Friday, May 17, 2013

Net Galley: How to Best Utilize This Resource

Net Galley is a website whose purpose is to promote and publicize upcoming titles.  It does that by offering e-book galleys to those who love to read and recommend books, including book bloggers. 

Signing up and keeping an account are completely free.  The galleys are also completely free as long as you share feedback with publishers.  You request a book that interests you.  If the publisher selects you, you download the galley right from Net Galley’s website onto your Kindle or to your computer. Here is information on how to transfer a download onto your reading device if you don't use a Kindle.

I personally download adult and YA titles to my Kindle and children’s books to my computer.  My Kindle is a Paperwhite and I need to look at the color illustrations in the picture books.  Plus I kind of like keeping them separate.  A few books won’t have downloads straight to Kindle, especially the some of the smaller publishers, but I haven’t run into that very often.

Net Galley offers a ton of books from all kinds of publishers.  Mysteries, romance, young adult, craft & hobbies, health & body, cooking & wine, politics, arts & photography, literary fiction, comics & graphic novels, history, travel, and more. 

This is the catalog on Net Galley.  I tried to do a screen shot but it didn't work
out so I just took a photo of my screen. :P

The publishers that utilize Net Galley range from the big six to small presses.  Examples:
Algonquin Books
Bloomsbury USA
Chicago Review Press
Wisdom Publications

The bigger publishing houses have all of their imprints on there, too.  So no matter if you prefer to grab the latest & greatest from Random House or offer your review services to indie presses, Net Galley has a wide variety.  You can even search by publisher and see what each has to offer.

Net Galley simply offers the service.  Getting selected to review a galley is strictly up to the publishers themselves.  I have heard from several bloggers, including long-standing bloggers, that they don’t often get selected.  Here are my tips and tricks to better your chances:

1.  PROFILE: Take a look at your profile.  Do you have all the information filled out?  Do you have a way for publishers to contact you?  Now read your bio.  You need to include specific info in it:

·        Where you review
·        How long you’ve been reviewing
·        What types of books you review
·        How many people your blog reaches, so include your number of subscriptions/followers on your blog, as well as on Twitter, and your blog’s FB page, if you have one.
·        If you are wanting to review for more than one blog, you need to include stats for each of them.
·        Finally, if you are active in the blogging community, tell them that.  They want to know how much influence you have on others, so tell them exactly how influential you are.  It’s okay to brag a little. 

2. PHOTO: If you were Random House, would you give a galley to Blogger A who has the above information plus a recent photo of themselves, or would you give it to Blogger B who has barely any info and no photo?  If you answered Blogger A, ding ding ding! You win!  Publishers want to be able to connect with you as much as your readers do.  Let them see who is writing those amazing reviews on your blog.  Give them something to remember.  A photo of your blog name is better than no photo, but a personal picture of yourself is the best.  No one can see it but the publishers and Net Galley staff.  Other members of Net Galley don’t have access to your profile.  It’s not a social network. 

3. FEEDBACK: Publishers check and see if you are giving feedback for the galleys you receive.  If you have received 50 galleys and have given feedback on 8, they aren’t going to waste their time with you more than likely.  The better your galley to feedback ratio, the more you will be selected as a reviewer.  

  Now, feedback consists of two things ideally: 

  One, you review it on your blog, and two, you submit the link to your review and any other comments to the publisher via Net Galley’s feedback form, which they provide for you.  It’s easy to find.  There is a button linking to the form right beside the buttons to download the books.  It’s easy-peasy.  You’re already submitting your review to Goodreads and Amazon and wherever else, so it’s just one more place to copy and paste it.  Plus, this one gets you even more advanced copies of titles.  It’s a win-win, really.

4. TIME MANAGEMENT:  I’m as bad as anyone for requesting more books than I really have any business doing.  Look at the publishing dates.  Often that will give you some idea of when they want their book reviewed by.  Net Galley will archive books at some point.  If you download a book into, say, Adobe Reader, you have a certain number of days to read it.  I think it is 55 days.  Different books will archive at different times, depending on how long the publisher wants to offer the book to reviewers. 

  Some books don’t have an archive date set, which is good because you have more time to read it and get your feedback in to the publishers.  Don’t request more books than you can review within the next month or so.  Go with optimism just in case they all say yes you can review our book.  You don’t want to have gone over just in case they say no and then end up with way too many on your plate.  Better to lowball it.

5. COUNTRY AVAILABILITY: Some publishers and imprints are looking for readers in specific countries.  If this is the case, it will say so at the top of the request page for the book. I, myself, have not noticed this before and requested a book that was only for U.K. or Australian readers and of course my request was denied because I didn’t read the thing like I should have.  So check this and make sure you aren’t requesting books that are not available to you simply based on geographic location.

6. APPROVAL PREFERENCES: In addition, some publishers have other specific approval preferences.  You can check these preferences on their publisher’s page, which you can reach via Browse Publishers.  Click on the name and it will give you the info.  Then you can search their titles if you fit their criteria.  This is especially good to do if you find yourself getting turned down by the same publisher a couple of times.

7.  DON’T STRESS: At the time of writing this, I have downloaded 99 galleys and given feedback on 65.  I have between 15 and 25 galleys that have recently been approved, including children’s books, which is why it is kind of high.  So I have a good ratio.  I have a fairly good size readership and I’m big into the blogging community.  Yet, sometimes I get turned down for books, too.  It happens.  They’ve fulfilled their quota.  I didn’t realize the book was for U.K. residents only.  So don’t stress out.  Just do these things listed above and the galleys will soon come rolling in.

If this is all kind of overwhelming or you would like some additional tips and tricks, Net Galley is actually offering a new program called the Net Galley Wellness Challenge.  It’s a 9-week challenge that started May 13th that will help you improve the “wellness” of your Net Galley experience, including free webinars.  I’m considering taking it just because you’re eligible for prizes. :D  I don’t know what it will be like but hey, it couldn’t hurt.  


  1. Great article~ I'll be sharing this all over the place ;) Well, at least on Twitter, lol.

  2. Thanks for this! I had just glanced at the Wellness Challenge in my e-mail, but didn't get a chance to see what it was all about, so this was a good overview. I still have such a hard time getting a good idea of total blog followers and I'm not sure if there's a way to accurately tell? I try to focus more on the stats I can clearly pull from Analytics, so I know it's accurate.

    1. That's the most accurate way I know, Shannon!

  3. Great article! I don't yet have an e-reader, but am going to be bookmarking this if and when I ever get one! I hear great things about NetGalley!

  4. I wish NetGalley had a "save for later" or similar button, where I could bookmark books I'm interested in, and, if they are still available when I have time to read, request them. As it is, when I see one that interests me, I request it and sometimes I request too many. So far though, I get most of what I ask for.


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