The NetGalley Low Down - For Authors and Readers

If you're very involved in the blogging community and have a love of books, chances are you have heard of NetGalley or are a member there.  Back in the day when I was still reviewing books on this blog, I used to love browsing their site and requesting advance reading copies of books there.  I mean, who doesn't like getting free copies of books that aren't even released yet?

Back in March-ish of last year I was getting ready to release WHAT I DIDN'T SAY.  I was brainstorming ideas of how to get the word out there about the book.  I'd done blog tours before and those are great, but they take a LOT of work and LOT of time.  And for someone like me, a writer and a mother of very young children, time is something that is hard to come by.  So I needed a solution that could reach a mass market, but not suck up every second of the day tracking reviewers down.

So I turned to NetGalley.  I sent them an email requesting info on how to get listed.  They DO in fact accept titles from self-published authors.  In fact, they are VERY helpful in getting you set up.  I have been very impressed with how professional and personal they are.

The cost of listing a title: $399.

Some of you indie authors might be going *gasp* that's so much!

But keep with me here for a minute.  It is well worth the cost.

I have recently listed my second title with them, THE BANE.  The listing went live on Feberuary 13th.  I got the first request to view and review the title within 15 SECONDS of it going up.  For the first 8 hours or so I was getting a new request literally almost every 60 seconds.

It has been up on NetGalley for one week now and I have gotten hundreds of requests.  And that is after just one week.

When I listed WHAT I DIDN'T SAY I got somewhere around 1,200 review requests and over 400 of them submitted reviews through NetGalley.  And a LOT of people don't submit their reviews through NetGalley, the reviewer simply posts them on their blog/Amazon/Goodreads/etc. (When I say reviewers submit through NetGalley, that means they send their review through a form on NetGalley, and NetGalley sends it to the author/publisher.)

So when you look at it that way, I was paying less than $1 for every review, and that didn't count the exposure it was given to those other 800 people who requested it, plus their blog followers (thanks to meme's like "In My Mailbox and whatnot).

For me, the $399 was VERY worth it.

Now, that is the author listing side of things.  
Here is what you might want to know if you are a reader and are using NetGalley.

What the authors/publishers see when you request to view a title is your profile.  There is an "about me" section there that you get to fill out.  I know it is tempting to start off with "My name is ____ and I'm from ____ and I love to read."  And that is fantastic, fine, and dandy.

But to be totally, 100% honest, what the author/publisher is looking for is your stats.
How many blog followers do you have?
How many Facebook likes do you have?
How many Twitter followers do you have?

Stuff like that.  And it is VERY helpful if you list that at the very beginning of your "About Me" section.

And then please do tell us who you are, where you live, how old you are, what kind of stuff you like to read.

But when you're getting flooded with hundreds of requests, being able to quickly see if the person requesting is going to help get the word out, is beyond helpful.

Also, every time you submit a review through NetGalley, your ranking score goes up.  Yes, NetGalley gives us a ranking score that basically says how much of a reach you have and how consistent you are with actually reviewing the titles you request.  It also factors in how many titles you are approved and declined for.  Yes, I actually get to see how many times you have been approved and how many times you have been rejected.

Now onto this lovely subject:  Having an author/publisher reject your request.

This might not bother some of you.  But some of you might get upset when your request gets rejected.  But the best thing to keep in mind is that it isn't personal.

It's about numbers.  And frankly it's about more sales when the book does come out.

NetGalley is about marketing for authors/publishers, in addition to connecting with readers, and we have to keep in mind the game of trying to reach as many readers as possible.  So if you've been getting rejected, work on building your following.  Make it your goal to get a few hundred followers, and then try again.

I hope this has been helpful, getting a more inside scoop as to how NetGalley works.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them quickly!

And don't forget,  you can request THE BANE via NetGalley HERE!


Jinky said...

Informative and helpful. I haven't set up a profile on NG yet but now I know some keys thigs to put on it. Thanks. :)

Jessica @ Step Into Fiction said...

This is definitely interesting. As I'm a frequent netgalley reviewer, though I am a bit behind as of late. But you have made me change my profile (about me section) because I don't have my stats first but that's been changed, so thank you for the suggestion!

Bookworm4ya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bookworm4ya said...

I requested a copy but it was declined, :'(

SweetMarie83 said...

I'd just recently noticed some self-published books on NetGalley and was wondering how that worked. I hadn't had time to do the research yet so this is incredibly helpful. My eyes nearly popped out of my head at the price, but you're right about the time it would save contacting reviewers, spreading the word, etc. I don't think I can afford it for my next book, but it's certainly something to keep in mind for the future. Thanks for the info! :-)

Sheri said...

Thank you for this post. It is very informative. I've been using NG for a while, but have just updated my bio based on your recommendations. I also need to update my reviews on the site. I have not been good about always going back to post them there. I have found many great authors through NetGalley and have gone on to purchase books by those authors. Thank you for the suggestions!

Nicole MacDonald said...

I will consider squirraling aside cash for this, it looks promising.

Christy said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm planning to add my self pubbed book to NetGalley in a few months and I'm glad you posted numbers so I can get an idea if what to expect.

Alicia W.B. said...

Thanks for posting this! I've been curious about what the author/publisher sees when requests are made.

Question: Are the details of my profile sent to you in an email when I request, or do you have to log in to see them? The reason I ask is because I'm trying to determine whether updating my profile AFTER I submit a request but BEFORE I've received an answer does any good. Any chance the author/publisher sees the updated version? (If not, I'll make sure my stuff is completely on point before hitting that magic button!)

Thanks in advance!

Keary Taylor said...

I don't see the requesters info until I log in. Then I see a list of everyone who has requested it and I can click on their name, which then takes me to their profile. So as long as you do it quickly, I couldn't hurt to update your profile after you request ;)

NetGalley Concierge said...

Hi Keary, thanks for this great post! We’re glad you listed your title with NetGalley, and that it’s been so beneficial for you.

The Reader Profile is the most important tool we give members for communicating with publishers and authors about their book recommendation activities. Readers who are interested in our recommendations for improving their Profile, please see here:

Anna Wells said...


Great post. I am considering Netgalley for my next book. the author in me has to ask, did the reviews translate into bigger sales?

Anonymous said...

I have a question, are bloggers/reviewers under NetGalley require to agree they will not pirate books? Or what kind of protection do they offer that way? :)

Keary Taylor said...

Anna: I would for sure say that it translated into more sales. It is all advertising. All these bloggers post about the book, reaching a lot of potential readers who may decide the book sounds interesting and go onto buy it.

Jackie: You know, I'm not totally sure on this one. I imagine they must agree to something. I can say with quite a bit of confidence that I do not believe that I have gotten any piracy from NetGalley users. Everyone from that community has been fantastic. Now, Smashwords is a totally different story...

Ron McMillan said...

Dear Keary,

I wonder if now, almost a year later, you have any idea how much the Net Galley exposure helped your sales. I am a published author who has recently taken the self-publishing route for my new thriller, and I am seeking ways of increasing the numbers of reviews and the amount of web exposure I get for my book. Normally I wouldn't think of spending $400 on such a task, but if the marketing value it translates into is genuine, I might consider it.

Any thoughts for us on how beneficial your Net Galley exposure was in terms of book sales?

Thanks in advance

Ron McMillan
Author: Bangkok Cowboy, Yin Yang Tattoo (crime thrillers), Between Weathers, Travels in 21st Century Shetland (travel).

Liezl Ruiz said...

I know that it's been over a year since this post is posted. I'm just commenting to let others know that this post is helpful even if it's already 2014 and nearing 2015.

Wow, so you authors could actually see how many times a reviewer is rejected. I should have known this before clicking the request buttons at random moments (I did this when I first started browsing netgalley just so I could get lots of ARCs).

$399 is actually very expensive. That's easy for those who are published authors but for indies, wow that's painful. And more painful if your don't have good reviews.

I also want to know if it's okay to review an ARC way after the book is already published. I've read in other blogs that there is a thing called late reviews. Is there even a concept called late reviews? Would it affect our credibility as a reviewer to post our reviews after the galley is archived? Or these things don't matter so long as we give our reviews and publicize the book?

Thanks for the heads up!


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Julie Tuovi said...

Okay, clearly you wrote this post a while ago, but I just found it an appreciate the info!! I saw the Netgalley price and my eyes went a little bug eyed... good to know it's worth it!

I was wondering... do you think it's worth it to do on the first book? Or would it be better to wait until your second book? I would just hate to generate all that momentum and then have nowhere to channel it, ya know?

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Keary,
As mentioned by Julie above me, it's been a few years since you published this post. But when I was looking to get more serious about my reviews, this post helped me a lot. I'm still starting out but I can already see a difference in my NetGalley experience. I had approached it like Goodreads giveaways: enter as many as you can in hopes you win one. Now I'm being as diligent as I can in reading the ARCs I have been approved for and submitting the reviews.
Thanks so much for creating this post!

Teagan Kearney said...

Although I published my first book back in 2013, there's so much info around re marketing etc., that I've only just discovered NetGalley. I found your post informative and helpful, and will use them later on in the year (gives me time to save) when my WIP is ready for release. Thanks!

bluemistlizzi said...

Ditto Teagan above! Thanks so much!!!