NetGalley – What It Is and How It Works

6DE1DA55-F5A8-4F97-89B2-71E62EC49F9A_4_5005_cNetGalley is a site where book reviewers and other professional readers may obtain and read books BEFORE they are published. The term ‘Professional Readers’ equates to bloggers, book reviewers, booksellers, educators, journalists, and librarians. The private, individual, reader should therefore not be put off, provided they do publish reviews (on, book retail pages, social media, book related sites) and/or maintain an active blog within which they also publish their reviews. They will consequently fall into the ‘blogger’; ‘book reviewer’ categories.

The site was launched in 2008 with the primary aim of distributing digital, e-galley, proofs of yet unpublished books. Traditional publishers, as well as independent authors, utilise the site as a means of lending books to readers in exchange for a ‘meaningful review’. Readers may also provide other feedback intended to highlight any aspects they consider relevant.

‘Galley Proofs’: Preliminary version’s of publications meant for review by authors, editors, and proofreaders. (Wikipedia) These are sometimes also referred to as ARCs (Advanced Reader/Reading Copies).

NetGalley has two account types: Member and Publisher.

Member

Anyone may sign up for a member account. It is free and easy to do. The usual information of name, email address, country, etc. is required. The applicant will also need to indicate in what role they wish to be a member. A list is provided from which they choose one. There are also options for how they wish to be shown on their reviews. There is a choice of two. An unusual addition is the requirement for a company name. For the private individual this may simply be the name of their blog.

Members have the option of searching for books by Publisher; Genre; and date of upload to NetGalley. They may also search by Recently Added; Featured; Audio Excerpts; and Categories. When they find a book they would like to read they click the cover to request a copy and indicate what appeals to them about the book: Author; Cover; Description; or that they keeping hearing about it. There is also an additional option to give a thumbs up or down for the cover image. Their request is forwarded to the publisher’s representative who makes the decision to approve or decline. If approved the reader is presented with a choice of formats, at the publishers discretion, these may be ePub, Kindle, or PDF, all of which are downloadable onto most devices though, in some instances, it may be necessary to download a specific app (software application) beforehand. The NetGalley site contains clear guidance and help notes.

Members must note, there is no automatic right to a copy. The whole system operates upon the informality of requests.

Members are expected to provide a minimum of eighty percent (80%) feedback i.e. for every ten proofs received they should be providing feedback for at least eight. Ideally they should provide feedback for more if not all. This percentage needs to be maintained if the reader wishes to retain access to titles. NetGalley and Publishers take this seriously. The level of feedback will be taken into account when making decisions whether to approve or decline a request.

Bearing in mind, these are pre-publication galleys with the aim of enhancing book launches and publicity, feedback is expected to be given PRIOR to the publication date. Therefore, readers, before requesting a copy, should check the publication date and ensure they will have time to read and provide feedback in time. They are also expected to publish reviews on book retails pages and in Goodreads.

Publisher

NetGalley provides for both traditional publishers (most large publishers utilise the site); self-publishers; and independent authors. These, as part of their publicity and pre-book launch campaigns, list books on the site in order to obtain feedback, including reviews. However, whereas member accounts are free, publishers (includes independent authors) have to pay a substantial fee.

Six Month Standard Title Listing – $450

  • The title will be available on the site for six months.
  • The publisher will be able to view profiles of those requesting a copy.
  • NetGalley provides e-mail support.

Marketing Plus Title Listing – $849

  • Everything included with the Six Month Title Listing above.
  • One NetGalley newsletter spot, if available. (There is no guarantee.)

IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association)

IBPA members may obtain NetGalley publisher services at a reduced fee:

–  Six Month Title Listing – $399
–  Three Month Title Listing – $199

Users should not forget to add the IBPA fee, currently $139 and above, per annum, for existing authors.

Fees shown are those applicable at the time of writing this article.

Conclusion

Avid readers will find NetGalley an excellent source for free copies of books. It is also a good way for them to support authors they enjoy as well as fellow authors, if they are one themselves. Membership has the advantage of being free. However, they need to be aware the expectation is for them to provide regular, and on time, feedback. The only possible drawback is having to deal with frequent refusals. These should not be taken too seriously: the publisher is merely ensuring those to whom they offer prepublication galleys are relevant and influential within their own domains.

Though NetGalley may be a useful resource for authors, for publishers it requires a substantial financial outlay with no guarantee of receiving feedback or reviews. It is all down to whether a reader chooses their book and whether the publisher’s representative considers them appropriate. The amounts may be out of reach for many, especially independent authors. If they have the resources and do not mind the risk of no take-up, it may be worth having a go.

Further information may be obtained from the NetGalley site.

Disclaimer: Other than holding a member account, neither T. R. Robinson or T. R. Robinson Publications has any affiliation to or with NetGalley. Nor do either receive any remuneration for mentioning them.

The NetGalley badge image has been unitised under Fair Use legislation.


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