We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions.
Since we started this collaboration in February we’ve been taking note of what YOU, our readers, have commented and some of the questions that you have asked us to explore. Danya from Fine Print asked us a few weeks ago about our approach to requesting books from publishers so we thought we would expand that into a ‘How To’ guide, with each of us discussing our individual experiences.
Amy’s been blogging for about seven months, and during that time she’s accepted books from authors and requested books from publishers. She’ll be discussing how to request physical books from publishers, and how to handle requests from authors. In addition, she’ll share some resources specifically for South African bloggers.
For the past 5 months, Uma has received as well as requested books from various sources - authors, publishers, review programs and more. She will be discussing about all these sources with a special focus on requesting physical books from Publishers.
Di will be discussing the ins and outs of NetGalley and how to successfully request books there.
What is NetGalley?
In NetGalley’s own words: “NetGalley is a service to promote and publicize forthcoming titles to readers of influence.”
Publishers large and small (even independant publishers!) use NetGalley to promote their titles. You can find anything from forthcoming titles to titles that are being republished in a different format being promoted there available for request or excerpts. Sometimes you can even find backlisted titles that haven’t yet been archived.
The categories list is immense:
Arts & Photography
Biographies & Memoirs
Business & Investing
Comics & Graphic Novels
Computers & Internet
Cooking, Food & Wine
Crafts & Hobbies
General Fiction (Adult)
Health, Mind & Body
Home & Garden
Mystery & Thrillers
Outdoors & Nature
Parenting & Families
Professional & Technical
Religion & Spirituality
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Teens & YA
Who Can Use NetGalley?
Anyone who reads and recommends books can sign up for NetGalley. This includes bloggers, book reviewers, journalists, librarians, booksellers - and it is a free service!
The first thing to do is to become a member. The registration process is very quick and easy, and as I have mentioned - completely free!
Fill in your profile
Try to provide as much information as possible in your profile! If you are a book blogger, list your book blog name and URL as your ‘Company’ as well as your Primary Blog/Site. Also mention the URL again in your Bio along with your specific blog stats.
Do… Mention your followers (include social media followers such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR LINKS WORK!!! Publishers will not go and google you or your blog - don’t make this harder for them!
Do… Remember that you are writing this for the publishers to read. “I Love to READ” is probably not going to win you any points… The more professional and succinct, the better.
Do… Include all of your stats including daily page views, unique page views and average number of comments you receive (per post or per month).
Do… Include your review frequency (some publishers want to know this!).
Do… Include your email address (I also include my postal address, JUST IN CASE!)
Do… Include a photo or your blog logo as your NetGalley profile picture
Do… Keep in mind that the publishers are putting Galleys out there in order to promote their books. Build your profile keeping in mind what YOU can potentially do to aid them in selling their books.
Publisher’s Approval Preferences
Each publisher has their own approval preferences and most publishers list these preferences on NetGalley. If you look under Publisher - View Approval Preferences you can see any special requirements the publisher has before you request.
Often these will include information I’ve already suggested you include in your profile:
-- A link to your website, blog or review website.
-- Blog outreach stats (the number of followers and unique page views you have)
-- Frequency of your reviews.
-- Your email address, so that we can follow-up.
Other times publishers will be more specific and require more from bloggers:
-- Your book blog should be established and active for (x number of) months or more (normally 3-6 months is required, depending on the publisher)
-- You have an active social media presence.
-- You regularly update your book blog with posts (keep in mind that not all of these have to be book reviews but I would recommend reviewing at least once a week.
It is also suggested that publishers prefer a feedback ratio of 80% or higher of feedback vs approvals. In order to get the 80% feedback ratio badge you need to have provided feedback on twenty titles or more. And how do you get to twenty titles? The answer to that it ‘Read Now’.
There is a Read Now section under every category of NetGalley. These are books that you don’t need to wait for approval on before you can begin reading. There is a HUGE selection here! I picked up one from Harlequin (who I had been previously declined by in the past) and then the very next request I sent to them was approved! Was it the Read Now? I don’t know! But that’s the order in which it happened.
Do… keep in mind that your feedback vs approvals does matter! A Read Now is counted as an approval and if you download 50 of these titles you will need to leave feedback on 40 of them BEFORE you reach your required ratio.
Do… Take it slowly and only request what you WILL read and only request a few at a time - it’s just easier on everybody that way. Don’t forget that not only does your feedback RATIO matter, but also leaving feedback in a TIMELY MANNER. If you request too many books from the same publisher all at once you are unlikely to be approved.
Do… Keep in mind that there’s always a title or two you just HAVE to click on so you need to leave room in your schedule for those too!
Things to Remember
- Don’t forget to check the region limitations before you request - sometimes you need to live in a certain country in order to be approved for a specific book. This is generally shown right next to the ‘Request’ button.
- Do try to stick within your genre - if a publisher sees that you are requesting YA when you normally read adult (or viceversa) you might be declined.
- Publishers DO visit your blog so go ahead and display any NetGalley badges you have received so that they can see them!
- NetGalley does not approve your requests, they simply supply the service - each publisher actually approves or declines your requests individually.
- There are usually only a limited number of ARCs available - even though they are electronic! Publishers can’t approve every request.
- If your request is accepted, download your book as quickly as you can - before the archive date and read it within the allocated timeframe which is approximately 55 days.
- These copies are generally uncorrected proof copies - some typos and format issues are to be expected.
- Please take note of the publisher’s review policy. Often they restrict reviews to thirty days prior to release meaning they do not want you to publish your review too far in advance. Some publishers ask that you wait until one week before the release date. This info can either be found in the publisher’s approval preferences on the site OR in your approval email. If no preferences are stated I always keep to the ‘30 days prior to publication’, just to be safe.
- If for some reason you do not publish a review, please send the publisher feedback as to why you have not. Publishers are reasonable and don’t expect every reader to love every book, but if you don’t leave feedback you are unlikely to be chosen again.
You’ll find sometimes that some publishers are easier for you to get approvals for than others - for example I’ve had amazing luck with Hachette Australia and have done since I was a very new blogger (which was very recently!!!).
I have seen it mentioned that publishers can see if you have read and reviewed their titles on NetGalley before, so building a relationship will help! As I mentioned above, you might be able to find titles by publishers you love in the ‘Read Now’ section which will help establish your reputation. I think even downloading, reading and rating excerpts in the ‘Read Now’ section would be beneficial.
Don’t be disheartened when you aren’t approved on the titles that you request. Keep at it - keep increasing the number of books read and keep your feedback percentage as high as you can. The more unique page views you have and the longer you have been blogging will count and these numbers increase on a daily basis! Keep updating your profile with your new stats and before you know it you’ll be seeing more approvals.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this “special”! Please share your thoughts in the comments and let us know what your policies are regarding review copies, NetGalley, and requesting from publishers.
Stay tuned for Part 4 next week!