Book blogger confession: NetGalley is both the most wonderful thing to happen to me, and my kryptonite.
We all dream of having hard copy ARCs, but sometimes it takes awhile to build the following for those! It seems safe to safe most book bloggers start off by using either NetGalley or Edelweiss to request ARCs (or both). I signed up for both but ended up only using NetGalley because it’s just more intuitive to me. I do use Edelweiss’s saved search feature – after learning about it from Reader Voracious’ most amazing and helpful post – because it helps me find new releases that aren’t as popular. Edelweiss has a TON of books, a lot more than NetGalley, and not all are available to request ARCs but you can at least see a lot more of what is releasing at any given time, and I really like that.
NetGalley makes it easy to request upcoming books. Just set up your account, add some profile information, and you can request away! It’s super easy. Almost too easy.
What Not to Do
I’ve been on Netgalley since 2016. I took most of 2018 off from reading ARCs, so in the 2+ years I’ve been a regular visitor, I’ve received 53 eARCs. Not that many, really. However, in the beginning I made some mistakes.
- Request everything that looks interesting. Now, this might sound like a good idea when starting off, as you don’t have any NetGalley stats/percentage. However, you might get surprised and get an influx of eARCs, and then your feedback percentage goes WAY down and no one wants to approve you for books.
- Review books super late. While you can always go back and leave feedback, which will boost your percentage no matter how late you are, when you are *coughoverayearcough* several months late with your reviews it seems like the publisher/publicist never sees them, which makes sense.
- Don’t read publisher approval preferences. I didn’t notice this little feature when I started out, but if you go to each publisher’s page, there is a button that says “View Approval Preferences.” This really helped me start to tailor my requests. Some publishers don’t approve until you have over 1,000 followers. Some want you to have specific information in your profile.
When I came back to NetGalley this year, the first thing I did was try to clear off all the old titles I had. If you use the Send-to-Kindle option, the files never actually disappear. If you use Adobe Digital Editions (like I did for a long time), they automatically delete. Thankfully I had sent almost all of my old books to my Kindle app, which is what I’m using regularly to read eARCs now.
After that, I let myself wander over to the “Find Titles” section…just to see. Um, right. I promptly went on a requesting spree, because I told myself my feedback ration was still under the desired 80% so I wouldn’t get that many, maybe one of two.
Oops. I suddenly ended up with about eight new titles, which isn’t a lot for some bloggers but cued total panic for me. I hadn’t really paid attention to WHEN these titles were releasing, despite my goal of posting feedback within a month of publication (ideally BEFORE publication), which meant most of them released around the same time. OOPS.
There went my feedback ratio, AGAIN, and even further in the hole. I think at one point (around the time the approvals stopped), it was around 47%. ARGH! Like I said, that little “Request Title” button is like crack for me. Total kryptonite.
So, I buckled down to read these new ARCs. Thing is, I had so many that in my limited reading time, I had NO TIME to read all the other books I was hoping to get to! All those new releases I pre-orded for January, February, March…yeah, I’ve read ONE, because I’ve felt SO obligated to read all the NetGalley books.
That’s kind of…not fun. As much as I love reading new releases AHEAD of time, I also want to read the books I cared enough about to pay for, or put on special request at my library.
Is It Worth It?
YMMV, but for me the answer is – sometimes. Obviously I get SUPER excited when I get to read a book early. It’s like being let into an inclusive club, it’s fun, and I love hoping/knowing that my review might help an author get more readers. On the other hand, there is that sense of obligation – not for any particular rating, but to at least read and rate. When too many stack up, that’s STRESSFUL.
Reading should not be stressful. Books are my happy place.
So what does this mean? Am I/have I abandoned NetGalley? Not on your life. But I have implemented some strategies that have really helped me cut back on the stress and let me ENJOY the titles I do receive. I’ll be posting more about that in detail in a later post, but the end result is –
- I have an 80%+ rating on NetGalley right now. Which, I’ve discovered, DOES actually boost your chances of getting approved considerably.
- I have eight NetGalley titles currently waiting for reading/review, but they are spread out until SEPTEMBER. I have one coming out this month, two in June, two in July, two in August, and one in September. That’s a lot of time to read eight books! Did you hear the stress bubble pop?
- I’m going to be reading many more of my MOST anticipated 2019 books, along with the books on my shelves already. This makes me SO HAPPY!
Let’s face it, that’s how we should feel about the books we read. Not stressed.
How About You?
How do you manage your ARC requests? What are your strategies?
If you’re struggling under a mountain of ARCs, check out Avalinah’s State of the ARC meme. I haven’t joined but it sounds like an awesome way to tackle the pile!
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