I am a book snob. Like a physical book in my hand with pages I can turn snob. I got used to ARCs (advance reader copy) showing up on my front porch almost everyday. Books to read and review before they were released? Life was pretty good.
Then COVID hit.
I started getting emails notifying me that the ARC that was supposed to be headed my way was in NYC, the heart of the publishing industry, and wasn’t going to make it to me in time for the blog tour or publishing date. Certainly understandable and a problem that reached beyond the publishing house – I didn’t want to needlessly expose a postal worker or UPS delivery person to one extra home or package when I had another way to get a book.
I’ve had an account for a few years but never was very active. But when you want to read new books, review, and promote them, a reader will do just about anything. So I purchased an iPad mini (my preferred eReader) to use the Kindle app on, dusted off my NetGalley password, and got to downloading books and requesting more.
Want to access ARCs from NetGalley? Here’s how:
- Set up an account. Be as clear and detailed when filling out your profile as possible. Include your number of Instagram followers, blog readers/metrics, how long you have been reading and reviewing books, the genres you love, what kind of work you’re available for (promotions, reviews, giveaways, blog tours, etc.). Also link Twitter and LinkedIn (if you have them) to your account.
- Blogs. They are important to publishers. Your blog reviews show up in Google searches while Instagram reviews do not. They are not a must but they are a great platform for detailed reviews. Plus, with Instagram changing something every week and questions about who owns the content I’m all for blogs if you’re serious about reading and reviewing books.
- Link your Kindle account to NetGalley. Every Kindle account has an email address and that’s how NetGalley sends the eBooks to you.
- Find your favorite publishers and request some books. When you are approved for a title you will get an email with a “widget” to click on to download the book. You will also get declined. It’s not personal. But the longer you review on NetGalley, the higher your review rate, and the better your stats are outside of NetGalley, the better your chances are of getting approved. A great place to start is with Read Now titles. Anyone can request and review them.
- Review, review, review. Look at each publisher’s requirements for the timing of reviews prior to the publishing date. Be on time and be sure to share the links to your reviews that you post outside of NetGalley I.E. your blog and Instagram. And lastly, share your reviews on Barnes & Noble and Amazon using the NetGalley site. Simply posting your review on NetGalley isn’t enough.
A few tips:
- Don’t go crazy requesting books. Publishers respond in their own time and the last thing you want is 50 books waiting for you to read and review.
- If an actual person from the publisher sends you the widget, be sure to respond to them. Thank them and then when you review the book, also send them the links. This is a great way to establish relationships within publishing houses and this alone has opened up multiple opportunities for me for physical finished copies and giveaways.
- Keep your profile up to date. That’s the first thing publishers look at when they get your request.
- Only pursue this route if you’re serious about actually reading and reviewing books. This is not the site for getting book mail to post on Instagram. Requesting books and doing nothing with them is not a good way to develop a solid reputation with publishers.
- Always include the disclosure! Something like, “Thanks to NetGalley and X publisher for a gifted copy of this eBook in exchange for my unbiased review.” This is an FTC regulation and a must.
- Lastly, here is an example of a recent NetGalley blog review and the corresponding Instagram review.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I have loved using NetGalley and plan to continue to use it even after COVID is over. It has made me reevaluate and realize that I don’t need a physical copy of every single new book.