Book reviews are important for book publicity. Getting your book into the hands of reviewers can be difficult, especially for authors with small publishers and little or no help from a publicist. NetGalley is a site that launched in 2018. It enables book reviewers and booksellers to read books before they are published.
The books are provided to reviewers on NetGalley in a digital galley format called an e-galley. You can think of them as a digital form of an ARC (advanced reader copy or advanced review copy). The e-galleys can be read on all major reading devices and tablets. NetGalley says they are protected files that cannot be shared.
NetGalley maintains profiles of its members that authors can before approving digital galley requests. NetGalley reviewers are also given badges based on the number of books they review and other factors. NetGalley says, "The NetGalley member community is made up of 'professional readers' (reviewers, bloggers, media, booksellers, librarians and educators). Before a NetGalley member can request a digital galley, they must first fill out a Profile about themselves—their organization, contact information, genre preferences, and a brief Bio. You will be able to view this Profile information before digital galley requests are approved."
NetGalley for Self-published Authors
NetGalley can be used by a self-published author. They have a FAQ about working with individual authors here. It is not a free service. NetGalley charges $450 for a six-month book title listing. You can get a lower-priced 3 month option ($199) that is only available through the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). You can find out more about NetGalley's IBPA program here. The IBPA also has a page about its NetGalley program here. The SFWA also has a $25 per title NetGalley service available with limited space, see here. NetGalley also additional services for more exposure, such as featured placements and listings in a newsletter that goes out to reviewers.
Publishers Weekly has an informative article about self-publishers curious about NetGalley. The article says NetGalley has over 230,000 members and over 40,000 reviews are submitted each month. The article includes advice from publicist Sandra Poirier Smith that authors should make sure NetGalley's community of professional readers knows if they are available for promotions like "blog tours, book club participation, giveaways, interviews, etc." You can browse and search titles in NetGalley's catalog to see how other authors are describing their books.
Advice and Tips
If you are going to use NetGalley it works best if your book is listed on the site before it is published. Reviewers are probably not going to be nearly as interested in a book that has already been out for a couple years. The newness factor of a book is important. It is another reason why authors need a pre-publication marketing plan. If you decide to use NetGalley and you get good reviews you should make sure to share a quote from them on your listings for your book at online bookstores. You can find more about how to do this on Amazon our Amazon Author Central promotion page.
The reviewers on NetGalley will likely promote their reviews as well (good or bad). Bad reviews are an unfortunate part of the business for authors. The best thing you can do to avoid them is to present your very best work. Make sure your galley is in its final form and is very well edited.
Here are some good articles written by authors who have tried the service. Luke Gracias' article is especially detailed.
- NetGalley for a Self-Published Debut Author by Luke Gracias.
- NetGalley Experience - Reddit discussion thread
- Book Marketing: What Works and What Doesn't - NetGalley by Katie French
- How to Reach Book Reviewers via NetGalleye by Ben Cameron. He says genre fiction gets the best response on NetGalley.
- How to Use NetGalley to Get Self-Published Book Reviews by David Wogahn. He points out some other resellers for the service.
- How to Make NetGalley Work for You by M.A. Demers. Demers notes that you need to sometimes "chase up reviewers."