One of the hardest dilemmas facing self-publishers is how to gain visibility for their books.
With thousands of books being published every year, yours may drown in the influx. But do you know what can help get that coveted visibility (and thus more book sales)?
Positive reviews serve as social proof, setting your book apart, and giving readers confidence that it's worth their time and money. But there's another factor that makes them even more powerful. Positive customer reviews impress online retailers too. And sites like Amazon are more likely to display your book to searchers if you have lots of rave reviews. Pretty cool, right?
But reviews are hard to come by these days. Back in the time of Yesteryear, you could send your books to magazines, newspapers, radio, and even television for a review. In today’s modern world, these opportunities come less frequently than before. So, now what?
One possible solution could be NetGalley. NetGalley is a reader, book blogger, librarian, and media reviewer book review system to help you get your books reviewed honestly. You don’t pay for a positive review with NetGalley. You pay to have your books listed. There are no guarantees.
That’s what makes it an honest and respected system for getting reviews.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is NetGalley and how does it work
- What are the costs (and how to save money)
- How to set up your account and other pro tips
- What are some other sites like NetGalley
- Is NetGalley worth it
Be advised, I did use affiliate links for this article. They don't affect my judgment on the product, but if you do use the link to purchase, it definitely helps with the coffee funds and won't cost you anything extra.
Table of contents
- What is NetGalley and How Does it Work?
- The Costs of Doing Business with NetGalley
- How to Get Approved as a Reader for NetGalley
- How to Set Up Your NetGalley Reader Account
- Top Tips and Tricks for NetGalley
- Other Sites like NetGalley
- Is NetGalley Worth It?
NetGalley deals with ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that are delivered to readers who in turn give a review. This helps to promote books and authors. NetGalley is used by most of the large traditional publishers, so your book will be in good company if you do decide to use it.
NOTE: If you believe that you can't give a copy of your book in return for a review on Amazon, then be sure to watch this.
Normally ARCs are only distributed to readers by the publisher (or by the author in the case of self-publishing). So, in order to get your hands on one, you would basically need to know the author or have a friend at the publishing house and contact that person directly. But NetGalley takes that burden off those requesting to read. As an author, you submit your ebook ARC to NetGalley, which then opens it up to those looking to review books.
So, it’s a win-win for the author and reader. Authors can send ARCs away for reviews. Readers can review new titles without having to contact authors and publishers directly. Sounds simple enough.
NetGalley helps authors gain a reputation within the book community. It serves as a main connecting hub for bloggers, the media, librarians, book publishers, and reviewers. That means that your book could get reviewed by a local blogger and posted on a popular site as a result.
Pretty neat, huh?
Even cooler, NetGalley members can, as of 2020, read books and audiobooks in the brand new NetGalley Shelf app — NetGalley's first mobile app. It makes it easier than ever for NetGalley members to start reading or listening to books that have been approved for access. And it will make it easier than ever for authors to get reviews.
The NetGalley Shelf app is an exclusive way to listen to audiobooks made available on NetGalley.
NetGalley provides an alternative to old-school book review hustling and to what I like to call the “Post and Pray” method, where you cross your fingers and hope some positive reviews roll in.
For professional readers, using NetGalley is completely free! Just set up a profile (which we will get to later) and start reviewing. However, there are some costs for publishers–and that includes self-publishers.
There are various options available for independent authors who want to get on NetGalley.
Option 1: Listing Directly with NetGalley
When listing directly with NetGalley, you are given a choice between two paths.
Six Month Standard Title Listing–$450.00
- Titles are available and active on the site for six months.
- NetGalley Support is made available to help you setup your account
- You have the ability to view any requester’s profile to determine if they are the right reviewer for you.
- NetGalley will provide you email support, but no phone support.
- If you choose to participate in additional NetGalley marketing efforts, you will incur an extra cost with NO DISCOUNT.
Marketing Plus Title Listing–$849.00
- This includes everything available in the Six Month Standard Listing.
- You may also receive one spot in any scheduled NetGalley Newsletter. These spots are not guaranteed to be available, however.
As you can clearly see, NetGalley is not cheap this way. However, if you are a member of the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association), NetGalley life does get a little better.
Option 2: Listing with the IBPA NetGalley Marketing Program
If you plan on using NetGalley, this is another route to take.
Six Month Title Listing through IBPA–$399.00
- Maintains a discounted listing on NetGalley for 6 months.
- All members will have automatic approval to READ NOW. This definitely has benefits. While you may end up with more negative reviews, you'll likely get more positive reviews too.
- IBPA will help you with setting up your account and other operations.
- IBPA will provide general support, not NetGalley.
Three Month Title Listing through IBPA–$199.00
- Includes everything available in a six-month listing with IBPA, but only for three months.
- This offer is only available for IBPA members. That’s an extra cost.
- This option becomes available after enrolling in either a six- or three-month IBPA deal.
- With this, you may promote your title on a Category’s landing page for one week.
- This is also only available to those enrolled in an IBPA plan.
- Your title may now be promoted on the Find Titles landing page for one week.
1-Month Audiobook Listing
- Place an audiobook on NetGalley for a month at $79 per audiobook
2-Month Audiobook Listing
- List an audiobook on NetGalley for two months at $139 per audiobook (10% savings)
3-Month Audiobook Listing
- List an audiobook on NetGalley for three months at $213 per audiobook (10% savings)
Option 3: Get a Better Deal with NetGalley+ BooksGoSocial.com
What would you say if I could get you NetGalley services at way less than the price of the above two services?
I guarantee it would sound like a much more appetizing deal. NetGalley has often been seen as an expensive service. But this option makes it viable for any author.
If you're looking into NetGalley, I would recommend checking out NetGalley+ from BooksGoSocial. BooksGoSocial is an official partner with NetGalley. And along with NetGalley services, you will receive a choice of book marketing courses ($99 value) for free! The Amazon ads training is at this link. Click the button to pay and look in the middle of the page for the gray “Have a coupon” text and put in this code to get the course for free: awp2 (no caps & no gaps.)
Here’s why we recommend this route:
- You can start with one month as a test at a much lower cost. The first month is when most of the reviewers select your book anyway and you can extend your period on NetGalley if your book proves popular there.
- All members will have automatic approval to READ NOW. This definitely can have some benefits. While you may end up with more negative reviews, the flip side to that coin can equate to more positive reviews if your book is liked by reviewers. Positive reviews are the more usual outcome in any case. Remember, all reviewers have already been approved by NetGalley.
- BooksGoSocial will provide you with the email address of all who downloaded your book at the end of your period on NetGalley so you can email them and request they put a review on Amazon for you.
- You will receive a link to your book on NetGalley so you can send it out to potential reviewers as well.
- BooksGoSocial also promotes its titles on NetGalley so you get extra free exposure for your book there.
- BooksGoSocial will provide general book marketing support, not just NetGalley support.
- To get a 50% discount on the BooksGoSocial already low prices, all you have to do is enter coupon code: kdpr50 at the checkout point.
So act fast, because these slots fill up quickly. Check out NetGalley+ from BooksGoSocial and don't forget the coupon code kdpr50.
Option 4: Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op
Another way to save money is with the Victory Editing NetGaley Co-op, which is actually the longest-running co-op on NetGalley.
It's $50/month for short-term rentals, which definitely makes it an attractive option.
Additionally, authors are able to vet their own requests (which means a better match of book to reader since authors know who their most ideal readers are).Did you know that you can save big on NetGalley services?Click To Tweet
But what if you aren't ready to publish? What if you just want to be a reader?
Getting approved as a reader of a specific title can be a lot trickier than it seems. It isn’t just “click and thou shalt receive”. Publishers and authors often choose to approve each request. And sometimes you just aren’t the person they’re looking for.
For instance, a writer of historical non-fiction with a book about the Korean War may not want a review from a teen romance blogger.
So, publishers can put inside the request button certain caveats that they wish for the requester to fulfill.
If you aren’t suitable, just head over to another interesting title.
Another requirement most publishers maintain is an 80% feedback to approval rating. But how on Earth do you get an 80% approval rating without any books?
Get an 80% Approval Rating for NetGalley Fast!
Now, this might seem like the paradox of the century.
How do you meet a requirement without being able to do what is needed to meet the requirement?
Thankfully, we aren’t discussing millennial job applications but NetGalley reviews. Because the answer is so simple! Head over to the ‘Read Now' tab in the browse section. Read Now is perfect for this because all members are automatically approved for the books in this section.
Here you can build up your reputation and approval rating in order to hone in on juicier choices.
How to Set Up Your NetGalley Reader Account
Before you start making any moves on NetGalley, you must first properly set up your account.
NetGalley separates its users into five different categories:
- Media Professionals
Next, provide a professional photo. This does more than put your happy face out into the world. This helps prove to the publisher that you are a real person instead of a trolling internet bot.
When it comes to providing information about yourself, it's pertinent to state exactly why and how you can sell a book. This is one of the reasons publishers go to NetGalley in the first place. Also, provide a bit about yourself in the bio section.
Publishers want to know just exactly who they are letting read their book. This is to ensure they get the most effective reviews.
Remember, reviews aren’t always about quantity but quality.
After that, add social media accounts if you have them. I’d recommend using your professional accounts.
Another pro tip would be to add your Kindle account in your bio. It makes things a lot easier for publishers to send you their copies.
Speaking of pro tips, let’s discuss a few.
Top Tips and Tricks for NetGalley
Just like any system, there are tips and tricks for maintaining a positive experience on NetGalley.
Be Wary of Deadline Reading
This is not a check-it-out-return-it-when-you-want service. When you get approved for requests, be sure that you keep track of your deadlines. The books are easy to request (especially in the Read Now section), and you may find yourself overwhelmed. And… you can’t return them. You’ve dedicated your time to reviewing somebody’s work. Only check out what you can finish and properly review. The publisher and your approval rating will appreciate it tremendously.
Try to Maintain Your Feedback Ratio Above 80%
If you are looking at using the NetGalley review system more in the future, try your best to maintain a high rating. This allows you to build your reputation and gives you access to more books.
For Bloggers, Blog Often!
Maintaining your personal blog goes a long way with NetGalley. This is because publishers will often check out your blog before deciding on approval (remember to put your blog in your bio). If publishers see you active and blogging, there’s a better chance your read requests will be approved.
Leave Honest Reviews
This lets other publishers know that you aren’t there just to pad reviews for your favorite author. That’s what fan clubs are for, not NetGalley.
Show off Your NetGalley Badges
NetGalley provides a badge to those who have reached certain milestones. For instance, if you become auto-approved by an author, you get a badge. Share those not only on your NetGalley Bio but on GoodReads as well. This can help further establish your standing within the community.
Double-Check Country Requirements
Many authors write to a certain market. And those are the reviews that really matter to them. So don’t get discouraged if you are denied due to country restrictions. Just move on to your next request.
Rejection Is a Part of Life at NetGalley
If you have a thin skin, NetGalley might not be the best place for you to be hanging around. Readers have it easy. It’s just a quick “No, you can’t get my book.” But for authors, NetGalley can be a swift kick in the pants. Readers leave brutally honest reviews. And no author is going to get perfect reviews. Learn to accept your criticism and move forward. If not, NetGalley can really do a number on your self-esteem. However, you will also know when you get positive reviews from the service that they are real and your book deserves them.
When it comes to getting book reviews, there are other sources out there besides NetGalley such as:
Edelweiss by Above the Treeline
This is probably the closest site to NetGalley. Both offer tons of books and the opportunities to distribute ARCs for review. But there are some major differences. Most people find the NetGalley review process to be much more user-friendly. As far as publishers go, Edelweiss has some great titles from major publishing houses. But NetGalley makes it much easier for self-publishers to use.
Booktasters is another review gaining website that guarantees reviews for both GoodReads and Amazon, depending on the packages purchased. One of the biggest differences is that with Booktasters, they actually choose the reviewers. Not the author. They offer competitive pricing packages against NetGalley. Booktasters should definitely be considered if you are looking to hire a review management service.
StoryOrigin (FREE BETA!)
If you're looking for a no-cost alternative to NetGalley or other sites like it, be sure to check out StoryOrigin. They're currently running their free BETA version which isn't likely to last. Created by Evan Gow, this app has the promise of being a one-stop-shop for most of your book marketing needs. StoryOrigin handles more than just your ARCs. It manages your reader magnets, book promotions and giveaways, universal book links, audiobook promo codes, and so much more. But you can only be in free beta for so long… So, check it out while you can!
Another low-cost alternative to NetGalley is BookSirens. Their site exists to get you more Amazon & Goodreads reviews from your own ARC readers and their community of 10,000+ book reviewers & influencers. They have four different pricing plans depending on your budget that range from a free plan to a $20 monthly plan. Each plan offers different features, so make sure to check them out carefully.
So after all this… the NetGalley review service, is it worth it? Honestly, that depends.
Are you ready for a NetGalley kind of commitment? Has your book been edited and proofread? Have you the patience to wait while readers of all types read your books?
If you are waiting for reviews or are launching a book, NetGalley could be a great option for you. And there's no better time than now with that BooksGoSocial deal! Don't forget that awesome coupon code for 50% off: kdpr50
However, you must give adequate time to use NetGalley legitimately so that you'll get a return on your investment. I repeat: This is not a magic wand or set-it-and-forget type of thing.
Hopefully, this NetGalley review provided you with some insight into how NetGalley works and how you can benefit.