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 NetGalley’s Social Media Assistant Manager—now we want to introduce you to Technical Project Manager Emily Lau!
Role: Technical Project Manager
Years at NetGalley: Almost 2 years
Last book requested on NetGalley: The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim
Book you recommend to everyone: Circe by Madeline Miller and The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
An indie bookstore you love: McNally Jackson
Tell us about your career trajectory: What brought you to book publishing and what led you to NetGalley?
My first foray into the book publishing industry was an internship at Penguin Random House during college. I was an intern for the Ebooks Development team, helping with the development and testing of tools used for ebook production. My experiences that summer really opened my eyes to how tech impacts the world of book publishing. I graduated college (with a degree in computer science and a minor in creative writing) and while job searching, I was telling people that I felt like I’d do something related to tech but not necessarily be a software engineer. I was also secretly hoping I could find something in the publishing industry. I kept an eye on the Publishers Lunch Job Board, where I stumbled across a job listing from NetGalley. It pretty much blew my mind how well the job fit with my experience and interests while also offering the opportunity to learn new things.
What does a typical day at NetGalley look like for you?
The first thing I do when my workday starts is check my email. I am part of the Product Management team and we often get emails with requests, issues, and questions from others on the NetGalley team. Throughout the day, I spend a lot of time researching and documenting, which helps with planning for improvements and new features. I also track progress on current projects, write and refine requirements for upcoming work, and help with testing to ensure the NetGalley platform looks and functions as expected.
What is your number one tip for new NetGalley members?
Take some time to look over and update your NetGalley Profile! Your NetGalley Profile should be up-to-date with the information that best represents you as a reader and book advocate.
What do you love most about your job? What do you wish people knew about your job?
I love working with so many dedicated and interesting people. I also enjoy researching, especially when we’re planning a new project. That’s always fun.
As for what I wish people knew about my job (besides what my responsibilities are and what my day-to-day looks like), not everyone knows that we work remotely at NetGalley. We’re all across the world, everyone works from home (or whatever location they work best in), and we have Slack, email, and scheduled Zoom calls as our main ways of communicating with each other.
What kind of reader are you: a mood reader, someone who crafts monthly TBRs, someone who participates in reading challenges?
Mood reader 100%! And I switch between books often. I read ebooks almost exclusively, but I’ll purchase physical copies of my favorite books and reread them. Occasionally I participate in reading challenges, but I use them more to keep track of what books I’ve read rather than to plan my next read. The Bookish Bingo boards are a lot of fun—after I finish a book (and draft my review), I look to see what box I can mark off on the board. I rarely get a bingo, but each board is a great visual of the books I read that month!
Do you have a 2022 reading resolution?
My 2022 reading resolution is to read 36 books. I would also like to read more poetry and more historical fiction this year.
Emily’s Last Five Star Reads
I loved the interview with Emily and look forward to reading about more NetGalley employees. I have been a member of NetGalley for many years now and have posted well over 1300 reviews there. I admit that when I open my computer in the morning, the first thing I want to do is check out the new books on NetGalley. Who needs to read emails or the news first? Not me. It’s all about books and NetGalley is my candy store. Thanks so much for offering me so much fun in my life.