Yesterday I passed the milestone of submitting my 50th review on NetGalley and receiving the lovely badge that comes with it!
For those unfamiliar, NetGalley is a website where reviewers, librarians and booksellers can get access to new titles before they are released. I’ve been using it for almost a year to date now. In this time I’m thrilled to say that I’ve racked up four featured reviews and 59 approvals, and look forward to many more to come!
In celebration I’m going to present, in no particular order, five of my favourite qualities of NetGalley. This website has been a godsend in helping me get my blog off the ground, and here’s why I think it’s awesome:
1. It’s convenient to use and has an intuitive design.
When I initially heard about NetGalley and e-ARCs I’ll admit I was pretty intimidated! But when I actually went and registered I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set up my profile and immediately get to the fun part of requesting e-galleys, which requires no more than the click of a button. (Of course, this does on the flip side make it easy to request more books than you can get through…) The website as a whole runs really smoothly and works just the way you’d expect it to.
Once you get approved for a book, it can again be downloaded for Adobe Reader or sent straight to your Kindle without hassle.
There is the caveat that this convenience mostly applies to readers living in one of the countries covered by NetGalley, and I’ve heard that it’s recently become very hard for international reviewers to get approved. This is one of the areas I think NetGalley could improve, since for online reviewers it shouldn’t matter that much where you blog from. I’m not originally from a NetGalley-covered country although I currently live in one, so I get the pain of keeping up with English books when they’re so often unavailable overseas!
2. It encourages dipping your toes into new genres.
Even though NetGalley lets you select your favourite genres, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from checking out and requesting books from other genres! In fact the way the website is set up means that you’re constantly exposed to books you wouldn’t normally think of reading. For example, NetGalley sends regular emails promoting the hottest upcoming releases that come from a wide variety of genres. Personally NetGalley has allowed me to discover great titles from the horror, memoir and especially contemporary genres, none of which I was used to reading before I signed up to the website.
3. It’s introduced me to some of my favourite books.
As of the time of writing, five of the ten titles on my Goodreads favourites shelf are from NetGalley:
That said, there are many more than five excellent reads NetGalley introduced me to, and for that I’m super grateful. As far as getting quality ARCs NetGalley is probably the best option that’s both reliable and accessible to reviewers who are just starting out. Certainly the barriers to joining make it really blogger-friendly, while most of the books (many of which come from major publishing houses) remain well-written!
4. Publishers are generous with approvals.
Compared to Edelweiss, the other main e-ARC website, it’s so much easier to get approved on NetGalley. When I requested my first ARC on NetGalley, I am Traitor by Sif Sigmarsdóttir from Hachette Children’s Group, I thought there was no way I would get approved. After all I’d only just started my blog and could count the number of followers I had on one hand. To my shock, not only was I approved, but when I eventually sent in my review it was featured by the publisher! Ever since, I’ve had a highly positive experience requesting books from a wide range of publishers, and although I have 11 declined requests to date that number pales in comparison to the 59 approvals I’ve received. I think it’s awesome that NetGalley publishers are, in general, happy to give new reviewers a chance.
5. Authors are friendly and care about feedback.
Like with NetGalley itself, I was initially a bit intimidated to message authors to say that I’d loved their book, or to ask a question about something that intrigued me. Once I actually started doing it, though, I found that just about every author whose books are featured on NetGalley is really nice and genuinely cares about what readers have to say, even if it isn’t always positive. Shout-outs to Emily Suvada and Peng Shepherd, who sent me one of the pre-order bookmarks for her book for free when I told her how much I adored the design! I’ve never had a negative interaction with an author whose ARC I reviewed, whether it be on Goodreads, Twitter or email, and although this isn’t necessarily a NetGalley thing I appreciate NetGalley for building that bridge between readers and authors.
If you’re a NetGalley user, what do you like about the website? Are there areas where you think it could be made even better? In the meantime, happy requesting and may the approval odds be ever in your favour!