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. Earlier this year, you met We Are Bookish’s Executive Editor and now we want to introduce you to Hallie Fields, who you’ll recognize from our social media channels!
What led you to NetGalley?
I was a public librarian specializing in Teen Services for the past 5 years and I’ve been working in libraries since I was a teenager. Working in a public service field became increasingly difficult in the last few years and I knew I was ready for a change. My favorite part of being a librarian was always connecting patrons to resources and books and supporting authors. I realized my passion was working behind the scenes to help readers find their next favorite book. I was a longtime NetGalley member and always appreciated the work the team did to reach out to the bookish community. I am so honored to get to connect with library workers, booksellers, authors, publishers, educators, and many other book advocates every day in my role!
What recommendations do you have for anyone looking to follow a similar career path?
Changing your career or pivoting to a new role can definitely be scary. It’s okay to take a new path! Reflect on what you’re passionate about within the bookish community and find professionals who are working in those roles. I learned so much just from following other people in the industry on Twitter or Instagram and keeping up with the latest news and conversations happening on those channels.
Has working in the publishing industry changed the way you read?
Definitely! First, I’m just more aware of how many people are involved in getting a book published. I really enjoy reading through the acknowledgments of books to see all of the people who helped bring it to life. I also seek out smaller presses and indie-published books now that I’m more familiar with the industry. I love boosting and supporting as many authors as I can.
As a former librarian, I usually think about readalikes and thematic connections for when I offer book recommendations. Reading widely makes it so I can create fun book lists to help fellow readers find their new favorite book.
What does a typical day at NetGalley look like for you? Is there anything about your day-to-day job that surprises people?
A typical day at NetGalley begins in my home office since our team works remotely! I start my day with a giant iced coffee while I browse through our social media mentions and make sure to note anything I want to share. I create, schedule, and promote content for both the NetGalley and BookishFirst platforms on a daily basis. I love reading through our Members’ comments and replies each day and seeing all the books they’re reading! I also collaborate with our team to work on planning special projects like our #ThankYouBookAdvocates campaign and our monthly #NetGalleyChats.
People are surprised at just how much planning goes into running a brand’s social media. We are usually planning a few months ahead and always have an eye on how our content is doing to know what worked and what didn’t. It’s really fun and interesting to see what’s trending!
Do you have a 2022 reading resolution?
Yes! It’s so easy to feel like I’m falling behind when I’m really focused on reading stats or keeping up with every new release. This year I really want to remember that reading is my hobby and something I should look forward to doing, not just something to check off a list.
Last year I read over 300 books, and while I was proud to meet my goal, I felt like I was too focused on the number. I’m leaning into being a mood reader and choosing whatever topic or genre I’m interested in and not worrying about what I feel like I should be reading just because I’m trying to reach a goal or keep up with someone else.
In what ways have you seen the industry change since you first started, and in what ways do you hope it continues to evolve?
One big change I’ve noticed since I started working in libraries is a wider embrace of romance, audiobooks, and graphic novels. I’ve been lucky to volunteer and work in lots of library systems, and I’ve seen entire sections of the collection double and then triple in size. I loved seeing patrons find comfort in the romance genre or become a big fan of comics. It’s wonderful to see readers embrace something that used to be a “guilty pleasure” or something they felt they could only like in secret.
I hope to see the publishing and book industry continue to support readers and focus on equity of access even more. It’s so important that all readers have the opportunity to see themselves and their stories reflected in books.
What kind of reader are you: a mood reader, someone who crafts monthly TBRs, someone who participates in reading challenges?
I usually have big plans of creating monthly TBRs or participating in fun reading challenges, but they never quite work out because I’m such a mood reader. I read a mix of YA, romance, comics, non-fiction, middle grade, sci-fi, and thrillers. Plus I like to reread old favorites, especially ones from my childhood. Last year I got really into historical romance and abandoned all other TBR piles so I could try lots of new authors. I also love checking out anything that catches my eye at the library. I never have a lack of choices for my TBR!