If you’re a book advocate or industry professional (reviewer, blogger, librarian, bookseller, educator, journalist or member of the media) who wants to discover and recommend new books to your audience, NetGalley is for you! You can use NetGalley for free to request and read books before they are published, and provide essential reviews and feedback to publishers and other readers. But we know getting started can be daunting! Whether you’re a NetGalley newbie or a long-time member in need of a refresher, check out these tips.
First and foremost: Fill out your Profile!
Think about your NetGalley Profile like a resume. The information in your Profile is what publishers see when deciding to approve or decline your requests, so make sure to keep your Bio professional and succinct. A love of books brought all of us to NetGalley, so don’t worry about expressing that passion to publishers. Instead, focus on relevant information about how you use digital review copies and explain your role as an industry professional. If you’re a Reviewer, clearly state where you review books (including important stats about your platforms, such as average monthly pageviews to your blog or social media reach) and share any book-related extracurriculars (like if you run a book club). Librarians, booksellers, and educators: make sure to indicate if you are a member of any professional associations. Click here for more insight into what you should include in your Profile based on your member type.
Provide important links
Your Profile includes a section asking “Where do you talk about books?” This is a crucial place to provide links to any websites or social media where you share your book reviews, the media outlets where you cover books, or the bookstore, library, or school where you’re employed. List all relevant links, and revisit them in a few months to make sure they continue to represent the platforms you’re most active on. Pro tip: Set a recurring reminder in your calendar to update the stats and links in your Profile.
Share your reading preferences
In the Reading Preferences section of your Profile, indicate categories you’re most interested in or are assigned to cover professionally, and give publishers more information about your reading habits. These preferences help NetGalley tailor the types of books you’ll be notified about in email newsletters and other alerts from publishers.
Follow publishers’ Approval Preferences
On publisher pages, press View Approval Preferences to learn more about what a particular publisher is looking for when approving requests. Since publishers utilize NetGalley in different ways, these preferences can give you insight into how they want to connect with specific member types and what information they want to see in member Profiles. If you frequently interact with a specific publisher, make sure to read through their preferences to ensure you become a valuable contact for them. Pro tip: Adding publishers to your Favorites allows you to easily find them again if you want to remind yourself of their preferences or see what new books they’ve added most recently. For more advice directly from a publisher, check out our interview with a publicist!
Avoid the request spree
It can be tempting to request every book that appeals to you when you’re first browsing through NetGalley. Before you request, make sure your Profile is as strong as possible. Then only request books you truly hope to read and review or consider for your store, library, or classroom. NetGalley members are expected to provide Feedback for the majority of books they access, in exchange for getting free digital review copies. Keep in mind that if you’re unable to keep up once approvals start rolling in, it’ll have a negative impact on your Feedback Ratio, which can be tough to quickly recover from. Start slow and steady.
Learn from declined requests
Publishers have a wide range of criteria for approvals, which can vary by imprint and type of book, and they often cannot approve all requests that are received. Publishers and authors use NetGalley to help accomplish a variety of goals, and incorporate NetGalley into their overall marketing and publicity efforts in different ways—so if your request is declined, use it as an opportunity to learn from their specific preferences.
Utilize ‘Read Now’ books
Aptly named, Read Now availability means you don’t need to request publisher approval before accessing the book—so you can immediately start reading and reviewing. Take advantage of Read Now books to help build up your Feedback Ratio, which is one of the key stats publishers consider when approving requests.
Your NetGalley account can help you organize and prioritize: Your Shelf tracks books that are ready for Feedback, and the weekly NetGalley Checklist email can provide helpful reminders (so be sure to opt into the Checklist in the Additional Information section of your Profile). Many members also choose to organize their reading schedule using spreadsheets or bullet journals. Our interview with NetGalley member Lili includes her tips, and we have more tricks for making time for reading here.
Read, review, repeat
If you’re new to NetGalley, there’s a chance you’re also new to the world of book reviews. Valuable reviews are crucial to publishers and authors, as are the star ratings, Opinions, and industry list nominations that you submit via NetGalley. Increase the visibility of your reviews by sharing to your blog, social platforms, and retail sites—with just one click right within your NetGalley account. Read our tips for writing a good book review, a critical book review, and audiobook review to help build your platform as a book advocate.