NetGalley is an online platform that enables professional readers to download ebooks for free, in order to then review them. Readers vary from bookshop owners and teachers, to journalists and popular bloggers. As of Dec 2017 NetGalley has 380000 reviewers or "INFLUENCERS" worldwide, 45000 in the UK.
NetGalley is free for readers, but authors and publishers have to pay a fee in order to list a book. There are a few listing options – a basic six-month listing for one book costs $399. You can also choose to pay extra for marketing services, such as a spot in the newsletter. (Click here for the NetGalley media kit 2017, for the full breakdown of marketing options, and see below for a summary and hints and tips for using NetGalley). Another option is to go through an author marketing service, such as the Canada-based Patchwork Press, which offers authors (though it mentions indie authors) the chance to be featured on NetGalley for $50 per month, and handles all the admin for you.
On NetGalley you can.
- Offer your book free to download for a period of time.
- Allow reviewers and influencers to request to review your book.
- Store your books on NetGalley and use their widget feature as an easy, monitor-able to send your book anywhere in the world.
- You can pre-approve favoured reviewers, so they always have access to your book.
Influential Readers Interest Breakdown
For the breakdown of the Netgalley reader interests click here. You will see that by far the most amount of NetGalley readers are interested in Teens and YA, General Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and the least interest is in Middle Grade, Humour, Horror, Sports, Literary Fiction.
We have also found that History, Pagan and Spiritual books get a decent response there.
We cannot afford to go through NetGalley with every new title. It overlaps in many places with our own Database. Where we get positive results, we add the contact to our Database. We have about 20 titles on there at any one time. If we are promoting your title through NetGalley, it will be added as advertising to your marketing activities. If we are not, and you would like to do it yourself, the following notes might be helpful.
NETGALLEY.COM vs NETGALLEY.CO.UK
As NetGalley has grown globally they have created sites for different countries. Our books appear on the UK site (netgalley.co.uk) and the US site (NetGalley.com). As you would expect the .co.uk site prioritises British publishers and British books will be seen by more British reviewers. You can choose which countries and territories see your books.
- You can reach an audience that it would be very difficult and time-consuming to reach any other way.
- Readers download ebooks, so there is little cost to the author other than the NetGalley fee, and books can’t be sold on.
- NetGalley can save you an awful lot of time. Contacting and replying to bloggers and other reviewers can be a very laborious process.
- NetGalley links reviewers' accounts to GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter so they can share their reviews with one click.
- NetGalley responses tend to mirror the real world - so if a title is popular there it gives you a heads-up to prioritise that title in your other marketing.
- NetGalley is used by many major publishers, and a lot of reviewers rely on it. Some reviewers will be searching for particular authors, books or publishers, but they will often stumble upon a new book or author who they may never have found otherwise.
- Readers are encouraged to add feedback, and most do. Many will also signpost the reviews they have written on their blog, and on Goodreads, and sometimes Amazon, or in a publication.
- For an additional fee, you can highlight deals for your other books.
- Members can vote on whether they like your cover image, which can be a useful way to gain feedback before publication.
- You can request an ‘email invite widget’, which directs people to a pre-approved download. This can be used in other marketing communications, such as an emailed press release to bloggers. Again, it helps to cut down the time spent sending digital copies to reviewers.
- NetGalley may select you for a free homepage placement which shows live on their home page. If you are lucky to be chosen it may well increase impressions and requests.
- The main downside is the fee. There are no guarantees, so if listing your book doesn’t result in a decent amount of sales or publicity you have effectively wasted your money.
- Your $399 might results in hundreds of reviews and resulting purchases, or just a handful. There is no ‘pay per click’ option.
- It is very easy for readers to join, so there is no guarantee that the people who receive a digital copy of your book will share their review with more than a handful of people. That being said, you do get the option of approving or declining each request.
How Influential Readers Find Our Books
NetGalley says 65% of influential readers come back nine times or more in a month – they are saying it's a sticky site, and we're betting on these readers spending time researching what's available. Every time an influential reader logs onto NetGalley they are presented with a selection of books based on their interests, normally starting with the books that have been most recently added to NetGalley.
They have the ability to search the site by many criteria including: subject, author, publisher, most downloaded.
Influential Readers Tell Us Why They Downloaded A Book
Whenever an influential reader downloads a book, they select a reason for the download including: author, title, buzz.
Influential Readers Feedback in a Variety Of Ways
Influential Readers can feedback on our books in a variety of different ways including: star ratings, reviews, notes, links.
We Decide Who Sees Our Feedback and Reviews
If the book is downloaded by a Reader and reviewed their review and ratings will be shared. These are private so if a book gets bad ratings only the author need see it. But if a book gets good ratings then we have the opportunity to share that on the book's page.
We Can Contact People Who Download Our Books
We get contact details (email addresses) for anyone who downloads our books - on the proviso that we contact them only regarding NetGalley - related matters (ie don't add them to all our mailing lists).
Overall, we get a lot of detailed info on who is interested in our books, and why.
We Can Approve Who Can and Cannot Read Our Books
Every time someone requests a book there is the option of approving their request or disapproving it. Each book can also be made only available to a certain amount of NetGalley contacts – who we deem worthy enough to read it.
We Can Also Approve Everyone So All Influential Readers Can Download The Book Instantly
If we add our books "read now" section – where everyone is pre-approved – any NetGalley influential reader can read it. This is NetGalley's policy on the matter: Our membership community is not vetted by NetGalley. We believe publishers and authors are best placed to gauge which readers are right for them, which is why publishers always have full control over who is approved or declined. You can always view the detailed profile of each member who requests a title before making your decision.
Please note, NetGalley cannot guarantee your book will receive reviews. We generally want our work to reach as many people as possible and "read now" should be our default.
Pro-active Marketing – Widgets
If a title is put onto NetGalley, then we have the chance to create a widget; these come in form of: website plugins, links. We can add widgets to emails and our website. NetGalley members click on these widgets to automatically download/request our book.
We can create "secure widgets", which only pre-approved readers can use to download the book.
How Long Do We Keep a Title on NetGalley?
Four weeks as a minimum is a guideline. If a book is generating a buzz, it can be left longer.
Is NetGalley Just for New Books?
The vast majority of books on there are new, but readers are also looking out for (in NetGalley speak) "interesting books they might have missed" and reviewers are taking "a more fluid approach to reviewing ie papers don't review according to publisher's schedules", so we are free to add in older books if we feel appropriate – especially if they have generated extra publicity.
How To Add a New Title on NetGalley
NetGalley have a good tutorial on how to add a new title here.
NetGalley Statistics – For a interesting breakdown of NetGalley statistics please click here.
As we get a sense of what works and what doesn't on NetGalley we can adjust this as we go along.
STRATEGIES FOR USING NETGALLEY
Engage Key Contacts First
Make influencers feel SPECIAL. Easier said than done. But if you can build a community of influencers whose tastes chime with your books, and offer them early, exclusive access, they will feel special and will far more likely deliver on their reviews. EVERYONE likes to feel special!
- Use activity reports to find key contacts for comparable titles or who have enjoyed an author's previous book as well as auto-approved members.
- Email them early with a widget.
- Use request windowing to give certain people early access.
Think About Your Timing
- Manage your requests quickly and efficiently using filtering and traffic light systems.
- Remember to auto-approve members you approve most often.
- The quicker you respond the higher chance of a review.
- Don't let other titles jump ahead in the to-be-read pile.
- STAGGER your titles, add them to NetGalley one a week rather than all 5 in one go.
- If you do all in one go then less people will see them.
Wishes are there for 'bigger" authors. They function like a giveaway. Members who can't receive/request a title from you can "wish for it" and you can (randomly) grant wishes.
Monitor Feedback For The Future
- Gauge sales potential early by looking at feedback.
- Are readers you expected requesting this title?
- Look at the comments to see if there are any recurring issues.
- Use detailed activity reports to see the full scope of those approved and declined.
- The reason for a request gives a good indication of which people are responding to in a title.
Use detailed activity to find out:
- Members who have downloaded but not reviewed a book.
- Members who have reviewed but not left a link.
- Chase them/contact them if you desire.
MINI CASE STUDY
For example; Margaret Tudor generated an exceptionally high amount of positive reviews and 53 percent of downloaders said they were enticed by the book description first. This suggests the concept, and subject matter, have a wider commercial appeal.
SUMMARY OF NETGALLY MARKETING OPTIONS
Click here for the full NetGalley media kit
Books Of The Month Mailout
- Free every month.
- £200 to be featured book of the month (by invitation only).
- All original content.
- Repeated on their blogs.
- Once or twice a month, always themed.
- £150/ £300
- Most cost effective way to reach a big audience.
- Open 25-35%.
- Competative to get on.
- Get in early.
Featured Titles On The Website
- £60 per title,
- 2 weeks on .co.uk
- Nominate your titles.
- NetGalley decides if you get on or not.
- Like an ad in the new titles bit of the website.
- £50 per category 2 weeks.
Dedicated E Blasts (Mailout)
- £500 minimum.
- Reach over 26000.
- $800 minimum in US.
- No more than one a day.
Marketing Activities Currently Tested.
Limited time read now offers:
- First 200 hundred people can click-to-read.
- For 24 hours anyone can click-to-read.
- After that you have to request.