Pen To Print

Netgalley for Authors

by Maria Riegger

In 2019, I used  NetGalley  for the first time. NetGalley  is a paid site used by independent authors and publishers to obtain more book reviews. Here, I’m reporting on my first use of NetGalley and the results. 

First,  what is  NetGalley? Authors and publishers can pay to list their books on the site. NetGalley subscribers  (it’s free for readers to subscribe) can then browse books on their preferred genres and download them for free, with the understanding that they are supposed to leave reviews. Authors can also advertise the NetGalley free download link on their social media sites in order to obtain even more downloads and reviews. 

NetGalley subscribers include book bloggers, librarians, and media professionals, so it’s definitely worthwhile to check out the site. Imagine if a librarian liked your book and ordered several copies for their library! Or if a book blogger published a positive review of your book on their site and many of their subscribers bought your book! 

Of course, it is impossible to force readers to leave reviews, so all authors can do is cross their fingers and hope that everyone who downloads the book actually reads and leaves a review. 

How much does NetGalley cost? 

NetGalley is not cheap, but there are ways to get lower-cost subscriptions. First, check out   NetGalley’s rates for individual authors. 

Second, NetGalley offers reduced rates through a partnership with the  Independent Book Publishers Association  (IBPA). As of the date of this article, the IBPA rates are as follows: 

  • $399 Six-month title listing via IBPA 
  • $199 Three-month title listing via IBPA 
  • $100 Category Spotlight 
  • $110 Featured Placement 

The rates through IBPA are still pretty high, especially considering that you are listing your book for free. To get even further reduced rates, you can become a member of  BooksGoSocial  (BGS) which is free to join. BGS has negotiated reduced NetGalley rates for its members. In May 2019 I paid $79 via BGS to advertise one book on NetGalley for one month. Afterward, I was offered an extra month for only $35. As you can see, the BGS rate is worthwhile even compared to NetGalley’s rates via IBPA. 

Further, every once in a while, BGS has a sale for about 50% off the BGS reduced rate, which is an even greater deal. For example, I just listed another book on NetGalley using BGS and paid $100 for a three-month listing. 

Here are my NetGalley results. 

May/June 2019: The first month I listed a nonfiction book (Your Scorpio Child). Thirty-nine people downloaded the book. Among them were booksellers, librarians, media professionals, educators, and book bloggers from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and Italy. Of those 39, seven people left reviews; two downloaded it by error; and one person did not leave a review, indicating that she had thought it was a humorous book rather than a serious parenting book (the cover, back cover text, and description all make clear that it is a nonfiction parenting book). 

September/October 2019: Four people downloaded the book. None left reviews. 

Recontacting Readers: 

BGS  encourages authors to recontact readers who have not left reviews to thank them for downloading your book and to let them know that reviews are greatly appreciated. 

I delayed way too long in recontacting readers who downloaded my book. For those who downloaded it in May/June, I did not recontact them until the beginning of December. The delay was due to my being too busy with publishing two other books, but it was also due to my apprehension at appearing too pushy. I know I’m not the only author who feels that way. My recommendation is that we have to advocate for ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with sending a carefully crafted email to NetGalley readers thanking them for taking the time to download our book, and to let them know that reviews are always appreciated (and list the review links to make it as easy as possible to leave reviews). 

My recommendation is to definitely give NetGalley a try, especially with BGS’ reduced rates, and not delay in recontacting readers like I did. Although I did get a handful of newsletter signups when I recontacted (and one lovely email from a reader indicating how much she enjoyed the book), since it was several months later, likely some of the readers had forgotten about my book. 

This month, I’ve listed my latest fiction novel, a contemporary romance, on NetGalley, and am interested in seeing if it performs better than my nonfiction book, especially since Your Scorpio Child is in such a niche category. 

I will report back in a few months! 

Maria Riegger is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking /corporate attorney by day, and a fiction author by night. Follow her author journey on her website.

NetGalley is a paid site used by independent authors and publishers to obtain more book reviews.