I’m not far off being a beginner myself, and I know that Netgalley has both advantages and disadvantages.
Yet, I have discovered so many amazing books that I might not otherwise have read that I would whole-heartedly recommend joining.
It gives you free access to books from all over the world, provides a platform for books from smaller publishers/ independently published and connects you with publishers without the stress of figuring out who to e-mail.
This advice does come with one, rather large proviso: that is, you WILL request too many books and you will get behind on giving feedback and reviewing.
I made the classic newbie mistake ‘child in a sweet shop’ of requesting tonnes of books when I first signed up and still didn’t quite understand how it worked. I didn’t realise that books ‘expired’ and that failing to pay attention to publication dates could leave you with 11 books due out on the same day (true story that…)
So, if you’re thinking about dipping your toe into a world of e-ARCs, read on!
First of all, Netgalley is a website where publishers and authors can list their books. These are listed as ‘Read Now’ which anyone can click onto and read and ‘Request’ which publishers can approve or reject based on their own criteria. Some books are only available in certain regions, while others have limited numbers of approvals.
If you are lucky enough to get approved, books downloaded in Protected PDF form expire after 54 days, while those sent to your Kindle remain indefinitely (but don’t show up as completed ‘books’)
Don’t request too many books
This is the rule which everyone has broken at least once….or ten times.
It is easy to click on lots of books, but not so easy to give feedback and review in a timely manner whenever you have a backlog. Most books will be available through your library after they are published so it isn’t as if you will never get to read a book if you don’t request it on Netgalley.
The fear of missing out can be hard to resist, especially when everyone in the book community seems to be talking about a certain book…
When starting out, request a few that you really want to read, or click onto a few ‘Read Now’ titles.
Give feedback, write a review if you wish and get a feel for the whole process.
2. Pay attention to publication dates
Certain times of year are particularly busy for book publishing – for reasons unknown to me, books are almost always published on a Tuesday (there is the occasional Thursday too!) and the busiest periods tend to be the end of August/beginning of September and the middle of February.
Most publishers will give more detailed information about when they would like you to publish your review but the general rule of thumb is no sooner than a month before or after 6 weeks after the publication date. Some publishers prefer you to wait until the week before publication.
It is also useful to pay attention to the archive dates as you will no longer be able to download a book after this date. When I first joined I was approved for a title on the day it was archived and did not manage to download it in time.
3. Don’t be disheartened if you are rejected
It happens a lot, to everyone.
Sometimes, you have clicked on a title which is outside your region, sometimes the publisher has reached their quota, sometimes you have lots of reviews for a different genre and they don’t think it would be a good fit.
I have been rejected for quite a few titles, including one book I was desperate to read, but all of the books that I wanted to read I have since managed to track down in my library or bookshop.
Maybe I didn’t get to read them early, but I did get to read them!
4. Send publisher feedback straightaway
After finishing a book, I would recommend sending some brief feedback to the publisher straightaway.
If it is a book you enjoyed and plan to review at length later on, mention this, then copy the review and links in at a later date.
If you didn’t enjoy it, I usually only give feedback to the publisher or write a very brief review on Netgalley or Goodreads.
I am happy to shout about the books I like, but am very aware of how hard an author has worked and that every reader’s experience of a book might be different; for this reason I don’t tend to shout about negative books as much, except where the content is problematic and other readers might appreciate an advance warning.
You are not paid to read and review on Netgalley – in fact, it is a great opportunity to read books that might be different from your usual fare or not available in your area.
While it is lovely to get some feedback from a publisher, to see your review being featured or to see your feedback percentage looking healthy, don’t let it stress you out.
I know lots of people who have cleared out their Netgalley backlog by simply sending publisher feedback saying ‘Sorry, I had wanted to read this, but it is no longer my cup of tea’. The publishers know that not everyone will read and review and not everyone will love their books.
In an ideal world, they would get feedback from every reader, but they’re human too and it’s not worth losing sleep over when you’ve tried your best.
Have you joined Netgalley?
Which titles have you discovered through Netgalley?
Were any of these tips useful?
Would you like more tips about using Netgalley?
Let me know in the comments!