Meet the NetGalley Team: Mark O’Brien

Welcome back to the latest installment in NetGalley’s staff interview series. We’re profiling different members of our team to give you a peek behind the curtain at what we’re working on, our best tips for members, and more. Here, we want to introduce you to Sales Coordinator Mark O’Brien!

Meet Mark

Role: Sales Coordinator

Years at NetGalley: 2.5

An indie bookstore you love: Harriett’s Bookshop

Last NetGalley request: The New Masculinity by Alex Manley, narrated by Tom Max

Book you always recommend: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

What brought you to book publishing and what led you to NetGalley?

I began my first internship in the book publishing industry six weeks after I graduated from high school, working in editorial at an independent publisher. From there, I haven’t stopped! I went on to intern and assist at five literary agencies, offer freelance editorial and sensitivity reading services, and volunteer with organizations like Tessera Editorial and Diverse Voices, including #DVpit.

As my industry experience became more well-rounded, and my resume became longer, my career stalled. The book publishing industry is a competitive one! Even though I applied for every role that seemed like a potential fit for me, I received few responses, all of which were “no.” Luckily, in October 2020, I spotted a job opening at NetGalley for a part-time administrative assistant working with the Sales team. I applied, interviewed, and got the role—and here we are! 😀


What do you love most about your job?

My entire role at NetGalley, as I see it, is centered around advocating for our self-, hybrid-, and independently published authors and our indie press clients. I find indie publishing is often underestimated—and yet, a lot of the best ideas come from that particular sector of this industry! My role requires me to have a finger planted firmly on the pulse of the most exciting, experimental part of the bookish world. I wouldn’t want it any other way.


What do you wish people knew about your job?

I wish people knew that NetGalley has a very small team, especially compared to the many hundreds of author and publisher clients we work with—not to mention the hundreds of thousands of NetGalley members!


In what ways have you seen the industry change since you first started, and in what ways do you hope it continues to evolve?

I started working in book publishing in 2015. In the time since, I’ve been part of a variety of conversations regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion; accountability; and accessibility. I watched Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give spend more total weeks on the New York Times best sellers list than there are total bones in the typical adult human body.

The primary way I hope the industry continues to evolve is by hiring more Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color; and committing the time, resources, and the energy the industry leaned into in June 2020, to retain the BIPOC workers it already has. That involves things like: offering a living wage to entry-level employees; paying interns; allowing for remote work as much as possible (remote, not hybrid); eliminating unnecessary barriers to employment, like degree requirements; having policies in place allowing for accommodating disabled and neurodivergent workers’ needs; recognizing that no identity is a monolith, and that intersections exist.


What is your number one tip for new NetGalley members?

I have three:

  1. Avoid going on a “request spree” as much as possible. You never know when your requests will be evaluated. You probably don’t want 25 approvals overnight!
  2. Utilize the Read Now and Listen Now sections of the NetGalley catalog, ensuring you submit Feedback for those titles. (Remember, even if you accessed a title as Read Now or Listen Now, it still counts toward your Feedback Ratio.)
  3. When you see a title you think you’ll love on NetGalley, but you’re unsure whether you’ll have time to read and review it, create a TBR List, add it there, and come back to it later. 


What’s one tip you have for members to keep in mind when crafting book reviews?

Think big picture when it comes to reviewing rather than becoming overly invested in nitty-gritty details. Most authors and publishers have bigger fish to fry than that one missing comma on page 230. Instead, in your review, focus on aspects of the book like plot, character development, pacing, voice, structure, and so on.


How do you make time for reading?

Audiobooks are my primary means of reading right now, and I find audio is the perfect format for me, personally, because it allows me to make time for reading—whether I’m cooking, cleaning, working, or cuddling with my cat, I probably have my earbuds in!

Five Backlist YA & MG Books Mark Loves

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Stay tuned for more interviews with our team members!

What questions would you want to ask someone who works at NetGalley?

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More Bookish Interviews

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

1 Comment
  1. Thank you so much for interviewing me, Kelly! It was such a treat to have the chance to speak with you about publishing and NetGalley and review strategies (oh my!). I very much appreciate all that you do! 🙂

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