As a reader, it is hard not to get over-excited at the idea of free books. It feels almost too good to be true, that all you need to do in return is, write a review, a few hundred words in return for free books at your fingertips… But let me give you a tiny bit of advice, don’t do what I did, when I first found the reader’s utopia, NetGalley
I, like many readers before me, found Netgalley, made an account and requested every single title that was in the YA section… big, big mistake. In theory, requesting and being accepted for all of the books, is a dream… In reality it is super over whelming and quite intimidating. And I am here, three years later, still trying to tackle the list of titles that past me requested… Hence why this post came to the fore-front of my mind.
Let us begin. NetGalley Pros and Cons.
- Come, on… the first one is blatantly obvious… Free books, and lots of them. There is no submission area for you to plead your case, all you do is choose from the options, why you want to read the book, and press submit. Boom, you are in with a pretty good chance of receiving an E-Galley of your chosen book.
2. All you need to do is write a review, in return for your free titles. Maybe copy and paste it to your GoodReads or Amazon account. Give it a /5 rating and then search for more books to request and review.
3. Did I mention free books?
4. It is a fantastic platform to use, easy to find your way around, easy to find titles and easy to request, download and review.
5. Your review may get featured on the title’s page! It is so rewarding to see a snippet of something you have written, on a page for the whole world to see (well all of the members of NetGalley anyway).
6. There are titles from every genre from non-fiction, to children’s picture books. There Advance Reader Copies, popular books from previous years, books being re-published and so much more. The main point of this website is publicity for all of the available titles. The more readers they can reach, the better, and this is where it gets tricky.
- The books are completely free. This may be a strange thing to be adding to a Cons list, but trust me, it is dangerous. You see, knowing they won’t cost you anything, other than your time, is such a tempting factor, to request ALLL of the books.
2. There is no system in place to remind you when a book is going to be archived. This is when the title you have requested, becomes unavailable for downloading to your device, computer or kindle/kobo. This can lead to you not being able to read the titles you requested.
3. There is no system to remind you to write reviews, or to chase up reviews. This website gives you complete freedom. Firstly it gives you free books, with the expectation that you will review them, but it doesn’t send reminders like ‘hey, we sent you that book, any chance you can review it now?. It leaves you with the ball in your court and it is completely up to you as to when and if you return the ball… so to speak.
How to not become completely overwhelmed within the NetGalley platform.
As you can see, the pro’s outweigh the cons, but the thing that stands out in my mind, to use this platform efficiently and fairly, (and to not end up like me with a crazy amount of books sitting on my Kindle from years ago, that I still need to read and review), is to not go crazy when you first sign up.
Here are a few of my NetGalley Reader top tips.
♦ Only choose up to five (5) titles to review per month.
♦ Only choose those five (5) titles from genres you are genuinely interested in.
♦ Make a note of when the title is going to be archived, if it is an ARC, when it is due to be published, or if it has already been published, when it was. This will help you to work out the order in which you need to read your requested titles. remember, publishers like your reviews to be posted as close to the publication date as possible.
♦ Write a full review. I know this one seems obvious, but it can be so tempting to toss a few lines in the review box and move on to the next title. But remember, you are receiving this service for free, in exchange for a full and honest review. Why write something half heartedly, when you are receiving something free of charge, in exchange for your services?
♦ Netgalley have a Review percentage that they look for. They are more likely to approve you for a title if you have reviewed 80% of the titles that you have been approved for. This is where you can get unstuck. if you download all of the books, chances are you won’t get to them before they are archived. This means, if you read it, after it has been archived and even if you post the best review of your life, it still won’t go towards your review percentage…
I know these things seem to take all of the fun out of the endless supply of free, available books that are at your fingertips, but I think the main thing to remember is, you are providing a service. Yes, you receive all of the ‘goods’ if you like, but this host is expecting you to hold up your end of the bargain.
It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘collecting’ freebies, if you like, to request, download and hoard these titles for a later date, for when you feel like reading them, but try to avoid this mindset. NetGalley is a business providing readers and reviewers a fantastic service, don’t take advantage of that!
The most important thing is to remember why you signed up for the NetGalley service… wether it be for your love of reading, to get more experience writing reviews, to boost your blog posts or whatever it may be. Enjoy the chance to read something you may not have been able to find or read before. It is such a fantastic platform for readers of every kind.
As I wrap up, I realise that this post isn’t quite what I planned it to be. Sorry-not-sorry. Return the good juju that you receive and it will return to you ten-fold. If you request a book, review it before it’s publishing and archive date. Simples 🙂
As always, Thanks for reading!