathon.

NetGalley

If you don’t already know about this readathon, then here are the details:

timetoread

Grab your latest book and charge your ereaders, bibliophiles. It’s time for the first-ever National Readathon Day. On Saturday, January 24, join readers nationwide to make #timetoread for four hours in solidarity for literacy. National Readathon Day, sponsored by Goodreads, The National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House and Mashable, is a nationwide marathon reading session on Saturday, January 24th from noon-4 PM (in respective time zones), and a fundraiser for The National Book Foundation’s literacy programs. You can get involved on Goodreads by pledging to read any book you’d like. Maybe you’re in the middle of something so good, you want four hours to finish it. Or perhaps there’s a novel that’s been on your to-read shelf for weeks that you’ve just been waiting for an excuse to start. If you need some suggestions, we’ve also shared our list of the best books of January. Once you decide, select the book you’ll be reading for the readathon on our Readathon Challenge page and click the “Pledge to Read” button to share your selection with the rest of the Goodreads community. We‘ll add the book you choose to your “to-read” shelf (if it’s not already there) and also add it to a custom ‟readathon-day-2015” shelf.

Tweet about this Readathon with #timetoread So are you participating? What are the books that you’re planning to read for this marathon (or otherwise.) Your thoughts are always welcome 🙂 Have a great day. Happy Reading!