What You Need to Know Before You Open a NetGalley Account

May 20, 2017 Blogging Tips, Let's Discuss 71

NetGalley is an incredible way to start receiving review copies of books. In general, getting approved for a book via NetGalley is much more likely than getting a physical ARC of that same book. Which makes sense—publishers can afford to give out digital ARCs a lot more freely than physical ARCs.

Sometimes bloggers are scared to jump into NetGalley, but if you follow a few simple guidelines, you’ll see that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

Opening a NetGalley account is incredibly easy, but I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve seen bloggers who talk about all the mistakes they made when they first joined (including me!). Most of us joined without really knowing what to expect and without understanding the “rules” (both written and unwritten) that apply to NetGalley.

I haven’t written a post like this before because most of my readers aren’t just starting out in blogging and already have a NetGalley account, but I was reading the April Wrap-Up over at Geybie’s Book Blog where she talked about opening an account and I realized that newbie bloggers don’t have a lot of good information about NetGalley. They just know it’s this site where you can request books for review.

So, what should you know before you open your NetGalley account?

I’m not going to describe the process of actually opening the account because it’s pretty simple and self-explanatory, BUT if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. Instead, I’m going to focus on the mistakes that bloggers often make when they open an account.

Don’t request too many books! 

This is the first bit of advice I’m giving you for a reason. Practically every blogger I know got overwhelmed with books when they first signed up with NetGalley for two reasons:

  • They were entranced by all the beautiful, amazing-sounding books!! Yep, I get it. I do. There are so many books that sound fantabulous that choosing just a few of them almost seems like sacrilege. Trust me, this is an issue you will struggle with your whole blogging career. We love books, and we want them all!! But believe me when I tell you that you are MUCH better off only requesting a few books when you first start out. As exciting as it seems to have a never-ending supply of books at your fingertips, this can get overwhelming fast. (And it will cause you problems down the road with your Feedback Ratio, which I talk about below.)
  • They didn’t think they’d get approved. This is another statement I’ve heard time and time again. Bloggers go into NetGalley assuming most of their requests will be denied so they go on a huge requesting spree. Thing is, you’ll most likely get approved for a lot more books than you expect, especially if you’re requesting independently published books or books from small presses. (Though you might be surprised at some approvals from the “big” publishers too—don’t be too afraid to ask!)

Watch your Feedback Ratio. 

I had no idea this existed when I started NetGalley (a common problem for newbies), but NetGalley has a system of keeping track of the ratio of books you’ve been approved to review to the books you’ve given feedback for. They recommend a ratio of 80% (meaning you’ve submitted feedback for at least 80% of the books you’ve been approved to review). This is the reason you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with books right off the bat. You will find it nearly impossible to keep up, and it will really hard to get that feedback ratio up to the 80% mark. Remember, any time you’re approved for a new book it will lower that ratio (until you submit feedback for something.)

You can always find your current Feedback Ratio on your profile. It will look like this (specifically the green part):

Pay attention to Archive Dates.

Most of the books that you are approved for will have an archive date. That is the date after which you can no longer download the book. For this reason, it’s best if you download a book you’re approved for immediately. If you don’t download the book in time and it gets archived, you’re out of luck—it will still show up as Approved in your list, but you won’t be able to read it (and submit feedback) unless you get the book yourself once it’s been released. This will mess with your Feedback Ratio!

It used to be that feedback submitted after the archive date wouldn’t count toward your Feedback Ratio, but I don’t believe that’s true any longer. At least I haven’t personally noticed that with my ratio, but I’ve seen conflicting information about this. (I have enough books in my account that a single book doesn’t affect me as much anymore, so I could be missing this? If anyone can verify this for me absolutely one way or the other, I’d be happy to hear from you!) UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that I was correct. You can submit feedback after the archive date and it will count toward your feedback ratio. So just make sure you download it early enough and you’ll be fine!

You can find the Archive Date for each book on your Approved list by clicking on the Give Feedback tab. (TIP: By default, the list is sorted by the Download Date, which in my opinion is the least important date given. I always click on the header for the Pub Date column to sort by that since I typically try to review all books by their Pub Date—though, as you can see from my list, I’m not perfect!)

It’s okay to submit a negative review (or even a DNF)!

Publishers understand that you’re not going to love every book they give you. When you sign up with NetGalley, you’re agreeing to post an honest review, not a positive one. It’s perfectly okay to write a negative review; just use common sense and don’t bash the author or the publisher (which is pretty much a standard bit of advice for reviews in general). And if you DNF a book that you requested from NetGalley, that’s okay too—still submit feedback letting them know that you DNFd and why. If you just never submit feedback it will affect your Feedback Ratio, so you still want to let them know that you tried, even if you end up DNFing the book.

What to put in your Bio:

I know I said I’d let you figure out signing up for NetGalley by yourself, but there is one aspect of creating your account that can be a little daunting: the Bio. Basically, you want to give the publishers enough info about your blog so that they know whether or not you’re a good fit.

Generally, you’ll want to give them a little blurb about your blog and links to your social media accounts, and then you’ll want to provide your blog’s stats (most of which can be obtained from Google Analytics). Don’t lie about your stats! It might be tempting to make your blog look just a little better by upping a stat or two but chances are publishers will figure it out and they won’t look kindly on it. In the end, you’ll be hurting yourself more than you’ll be helping.

Also, don’t forget to update your stats occasionally. I tend to update mine every six months or so (if you look at my example below, you’ll see that I included the date I last updated the stats, which was in January). But if you’re a newer blogger you might want to update your stats more often as they’ll probably be less static.

Here’s my bio as an example for you. (And, yes, it feels sort of weirdly personal for me to throw my stats out here for everyone to see—anyone else have this issue?)

 

Okay, well this post is already getting really long, so I think I’ll stop there. But feel free to let me know in the comments if you have other questions or if you think I’ve missed something. I might even end up writing a follow-up post (since I can think of at least a few other topics I haven’t covered yet).

Thanks to those bloggers (Terri, Jen, Becky, Morrisa, and Danielle) who responded on Twitter and let me know what they wished they’d known before they started with NetGalley! Terri had a great additional idea of tracking your NetGalley reads in a spreadsheet with title, request date and pub date so you don’t forget what you’ve requested. I find getting that info from NetGalley itself (and putting the books into my To Review list on Goodreads) works well for me, but I know others use a spreadsheet as well!

Anything else you can’t figure out or wish you would have known before you’d signed up with NetGalley? I want to know!

If you’re not a NetGalley newbie, I’d appreciate it if you’d share this post so that it gets to the people who actually need it. You can use the share buttons below!

71 Responses to “What You Need to Know Before You Open a NetGalley Account”

  1. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    Helpful post! I’m not on NetGalley, but I’ve been very close to signing up several times. I’m curious about it. I still might sign up someday. I haven’t done it yet because I always have a ton of unread books sitting around my house. I’m not sure if I could control myself on NetGalley, and I don’t want to feel completely overwhelmed by my TBR.

  2. Geybie's Book Blog

    OMG, thank you so very much. I HAD NO idea what to do when I decided to join netgalley. You’re right, all I knew was that I needed to make an account and request the books I wanted to read and then sent feedbacks. I didn’t know what to write in my profile. Because of your help and the other bloggers’ helps I finally knew I needed to include my blog stats. I didn’t even know about the feedback ratio then.

    Thank you, Nicole. This post is a HUGE help for newbie bloggers like me. 😁👍🏻❤️

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    I think some of this is helpful for people who’ve been on Netgalley for years, like me! I really need to update my Bio for one thing. LOL I get accepted for MOST books I request, but then I don’t really go for the big named books, etc. That’s just personal preference though too!

    I pinned this!

    -Lauren

  4. TeacherofYA

    I think people should review a couple of Read Now books before they start requesting, because the pubs can see how many denials you have received. I didn’t realize this right away and requested all the big titles just to be shot down. Once I got some feedback scores though, I was more likely to get approved. Now, I rarely, if ever get denied.

  5. danielle hammelef

    Great advice! Thanks for the detailed post. now I have a much better understanding of the request process.

  6. kirsty @ kirstychronicles

    This is such a helpful post for newbies to netgalley! I too fell into the netgalley trap when I first joined netgalley. I requested all the books thinking I’d never get approved for them so why the hell not and then BAM, I got approved for all of them 😂! I’ve only just got my feedback ratio up to 80% which made me incredibly happy by the way! Great post!!

  7. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

    Reall great post!! I was so lost on NG when I first started and had such a horrible %. I am pretty close to 80% now though. There are still some publishers I hardly get approved for though which stinks. One day 🙂

  8. Lily @ Bookluvrs Haven

    Guilty, guilty, guilty! Of requesting too many. Which is why the netgalley challenge has been 100% necessary. I’m really trying to get it under control and I have only requested one book in the last 2 years because I’ve been so behind (last year was a write off for personal reasons).

    Also I can confirm that your stats do change once you send feedback for archived books.

  9. Greg

    What a great post, and so many good points to share. As someone who has an account but doesn’t really request, I will definitely take this advice to heart when updating my profile. I don’t request much because I like not having the pressure, but lately I’ve been thinking I might like to request one here and there. Especially when I otherwise have to wait months for a favorite authors new book… 🙂

  10. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    So, here’s a story for you: When I started on Netgalley, I was too afraid to request books. But somehow, I clicked on this ad for Egmont (I got it in an email) and it was like “check out these books!” so I did… and had NO IDEA that I had then been approved for the book on Netgalley. So for about a year, I had a 0% ratio, and wondered why no one would approve me. THEN someone told me that I could just write a note explaining what happened, since I never downloaded the books (I never even knew I had access to them!) so I did that, and my ratio went wayyy up. Right now, it is 94% because I am awesome, but one day, I really want to get it to 100%.

    I also did the “no one will ever approve me so I might as well request whatever” thing. And for a long time, no one DID, because of the aforementioned story. And then one day, someone did… and then ALL the someones did, and I had a LOT of books. Oopsie. BUT then that is also how I got my ratio up so high so… no regrets 😀

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Wow, 94% is impressive, especially since you started out so impossibly. That’s something I should mention if I do another post—I don’t really understand the circumstances where clicking on the book approves it, even still. I’ll need to look into that!

        • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

          Oh good! I’ve always been nervous when I get an email that tells about books—worried that if I click to check them out, it might automatically approve me or something. Of course, that hasn’t happened, but it hasn’t stopped me from being nervous about it. LOL!

  11. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’m glad I could help. I still think there are things I wish I knew about Netgalley, it’s a learning curve this blogging business. I do wish I’d had your advice before. I still request too much on Netgalley but now I know my feedback rating isn’t going to tank if I’m a bit late with a couple of books. I think everyone forgets about the importance of the bio, it’s where a publisher can learn about your blog and see if you’re the right fit and no one remembers stats are important. I know it can be discouraging when you think you’re a smaller blog you won’t get approved but that’s definitely not always the case. And yes, smaller publishers are perfect for getting approved when you first start out and it’s a great way to discover new books. I definitely have Netgalley to thank for some favourite books of mine which I might not have known about otherwise.

  12. Sue @ Crushingcinders

    Thank you for the very informative post. I made all the newbie mistakes and getting my rating to 80% was really hard after I requested almost everything! Now I add the books I need to be reading on my currently reading Goodreads list. It means I look as though I have octopus hands reading a bunch of books at a time but it really helps me keep focus on dates.
    Please do a post on Edelweiss – I’ve been using it for a while and still confused!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I was thinking about doing a post on Edelweiss—I think I might need to collaborate with more people to make sure I’m getting my info straight. I’ll confess that I mostly use Edelweiss for HarperTeen books because somehow or other I got auto-approved once upon a time (I still wonder if it was an accident). I very seldom request anything else because the HarperTeen offerings are already like an overwhelming buffet of bookish goodness!

  13. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    I’ve shied away from NetGalley and ARCS in general, but now I’m super curious. My problem with stats is that a) mine are terrible and b) I don’t really understand them. Maybe it’s a Blogspot issue, but I don’t know how to tease out UNIQUE visitors. I can see pageviews, but even that makes no sense to me. Like, today it tells me I’ve had 55 pageviews on (a combination of) specific posts this week, but then it says I had 260 pageviews overall YESTERDAY. Huh? Anyway, thanks for the terrific and informative post!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Hmmm … I do think that Blogspot makes it harder to get real stats. It looks like it just gives you pageviews today, last month and all-time history. I think you might be able to use Google Analytics even for a Blogger address—you might want to check that out. Otherwise, just give what stats you have and say that the stats are via blogspot. The publishers will know the deal. Even with lower stats, you’d be surprised at how many books you’ll be welcome to if you’re open to smaller press or independently published books. If you’re only interested in the big publishers it might be harder.

  14. Sophia Rose

    This is great and most-definitely addresses some of the early stumbles. I took those free NG podcast sessions to learn some of this and fix my stuff. And I learned to navigate the site better loving the way to locate publishers or genres easily.

    One other aspect that is pertinent to folks like me who are not blog hostesses, but are associate reviewers for blogs. Assoc reviewers need to know they can have accounts on NG of their own. I’ve encountered a few who didn’t realize this.

    Again, great article, Nicole!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Both of those are great points! I’m thinking of doing a follow-up post because there’s SO much more I could have included (but the post was already way long). If I do one, I’ll make sure to include these things (and give you credit, of course!).

  15. chucklesthescot

    I’ve used Netgalley a few times on and off and when I first joined, all the publishers I was interested in seemed to demand I’d been a member for two years before being eligible! Only one publisher approved me for books at that time. It seems a bit more relaxed now. I didn’t fall into the requesting too many books trap but a lot of my blogging friends did! I see them constantly panic about the feedback ratio! The advice you have set out is great for new users and I’ll be happy to share that with others through a blog link. Great post!

  16. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Oh gosh, I remember how nervous I was the first time I requested a book from NG lol. And then how excited I was when I got it. (Although, to be honest, I still get a little excited for every book I get lol.) I was one of the apparently few bloggers who didn’t go on a requesting spree though. My picky taste in books and my dislike for writing negative reviews came in handy! I knew that if I didn’t like the book, I’d be obligated to write a negative review, so I really tried to choose books I thought I’d like. I was also completely anal and paranoid about that feedback ratio lol.

    To answer what you said about archive dates, I’ve submitted books past the archive date, and my feedback ratio has gone up. But obviously I can’t guarantee it works that way for everyone if other people have had a different experience.

    Another thing that’s useful, I always go check the publisher info for books I’m interested in/approved for to see what they look for, what they expect, when they want the book posted (e.g. some want it no earlier than a month before release, others want it no earlier than 2 weeks, most want it with a month after the release, etc.), that kind of stuff.

    This is a great post, and I think it’ll be helpful to lots of people!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      That’s a really good point. I’m thinking of putting another post together with more info about NetGalley as well. I felt like there was SO much more I could say, but I didn’t want the post to be 1000 miles long. If I do end up writing another one, I’ll make sure to include this about looking at pub info (and credit you, of course).

  17. Tammy V

    Good tips. I just recently started doing this so it was good to know some of the things to watch for.

  18. Stephanie

    Great tips! Thank you so much! I’ve only been at this a little over a year but I didn’t know about the Feedback ratio…oops! Mine is at 72% but should be improving soon with my next 3 reads. Thanks again!

  19. Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books

    I have had a long love/hate relationship with NetGalley. I have a 75% ratio which sounds pretty good…until you know that I have 101 books to read. Some of these books go back to when I first joined years ago. I would tell people new to NetGalley to try to get themselves caught up before they have a huge backlog. I have reviewed over 300 NetGalley books so I have to read a lot to even get my ratio to budge anymore. Also, you can send in feedback for archived books and it counts the same as any other book – you just can’t download the book anymore. Thanks for a great informative post!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I thought that you could submit after the archive date and it would count, but then I’d seen someone else say you couldn’t and I didn’t want to give out incorrect information. I still have some very old books from when I first joined NetGalley clogging up my account too. One of these days, I’ll try and read them to clear them out!

  20. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    This is such a great post, very helpful. So far I’ve been successful at keeping my ratio right around 80% but I’m also guilty of occasionally requesting way too many books on the assumption that most of them will be declined. I actually have way more pending requests than I’m comfortable having at the moment for that exact reason. Trying to get a few of my ARCs read this week just in case I get approved for more than I expected to, haha.

  21. Chanda @ Chanda Reads

    Great article! I definitely wish I would have come across something like this when I first started NetGalley.
    I am almost obsessive about my ratio staying above 80% now (perfectionist here 🙋😂).

  22. Lara @ Another Teen Reader

    Oh, I really want to get on NetGalley now – but they have an age limit which I fall short of, so you know … bummer. I’m on Edelweiss, because they don’t have one, but there doesn’t seem to be as much advice out there on how to use it. Do you have any tips?

    Thank you for an informative post, anyway – I’ll be bookmarking for when I do sign up.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I actually didn’t realize about the minimum age requirement on NetGalley. I just looked and saw that it was 18, which surprised me. I suppose since there are books on the site that are adult books, they don’t want to be shown as offering them to teen readers. I don’t have as much advice about Edelweiss, unfortunately. I think one of the reasons there’s less out there is because it’s a bit more nebulous. They don’t seem to have a feedback ratio. I would definitely recommend making sure that you have all of your blog info included and up to date (including stats), but other than that I’m coming up empty. I’ll have to try to gather some intel and then write an Edelweiss post. 🙂

  23. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    Thank you so much for this post. I actually joined NetGalley about a year ago and I’ve been blogging for around two and I completely forgot I had an account. To start I had no idea how to navigate the site so your tips are definitely going to come in handy. More than that I’ve not actually requested a book yet cause my own tbr pile is never ending. I’ve always been a bit picky about what I read because I tend to read books I know I’m likely to enjoy. I think it’ll be worth it to actually update my profile since it’s literally bare but I doubt I’ll be an active user. Thanks for writing this post. It’s cleared a lot of things up. 😀

  24. Jennilyn V.

    Aack, this is super helpful. Thank you so much, I’ve learned a bunch. And thank you also to the commenters for their inputs. I never knew that publishers/publicists can see the number of denied access so I made the mistake of going on spree requests.

    Now I also need something like this one but with Edelweiss this time? Haha, if it’s not too much to ask. I rarely use EW and I prefer NG because it’s easier to use (I think?) but some pub are only in EW.

    You mentioned Google Analytics in determining the number of unique pageviews so I just signed up for an account. Thank you again for this useful info. It looks complex and I’m still trying to work my way around through it. I hope you can squeeze in future discussions on how it works and what else can you get from it.

  25. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    This is awesome, Nicole! I suck at keeping my NetGalley ratio up. I am still at 47%! hahaha I have started reviewing the DNF’s, too. Before I never really bothered.

    Also, I went crazy requesting books the first couple of months that I joined hahaha which was really wrong, now that I think about it.

  26. Yani

    I always regret forgetting to read or downloading a book before its archive date. These are the things I should have known before I opened NG. Also, I have an account on EW but I have problems understanding their terms there so…

  27. Erica

    GREAT post!! This is super helpful! I’ve only ever requested two things from NetGalley, but this makes me want to try again! 🙂

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