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NetGalley - let's start a discussion


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#1 AQCrew

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 11:28 AM

In case you haven't heard about NetGalley, it's currently one of the major resources for garnering book reviews for both traditionally published books and indie self-published books.  The majority of professional book reviewers and bloggers use Netgalley to receive their ARCs (advanced reader copies) from publishers (on behalf of their authors) or directly indie authors, and we know that the librarian community is tied-in into it as well.  It has been a resource for the traditional publishing sphere for many years, but now, it is quickly becoming a well-known PR tool for indie authors as well. 

 

We'd like to hear from the AQC community on your experience with NetGalley (as an author, blogger, librarian, etc.), the mechanics of membership and distribution of ARCs, the process and pitfalls of putting ARCs (advanced reader copies out into the world), the total number of ARCs that are released and anything else that might spur an interesting discussion.



#2 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:10 PM

Personally I had a really bad experience with NetGalley thanks to 2 bloggers who (I subsequently found out) had their joint project declined by my publisher. So they went on a personal vendetta to request & trash as many of their titles as they could before being caught. Shame it took the publisher 6 months to figure it out. Meanwhile there were a handful of unsuspecting authors (like me) who were blind sided by the complete vitriol. I don't have an issue with negative reviews, I don't expect everybody to like to books, but there is no reason to pull apart an author photo and make rude comments about an author's appearance as part of a supposed "book review."

 

Apart from that I did find some great reviewers from NetGalley for my first book, who took a punt and requested it based on the cover art alone. Those reviewers have become followers/friends and we no longer need NetGalley to shoot them ARCs. I have heard that the quality of reviews overall is declining as some bloggers solely sign up for the free books. My publisher said many reviews they see on new titles now are only 1-2 lines (the minimum text they have to provide).



#3 sharpegirl

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:50 PM

My experience with NetGalley has been very limited, because my publisher takes care of it. But it's largely been very positive. We had to go up on NetGalley and Edelweiss early because of the book getting selected for the Spring Indies Next list, and that made me nervous because we were still doing final passes, but it worked out and was updated the day after edits were finalized (the nice thing about digital ARC's!) I know my publisher was very selective over who was allowed a digital ARC, but there was a lot of requests. Which was nice. 

 

There was a funny thing with the cover, where they had to pull it and replace it with an all black one, because the UK publisher was planning a reveal and didn't want it to be spoiled. NetGalley was very flexible and fast about it. 

 

I don't read my reviews, but my friends who keep track of them for me reported back that after digital ARC's went out, there was definitely an uptick in ratings/reviews/adds on GR. More so when paper ARC's went out, though, I think. And when librarian/bloggers began to talk about it. 



#4 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 08:28 PM

I don't normally read my reviews either, but I got an email from my publisher stating "here's another great review from NetGalley..." so I clicked on it (that'll learn me & I don't do it any more! LOL). After I threw bleach in my eyes I emailed them back and pointed out if would be nice if they read the reviews first and didn't send me links to 1-stars laden with personal attacks... 



#5 sharpegirl

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 08:37 PM

Oh my gosh, that's awful! They should have vetted them for you!

#6 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 08:42 PM

Yip, even more embarrassing when they blast links all over social media without reading the review first...

 

NetGalley is a great tool, but like anything is open to abuse by a small percentage. It's also difficult when you have a more niche genre like steampunk, I pulled my hair out trying to find blog tours that would look at me twice. Now I have a teeny tiny handful of awesome readers I know I can send them ARCs instead of taking a punt with bloggers who may not like my work.



#7 AQCrew

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:59 AM

NetGalley is a great tool, but like anything is open to abuse by a small percentage. It's also difficult when you have a more niche genre like steampunk, I pulled my hair out trying to find blog tours that would look at me twice. Now I have a teeny tiny handful of awesome readers I know I can send them ARCs instead of taking a punt with bloggers who may not like my work.

 

That's all very interesting.

 

AWExley.... do you mean that you used NetGalley to try to help you find blog tour organizers -- or just bloggers and then eventually a related blog tour company?And the book you had a hard time finding a blog tour for... was it adult steampunk or YA steampunk?  You later got a major blog tour organizer to take on your YA steampunk, right?  What was the perceived difference?

 

There's no question that NetGalley is an insider-industry resource, so anyone who's just starting out as a novice indie author should likely be aware that you're stepping into the rushing river -- not the timid stream -- if you choose to attempt to navigate its waters.

 

It should be also noted that there are some PR resources that are only interested in traditionally published work from the major publishers and that might not be obvious while using NetGalley.  To sharpegirl's point, major publishers know exactly who they want to promote their authors' books because they have an insider-perspective.  NetGalley is likely just a tool for ARCs management/distribution for them -- but we'd love to hear if the major pubs are using it in other ways.



#8 RC Lewis

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:09 AM

Ditto Sharpegirl. It seems our publisher is VERY picky about approving requests. I've seen some tweets where people were very excited to get my eARC because they NEVER get approved for Disney/Hyperion titles, and others who were disappointed because they were declined yet again.

 

One noticeable result of being up on NetGalley: It only takes a few days/weeks for the torrent sites to explode with pirate copies.

 

I'm still reading my reviews on GR, but I haven't checked the balance of reviews from NetGalley eARCs vs. physical ARCs from BEA vs. physical ARCs from my publisher's mailing to certain book bloggers. The reviews vary in length, including some of those super-brief ones, but I haven't noticed a ton of those yet.

 

I just got back from the ALA annual convention, where my publisher gave away over 80 physical ARCs. (I signed 80 … they gave away a batch the day before my signing, too, but I'm not sure how many.) I wonder how many of those people might have requested on NetGalley and been declined.


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#9 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 04:33 PM

That's all very interesting.

 

AWExley.... do you mean that you used NetGalley to try to help you find blog tour organizers -- or just bloggers and then eventually a related blog tour company?And the book you had a hard time finding a blog tour for... was it adult steampunk or YA steampunk?  You later got a major blog tour organizer to take on your YA steampunk, right?  What was the perceived difference?

 

 

When Nefertiti's Heart (adult steampunk) was on NetGalley there were a few reviewers who picked it up "as a punt" based on the cover art as they had either never heard of steampunk and/or never read a steampunk book before. Those 2-3 reviewers loved it and sought me out on social media and are now friends who I know I can send ARCs of my other books. I find targeting ARCs to people who enjoy my other books works much better as it is a niche market and doesn't have mass appeal.

 

My sequel did really bad on NetGalley (it was the one bashed by the mean girls) plus people requested it without reading book 1, so I think didn't understand the origins of the story. My publisher is only small, and they are not discerning with NetGalley requests so they send out ARCs to whoever asks. As a policy I think it is hit and miss.

 

NetGalley was great for my first book as it got the ball rolling, as it were, and gave me a way to forge my own connections. 

 

My YA steampunk never went up on NetGalley. Although ostensibly the tour went well, they had a policy of not posting negative reviews (1 or 2 stars) until after the tour finished. So even though a large number of bloggers requested that book and took part in the tour - about half didn't like it. I'm really struggling with that book, it's not finding a niche like my adult books and I simply don't have the networks (nor does my publisher) to tap into the YA market. I'm actually in talks at the moment to terminate the contract and pull it from publication. On a cost/benefit analysis I'm better to dump my YA series and concentrate on my adult series.



#10 AQCrew

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 11:57 AM

My YA steampunk never went up on NetGalley. Although ostensibly the tour went well, they had a policy of not posting negative reviews (1 or 2 stars) until after the tour finished. So even though a large number of bloggers requested that book and took part in the tour - about half didn't like it. I'm really struggling with that book, it's not finding a niche like my adult books and I simply don't have the networks (nor does my publisher) to tap into the YA market. I'm actually in talks at the moment to terminate the contract and pull it from publication. On a cost/benefit analysis I'm better to dump my YA series and concentrate on my adult series.

 

That's all very interesting, AWExley.  Thanks for sharing.  There's no question that YA is a different beast that the adult market, especially if you are primarily trying to sell digital books.



#11 RSMellette

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:12 PM

I am about to jump into the YA/MG Digital Waters with Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, so we'll see how it goes.

 

My prediction... Adult readers of YA will discover the book (I hope), and share it with the rest of the family.

 

Interesting stuff about NetGalley.  I'm soaking it all in.

 

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#12 Michelle4Laughs

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:29 PM

I'm a reviewer for Net Galley. Honestly, I got into it to get free books that are new releases. New releases are great as research for my writing to see the quality and direction of newer books. I've also had the advantage of getting several friend's releases before I could get them from Amazon. And basically I'm a readaholic on a pauper's budget. I've got to have something to read.

 

I always try to give an honest and detailed review. If the book just wasn't for me because of its style, I like to address that as it may suit other readers. It's hard to give negative reviews, but I try and explain why when I don't care for a book. I also only request books that are in my favorite genres, but sometimes the book blurb just doesn't match what's inside the cover very well. I get something that looks like straight fantasy and then it ends up being more romance. That's the cause of many of the negative reviews I've seen: false advertising.  :smile:

 

I post reviews of Net Galley books on Goodreads. Books that I buy for myself or get from the library, I usually skip the review to avoid any hassle. Net Galley folks are requesting the reviews and should accept that not all of them will be positive. Of course, purposely negative reviews are an evil I can't understand. What comes around, goes around, and being purposely mean will come back to reflect on you.

 

I've really enjoyed using Net Galley these last months. It's brought books I'd never have read to my attention and given me a great variety. 


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#13 AQCrew

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:59 PM

I'm a reviewer for Net Galley. Honestly, I got into it to get free books that are new releases. New releases are great as research for my writing to see the quality and direction of newer books. I've also had the advantage of getting several friend's releases before I could get them from Amazon. And basically I'm a readaholic on a pauper's budget. I've got to have something to read.

 

 

That's actually extremely smart.  Writers often fail to read and pay attention to what's currently being published -- both traditionally and indie -- and then they emerge with a manuscript and can't figure out what they're supposed to do with it or who their target audience is because they have failed to pay attention to what readers are currently READING.

 

It's interesting that you turned to NetGalley as a way to save money.  We thought that everyone had to pay to be a member, but now we realize that it is free to reviewers, bloggers, journalists, etc.  

 

NetGalley is a service to promote titles to professional readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles. Your feedback and recommendations are essential to publishers and readers alike.

 

What's your process for searching through NetGalley and deciding which books to request?  We agree that cover and blurb still are the most powerful marketing tool that an author has... and if they don't accurately reflect the contents of the book, then it does often become an unintentional form of false advertising.



#14 Michelle4Laughs

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:53 PM

It is free and the only thing required is creating a reader profile, which includes your blog and social media links. I assume because publishers want to see if you have any clout/followers when you post reviews. They do keep track of your Feedback to Approval rating, a fancy way of saying do you follow through and leave enough reviews. Net Galley recommends you have ratio of 80 percent so publishers will approve your requests to see their books.

 

And that is what you do. You can search for books by genre or age category: New adult, Teens and YA, children's, fantasy and science fiction, self help, romance and so on. Or you type in the name of an author or title and see if a particular book is available. You can also search by publisher if you wanted to learn more about what a publisher picks for their books.

 

Under the genres, it gives you a list in order of newest added. You can hover your mouse over a cover for a short description, publisher and release date of each book. I usually look for professional-looking covers and then check the book blurb.

 

Once you find a book you want, you request it and wait for the publisher to allow you to download the book or they reject you. I've had only a few rejections, probably because I do follow through and review.


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