To request or not to request—that is the question NetGalley members ask themselves every day. To help make that decision easier, here’s a look at what factors members should consider before making a request, some new features that impact pending requests, and answers to commonly asked questions about the approval and request process.
Before You Request
Every title details page on NetGalley contains a wealth of information that can help you to make an informed decision about whether or not to request a book. Here are a few things to do before hitting that tempting Request button:
Check the pub date and archive date
The pub date lets you know when a book is being published and the archive date tells you when the book will no longer be available to request or download from NetGalley. Books archive automatically on the date selected by a publisher, so keep that in mind if you’re requesting a book on or near the date it’s archiving. Remember that once a book is archived it can no longer be downloaded. It’s helpful to download books once you see that you’re approved and not wait.
Check the format
Below a book’s description is a section titled Available on NetGalley. Here you’ll see the download formats. The NetGalley Shelf app is the exclusive way to listen to audiobooks made available on NetGalley, and most DRCs on NetGalley are accessible there as well. DRCs may also be available to send to Kindle, or Download as a protected PDF or EPUB (this is common for image-heavy books such as cookbooks that don’t translate well to Kindle). These both can be read on supported devices and apps. Checking this section can help you to make an informed decision before requesting a book that may not be available in a reading format you prefer.
Check approval preferences
This is especially helpful if you’re requesting a book from a new-to-you publisher. Visit their page on NetGalley to see their Approval Preferences. This will give you an overview of what they’re looking for when they check a member’s Profile. If you notice your Bio is missing something, you can add it before you request one of their books!
Consider your Feedback Ratio
The temptation to request any book that looks interesting on NetGalley can be strong, but it’s important to thoughtfully consider if the book is a good fit for you and if you have room on your TBR to read and review it. Every book you access impacts your Feedback Ratio, a calculated percentage of feedback to approved books and audiobooks. It’s an important stat that publishers consider when making approvals. We recommend keeping your Feedback Ratio close to 80% and checking in on both your Feedback Ratio and reading schedule before making requests can help to ensure that your percentage stays high.
If Your Request is Pending
If something changes while you have a pending request, you may need to utilize one of these new features:
Withdraw your request
As we discussed above, it’s important to make thoughtful requests on NetGalley. But for the times when you make a request in error, you can now withdraw a request. Visit the Not Active section of your Shelf and then click Pending Requests. Click the red text that reads Withdraw Request to begin the process. Be warned: If you withdraw a pending request you will not have the ability to re-request, even if it changes to Read Now. Learn more about withdrawn requests here.
Access while Read Now
Occasionally, a publisher will change a book’s availability to Read Now, usually in conjunction with a promotion. If this happens to a book you have as a pending request already, you’ll now see a Read Now button on the title details page. Click the button to access the book, which will move it from the Pending Requests to Start Reading section of your Shelf. Note: You will not be automatically notified if a book’s availability changes to Read Now, so make sure you’re subscribed to promotional emails!
Approval Process FAQs
Here are some common questions members have about requesting books on NetGalley.
Who approves requests?
Every request is approved by the publisher of the book (or the PR firm or author who is hosting it on NetGalley). Some publishers even have more than one staff member granting approvals. In our interview with Sydney Tillman, the Publicity Manager at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, she shared that on her team “publicists are only approving requests on NetGalley for members who identify as Media Professionals and Reviewers while marketing handles Bookseller, Librarian, and Educator requests.”
How does the approval process work?
Every publisher operates differently, depending on their own internal workflows and strategies. Estelle Hallick, the Publicity and Marketing Manager at Forever, gave us a glimpse into how she manages approvals in our interview: “I always start by looking at the Feedback Ratio; I sort the reviewer requests and start the approval process with the highest numbers… When I start to get below 80%, I begin reading through bios. I tend to give more attention to the people under 80% because I’m genuinely interested to know why they are requesting the title or what brings them to NetGalley.”
Will a critical review impact my chances of requests being approved in the future?
No—publishers value both glowing and critical reviews. In our interview with Cynthia Shannon, the Senior Marketing Manager of Food and Lifestyle at Chronicle Books, she shared a story about how critical early reviews of a cookbook helped to change her team’s marketing plan! Read about it here.
What can help my chances of being approved?
First, make sure your Profile is in good shape. We have tips here for what to include and a list of dos and don’ts here. Second, work on your Feedback Ratio, which we recommend keeping around 80%. Here are ways to improve your ratio.
As we mentioned above, check publishers’ Approval Preferences before making requests. This can offer you insight into specific things that a publisher wants to see in your Profile.
We also highly recommend reading the interviews in our Publisher Spotlight series, where publishers share what they like to see in member Profiles and common missteps from members that can lead to not approving a request.
I did everything recommended above, so why was my request still not approved or left pending?
There are a few reasons why a request wasn’t approved by a publisher.
You may have a different member type than the publisher is looking for during a specific timeframe. Publishers often run campaigns that target specific member types. They may start by only approving librarian requests, and then move on to reviewer requests once it’s a bit closer to pub date. Also, an incorrect member type—such as someone who sells their used books on eBay saying they are a bookseller—will often have their requests declined by a publisher. If you realize you have the incorrect member type, contact us so we can help change it.
A publisher may have reached their approval limit. Due to corporate rules or based on the specifics of a particular campaign, publishers will often have a specific number of approvals for each member type that they’re allowed to grant.
You may live in a region where the publisher doesn’t hold the book rights. When an agent negotiates a book contract with a publisher, that includes the publisher acquiring the rights to distribute that book to a certain territory. They legally can’t distribute or market outside of that territory because publishers in other countries could be in the process of acquiring the rights to that book themselves. In the Account Security section of your Profile, you can keep the Region Preference filter set to only show books within your region.
While it can be disappointing to not be approved for an anticipated book, remember that it isn’t a personal decision and that you can always continue to support the author by buying the book when it publishes or requesting it from your library.
I was approved!! What do I do now?
Celebrate and tell the book world! Tag us @NetGalley on social media so we can share in your excitement.
Be sure to read over the publisher’s approval email carefully, as it may ask that you not publish your review until a specific date. If that email doesn’t include specific guidelines, submit your review on NetGalley whenever you’re ready—and share with your audience! We have review tips here if you need them.
If you share your review on social media, tag the publisher and NetGalley, but refrain from tagging the author if your review has any critique. Don’t forget to use the publisher-provided hashtag (found on the book’s title details page, beneath the cover).