On We Are Bookish, the NetGalley team has shared our staff reads, our favorite audiobook narrators and book adaptations, fun facts about our company, and our most-anticipated reads of the year. And now it’s time to properly introduce ourselves! Throughout the year we’ll be profiling different members of the NetGalley team to share what we’re working on, our best tips for members, and more. First, meet Kelly Gallucci, a voice you’re likely pretty familiar with already.
Tell us about your career trajectory: What brought you to book publishing and what led you to NetGalley?
I grew up with a love of reading (like so many of us in this industry), but didn’t have a strong sense of what that future might look like for myself. After grad school, I landed an editorial internship in New York City that turned into a job at a tiny startup editing a website called Bookish. The team at NetGalley had been wanting to grow their existing blog into a space for members to find valuable tips and book recommendations, so they snatched me and Bookish up and together we transformed it into the site you see today!
For anyone interested in pursuing a career in the industry, I’d recommend doing as much research as possible. There are so many branches of publishing to explore: most NetGalley members are familiar with marketing and publicity (more on what a publicist does here!), which may be perfect for you or you could fall in love with sales or subsidiary rights or design! Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice. Having a mentor or trusted friend you can go to for guidance is truly invaluable.
What’s one tip you have for members to keep in mind when crafting book reviews?
I’ve shared a lot of review advice on We Are Bookish in the past, but something that I always focus on when I’m crafting my own reviews is who the book’s perfect reader is. I think the best reviews speak not only to someone’s personal opinion, but also to who they think the best audience for the book is, even if it wasn’t themself. I genuinely believe that every book has a reader and that the role of a reviewer is to make sure those readers who will love that book find it.
What do you love most about your job? What do you want people to know about your job?
I love being able to champion books and authors that I feel passionately about—especially giving a spotlight to debut authors, authors of color, and queer authors. Since I’ve been in the industry for a few years, I’ve also gotten to see authors’ careers start and grow and change as they perfect their craft and take new risks, which is really cool. An author may start out in YA and then write an adult book and then move into comics—you never know where their storytelling will take them and it’s exciting to witness that.
The other part of my job that I love goes hand-in-hand with supporting books: helping readers. Whether it’s a librarian finding the perfect book for their book club with one of our book club kits or a reader discovering their next favorite author, I am so happy any time that I get to play a part in introducing a reader to a book they’re excited about.
Over the years people have had a lot of funny misconceptions about my job—like thinking I get paid to read all day—and I think in general people tend to underestimate the challenges of creative jobs. There’s an immense amount of research, strategy, and planning involved in what I do, and doing what you love doesn’t mean the work isn’t difficult. I’d want people to remember that when they think about the work the artists, writers, social media managers, and other creatives in their life do.
How do you make time for reading?
I’ve written an entire article of tips and tricks for reading more, but my personal favorite method is listening to audiobooks. I listen when I’m doing chores around the house, when I’m baking—I even squeeze in an extra minute any time I get up to make a cup of tea.
I’m not only reading more than I ever did before, but listening to audiobooks has helped me appreciate stories in an entirely new way because of what a great narrator can add to a book. Falling in love with a new narrator is as exciting as finding a new favorite author for me. Right now I can’t get enough of Natalie Naudus.
I have a beginner’s guide to audiobooks here for anyone who wants to start listening but doesn’t know how best to begin. Also, I can’t recommend Libro.fm highly enough—they’re my favorite place to buy audiobooks because they let me support an indie bookstore when I do.
What’s something about NetGalley or the publishing industry that you think would surprise casual readers?
When I first entered the industry, I was surprised to learn that the endcaps at my local Barnes & Noble were sometimes the result of a publisher putting a large marketing budget into that placement. I’ve found books I’ve absolutely adored that way, but it also made me wonder about the books I may have missed that weren’t promoted on that same endcap.
As my job evolved into one where I had the editorial freedom to select which books were being featured on the websites I worked on, I made sure to take those factors into consideration. It’s another part of my job that I love—getting to spotlight not just those big and buzzy books, but also the quiet gems that don’t have the same budget and are equally worthy of reader attention. It’s also exciting to see the kind of hype that NetGalley members can create around a book they’re excited about!
Who are some of your favorite bookish influencers (podcasters, social media, etc) to follow?
Instagram is the platform I frequent the most and I could list so many creators that are doing cool things in that space. One standout is @thekneadtoread. I’m a casual baker and she inspires me constantly with her stunning food and book pairings. From flavors to design to the final layout, her creativity is simply incredible.
On Booktube, I think Jess Owens is excellent. She’s so funny and thoughtful in her reviews and I always like hearing her take on sci-fi and fantasy books and media. Plus her French Bulldog Nigel, who makes frequent appearances, is the cutest!
For podcasts, Fated Mates is my absolute favorite—it’s all about romance novels and is hosted by Sarah MacLean (who I can’t speak about highly enough) and romance critic Jen Prokop. I am a better reader for having listened to it and I come away from each episode with a stronger understanding of the genre that I love. I’m particularly enjoying the series of interviews they’re doing this season with trailblazers in romance.
Kelly’s last five NetGalley requests…