To continue my series of Netgalley how-to guides, I want to talk more about Feeback practices, review tips, and how I determine which books I want to request. In case you missed it, you can find my first post here: Getting Started on Netgalley.
So at this point, I’m assuming you have a Netgalley account, you added a few publishers to your favorites list, and maybe requested a book or 2. You might be ready to write a review and send feedback, or you’re waiting for approval on a request. In any case, these tips will help you maintain your NetGalley account and plan out how to read/review your Netgalley books.
Question 1: The Netgalley Feedback Ratio
You may have noticed on my previous post that my feedback ratio is currently at 68%. That’s not terrible, but the recommended ratio is 80%. Does that mean I won’t get any approvals? Nope! Not at all, I just got a few approvals in the last few weeks and my ratio had actually been a bit lower. Now obviously the higher your ratio, the higher your chances of getting approvals but it’s not going to kill your chances if you dip below 80%. This is a hard percentage to reach especially when you’re starting out and collect a lot of new eARCs at once.
Here’s a tip: Request some short titles you can read and review in just a few hours. Some of my early NetGalley reviews were for samplers on the Read Now list. These were quick to read and review and helped to bump up my ratio right away.
Question 2: Can you DNF a NetGalley ARC?
This was one of the first questions I had after posting my guide, and the answer is a definite, Yes! You can find more information on how to do this (and lots of other interesting tips) on the Netgalley Help Page. There are a number of different reasons why you may want to skip reviewing an ARC. Maybe you lost interest, maybe you heard bad reviews from friends, or maybe you just don’t have the time! Though I don’t recommend doing it super often, you can mark any eARC as “Will not Give Feedback”. NetGalley will ask for some basic info on why you are choosing not to give feedback on the title, and then it will be moved off of your TBR shelf. Doing this will not count positively, or negatively against your feedback ratio. Also, keep in mind that you can go back and provide feedback later if you want. These books won’t disappear forever, they just get moved off your TBR shelf.
Question 3: Can you improve Approval Chances?
This is a tough one since approvals are largely based on publisher requirements, and each publisher is different. If you are struggling to get approved for titles, here are some suggestions:
- Don’t only go for the top titles, branch out and look at books you wouldn’t normally pick up
- Seek out smaller publishing houses, my request rate with lesser-known publishers or authors is fairly high compared to the bigger ones
- Email the publisher directly and ask for a digital review copy, sometimes they will auto-approve you for the NetGalley eArc
- Be sure the email you provide the publisher is the same as your NetGalley email
- Keep your bio up to date, make sure your blog stats and social media stats are current
Question 4: Any Tips for Writing Reviews?
I have all the tips! Reviews are such a personal thing, so obviously there is no one correct way to review a book. Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I’m struggling to write:
- What do I take away from the book? (for example: a life lesson, a general emotion, a new perspective)
- What elements of the book were unique and set this story apart?
- Who would I recommend this book to?
- Will I feel differently about the book if I reread it?
- Did the book meet my expectations?
NetGalley will also ask if you would be interested in more information on the author or their work and if you would buy the book for yourself or a friend. Those are other good thoughts to keep in mind while reading. Feedback doesn’t have to meet any specific word count, but I advise simply being honest! Publishers want to know your opinion whether it’s good or bad. Do your best to be constructive and clear about why you feel a certain way, and you’ll do great!
Question 5: How do you pick books to request?
This is another highly personal choice, but I have a few steps I go through when I look for new books to request. There are new books added to Netgalley all the time, and there are a lot of different ways to search for them. If you don’t know what publishers, or titles you’re interested in, you can start by doing a genre search. From the “Find Titles” page, you can select a genre from the Categories list on the left-hand side. Then you’ll see the books available in that Category/Genre.
From there you can look at all the books in the category, or you can add additional filters. If you want to find books you can read right away, select “Read Now” on the left, and you’ll see a whole list of books you can access immediately. This leads me to my main point on requesting books.
Initially, I requested a lot of books thinking that I wouldn’t get any approvals, and I got a lot more than I anticipated! I requested books I had a passing interest in, but not a real invested want to read. I did read and review those books, but I quickly became overwhelmed by eARCs. Keep your current reading goals in mind, and be sure you can work your new NetGalley books into your Backlog. You could start by searching for new releases you’re already planning to read this year. If you’re excited about the book, you’ll probably be more likely to read it and send feedback!
Those are all my tips for this post! Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions on these tips, and I will follow up with additional posts on how to use NetGalley in the future!